Game 2016.39: Twins at Tigers

Well, that was certainly more exciting than I thought it was going to be last night. It looked like the Twins were cooked when Kinsler took the first pitch of the game deep and led off an 8-run first inning, especially with Zimmerman on the mound. But…Tigers.

Brad got a little excited also, and went all Earl Weaver out there. He said 7 or 8 players were upset about the strike zone, and he was speaking for them.

Tonight is the Pelfrey game of the series. The last time Pelfrey won a start Brad Ausmus was in grade school or something. He is the current whipping boy du jour (aside from Brad of course), but he really did pitch well enough to win last time out.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Maybin got off to a great start. Of course Gose did last season too. How about Moya as a late inning PH for McCann? There are worse things than having a lefty with power on the bench.

Game 2016.38: Twins at Tigers

The Tigers may have gotten lucky on a checked swing call, but for a change they jumped on their break, putting the next two pitches over the fence, leaving the Orioles rather bitter about the whole thing.

The ongoing saga of the recovery of Cameron Maybin has finally ended with Maybin landing in tonight’s lineup. To make room for Maybin the Tigers have shipped out Anthony Gose. This seems like the right move: Gose has been contributing very little, even, frustratingly, on the base paths, while Moya’s bat has added some spark to the lineup, enough to make up for a bit of shakiness with the glove. Because it seems like the right move, I was mildly surprised. I was also ready to give the Upton/Moyà combo another spin, but apparently it is an unwritten rule or something that a guy has to start his first day back.

Good news for the home stand: the Tigers get the 10-26 Twins. More good news: the rotation has come back around to Zimmerman’s spot.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.37: Tigers at Orioles

Drafting this on Saturday b/c I’m out of town on Sunday.

Fill in the blanks.

The Tigers lost in ______________ (spectacular, heartbreaking, the usual) fashion yesterday, falling a third straight time to the O’s, and for the 11th time in 12 games. That’s right, the Tigers have one win in May. While many will point to _______________ (a lack of hitting, Anibal Sanchez, the bullpen, Justin Upton, all four) for the loss, the reality is that Ausmus has lost this clubhouse, and the team is playing with about as much effort as my employees demonstrate after Friday taco lunch.

I still don’t understand why Ausmus ________________ (left in _______ so long, didn’t pinch hit for ____________, didn’t think about _____________ in ____________ situation).His managerial playbook is as confusing to me as are adult coloring books, and I wonder if his bench coaches are all mutes or dumb.

I will note that I’ve been turning on 1130 AM in the mornings via iHeartRadio. Matt Shepard let’s his callers go on forever (though that seems to be typical in a 1 host format), but there is a lot of Tigers commiserating going on. It’s good to not be alone.

Game 2016.36: Tigers at Orioles

Meh.

1. 2B Ian Kinsler

2. RF J.D. Martinez

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera

4. DH Victor Martinez

5. 3B Nick Castellanos

6. CF Justin Upton

7. LF Steven Moya

8. C James McCann

9. SS Jose Iglesias

Game 2016.35: Tigers at Orioles

Verlander pitching tonight. Watch the location of his slider.

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. 2B Ian Kinsler

2. RF J.D. Martinez

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera

4. DH Victor Martinez

5. 3B Nick Castellanos

6. CF Justin Upton

7. LF Steven Moya

8. C James McCann

9. SS Jose Iglesias

Game 2016.34: Tigers at Orioles

Another game, another loss, this one just happened to nearly set an MLB record for futility.

Ausmus made two huge managerial blunders yesterday – not getting Salty in to the game via a double switch after his PH appearance, and not sending a red hot Castellanos up to bat. This seriously may be the best two month stretch of Castellanos’ career. And he can’t get a PH at bat under last night’s circumstances. Think about that.

Firing Ausmus doesn’t put us in the playoffs, but it may at least but the game back in the hands of the players.

I wanted to talk about Cabrera for a sec. Last week I heard Jim lamenting about how the ball doesn’t look to be coming off of Cabrera’s bat with the same velocity that we’re used to. He implied that Cabrera maybe had lost some power. We’ve seen this in the past when he’s had his core issues, but the understanding was that he was fully healthy this year. So what do the numbers tell us?

The first number to look at is is ISO. Isolated power is SLG – AVG, or basically extra bases per at-bat. Cabrera’s career ISO is .239, this year it’s .152, a marked decrease. In fact, last year’s .196 was the only season of his career below .200. His line drive rate this year is 25.3%, which is slightly above his career average of 22.1%, but based on Fangraphs’ soft speed/medium speed/hard speed metrics of his balls in play (provided by Baseball Info Solutions), he’s below his career average for hard, and above for soft and medium. This is a concern. Further, he’s going opposite field 35.4% of the time, vs. a career average of 28.3%. He’s only pulling the ball 34.3% of the time, which is a slight decrease from last year’s 35.8%, and well below his career 39.4% average.

It’s definitely expected that he’ll lose some power over time, and a more experienced hitter goes the other way more often, but the actual numbers are concerning. I’ll also point out that his 11.1% swinging strike rate is his highest since 2008, and well above last year’s 9.6% (something we would not expect from a more experienced hitter).

In a nutshell, less XBH, softer hit balls, and more swinging strikes. Not good indicators. He’s definitely earned the right to a larger sample size, but either he’s declining rapidly, or still injured.

Moya up (Hardy down), Upton still in the lineup – in CF. Baseball-Reference game preview here.

Daniel Norris is up as well, though he hasn’t pitched well in the minors.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, CF

7. Steven Moya, LF

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.33: Tigers at Nationals

Last night was the sigh of relief game of the series.

Tonight we bounce onto the rubber game with a classic matchup, ex-Nat Zimmerman vs. ex-Tiger Scherzer.

Tonight’s We Can Still Take This Series Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. V Martinez, 1B
  5. Upton, LF
  6. McCann, C
  7. Gose, CF
  8. Iglesias, SS
  9. Zimmerman, P

Game 2016.32: Tigers at Nationals

Last night the Tigers hit a new season Lowe, as they ran their losing streak up to 7.

The game was an interesting game despite the ending, with a decent start by Anibal Sanchez, the reappearance of JD Martinez, some umpire-baiting, and some conversation-provoking managerial decisions. For what it’s worth, Brad says that he did anticipate that Washington would intentionally walk Martinez. But his thinking was “hey, more RBIs for Saltalamacchia if he runs into one” (that’s a paraphrase). He didn’t, and Brad regrets getting greedy.

There is a lot of talk about Brad Ausmus being on the hot seat, but with May’s unseasonably cold weather, that sounds more comfortable than what is warranted. Maybe instead they should slide a couple of those ice packs into his seat cushion.

Bryce Harper is probably looking at a suspension for coming onto the field after being ejected. Not to mention that he gave a verbal Collinsing to the umpire while he was out there. Dusty Baker says he might have to spank him (yes, he did).

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. V Martinez, 1B
  4. Castellanos, 3B
  5. Upton, LF
  6. McCann, C
  7. Gose, CF
  8. Romine, SS
  9. Fulmer, P

Tonight was probably going to be Cabrera’s night out of the lineup anyway—Castellanos, Cabrera, and Martinez were going to each play 2 games of the series. He says his knee is OK. Iglesias is in a 1-for-19 slump, the worst of his career, so lettuce hope Romine can do better.

Game 2016.31: Tigers at Nationals

The Tigers are playing like an un-oiled machine, misfiring on all cylinders.

Starting pitching, bullpen, hitting, those funny noises are coming from every part of the engine.

Well here we are with another interleague road series, against 5-0 Strasburg and the 19-12 Nationals. Let’s see what the Tigers have got.

When a team is playing badly, talk turns to the manager of course. Heck, even when a team is playing well, nobody is happy with how the manager uses his bullpen. Ever. That’s one of the advantages of moving around; you soon realize every fan base in every city thinks their manager is the one manager that doesn’t know how to use his bullpen. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s definitely a thing.

There is an old saying though that organizations, of any kind, take on the personality of their managers. Does ours have one? (I mean a personality). When Ausmus was first hired, everyone talked about how smart and good-looking he was, but the Tigers aren’t looking particularly smart (I’ll pass on the good-looking part).

Right now there are two guys on the team that have any kind of edge. Cabrera is Cabrera, and hopefully will be for a while, but right now it’s Ian Kinsler (who is producing), and James McCann (who isn’t, but he has gone into the dugout after balls twice already after coming back, which would inspire a team more inspiration-ready). Remember when your grandmother would say if you keep making that face, it will get stuck like that? They both have permanent Game Face.

There will be typical flimflammery with the National League lineup, involving Cabrera / Martinez / Castellanos. Anibal Sanchez will move a runner over and they will call time so he can save the ball. Bryce Harper will start me on a new Beat the Streak Streak. Great fun will be had, by somebody.

Today’s No Rain in the Forecast So They Have to Play Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Castellanos, 3B
  5. Upton, LF
  6. McCann, C
  7. Gose, CF
  8. Iglesias, SS
  9. Sanchez, P

Eight-Inning Nick moves up to 4th in the lineup. He will probably sit tomorrow, with Cabrera at 3rd. Buck Farmer back to AAA, and and Tyler Collins back to the bigs (hopefully with middle finger in check), drawing oohs and ahs from Tigers fans. Check that, those were yawns, my bad.

Game 2016.30: Rangers at Tigers

Happy Mother’s Day!

1.5. That’s rhe over/under on JV hits allowed in the first. What do you think?

Game 2016.29: Rangers at Tigers

Four in a row.

I don’t even want to mow the lawn anymore. I need to find deeper meaning in life.

Tigers are 5-7 at home…

1. 2B Ian Kinsler

2. RF J.D. Martinez

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera

4. DH Victor Martinez

5. LF Justin Upton

6. 3B Nick Castellanos

7. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

8. CF Anthony Gose

9. SS Jose Iglesias

 

Game 2016.28: Rangers at Tigers

My lawn needs to be mowed. I struggle with the opportunity cost of my time. I’m in that hectic stage of life where my young kids demand a ton of time or they are too hilarious to not spend time with, and I’m highly motivated to grow my business, so free time is hard to come by. And working in the services business curses you to the extent that I have an idea of what my time is worth (in some regards).

But I love mowing my lawn. Fresh cut grass and a nice edge line is as American as apple pie and a three spot by the visiting team in the top of the first. So I’m here to admit that I based my decision on whether I would mow the lawn, or call the guys to do it (for the first time this year – I’ve held out for over a month already), on Saturday’s game time. A Saturday afternoon listening to sweet Dan and redundant Jim on a warm day while I mow is something to look forward to at my age. I envision the kids laughing and playing with some water spraying toy in our freshly carved lawn as my wife, wearing a bikini, brings me an ice cold beer and offers to turn on the patio fan for me to sit and admire my work.

In all actuality, I’ll be pissed b/c I have to mow twice due to all the rain, I’ll miss several clumps of dog poop and will spend 10 minutes carving the sh*t out of the tread of my shoes with a stick, and my weed eater will run out of line and I’ll spend an hour trying to re-string the thing as I wear my fingertips to a pulp. Then my wife will walk in with the latest load from Target and ask that I unpack whatever we already have four of in the pantry. Ahh, the American dream.

***

Awful pitching and no hitting = 3 game sweep. How long do JV and Sanchez have to keep this up before something changes? Any 4th or 5th starter pitching like they have would be on the DL or in the minors by now. Not that anything will change soon. Just words for thought.

Aviles in right for JD Martinez. Hamels v. Zimmermann tonight should be fun.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Mike Aviles, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. James McCann, C

8. Anthony Gose, CF

9. Jose Iglesias, SS