Granderson and the Quad-20

Congratulations to Curtis Granderson becoming one of only 3 players in the history of Major League Baseball to post a season totals of 20 or more doubles, triples, homers, and stolen bases. While the plateaus are kind of arbitrary it is still a remarkable achievement and helps to highlight just how special of a season that Granderson is having. He’s all over the AL leaderboards:

Slugging – 5th
OPS – 9th
Runs -2nd
Total Bases – 3rd
Triples – 1st (with more than double the next closest)
Runs Created – 4th
Extra base hits -2nd

And those ranks were prior to today’s 4 for 4 game. Plus he’s done it while playing a key position expertly in the Major’s biggest centerfield. The guy has to finish in the top 10 in MVP voting or something is seriously wrong.

As for those other seasons they belong to Frank Wiildfire Schulte and Willie Mays. Each of those seasons were pretty interesting as well.

Frank Schulte, 1911

Have you ever taken a look at the 1911 NL leaderboards? If you had you probably knew of Schulte, which not many do. He won the MVP that year as led the league in homers with 21 when the next closest was 16. He led in RBI, total bases, and slugging and tied with Honus Wagner for the lead in adjusted OPS. He stole 21 bases that year, which really wasn’t a big deal for the era, when the leader had 81. But he did so with out being caught once. Interestingly he was second in the league with 31 sacrifice hits. Unlike Granderson Schulte only struck out 76 times. But unlike 2007, that was enough to lead the league.

Willie Mays, 1957

People kind of know about Willie Mays, cuz he’s like really good. In 1957 he was a 26 year old who already had an MVP award under his belt. He finished with 35 homers, the best total of the three,, 20 triples, 26 doubles, and 38 stolen bases. He was caught 19 times though which isn’t all that impressive and it was by far the highest total in his career. He managed to wrack up all those extra base hits despite 15 intentional walks. And he racked up all those homers despite striking out only 62 times. But Willie is just really really good.

Other coverage

Tiger Tales: A Detroit Tigers Blog: Granderson Reaches 20 20 20 20
Roar of the Tigers | MVN – Most Valuable Network » Blog Archive » win or lose, Granderson is The Man (possibly The Tiger)

Bondo’s elbow is doing more than barking

After Jeremy Bonderman’s last start we heard mixed reports of “pain”, “fine”, and “barking.” Now his elbow is toast and he looks to be done for the season:

He admitted afterward that he is feeling a “sharp pain” on the outside of his elbow, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Bonderman would “probably” be shut down indefinitely.

“I’m done for awhile,” Bonderman said. “I know that.”

Now Bonderman is off to get an MRI and find out the extent of the damage. In any case he should most definitely not pitch again this year and hopefully he won’t need ligament replacement surgery, aka Tommy John Surgery which would keep him off a mound for 9 months.

When the reports surfaced last week I had this to say:

If he’s fine then let him pitch, but a macho “we’re in a pennant race and the team needs him, rub some dirt on it” approach would be foolhardy. I don’t know all the details, and the Tigers have exercised considerable caution with their pitchers so I trust that if he’s pitching in his next start the team is confident that it won’t do further harm. But I don’t like the sound of it regardless.

It seems as if I put way too much faith in the organization to have properly checked him out before today’s start. (ed note: this isn’t a fair statement for me to make. the last thing the org wants to do is risk injuring any player and I’m far from qualified to judge what properly checking him out would be) I would have assumed the MRI would have already been done as a means to clear him to start.

An elbow injury would certainly explain many of Bonderman’s second half struggles and I wouldn’t be surprised if this dated back to his horrendous start in Anaheim in July. Bonderman had shown an improvement in his walk rate from 2004 on, and it had really dropped early this year. But since that July 29th start he walked 20 in 46.3 innings while only fanning 31 as hitters posted a 954 OPS against him. Prior to that start he had made 19 starts amassing 126.7 innings and only issued 26 walks while fanning 113. There is a clear and marked difference.

And if you look at the graph, you can see in 2005 he experienced a similar loss of control late in the season as he was shut down with elbow pain (and a line drive off his arm).

Jeremy Bonderman may not have been saying anything recognizing the dire injury straits the Tigers were already in. Maybe he shouldn’t have tried to be a hero, but on a team where many have questioned heart and dedication it is hard to fault him for trying. I’m just wondering where Chuck Hernandez was in all of this. You have a pitcher who has shown growth in his peripherals throughout his young career, and who was pitching very well early in the season. And he suddenly can’t find the strike zone and his pitches become very hittable for a protracted amount of time and yet he can’t be fixed.

Whether the problems were mechanical, technique, or as it turns out to be injury related, who was watching the shop? Shouldn’t the fact that things couldn’t be corrected have highlighted a bigger problem?

Yes I’m second guessing after the fact, and maybe I’m just pissed off with the way the season is going,. And Bonderman shares some culpability in not bringing the problem to anyone’s attention. And I have no idea what took place in all those bullpen sessions and how often the coaches were asking him if he was okay only to be rebuffed. But looking back now it appears to be a case of considerable negligence.

Bonderman: ‘I’m done for awhile’, MRI scheduled for tomorrow

Game 143: Mariners at Tigers

PREGAME: With a win today the Tigers will a)knock the Mariners out of contention and b)will have sustained a winning streak an entire turn through the rotation. The second is the bigger accomplishment in this blogger’s opinion.

But it won’t be easy with King Felix Hernandez on the rubber for the Mariners. The Tigers got to him for 10 hits in 6 1/3 inning the last time they met, but he limited the damage to 2 runs and picked up a win. Hernandez has allowed double digit hits in every other start dating back to the beginning of August. Following the pattern would be beneficial for the Tigers.

And then there is Bonderman who slogged through 5 1/3 innings his last time out and allowed only 3 runs, but none of it was easy – except for a 1-2-3 first inning. When he departed it appeared his elbow was hurting him. So control will be the thing to watch today. Can he command the fastball and does the slider have it’s normal bite?

Game Time 1:05
SEA @ DET, Sunday, September 9, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game 142: Mariners at Tigers

PREGAME: Is it too much to hope for a 4 game win streak and a UM win for mine and Sam’s birthdays today?

As for today’s matchup, it will be Nate Robertson taking on Jeff Weaver.

Weaver was really bad at the beginning of the year and had amassed a 14.32 ERA before hitting the DL. Whe he came back he was much more effective going 4 straight starts allowing 1 or fewer runs. But then he’s been kind of not good again since then. In his last 2 starts he hasn’t made it out of the 5 th inning and surrendered 5 runs on 8 hits in each. He’s also allowed 2 homers in 6 of his last 8 starts.

For Robertson, he appears to be turning a corner with very strong outings against Cleveland and Oakland, with a clunker against the Royals in between. He hasn’t won since August 12th though because the universe hates him – or at least the bullpen and offense take turns hating him.

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME: Well, half of that birthday wish came true. While I witnessed the most embarrassing effort by the University of Michigan football team that I can remember (Mike Hart really does deserve better), the Tigers also put a hurting on the Mariners. So that is good. Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone. Being that we took a family trip to Disney World last week there would be no presents this year, but I did get a box of chocolate donuts this morning for breakfast and a baseball shaped cake tonight for dessert so it was all good.

As for the game, Nate Robertson didn’t pick up a win, once again. But this time it was all Nate’s fault. He was handed a 3-1 lead, a 4-3 lead, and a 5-4 lead, but he held none of them and was lifted in the fifth. I won’t get on him for the Beltre homer, because that was all Beltre hitting out a pitch at the letters. That’s a pitch you want him to swing at. But the rest was pretty bad.

Fortunately the offense kept getting those add-on runs that Jim Leyland talks about. The resurgence of the offense can largely be traced to Pudge Rodriguez and Brandon Inge coming to life. And of course his Timo-ness getting 3 more hits. And his Timo-ness added 2 diving catches which helped Robertson escape the 4th also.

Curtis Granderson added another triple, that really looked like it could have been an inside the park homer as the throw in went to no-man’s land but Gene Lamont had already held him up.

Gary Sheffield was hitless again, but it wasn’t because he doesn’t have his swing back. He smoked 2 balls, but one was caught at the wall by Suzuki and the other was a sinking liner to left.

The Rod and Mario exchange of the night took place after Pudge’s 3rd hit:
Mario: That’s 3 hits for the Pudge-meister
Rod: Did you just call him the Pudge-meister?
Mario: Don’t you call him the little Pudgy one?
Rod: [giggling] yeah, I do [more giggling]

Tigers expand the roster some more

Clay Rapada, the lefty reliever that the Tigers acquired in the Craig Monroe deal was called up, now that Toledo’s season has ended. Dane Sardinha will join the team as well, although he won’t be activated. To do so would require clearing a spot on the 40 man roster which the Tigers could still do if he was needed in an emergency situation.

Two notable names that weren’t added were Macay McBride, who would serve the same role as Rapada. And of course, Chris Shelton didn’t get a sniff. Not that he’d have a signifcant role to play on the team, but it’s pretty clear his Tigers days are done. He’s out of options now, meaning that the Tigers either have to keep him on the big league roster next year, or pass him through waivers.

Beck’s Blog: Rapada joins Tigers

It’s a coin flip

No, I’m not talking about the Tigers playoff chances – which probably aren’t that good right now anyways. But in the event of a tie and a need for a one game playoff, the homefield was determined for those games if necessary.

If the Tigers and Yankees tie, Detroit heads to New York. If Detroit and the Seattle Mariners tie, the game will be played at Comerica Park. And finally, if the Mariners and Yankees tie, we don’t really care. But that will be in New York.

The Official Site of The Detroit Tigers: News: Detroit Tigers News

Game 141: Mariners at Tigers

PREGAME: Is this where the team finally builds momentum? They have walk off wins under their belt and their ace on the mound tonight. They also have a chance this weekend to to essentially take one team out of contention with a sweep. Of course the Mariners have that exact same opportunity.

Justin Verlander is coming off a 10 K, 1 run performance in which he threw 129 pitches. Velocity will be something to keep an eye on early tonight.

Miguel Batista takes the bump for the Mariners tonight and he’s also coming off a strong start where he went 7 innings and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits while fanning 7 Blue Jays. He picked up a win in his only other outing against the Tigers this year when he went 6 innings with the only run coming on a Curtis Granderson lead off homer.

Lefties have a 299/376/473 line off of Batista, so plan on seeing his Timo-ness in the lineup tonight.

Game Time 7:05
SEA @ DET, Friday, September 7, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: Woo hoo, 3 in a row. And this one wasn’t even really in doubt, except for the rain delay. And really, you call that a rain delay? (as i wistfully think back to the last Friday home game…)

Justin Verlander breezed through the lineup. The Mariners swung early and often and were kind enough to hit the ball gently to Detroit defenders. Even the one inning where the Mariners loaded the bases, they weren’t really ripping the ball. At only 92 pitches after 8 I’m surprised that Leyland didn’t let Verlander finish the game.

I thought going to Zumaya was a bit of overkill, but then when he threw 7 straight balls visions of Oakland started dancing through my head.

The offense got hits in bunches, and once again the struggling players Pudge and Inge were in the middle of the action. And of course there was Timo again with 2 hits.

But among the various hits and rallies was Curtis Granderson lining a 3-1 pitch into the right field tunnel for his 20th homer. That makes him one stolen base short of the quad-20 with 20 steals, 20 dingers, 20 triples, and 20 doubles. With his next stolen base he’d join Willie Mays and Frank Schulte as the only players to accomplish the feat. As it is he’s one of only 5 players with 30 doubles, 20 homers, and 20 triples. But that’s kind of arbitrary since he’s one of only 5 players with 30 doubles, 20 triples, and 19 dingers – so other than achieving a round number his peer group doesn’t change.

Then again, I just checked and the same is true of the quad-20, or tri-20+19. He’s still with only Mays and Schulte, so the same round number argument will apply when he gets his next steal.

Game 140: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: Afternoon tilt today as Chad Durbin takes on Mark Buehrle. The pitching match-up certainly favors the White Sox, but I just have no idea what to expect from this team anymore. For every “the Tigers make a struggling pitcher look like Cy Young” game there seems to be a “this is the shortest outing” or “this is the most runs allowed” against a good pitcher.

Plus Gary Sheffield is back, so 3-hole roulette should be done for the time being.

Game Time 1:05

POSTGAME: As it’s been said time and time again on this site, if you need offense turn to Timo, Casey, and Inge. Yeah, yeah, we know Polanco is great with runners in scoring position, and he got the walk off, but it was really Sean Casey with the bacon saver yet again. And it was Timo Perez’s ghost runner that plated the tying run.

Now granted, the Tigers didn’t exactly rip the ball in that 9th inning, and once again the offense struggled to plate runners, but it’s still a win and I’m not going to complain. For all the times in the last week or so that the team need a duck or a bleeder only to strand 2 runners, I’ll gladly take a couple of weak ground balls hit exactly in the right spot. After all, aside from the Konerko hit the Sox didn’t really kill the ball in the 8th inning anyways.

And even if the Tigers did barely squeak out 2 wins against a last place team, they still count the same in the standings. So let’s go take care of the Mariners so we can just focus our scoreboard watching on one team.

  • Very nice effort by Chad Durbin as there was little solid contact all day off of him. He didn’t go longer because of the multiple roles this season, and he’s not fully stretched out.
  • But realted to that we see the dangers of having Kenny and Chad back to back in the rotation. It will tax the bullpen because it’s going to be rare that either goes more than 5 or 6 innings.
  • Maybe Brandon Inge has regained some confidence after picking up that walk against Bobby Jenks on Tuesday. He had 3 solid hits today, one of which was that nice homer. Brandon doesn’t have to get really hot to help the team, but at least hitting something close to the line he’s posted over the past 3 years for the next 3 weeks will be a boost to the offense.
  • Jason Grilli has now made 7 straight appearances without allowing a run, and in the last 4 those were outings of 2 innings or more. In that time he’s shaved a full point off of his ERA. This isn’t about Grilli love, just recognizing him for a real nice stretch.
  • Jim Leyland was managing pretty aggressive in this one. You didn’t see Zumaya because he pitched 2 innings last night. But look at all the pinch hitters and pinch runners used today. In all he used 14 position players.

It’s Curtis Granderson day

Yesterday Maggs got the honors with the Player of the Month award. Today is a Curtis Granderson media blitz.

First, he was the Tigers nominee for the Roberto Clemente award which honors players for their commitment to community and understanding of the value of helping others. Curtis’s work in this area is extensive and he’s a deserving nominee. If you’re impressed you can help Granderson by voting.

He is also the front page story at ESPN.com as Tim Kurkjian explores some of Granderson’s remarkable statistical feats this year.

And if you haven’t had enough Curtis, he did a chat on ESPN.com today as well.

Bonderman’s elbow isn’t right

Make of this what you will, but Jeremy Bonderman’s elbow is sore.

Bondo Says:

“I’m fine,” Bonderman said with some conviction, after he was told that some teammates suspected he is not. “Yes, I’m fine.”

Pudge Says:

“He said his elbow was bothering him a little,” catcher Pudge Rodriguez said. “He’s a tough guy. He doesn’t want to come out. He knows the situation we’re in. Everybody wants to do their job.”

Leyland Says:

On the pitching front, Leyland admitted that Jeremy Bonderman’s elbow has been tender, but he said it won’t keep him from making his next start.

A sore elbow would certainly explain some of the recent control issues, and if it just developed last night it would explain the flurry of 2-0 and 3-0 counts as he struggled to command his pitches. If he’s not fine I don’t want him pitching. First I don’t think he can be effective if he can’t find the strike zone nor if he can’t throw with his normal velocity. Plus if he favors it he runs the risk of other injury due to altered mechanics. A sore elbow turning into a sore shoulder is the last thing the Tigers need.

If he’s fine then let him pitch, but a macho “we’re in a pennant race and the team needs him, rub some dirt on it” approach would be foolhardy. I don’t know all the details, and the Tigers have exercised considerable caution with their pitchers so I trust that if he’s pitching in his next start the team is confident that it won’t do further harm. But I don’t like the sound of it regardless.

Game 139: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME Kenny Rogers returns to the rotation tonight. Let’s hope he’s got something left.

For the White Sox it will be Gavin Floyd who made the start of his career in his last match up against the Tigers throwing 6 shut out innings and fanning 6 while walking none.

It’s another intimidating lineup tonight as Magglio Ordonez gets the night off. There’s a reality to the fact his heel is killing him and I don’t begrudge him the night off, it’s just the rest that is depressing.

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Raburn, RF
  4. Guillen, SS
  5. Perez, LF
  6. Rodriguez, C
  7. Casey, 1B
  8. Thames, DH
  9. Hessman, 3B

I’m fighting a cold and am heading to bed early so the postgame won’t be up until tomorrow.

Game Time 7:05

CHW @ DET, Wednesday, September 5, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: As a member of the “Timo Perez, what the hell?” club I need to pause and reflect on his awesomeness. While I still don’t think he should be playing, and I don’t think he should be on the team next year, the guy has produced for the last week or so with the club. And he did it some more last night, with a catch at the wall,and that whole walk-off hit thing. And on a night when nobody could deliver the big hit, Timo did it. So go Timo.

As for the rest of the game, it had a lot going for it. It had some real nice defensive plays like the aforementioned Perez play at the wall, Casey laying out a first, and Polanco saving a single up the middle. It had the return of Kenny Rogers who was stellar, and it had very strong bullpen performances as they maintained the tie for 6 innings. Zumaya was awesome and Fernando Rodney didn’t let his last outing carry over. The Tigers even showed some patience and drew 8 walks, and forced the issue with 5 stolen bases.

Still, all that was kind of overshadowed by their inability to score off of Gavin Floyd, a guy that is awful and yet has allowed 1 run in his last 12 innings against the Tigers.

Nonetheless the Tigers did prevail, and it was largely on contributions from the more maligned Tigers. Pudge looked like the Pudge of old flipping doubles (including his 500th career) into the right field corner. Brandon Inge scored the winning run after doubling as a pinch hitter, and of course Timo!

Magglio Ordonez is Mr. August

Magglio Ordonez was named player of the month for August as he finished first in RBI (31), tied for first with homers (10), and third with a .393 batting average. Considering that Gary Sheffield missed the bulk of the month either on the DL, or just being ineffective, it was a particularly impressive feat with the cast of characters in the #3 spot in the order. For the month Tigers 3 hole hitters combined for a 221/275/361 line making the 31 RBI remarkable to say the least.

Magg’s is the first Tiger to win the award since Pudge hit .500 in June 2004