Game 2017.162: Tigers at Twins

It was fun watching the Lettuce-Go-Round, even his family were there to see it. It was a rare nice Tiger experience in the latter part of the season.

Today’s Lineup, weather permitting:

  1. Alex Presley LF
  2. Andrew Romine 2B
  3. Nick Castellanos RF
  4. Jeimer Candelario 3B
  5. Efren Navarro 1B
  6. John Hicks DH
  7. Bryan Holaday C
  8. JaCoby Jones CF
  9. Dixon Machado SS

Pitching: Anibal Sanchez vs Bartolo Colon.

I have to admit I find it pleasant seeing  old Bart out there on the mound.

97 thoughts on “Game 2017.162: Tigers at Twins”

  1. Not much in the way of interesting divisional races this year, nor even Wild Card races. MLB likes to hype up September Excitement, but it is often more like the September Lame Duck Session. I’m really not that big of a fan of the extra Wild Card and the Wild Card Game. I appreciate the fact MLB has not gone down the road of other major sports and made postseason qualification an almost meaningless achievement. But, if I may digress from the main point coming up, while I like underdogs in general and have no grudge against the Twins or Rockies (other than divisional rivalry with the Twins), Minnesota and Colorado have no business in the playoffs.

    There was a time when there was a logistical travel reason for divisions and scheduling around geography. Not so much anymore. Winning the division became a big deal as soon as there were divisions, but then there were more divisions, and at three for each league.. well, no one is fooled that a title in a weak division is a great accomplishment, and more often than not, it comes down to only one division in either league being strong. For parity, for “may the best team win the World Series,” and for true meaningful excitement about a pennant race, I think divisions as currently defined fail. I also don’t think there is any way to allow more than the top 4 of the 15 teams in the AL and NL to go to the postseason that doesn’t cheat the best teams and degrade the meaning of the regular season. Winning 100 games in a baseball season is huge. Giving a second chance at World Championship to teams that only manage to win ~85 or so – is that really just?

    I would prefer that divisions be done away with altogether and go back to the old league standings. Not because it’s what I grew up with, although my young baseball fandom did straddle the line between old and new. The old memories are mostly of Detroit being in the AL East with those doggone Baltimore Orioles in the same division. But the various encyclopedias and almanacs showing leagues where only a few years before you could finish 10th or 2nd and have nothing to show for it either way did look kind of old-timey and cool. Hardcore! I don’t think that is going to happen again. But I do have a remedy for what I think the real problem is, which is weak divisions staying weak and frequent runaway division titles. And that remedy is a different notion of divisional scheduling. Hear me out.

    A team’s real divisional opponents should be something based on strength, not geography. The bias toward parity should be in the regular season, not some charitable inclusion in the postseason later. The geographic divisions could stand as is, actually, although I would submit that 3 divisions for 15 teams is overkill. How about two, good old East and West, eh? The concept of a scheduling division is simple, though, and in its case, three divisions per league makes sense.

    See if you can see where I’m going with this:




    In my scheme of things, the 2018 scheduling divisions would be Top 5, Middle 5, Bottom 5, based on 2017 results. Shouldn’t those top teams play more of each other to prove they can stay on top? I think they should. Shouldn’t the others have more of an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and rise to the top? I think they should. Therefore, a proposed schedule of opponents for the Detroit Tigers in 2018 would be… oh, by the way, I don’t like interleague play and will not consider it except as convenient, but that is not really a sticking point:

    BAL 20 games
    OAK 20 games
    TOR 20 games
    CWS 20 games
    KCR 10 games
    TBR 10 games
    SEA 10 games
    LAA 10 games
    TEX 10 games
    CLE 6 games
    BOS 6 games
    HOU 6 games
    NYY 6 games
    MIN 6 games
    SFG 2 games (Detroit’s NL counterpart in the standings)

    This is what the 2018 schedule would look like for the class of the American League, the Cleveland Indians:

    BAL 6 games
    OAK 6 games
    TOR 6 games
    CWS 6 games
    KCR 10 games
    TBR 10 games
    SEA 10 games
    LAA 10 games
    TEX 10 games
    DET 6 games
    BOS 20 games
    HOU 20 games
    NYY 20 games
    MIN 20 games
    LAD 2 games (Cleveland’s NL counterpart in the standings)

    As to the objection that more closely matched opponents in theory would negatively affect attendance for lower-tier teams, I do not think so. Some fans are surely interested in seeing good opponents for its own sake, but I don’t know if they will be packing them in at Comerica Park just to see the Tigers get smoked by the Astros* or Indians any more than is necessary. Limited opportunity to see Altuve/Verlander or Kluber/Encarnacion + great demand = packed house = all good.

    *Detroit kind of held its own this season, certainly at home against Houston

    Another objection might that, for example, if Kansas City and Cleveland are in the same division but scheduled in a non-traditional way. and are in a tight race for the division crown, won’t that take away some of those “showdowns”? I don’t think there are that many showdowns in reality, in contrast to what the current schedules would indicate, and fewer possibilities only make the actual ones bigger. This is so unpredictable, anyway. As Tony pointed out, the way the 2017 end-of-season schedule for Detroit looked was a lot different qualitatively in April than it turned out to be in August. Also, more showdowns between what should be the better teams in the league can only be a good thing, though “better” can change quite unpredictably like anything else.

    To a non-Tigers fan, this might look like a plea to give Detroit a chance. Not at all. It’s objective. This is the 2017 schedule I would have been calling for (and how it seems that would have turned out based on actual results greatly extended):

    SEA 20 games 4-16
    NYY 20 games 10-10
    HOU 20 games 8-12
    KCR 20 games 8-12
    CWS 10 games 5-5
    MIN 10 games 4-6
    OAK 10 games 2-8
    LAA 10 games 4-6
    TBR 10 games 3-7
    TEX 6 games 1-5
    CLE 6 games 2-4
    BOS 6 games 4-2
    TOR 6 games 3-3
    BAL 6 games 3-3
    STL 2 games 1-1

    Ha! 🙂 So the Tigers finish 62-100 here.For all practical purposes, about the same as reality, as expected. But in a fairer way. Seattle would have gotten a boost toward the Wild Card – why not when you’ve dominated a matched opponent? – and some division runaways would have been mitigated. More home games against newsworthy teams like the Astros and Yankees. Many more. Seems like a chance benefit, but it’s not. Mixing it up works like that. The current locked-in 19 games against nominal division rivals is a negative feedback loop.

  2. Looks like the Tigers are heading out flat, to the 9th-worst finish in their 117-year franchise history.

    1. Or maybe Detroit will finish on a positive note en route to the 12th-worst finish in their 117-year franchise history.

      1. September was the Tigers’ worst month since the many disasters of 2003. The stats are comical. Pitching 6.62 ERA, opponents BA .313. Batting .706 OPS, 3.7 runs per game. The results do not reflect playing or being managed like there was something to play for, despite all the statements to the contrary, but I guess it was all (cough) bad luck or (cough) inexperience. I would never suggest that the air kinda went out when Alex Avila was traded, or that the team flat out gave up after Justin Verlander was traded. That would be uncivilized.

        And so the season that began with Ian Kinsler popping out to 1B ends with Efren Navarro lining out to LF. I look forward to an offseason more interesting than the season preceding it.

  3. DET and SF tied for the worst record in MLB…both teams have fallen a bit since the 2012 WS matchup.

    do they flip a coin to determine which teams gets the top pick or do they use inter-league stats for a tie-breaker?

      1. Tigers secured the No. 1 pick in the 2018 MLB draft since they had a worse record (86-75) than the Giants (87-75) in 2016

  4. So like the rest of our society you want to punish excellence and promote mediocrity. If you’re good we have to, not beat you fair and square, but will rig things so the poor guys that can’t win are fooled into thinking they are better than they are. The problem is that human nature gets in the way. If you rig things for the lesser competitors, why do they need to get better? Actually I would prefer a totally balanced schedule where each team in each league plays each other the exact same number of times. Two things get in the way of that, the Divisional setups and interleague play. Why don’t we just declare every team the winner of the World Series ever x number of years (x=the number of MLB teams), that would be “fair”.

    1. Punish excellence? Hardly. Do you suppose allowing the Twins and Rockies into the playoffs is promoting excellence? Did you even read what I wrote? I am suggesting that we would have a better idea of how excellent teams like the Indians and Nationals really were if they were not mopping the floor with clearly inferior divisional opponents, but instead playing more games against the Astros or Dodgers. This is not baseball socialism. This is applying a more playoff-like approach to scheduling the regular season. Four teams ran away with their divisions this season. That’s not so much fun. I think the same eight teams would have finished on top regardless of scheduling, but it could have been more contested throughout the month of September. More fan interest. My team sucked. I looked around for something else to get interested in, but there was nothing. The “races” were a big yawn.

      I’m all for the totally balanced schedule as well. Simple is good. Sometimes complicated is better or more fun, not always. So teams play 11 games each against every team n their league, and the remaining 8 games can be played in two series against the supposed interleague rival. In the Tigers’ case, that would seem to be the Pirates, although I think the Cardinals are the better choice for historical reasons. Anyway, I could go for that. Along with a reduction to two geographical divisions.

      Tony, your “rest of society” comment and the whole rest of your straw man argument invites a response I would have preferred to refrain from. Especially the part about declaring World Series winners. Come on, man. You are really reaching there. I know Ayn Rand up, down, and sideways. Not everyone comes to an appreciation of capitalism and the importance of competence, excellence, innovation, competition, etc., etc., through getting old, getting rich, or watching Fox News. Some people have thought about it. Perhaps you have. I know the arguments, and I know when they are being misapplied.

  5. Were #1…. Were #1….. I mean we pick #1…. We pick #1…… Hope theres a stud out there that EVERYONE wants!

  6. Comments not criticisms of your proposal Loon
    1. Tigers would play 21 games out on the West Coast… No way
    2. Makes no sense having Baltimore and Oakland
    Tampa Bay and Seattle playing 20 games travel wise 3000 miles from each other.
    3. The third division worst team is better than the Tiger division best team. (i know u explained that).
    4. The economics of this kind of travel doesnt make sense to me. I know thats not a priority, you explained that, but still is too far out there for me.
    5. Regional rivalries are good for baseball. This system eliminates them.
    Just some thought. It is definately “outside the box”.

    1. +1 Now, as you like to say Jud, let the real games begin: picking a manager, replacing the medical/training staff and even a new GM if necessary.

      1. Jud – my proposal is definitely in for some criticism. I like Tony’s balanced same number of games against everyone proposal better anyway. I’ll destroy my own initial proposal right off the bat:

        The 20/10/6 games scheme doesn’t work. Middle division ends up playing at least 180 games! D’oh! There can only be two number of games options with three divisions. So I would amend that to be 18 games against “matched opponents,” and 9 games vs. all others. That said:

        1. Because Detroit is so bad on the West Coast, right? 🙂 Yeah, but (very apolitically) fair is fair.
        2a. I was wrong to dismiss travel considerations entirely. It’s still time, money, jet fuel. Point taken.
        2b. 20 games against the same team is pretty extreme no matter what. 18 games is the max that would work and still might be too much. 16 games against 4 teams (only two road trips per team) and 9 games agains 10 teams would get us to 154 games – throw in 8 interleague, then. Or maybe just reduce the season to 154 games? (Another subject.)
        3. Yes, but I’m not sure I explained this very well. The divisions as first laid out are only scheduling divisions. The current geographical divisions in the standings would stay the same. The Tigers would still have to get through the Indians and Twins to make the playoffs, even with (very apolitically) more “balanced scheduling.”
        4. Agreed, as stated. The amended 18/9 or 16/9 proposal addresses that to some extent, and I’m not certain that travel would be so wildly inflated with the change. Perhaps the increase could be offset merely by going back to a 154-game season?
        5. Regional rivalries, hmmm. My proposal does not eliminate them – that is not true. I have to be careful here. I don’t tour the country getting the impressions of baseball fans everywhere. But I have to call the concept of “rival” into question.

        There are cross-town (or close) interleague fan rivalries, Cubs-White Sox, etc.. Interleague play allows for a bit of fun with that – but does it really mean anything to the teams? But keeping it for the fans isn’t something I’ll argue against. Even though some teams don’t really have that rival. Who is the “rival” of the Tigers, really? Pittsburgh? St. Louis? Baltimore? The closest geographically are Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Chicago, but are the passions of fans inflamed by these matchups?

        There are divisional rivalries that exist because divisions exist, and as long as there divisions, these will continue. If Detroit and Cleveland were to play less/more games against each other some years than others, well, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if the significance of the rivalry increases when both are stronger contenders, right? And as for right now, Detroit’s true rival in the AL Central is their “get out of the cellar” rival, Chicago.

        Is there a real rivalry in baseball besides Red Sox-Yankees, anyway? Both teams are usually contenders, and in seasons where one of them isn’t, gee, I sure wouldn’t mind less games and hearing less about them. 🙂 Media coverage of those two teams alone equals all of the rest of MLB. I wouldn’t call that unfair. Just tiresome if you’re not a big fan yourself.

        However… instead of a bunch of complication and year to year changes, 11 games against 14 teams plus 8 games against your “designated interleague rival” makes the most sense to me. Along with eliminating the 2nd Wild Card, going down to two divisions, and making all playoff series best-of-seven (aside from any one-game tiebreakers). Also wouldn’t mind a 154-game season, a shortened season (more doubleheaders and fewer 3-game series), changes to the designated hitter rules, no All-Star break, All-Star Game played at the beginning of the season rather than the middle, and maybe a change in the definition of the “save” statistic. I’m easy.

        Just bring back playoff races in September, somehow. Even if it will be a while before the Tigers are in another one.

        1. Just to complete the unimportant thought:

          AL EAST

          AL WEST

          NL EAST

          NL WEST

          I like having the Astros in the AL all right, but that MIL-HOU swap did mess up geographical balance. My only recourse is to put CIN in the West for historical reasons, or ask that MIA and TBR move their teams west of the Mississippi somewhere. Portland and Las Vegas, maybe. (Very apolitically), God’s plan for Florida baseball was Spring Training only.

  7. The playoffs are about to start and I thought I’d give you all a chance to point out how wrong I was after the World Series.

    The two teams I am rooting for are the Astros (yes, it’s all about JV) and the Cubs. Any team that has to wait over 100 years deserves a 2nd ring. Now for my predictions:

    ALWC: Hoping the Twinkies beat the Yankees but I don’t expect it. There is a 2nd reason, aside from dislike of the Yankees. If the Yanks lose there is a chance they will fire Giardi, making him available to the Tigers. Even so, I’m sure he would be offered a job with a better club than the Tigers.

    Whoever comes out of the ALWC should lose to the Indians in no more than 6 games.

    I am looking for JV and the Astros to beat the Red Sox. May take 7 games but 5 or 6 is possible.

    I do think the Indians will beat Houston but if they stumble, I’d be thrilled if JV gets another shot at a ring.

    Before Max went down, I thought the Nationals had a good chance but now I’m not sure. Hope the D-backs take the Dodgers only because I have not liked them since they left Brooklyn.

    1. Tony i like your thinking on Giardi, I’ve always thought he was/is a very good manager… but since NYY won last night and NYY has a lot of good young talent, he’s likely staying put.

      Other than for a ‘player development perspective’, I don’t think its going to matter a whole lot who manages DET for the next 1-2 years, as they’ll likely be a 90-100 loss team, unless they find several miracles from their farm system (not likely). Nope, next year DET will primarily function like a AAAA-team, developing young players for the future – and who knows? …they might be more exciting to follow than the ’16 & ’17 teams.

  8. Yes Norman, I do think Giardi is an excellent manager. Hoping he would be let go is on a par with hoping the Tiger’s management gets smart about how they run their business, doesn’t seem likely.

    I also agree with your assessment that our next two years many be a real challenge. Frankly I was hoping they could find a minor league manager that has been successful in developing younger players and teaching fundamentals. Such a person might be happy to sign up for 2 years just for the exposure it would give him to the majors. I still think the medical training staff needs to be brought into this century.

    Apparently Derek Jeter has approached the Miami rebuild with a big broom. He’s going to start with a clean slate. If the Tigers don’t take the same approach, it will be a longer and painful rebuild than it needs to be. Meanwhile, I also think there can be bright spots in the next two years but only if management approaches the task with more urgency than it has displayed thus far.

    1. agree on all points

      RE: Miami rebuild, Jeter has even indicated Stanton could possibly be traded…so no sacred cows in MIA

    2. I think Girardi is an excellent manager also; he blew one last night though. Sabathia was cruising along, and he yanked him for no apparent reason. Very Ausmus-like move.

  9. At my age, you sometimes miss the obvious. For some reason I believed this series of playoffs were best of 7. Of course they are best of 5. Doesn’t change my predictions. Anyway JV won his opener. Went 6 gave up 2 ER but the Astros served up curly fries for him and got him 7 runs.

  10. Jud, you got me thinking about MLB travel.

    The actual scoop on the 2017 Detroit Tigers schedule:
    52 series
    13 road trips.12 homestands
    39 city to city trips
    26,975 miles

    With a schedule of 11 games against each team in the league, 5 or 6 games home or away versus 7 teams each, 8 interleague games against one NL team, introducing the 5-games series (one against all league opponents to go with two 3-game series), and basing the comparison on a schedule with the same “random” features of the actual one, the comparison is this:

    44 series
    11 road trips, 11 homestands
    33 city to city trips
    26,536 miles

    Despite more games on the West Coast, less miles. (I also took the liberty of eliminating the AL Central, not that this has any effect on scheduling or travel.)

    There are actually only two lower-travel divisions in MLB. Not surprisingly, the Central Divisions. 10 teams currently travel fewer miles than the other 20. Detroit and the Chicago teams travel the fewest miles, I think. San Diego, Miami, Boston, Texas, and Seattle would be pretty good guesses at who travels the most miles.

    I didn’t doctor the imaginary schedule to get get a desired result. I was surprised that Detroit’s miles decreased slightly. If one of the most centrally located teams can realize a reduction this way, I think it stands to reason that up to 20 other teams could realize some fairly significant reductions.

    Just for fun. I don’t think I’ll be circulating a petition.

    1. Interesting fact: An odd number of teams in each league forces interleague play. Otherwise, teams would have to schedule some off days on weekends, which is obviously a no-no. Not only that, but the interleague schedule required cannot even be simple. I thought there might have even been a historical connection between the 15-team league and interleague play, but I’m way off there. 21 seasons of interleague play, and it began when the divisions and leagues were puzzlingly and weirdly aligned.

      So – now – teams play 76 games against only 4 teams, and then 20 interleague exhibition games (I think of them that way). If I wasn’t so mild-mannered I would call the current scheduling loathsome and stupid.

      Taking a trip through history. Strange how MLB got married to the 162-game season come hell or high water but was strangely “flexible” (or high on drugs) with various alignments as of the 1977 AL expansion:

      1977: Woulda made sense to go with four playoff qualifiers in a 14-team American League.
      1993: So the National League finally expands. But instead of everyone going with four playoff qualifiers in the most straightforward way possible…
      1994: … everyone splits into three divisions and now there is a “Wild Card.” Big NFL fans, apparently.
      1997: Interleague play begins. OK. Weirder things are about to happen.
      1998: Arizona and Tampa Bay round out the 30-team MLB… but.. but… Milwaukee to the NL? Houston NOT to the AL? Thus began 15 seasons of the weirdest alignment ever.
      2013: Finally Houston moves to the AL and balances out the leagues (why did the Astros have to wait until they sucked? They could have ruled the AL West.) And of course a second Wild Card is now added, a bad idea whose time has finally come 15 years later.

      I think what we have here is a case of decision-making by committee. Committee coulda used some better chairmen, I think.

      Although I like the idea of the older and simpler ways (22 games against 7 teams, then 18 games against 9 teams, then 5×18 and 6×12), because everything’s clearer in retrospect, and in contrast to my dislike of three 5-team divisions, it seems like splitting into two divisions of 5 teams each in 1961 would have been a good idea. Just so against the grain of the times, I’m sure. As is the idea of 7/8 team divisions now. I will say that if 30 teams is how it’s going to be, they really ought to get off this 162-game thing. Get over the “asterisk thing” that started with Maris vs. Ruth already. No one cares any more. Or at least I don’t.

  11. Since I’m still not watching NFL football, I missed another elegant Lion loss. Elegant because they make you think they’re going to come back but fall just short. I wonder if the Lions found any of the Carolina routes funny.

    In the Astros-Red Sox game I watched their manager make a Brad type mistake. Brought in a lefty to pitch to a lefty with runners on base but missed the fact the kid was batting .400 against lefties. He hit a HR and gave Boston their first lead of the series. David Price, in possibly his best post season performance, kept Boston ahead for 4 innings. Boston added 6 runs to break it open and that was it.

    1. Liriano against Devers wasn’t a mistake. The pitch might have been. It is not only the batter’s splits you need to consider, and Liriano has faced LHB more often this season alone than Devers (a rookie) has faced LHP. Devers strikes out a lot against LHP when he’s not hitting them. Stats alone tell you the odds are about even between strikeout and a hit there. Two outs. Any manager anywhere puts Liriano in there, assuming there was good reason to take Peacock out in the first place.

      1. In theory you are correct, but in practice it was a disaster. I’m also not sure he should have pulled Peacock. Isn’t hindsight wonderful?

        1. I have to admit that the second-guessing of pitching and batting substitutions is just part of baseball’s overall appeal. It creates conversation. Not a bad thing. I guess I usually fall on the side of questioning the question, making me something of a party-pooper.

          My general argument is that no matter who is where and when, anything can still happen, and it is the players who make it happen. They are not quite chess pieces, and the game is not quite a chess game between managers. Nothing is predestined by numbers such as platoon splits or prior history of batter vs. pitcher. Gotta give Devers credit, and blame Liriano, despite the fact that maybe you couldn’t even say the pitch was bad. Right pitch, wrong time, maybe.

          Not that aren’t some highly questionable moves by managers. I just don’t see this as one of them.

  12. seeing all these young hitting and pitching stars (especially on offense) on these playoff teams, one has to wonder, ‘why can’t DET find/develop any of these level of young players?” …perhaps w/a #1 pick in this draft, DET will?

  13. Norman, it’s the result of DD (probably at Mr. I’s insistence) trading all out prospects away for the one “magic bullet”. Just go through the playoff rosters and you can find enough ex-Tigers to field 2 very good teams. In the off season I expect DD to try to sign a big HR hitter, maybe even JD. Hope he doesn’t forget the pitching, as it is still the key. Meanwhile I will be bummed if the Yankees take Cleveland.

    1. I really do not have a dog in this hunt, so don’t really care which team wins the WS, as long as its not the NYY (which it won’t be)

      it’d be nice to see JV get to another WS, and I wish him/Astros well, but I also like Francona – and both CLE & HOU can’t go to WS

  14. I could watch Altuve play all day long….pound for pound he might be the best ever…..o…and D….and Baserunning…

    1. i agree Jud – he’s the poster boy for a guy that ‘plays the game, the way its supposed to be played’

    1. I’m all in for JV. But, did you notice what the difference in the game “fundamentals” made. In the top of the 3rd Gardner was thrown out trying to stretch his double to a triple. Perfect throw to the cut-off man then a nice throw to 3rd. Then in the bottom of the 9th Judge misses the cut-off man which is all the Mighty Midget needed to score from 1st. Oh if the Tigers could ever learn.

      1. The Tigers have learned, they are excellent at being thrown out at third. Oh wait, you meant the other way.

    1. Yep, and I bet Nolan Ryan is really ticked off at spending all that money on someone who may surpass his playoff accomplishments.

  15. I think we’re all Astros fans now. It’s so great to see Verlander in a starring postseason role that I think I’m disqualified from criticizing the trade ever again. Go Houston. Go Cubs.

    1. Sorry, hiring Ron Gardenhire is too “old school” for me. Big Al needed to think out of the box a bit and it doesn’t seem he has. The real test will be the coaching staff. Other than perhaps Omar, if any of the old coaches return, it’s a bad sign. Gardenhire could bring discipline I also think, depending on his coaching staff selections, there can be a return to teaching and enforcing fundamentals. While he is not know for embracing analytics he could not have worked for the Diamondbacks and not been influenced by their approach and success. I certainly wish him the best.

      1. at first blush, i kinda thought the Gardenhire hire was a bit too old school also, but then considering that Gardenhire has always been good at developing talent (young talent) and he’s often been a contender with subpar talent – those two attributes sound like a great fit for the ’18 & ’19 DET Tigers

  16. Well, JV is on his way to the World Series and with a new trophy! On paper the Dodgers look almost unbeatable but you still have to win the games. Hope to see JV win his ring this year.

  17. Last nights game has to rank as one of the best series games I have ever watched. JV left the game after giving up 2 hits (both HR) and 3 runs in the 6 innings he pitched. At the time I was afraid he would be tagged with the loss until the Astros offense woke up. The game was marked by 2 blown saves, one for each team. Another pleasant surprise was that our excess CF, Cameron Maybin, got into the game in the top of 10th and played CF, Springer went to RF in a double switch, Cameron batting 9th in the batting order. In the top of the 11th Maybin led off with a single and then became Taco Bell’s free taco poster boy by stealing 2nd. Springer tried to move him to third but the ball cleared the fence in right center to give Houston a 2 run lead. What really great for me is that only JV but also Cameron Maybin has a chance for a ring.

  18. I usually don’t do very well betting baseball, of course part of that being a Tiger fan. But this post season I have been betting the pitcher and doing very well….
    Oh and buy the way these teams are so much better than the opening day Tiger roster it ain’t even funny… Something else I noticed these teams don’t buy their bats at the same store as the Tigers.. Everything is solid off the bats.. And no broken ones… Hmmmm.

  19. This World Series has been a joy to watch. I wasn’t sure Houston had the pitching (even with JV’s heroics) to beat the Dodgers. After the Dodgers got Kershaw 4 runs I thought JV would have to be great to take it to 7 games. Now he has a chance to win the ring for himself. Go JV!

    1. Astros are the ‘real deal’ – at least two of the 5 games are “instant WS classics” …the majority of WS games have been quite removed from the typical pitchers duels and predictable outcomes.

      as Tony states, ‘I wasn’t sure HOU had the pitching’, I could concur that they really don’t, but their offense has more than made up for the holes in their pitching/bullpen

      JV has a shot at something he never had w/DET – winning a WS… but the way this series has gone, there’s no telling how this ends…one would think a JV – Hill matchup points to HOU

  20. Am I correct with these figures: JV has a WHIP of 0.67 in his two starts in this WS, yet his ERA is 4.16?

    12 IP
    5 H
    3 BB
    14 K

    Five earned runs with that line. Baseball can be cruel game at times.

    1. I don’t think anyone who looks into to it, next week or fifty years from now, would be swayed by the ERA. Verlander was great in the WS, great all postseason, great for his whole time with the Astros. He deserves another Cy Young for this especially. No other pitcher in the AL can claim that kind of impact.

  21. What a great World Series! I am delighted that JV has finally put a period on his great career by winning a WS. I was also very happy for another ex-Tiger, Cameron Maybin who only saw limited action, when he became the Taco Bell free taco face by stealing a base and he also gets a ring. Cameron will never be a hall of fame player, but I really enjoyed his time with the Tigers. I’m sure he feels blessed to be able to be on a WS winner no matter how his career continues.

    On the down side, I am disappointed on hearing the Tigers will bring back a couple of this year’s coaches. The problem is keeping the Avila – Leyland axis within the Tigers. We needed to clean house and didn’t.

    1. yes Tony – GREAT series…HOU really earned it!

      DET fans get a proxy WS win vicariously through JV, who will marry Kate Upton next month in Italy, great guy/pitcher… he deserves all the good coming his way.

      meanwhile back in DET, Gardenhire bringing back McClendon and Clark, the rest are new hires

      …my only question; why bring back Clark & Mac? …why not start w/a fresh staff?

  22. The Tigers have made their first roster moves this post season. They have paid Annibal Sanchez $5 Mil not to come back, lots cheaper than the $16 Mil to keep him. They have also released pitchers Myles Jaye, Jeff Ferrell and Kyle Ryan, outfielders Fingers Collins, Jim (Where are You) Adduci and Alex (Parsley) Presley. There will also be no lettuce on the Tigers next year. Andrew Romine was aslo released and promptly picked up by the Mariners. All are good moves to free up roster spaces for potential pickups in the off season. Even though Parsley hit .300 this year, at age 32 or so there is no reason to tie up a spot to keep him. Lettuce was an OK, play me anywhere guy but doesn’t justify a spot. Dixon Machado is young and shows a lot of promise. I’m hoping he becomes Ian Kinsler’s replacement at 2B. No way would I try to move Iggy.

    1. My offseason wish list:

      A. Detroit somehow manages to cobble together enough pitching talent to make the 2018 season look “promising for the future.” 2017 was not that kind of tryout, but the brick wall (or “bridge out”) at the end of a bad road, instead
      B. The Tigers somehow manage to unload Zimmermann and his toxic contract (to an NL team – he’s an NL pitcher and needs some more pitchers to pitch to), even if it takes packaging him with Fulmer or Castellanos.
      C. Victor Martinez retires and Detroit swears off DH-only types forever. At least as acquisitions (thinking of eventual DH-only Miggy…).

      It would be a drag to lose a defensive ace like Iglesias, but if I think about it, I can see reasons to trade him.

      Much as we all like Kinsler, I can’t think of a reason he would want to stay in Detroit, so I hope he’s traded for, well, something. Something pitching.

      1. i believe most of Loon’s ‘wish list’ will occur, though i suspect DET is stuck w/Zimmerman and his contract until it expires…

        i would not trade Fulmer – and after his surgery, i doubt anyone would give anything of value for him.

        Iglesias is a marvel in the infield, but he’s one of the few Tigers (other than Kinsler) w/trade value and if a value offer presented itself, i’d pull that trigger

        1. Yes I would trade Iggy for Corrrea in a heartbeat, but that’s not who we would get. We would only get a “prospect” or older player who may be past his prime. Why would I let go of a proven star to bet on the inside straight? Kinsler can go only if we can get someone of value, he brings more than his bat and glove to every game. I think Machado should be at 2B to start 2018. Ian could be a great mentor for him.
          I agree on all you said about Fulmer. The fact a player has trade value is an indication we might want to keep him.
          Have we forgotten how long it took the Astros to work their plan? Now they have won it all and stand a great chance of repeating, although they will soon realize how hard that is. No, even at my age, I’m hopng the Tigers have a plan that doesn’t include “instant gratification”.

          1. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Fulmer’s ulnar nerve surgery is one of more frightful ones for pitchers or something that would seriously affect his trade value. Trading Fulmer along with Zimmermann would be just the desperate measure it appears to be. The return would be losing Zimmermann and gaining some money and time better invested in real pitching talent.

            Fulmer is good. How good? How good will he be? Verlander good, Kershaw good, Greinke good? I don’t think so, but if I was wrong about that, then trading him would be short-sighted, sure. I wouldn’t even think about it outside the context of Zimmermann.

            1. I think the real rebuilding might not start until there’s a new GM and a new front office top to bottom. There is no evidence that the current regime knows how to build or even repair anything.

      1. i completely agree Tony – and especially with pitchers… but rarely does common-sense and logic factor into large FA signings/contracts

        …and to think the Astros cut JD (supposedly the final straw for Hinch was JD ignored a ‘take sign’ in a Spring Training game), and DET signed him to a minor league contract …so there are some diamonds out there, just have to know where to dig

  23. At this time, the Tigers 2018 pitching staff would appear to consist of 6 pitchers (one conrtactual albatross included). There is so little talent overall that while 2 might have earned it, all have only to show up next spring to get the job. 4 starters, 2 relievers, the rest wide open, and I can only think of 3 other pitchers within the organization that should even be invited to spring training. None of them have impressive minor league credentials and all looked awful their first time round in MLB:

    Fulmer SP
    Boyd SP
    Norris SP
    Zimmermann SP
    Greene RP
    Stumpf RP

    Jimenez RP
    Alcantara RP
    Labourt RP

    I can only guess that there is going to be a lot of scrounging for the pitching equivalents of Mikie Mahtook and Alex Presley. I am only confident in one thing, and this is that it cannot possibly be as bad as 2017… unless they bring back the same deadbeats.

    Compared to the pitching, I don’t know that anything else is a worry. No outfield (Mikie Dirks notwithstanding)? No problem. Victor back at DH, Miggy as injured as always? No problem. Avila signed again as backup C, traded mid-season? No problem. I would like to add one thing to my offseason wish list, though:

    Only in the land of delusions particular to the Detroit Tigers fan can a guy with a completely undistinguished minors career (aside from a 30% K rate) who has struck out 77 times in 182 PA (and walked 9 times) inspire hope. Jeez-o-Pete. End it! Sign Cameron Maybin for $9 million or whatever he wants. It’ll be a better deal even if he only plays 81 games.

  24. I thought Blaine Hardy would be a non-tender. I don’t see signing him as a plus and don’t think this bodes well for Detroit turning the page where they ought to.

  25. It’s only rumor, but supposedly the Nationals are interested in reacquiring Zimmermann. It would be $24MM well spent to make that happen.

    1. i read this ‘nationals express interest in Zimmerman’…but unless DET were to pay half his salary, i don’t see where WAS would want to go there – and even then, doubtful

      31-year-old Zimmerman has a 5.60 ERA in 265 1/3 innings as a Tiger and is owed an unpalatable $74MM over the next three seasons.

      1. Yes, a headline without any substance isn’t much to hang your hat on. I’m grasping at a straw there. If there is any grain of truth to the Nationals being interested, it must hinge on their perception of how desperate Detroit is to shed payroll.

        It is a pickle for Detroit. The cost of jettisoning Zimmermann now is prohibitive, but a year from now that cost may well have doubled. To judge from how things went with Anibal Sanchez, Zimmermann will be with us into 2020, providing negative value at a cost of another $74 million. The contract was insane. Desperate measures after the debacle of 2015, I guess. Also, the commitments to Sanchez and Verlander made it impossible to hold on to Scherzer, yes, but to then turn around and pay ace money to a 30 year old whose only claim to fame was a low walk rate, well, what were they thinking? Was this an act of revenge (for Scherzer) upon the Nationals, “stealing” Zimmermann? Did Mike Illitch mandate *some* kind of splashy free agent signing, something, anything to make win now seem like it could still work? It is rather baffling. But I didn’t question it at the time, either.

  26. Some coals for the Hot Stove, in case there ever is one:

    Castellanos to the Boston Red Sox for CF Jackie Bradley, Jr..
    Kinsler to either the Los Angeles Angels for RHP Eduardo Paredes or the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Yadier Alvarez.
    Iglesias to the New York Mets for RHP Matt Harvey and SS Andres Gimenez.
    Zimmermann to the Washington Nationals for any token player and $24MM in salary relief.

    In the event Iglesias and Kinsler are traded and Machado is in at SS, perhaps Omar Infante could man second base in 2018. The Tigers might also be interested in 2B Jose Miguel Fernandez, recently released by the Dodgers.

    The outfield is one big if. I have no confidence in Jones. Mahtook is fine anywhere, sure. Maybe they will re-sign Presley. Jason Krizan deserves a chance in ST. Although Detroit is very likely committed to Castellanos in RF, I’ll continue to speculate about alternatives while it’s still possible.

    Starting pitching: I hope the Tigers avoid things like the past acquisitions of Alfredo Simon and Mike Pelfrey and also bargain versions of the same thing (Chris Tillman, etc.) and instead pursue more options such as Ryan Carpenter. I would sooner see Farmer in the rotation than the take-a-chance veterans with past success. He would provide about as much value as I expect Zimmermann to. Two Farmers minus one Zimmermann would be equally fine with me.

    Between resigning Holaday and signing Alex Avila as the requisite veteran backup C, I almost can’t see how the latter won’t happen (again). Fine with me. Greiner isn’t ready. Maybe they will stick with Hicks?

    Bullpen: Well, it looks like they are least picking up more candidates, even if they do intend to bring back not only Hardy but Wilson, Rondon, and the rest to compete in ST. I have no ideas, other than leave it at that and don’t chase any of the more notable free agents.

    I really don’t have any business hoping that V-Mart retires or gets paid to play elsewhere. Not unless Cabrera is suddenly eager to DH, which would make 1B an open question. Not without enough bats to make a rotating DH thing work, which, if I traded Castellanos, would seem to be a pretty remote possibility. I guess I’ve got to hope that V-Mart comes back healthy and returns to form. Otherwise, I guess Detroit would have to go get a moderately expensive 1B-DH type. I don’t think Chad Huffman was re-signed for this contingency.

    Still all about pitching, though. The rest hardly even matters.

    1. Another possible sleeper as a 2B option is Esteban Quiroz, recently signed by the Red Sox to a minor league deal. Boston has concerns at the position relating to Dustin Pedroia’s expected 2+ month absence to begin 2018, which also makes Boston a potential landing spot for Ian Kinsler.

      1. The Kinsler trade to the Angels is the first time ever that I’ve even been close to predicting or projecting a trade.

  27. Free agents that Detroit could and perhaps should be interested in:

    In the event of the loss of Castellanos or Martinez, key point being “LHB”:
    1B-DH Mitch Moreland – probably too expensive
    1B-DH Adam Lind – more affordable and arguably the better hitter

    Detroit very shallow in the infield and utility dept.:
    IF/OF Eduardo Nunez

    CF Jarrod Dyson
    OF Austin Jackson
    OF Nori Aoki

    No free agents, please.

    Only Alex Avila, really.

    1. Even more unimpressed. If this meant some kind of bold move involving Zimmermann was in the offing, that would be one thing. But I doubt that it does. Farmer, VerHagen, or anyone with an arm can “eat innings” (5 at a time) for less than $6MM. Might as well bring back Mike Pelfrey. He at least apologized for his starts.

  28. Also, the signing of C Derek Norris to a minor league deal with incentives. Alex Avila must have said no (wants to play for a contender). Otherwise… why?

    My confidence in Al Avila as GM has not increased. Planning to lose as cheaply as possible would at least be comprehensible.

  29. Whoa. New format. Looks good, but everything is now so clear and gigantic that a person can’t get away with saying something stupid. Can I get my own tiny font?

  30. The Winter Meetings have now come and gone, and at this point you could sum up the Tigers’ offseason thusly: Nothing bold, nothing reckless, nothing surprising, and nothing very substantial (at least in total). I would expect Detroit to very active in minor transactions at some point before Spring Training 2018, especially (and hopefully) on the pitching front.

    With better pitching – don’t ask me how – 2018 won’t be a lost season, but an interesting and maybe even a promising one. Without it, well, I don’t see how it could be worse than 2017. I guess there won’t even be a clue until the roster is set and Opening Day is here.

    1. Rebuilding in progress here, too, maybe. Good thing I have a partial no-trade clause. No way I’m approving a trade to Motor City Bengals. MLBTR maybe. They’re a contender.

  31. the Kinsler deal was a bit of a head-scratcher, but for two prospects rate #24 and #20 in the Angels system… that’s like buying two lotto tix

    Avila indicated that Kinsler’s ‘no trade clause’ to a dozen or so teams handcuffed DET (allegedly the prospects the Mets offered were much better, but Kinsler could reject a trade to Mets..) …but why not just hang on to Kinsler and get some more ‘value’ at the trade deadline – and get Kinsler’s leadership in the club house for the first 3-4 months of the season… he only costs $11M

    i suspect DET and some other teams are trying to follow the HOU model of rebuilding – which can/will be painful for fans

    1. Likewise, StorminNorman$.
      I don’t see Kinsler fetching any greater value at the trade deadline. It will never be higher and could have gone lower. Good that he’s playing somewhere he wants to play, will miss the defense and the intangibles, won’t miss the popups and pickoffs. Hello Dixon.

  32. Bad contract swaps seem to be going around. Let’s have one.
    Jordan Zimmermann for Jacoby Ellsbury. (The old idea.)
    Jordan Zimmermann for Chris Davis (Orioles pay $4.6MM/year of Davis’s contract).
    Jordan Zimmermann for Shin-Soo Choo.

    1. There are surprisingly few albatross contracts out there to consider. This made me realize how much Detroit had stood out from all other teams for overpay and overcommitment when 2017 began, and underscored how crazy both the Zimmermann and Upton contracts were. The only other contract swaps I saw that looked like possibilities, generally and in the abstract, were:
      Albert Pujols (Angels)
      Ian Desmond (Rockies)
      Ryan Braun (Brewers)
      The first two make no sense for the Tigers (or possibly the other team), and trading for Braun would involve more than a contract swap, and the only way I could see that or anything like it happening is if Detroit made a package of Zimmermann and Fulmer, and I don’t see that Detroit would be particularly interested in Braun to begin with. I wouldn’t be, certainly not at the cost of Fulmer. I don’t see any target anywhere for a Fulmer/Zimmermann package.
      I don’t think we’ll see any more trades until next July.
      Surprisingly quiet on the acquisitions front, though. Seems like there should be a whole lot more to come there.

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