Game 2013.157: Tigers at Twins

91 – 65, 2.

I liked it better when you got all of your baseball stats from one place: the sports page. Or really, one to two pages of the sports section. Everything was laid out right in front of you, so you could jump from team to team, or stat to stat, without clicking anywhere or waiting for a page to load. Once I became stat aware, I regularly read the Fort Worth Star Telegram and then the Freep and Detroit News when I was visiting the D, and they did it the same, so I assumed that everyone did; the league leaders were published daily, and then all team stats were be published on a regular basis. I loved scanning the full stats for the all-stars, but what I really enjoyed was seeing the long lists of the league leaders. They would usually list the top 10, maybe the top 20. Top 10 was awesome, and top 20 was still pretty darn good.

Anyway, I was doing some in depth stat searching the other day. The was on my mobile phone, so it was pretty artificial, but I saw something interesting. Which prompted more research, and then led me to find these:

1) 7 1/3 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K

2) 7  IP 9 H 2 ER 1 BB 12 K

3) 7 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K

4) 7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K

5) 8 IP 9 H 2 ER 4 BB 4 K

6) 8 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 6 K

7) 7 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 6K

8) 7 IP 4 H 3 ER 3BB 6 K

Total for the eight games: 58 1/3 IP, 51 H, 13 ER (2.00 ERA), 17 BB (1.17 WHIP), 50 Ks (7.71 K/9, 2.94 K/BB). Record: 0-3 with 5 no-decisions.

Know that those are? Those are JV lines from selected games this season. Eight very winnable games with no wins to show for it.

Now, on to step two of my point. AL rankings for selected JV stats:

ERA: 18

IP: 8

K: 5

W: 8

K/9: 8

fWAR: 6

BABIP: 4 (from the bottom – .303, Fister’s .314 is 3rd; note that Senchez’s .301 is 7th and Porcello’s .300 is 8th; I’d love to know what the team BABIP is post-Iglesias).

But here’s my point. Had the Tigers simply won 4 of those winnable games above, JV would have 17 wins, good for 2nd in the AL. How does our impression of his season change then? 2nd in the AL in wins, top 20 ERA, 5th in Ks, 6th in fWAR.

While this has been a disappointing JV season, it’s really a matter of perception. He’s still in the upper echelon of AL Starters.

For fun, here are the ERAs of some of the pitchers above JV in the wins column – Porcello (4.38), Fister (3.71), Dickey (4.27), Sabathia (4.78), Guthrie (4.09), Griffin (3.78), Lester (3.67), Tillman (3.70).

Note, what prompted this is that JV is still 18th in ERA.

We’ll get into the post-season rotation tomorrow.

******************

Back on the 13th I suggested that the Tigers should close their final 16 games at 10-6 or 11-5. Winning the 3 series at home puts them at 7-3 and on pace for 10 to 11 wins. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be enough to wrestle away home field from the Bo Sox, and may not be enough to pass Oak.

The Wild Card stuff is great. I’m pulling for the Royals. People are being talked off of ledges around here regarding the Rangers.

Lots of scoreboard watching these days.

Lineup coming later.

 

Game 2013.156: White Sox at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 91-64, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland).  Magic Number: 2

Well, time certainly does fly, flies like Prince Fielder scoring from first on a double, and comes barreling home to this my last regular season post. Time to get myself in playoff shape.

With a magic number down to 2, it is possible for the Tigers to celebrate the division title in front of the home fans. The Tigers need to beat Chicago today, and pull for the Astros to beat Cleveland (the games are simultaneous). I imagine there will be some scoreboard peaking.

The home fans were certainly treated to an exciting comeback win last night. I confess I had stopped paying attention when the White Sox started adding runs in the top of the 9th, but woke up when Torii tripled to lead off the bottom of the inning (there is something about triples that get your attention, more sustained excitement and crowd noise than the quicker home run blast).

9th inning summary:

  • Torii Hunter triples
  • Cabrera singles, Hunter scores
  • Fielder singles, Cabrera to second
  • Martinez doubles, Cabrera scores
  • Andy Dirks, pinch-hit three-run home run
  • Omar Infante walks
  • Ramon Santiago sac bunt, Infante to 2nd
  • Alex Avila walks
  • Austin Jackson walks
  • Torii Hunter sac fly, Infante scores
  • Cabrera walks
  • Fielder grounds out

That’s a whole game’s worth of action there. The last Tigers team to make up a deficit that large in the 9th inning: the 1947 team which featured George Kell.

*****

OK, enough celebrating, here is the part of the blog where we get anxious. Miguel Cabrera had to leave the game early yesterday, and is now Day-To-Day with groin soreness. The Tigers are certainly capable of winning without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, but…well, you want a healthy Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, and that might not be possible.

*****

Jose Iglesias still is hampered by his bruised hand, and can’t field grounders. He may miss the next series also.

*****

If you have been wondering where Bruce Rondon has been, he has had some elbow soreness. He is scheduled to come back Tuesday, and is throwing a session in the bullpen today.

*****

Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Don Kelly. The Donkey makes everyone forget Miguel Cabrera with a key hit. OK, well not really (the Cabrera part I mean; I am calling the hit).

Today’s Home Closing Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Dirks, RF
  3. Fielder, 1B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Kelly, 3B
  6. Avila, C
  7. Infante, 2B
  8. Santiago, SS
  9. Castellanos, LF

Game 2013.155: White Sox at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 90-64, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland).  Magic Number: 3

Well, it looks like the 5th time was the charm. Max Scherzer is now a proud 20-game winner, and had a sip of the bubbly to celebrate…apparently he is saving the magnum of Stroh’s for the postseason. Max also became only the 11th Tiger ever to record 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Jusin Verlander (2011), Jack Morris (1983, 1986), Joe Coleman (1971, 1973), Mickey Lolich (1971, 1972), Denny McLain (1968), and Hal Newhouser (1945, 1946). Quite a list to be on.

The Tigers reduced their magic number to 3; as expected, the Astros could not handle the Indians, although I suppose you have to give them credit for losing efficiently in 7 innings. It looks like the home celebration may indeed be an iffy proposition.

Cleveland has now unseated Texas for the 2nd wild card spot, and with an easy remaining schedule could very well hang on to it. The Tigers have to love the idea of having Cleveland in the playoffs, since Cleveland seems capable of beating anyone…except Detroit. I am a bit melancholy about the prospect of a playoff without Yankees though, since they were so good about playing the Washington Generals to the Tigers’ Globetrotters. Besides, I suspect there is some phenomenon–let’s call it Coleman’s Law, until we figure out the real name–whereby the more one team dominates another in the regular season, the less likely they are to beat them in the postseason.

You’ve got to love this time of year. Tampa guts out 18 innings against the Orioles, then knocks them off again several hours later this afternoon (Baltimore is done). Kansas City, continuing to be a Royal pain, kicks Texas while they are down, and clings to wild card contention. Oakland continues bombing teams, blanking the Twins 11-0 (they have scored 7 runs or more in 8 of their 19 September games. Where did that come from?). The National League Central refuses to decide itself, going into the home stretch with a three-team race. Fun times.

*****

Jose Iglesias is out again with his day-to-day hand bruise. He is also still the reigning Web Gem, and the subject of an ESPN Sport Science segment, which breaks down the play. It’s worth a watch.

*****

Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Matt Tuiasosopo. This may be the last, best time for Tui Time. With new Left Fielder Jhonny Peralta prepping to join the team, Tui needs to stake his claim on the LF platoon. He is one of the few Tigers who hit Sale well (4-for-11),

Tonight’s Tea for Tui Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Tuiasosopo, LF
  7. Infante, 2B
  8. Santiago, SS
  9. Pena, C

Game 2013.154: White Sox at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 89-64, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland).  Magic Number: 4

It would be nice if the Tigers could win the division this weekend on their last home stand–hey, it would be nice whenever they win the division. That might be a tough task though with Cleveland playing three games against the Astros, who are butt-sliding their way to a 100+ loss season. Even if the Tigers sweep the White Sox, they will need the Astros to pull out at least one game to score a home celebration.

If they clinch in Minnesota, they will have to ponder how to celebrate, seeing as there is no swimming pool at Target Field. Perhaps Vince could suggest some ideas. I might agree with the grumbling Diamondbacks that a celebration like the Dodgers’ has no place in baseball–if I could only get over the concept of a SWIMMING POOL in the outfield stands.

Anyway, assuming the Tigers do win the division, the current playoff seedings look like this:

  1. Boston    93  61  —
  2. Oakland  90  63  2 1/2
  3. Detroit     89  64  3 1/2

Boston has the toughest remaining schedule of the three:

Boston:

  • Toronto (3)
  • at Colorado (2)
  • at Baltimore (3)

Oakland:

  • Minnesota (3)
  • at LA Angels (3)
  • at Seattle (3)

Detroit:

  • Chicago (3)
  • at Minnesota (3)
  • at Miami (3)

*****

Take 5:  Max Scherzer makes one more try to get victory #20 tonight.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Prince Fielder. Prince has gotten hot lately, hitting .383 over the last two weeks. Despite the popularity of his nacho-nabbing antics yesterday, Prince finds the nachos a little too insubstantial for his appetite, swipes a hot dog, and does a subsequent Gates Brown slide into 2nd base.

Tonight’s Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Dirks, LF
  7. Infante, 2B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS

Game 2013.153: Mariners at Tigers

88-64, 1st place. The Indians lost. Or maybe they won. Whatever. (I’m pretty sure they lost. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the magic number is down to 5.)

Last night: Seattle 8, Detroit 0. The Tigers got in some early World Series practice. #5 starter Justin Verlander carried a no-hitter into the second inning. Was Iwakuma that good, or were the Tigers that bad? Two bases-loaded situations early came to naught. The bullpen came on to save us from a dull, ordinary shutout loss. And how about that Phil Cuzzi strike zone, eh?

Cabrera: The best hitter on the planet wasn’t.
Fielder: Got the Tigers on the just foul board with a just foul HR.
Martinez: IF single! Honest. Stole a base! OK, it was a wild pitch.
Tuiasosopo: Struck out with the bases loaded. Extenuating circumstances, but still. Busy in LF. Has a Scrappy Guy thing going, apparently.
Perez: Good energy. Seriously.
Other Guys: There, somewhere, if the box score is to be believed.
Verlander: Don’t be surprised if the crafty veteran edges out Smyly for a spot in the rotation next year.
Coke: DFA.
Alburquerque: Clown Showque. Not often you can give the pitcher alone both a wild pitch and a passed ball on one play that scores 2 runs with 0 for 97 Henry “Tattoos Age Poorly” Blanco at the plate. Too early for the WS, but a classic nonetheless.
Putkonen: Go ahead, add insult to injury. Why not.

AlburCokey lives again!

Now the time is here
AlburCokey will spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kill the Tigers they once saved

But I’m not bitter.

Still time for Detroit to take this series the way they should. Day game, Doug Fister on the slab. Eventually, given enough games and at bats, the Tigers could – in theory – hit a Mariners starter. I propose a series extension. I’m sure the White Sox would prefer a trip to sunny L.A.. As well they should.

Game 2013.152: Mariners at Tigers

88-63. Tigers match their 2012 win total with 11 left to play. Oh, and 1st place. To stay. Cleveland is 6 out even after winning. 11/6 = ? Count ’em down. It’s Magic Number time.

Last night: Tigers 6, Mariners 2. It was a nail-biter until the bottom of the 8th; I thought the Tigers were going to give this one away. Kind of a long game, wasn’t it?

Jackson: Stole a base! Late 2-run single allowed us to breathe.
Hunter: Sacrifice line drive. Game-winner. We’ll take it.
Cabrera: First HR in 22 days. Coupla fine plays at 3B.
Fielder: Struck out twice while leaving 5 on. Turned a double into an out with his glove.
Martinez: Started the 8th inning rally – wisely pinch-run for.
Kelly: Golfed a HR, big 8th inning single pushing Perez to 3B.
Infante: Big insurance run RBI. Not real fond of all the getting to the ball and failing to glove it going on lately.
Avila: Huge leadoff TRIPLE to set up game-winner, turned rundown between 3B and home into a plus.
Iglesias: Busy man. Good bunt. Bad error. Scored game-winning run tagging from 3B on a line drive to CF. Made the DP that ended the final Mariners threat.
Dirks: Ugly strikeout.
Perez: Handy as a pinch runner.
Santiago: Wore something on one of his forearms.
Sanchez: Made the Mariners look silly, pitched a little too long and the win slipped away.
Alburquerque: Saved Sanchez’s bacon. Nice.
Coke: Rescued by Fielder, let down by Iglesias, on thin ice as usual. Postseason roster? Not so sure about that.
Alvarez: Saved the 8th under heavy pressure. Too many pitches, wise to pull him after the 2-out walk in the 9th.
Veras: Get it done already. Thank you.

I noticed the following ridiculous headline: “Suspended infielder Jhonny Peralta could solve Detroit Tigers’ glaring weakness in left field.” There is no glaring weakness. There are three competent players. You can find fault with each, but put their number togethers and you have a slightly above average outfielder. Add ’em up. Peralta in LF is all about a practical slot for a potentially hot and hungry bat in the postseason. Nothing to do with any “glaring weakness.”

Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill for the Mariners tonight. He’s very good. Considering how difficult it’s been for the Tigers hitters to get it going against Seattle starters already, I might just watch the top halves of innings this game. It’s another boring weekday night game against a non-contender that you probably won’t want to watch. Too bad, because you’ll miss Verlander’s no-hitter, and I won’t even tell you about it later.

Game 2013.151: Mariners at Tigers

87-63, x games up on whoever. (Actually 6 games up on Cleveland…. with 12 left to play.) Can the Tigers make it to the elusive 25 over mark? Might they actually be able to sneak into home field advantage for the ALCS or ALDS, by and by? Stay tuned.

Last night: Detroit 4, Seattle 2. It took 3 innings before Porcello found his A-game, and nearly 3 more before the Tigers really got to Joe Saunders (Joe Saunders!), but in the end, nearly everyone chipped in a bit, with Martinez, Hunter, and Infante deserving special mention. Porcello got his win (#13, plus 10 strikeouts), Benoit got his save (#20). Smyly pitched nearly 2 innings, like he should, and gave up a run, like he shouldn’t. I like you at 1B, Prince, but throwing the ball at Porcello’s shoulder is an error. No glove there, though it’s an idea.

A recent quote from Prince Fielder, courtesy of mlb.com:

“I’m over stats,” Fielder said. “I’m into playing hard, and if I’m healthy, that’s my main stat. I’m out there playing every day and I think that’s all you can ask for.”

I like that. There’s the world of exaggerated fan talk, and then there’s the world of playing baseball for a living. Win or lose, the Detroit Tigers put on a good show. I’m satisfied, even as the fan in me will never run out of things to analyze and criticize and second-guess.

That being said, let’s get back to stats. Or not. It’s late, I’m tired. Maybe tomorrow.

News and notes on Rondon, Bonderman, Worth.

Anibal is on the mound and Miggy’s bat is full of unspent home runs. Could the Tigers be doomed to yet another victory? I’m thinking… yes. And I guess they won’t have to face Felix Hernandez this series after all. That practically reduces the magic number by one all by itself.

Game 2013.150: Mariners at Tigers

86-63, 5 up on Cleveland, KC effectively eliminated. 6-7 September record; more of the same gets Detroit to 92-70… and the ALDS in Oakland.

Big win yesterday against the Royals, big loss the day before, biggest series of the season on many levels. Gut check: Pass. (Also down to the wire now in the Game Poster League. Good job, Kevin. I guess I’m the only one left who can’t handle the pitching staff.)

The Seattle Mariners come to Cabrerica for a four-game series, day game on Thursday. Rain is a threat in the Detroit area forecast for the last couple, particularly Thursday. The forecast also calls for a 95% chance of Iwakuma and King Felix the last two games, with hail as large as baseballs, or possibly pitched baseballs the size of small hail, depending on how you look at it, threatening to come down upon the Tigers offense.

Unaided memory of the April series in Seattle calls back: Hunter to Fielder to Pena and a violent collision at home plate with Justin Smoak where Pena hangs on to preserve a 2-1, 14-inning win. The Series of the Strikeout (both teams). Prince Fielder striking out 5 times in one game. Iwakuma throttling the Tigers. The first glimmer of the first minor offensive funk of the season.

April 16: Tigers 6 MARINERS 2 WRAP
April 17: Tigers 2, MARINERS 1 (14) WRAP
April 18: MARINERS 2, Tigers 0 WRAP

The Mariners can hit a home run, but are otherwise one of the worst offensive teams in the AL. No threat on the bases, bullpen and defense nothing to write home about, either. Their starting pitching would seem to be their saving grace, but that’s really all about Hernandez and Iwakuma, not enough to save them from 66-83. They do, however, have something “left” to play for, and that is winning. Just like every other team the Tigers will face from here on out. Let’s try not to forget that.

Miguel Cabrera, who didn’t appear especially unhealthy at last check, might be on his way from Triple Crown to No Crown. Monster consistency over 5 months just leaves us wanting a sixth (and seventh) month, doesn’t it? “What have you done for me lately?” is a constant in baseball. But he does seem to be coming around lately. Staving off Trout for his 3rd consecutive batting title certainly wouldn’t hurt the team’s chances.

Now, about that playoff rotation question posed recently by Kevin, as we jump to all kinds of fairly reasonable conclusions. My take – which assumes that the Tigers are not going to face an AL wild card at any point and that the A’s aren’t gonna catch the Red Sox – is below:

GRAB1

Interesting questions:

1. Must Porcello be excluded from playoff starts? Isn’t there a way to work him in? Might the Tigers actually go 5-man – and would you? How? (I considered it, though not carefully.)

2. Verlander is due to start Game 162 as things currenty stand. Is there a reason to juggle this for a playoff reset? (I don’t think so.)

3. Is the honor of a Game 1 start a factor in your mind? Does that surpass being entrusted with an eventual Game 7?

Two of my choices might stick out. Fister in ALDS Game 2 at Oakland? (Good career numbers there.) Verlander my 3-7 go-to guy in the ALCS and WS? (Yep.) Even my Game 5 go-to guy in the ALDS? (You remember 2012, don’t you?)

All right. If the Tigers can take care of their own business against Seattle, the scoreboard watching can soon end. And wouldn’t that be nice? Wake up, Andy Dirks (CAPOPS*). Get a big hit one of these games, maybe even have a big series. You’re turning into a ham sandwich. Unacceptable.

*Called Out Player Of The Pre-Series.

Game 2013.149: Royals at Tigers

85-63, Magic Number is 10.

Gotta hop on a plane, so a few disjointed thoughts.

Tigers lose a playoff type game last night in a game where the AL’s best pitching flexed some muscle and completely shut down the Tigers. I wasn’t able to tune in early but did catch the Infante double. I agree with Brookens’ decision to send Fielder there, though I hardly agree that it takes “2 perfect throws” as the second throw from Escobar was actually pretty marginal but still got a slow Fielder. The Tigers weren’t hitting at all and there was no reason to think that Holaday was going to change that much (or anyone else on the bench).

But the Royals are a good team playing for something, and the Tigers were in a position to take the game to extra innings because their pitching was almost as brilliant as that of the Royals’.

I thought Hosmer’s statement that last night’s win was the “biggest of his career” was hilarious, and I expect that he had a few laughs at the expense of the Twitter when he got home.

The fact that the Tigers have been thrown out so much at home is a reflection of poor team speed (not a surprise) and more opportunities than their competitors. Let’s not be too upset about that.

I’m traveling today, so I won’t get to post the lineups. Someone please do when they are up.

Gotta win the series today. More importantly, Max needs to get on track. Hard to believe that Jeremy Guthrie has more wins that Justin Verlander.

I admit it, I love the expanded wild card.

Game 2013.148: Royals at Tigers

85-62, Magic Number is 10.

Good win last night in a game where Justin Verlander had 0 walks. In fact, he didn’t get to a 3 ball count until the 4th, and had only 2 such counts all night. 9 Royals’ hits in 6 2/3 drove up the pitch count, but if JV issues his 2-3 walks along with those 9 hits, we’re talking about a different ball game. Interestingly, all 3 runs that the Royals scored last night came with 2 outs, and JV has allowed 42 runs with 2 outs this year. That’s nearly 1/2 of his runs allowed all year.

More two out JV fun – all stats are 0 outs/1 outs/2 outs.

  • BAA: .260/.230/.284.
  • BB: 19/19/30.
  • OPS+: 92/68/132.
  • BABIP: .304/.299/.353.
  • K/BB: 3.05/3.58/2.10

How do you explain/fix that?

Fister gets the rock tonight. Despite a respectable 5-3 and 3.32 ERA over his last 10, he needs to get into post-season shape as well. His WHIP during that time is 1.38 and he’s been drilled in 2 out of his last 3 starts. Fister was lights out in the playoffs last year, let’s get back to that.

Since my post yesterday, Boston has won twice and Chris Davis hit #50. Home field advantage and the triple crown are going to be very difficult and nearly impossible to achieve, respectively.

So let’s focus on four issues which I’d like to see worked out over the remaining 14 games – 1) can Cabrera get healthy, 2) can the bullpen pitchers settle into defined roles, 3) who will play LF and 4) can JV be dominant in the postseason.

A few notes:

– Remember, Iglesias is only a rookie. AL ROY?

– A little run support in the Game Poster League would be nice.

Peralta in LF is a real thing. I’m not against it.

– 2B prospect Devon Travis is the Tigers’ minor league player of the year.

Tonight’s Regulars Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH
6. Dirks, LF
7. Infante, 2B
8. Avila, C
9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2013.147: Royals at Tigers

84-62, 1st place, magic # goes to 11. (Basically a lock based on the squiggly lines here.)

Well friends, just a few weeks after the Tigers found themselves atop the AL (at 24 above .500), the Tigers may now find themselves without home field advantage unless they make the World Series. The BoSox have been on a tear over the past three weeks and are now 30 games above .500, 4 games ahead of Detroit, and the A’s have surged to 25 games over.

But the schedule is in our favor. Of all teams in the AL, only CLE has a weaker remaining schedule (I’d love to see them sneak in to a WC spot). Let’s break it down, again.

– 3 v KC at home. This is the only series against a team over .500, with something to play for.

– 4 v. Sea at home.

– 3 v. CWS at home.

Then we end with two 3 game road trips separated by an off-day on the 26th, @Min and @ Fla.

That’s 16 games against teams who are a combined 94 games under. At a minimum this should be a 10-6 swing, if not 11-5. But even at 11-5, I don’t think that 28 games over (95 wins) gets us guaranteed home field. I do think that 12-4 gives us a shot, though the Red Sox remaining SoS (51%) isn’t too bad either.

The Tigers are 0-5 in JV starts vs. KC this year. It hasn’t all been JV’s fault. Though he hasn’t been much of an ace this year either. It’s not going to be easy against the best staff in the AL, and especially against Bruce Chen who has been lights out for KC since he came out of the pen mid-season. Now, the Tigers did get to Chen for 6 earned in 5 1/3 in his first start against Detroit this year. Chen since rebounded as he was dominant last Sunday when the Tigers packed up their bats for the weekend after a 16 run explosion on Friday night. I expect a low scoring game tonight. Limiting walks will be the difference between a 4-3 victor and a 5-4 defeat.

A few notes:

– David Paulino is the PTBNL for Veras.

– This is the last home stand of the season. Division series tix go on sale on Tuesday.

– Despite Boston’s record, Bovada has the Tigers as the favorites to win the Pennant at 9:4 (Bos is 5:2).

Tonight’s Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH
6. Dirks, LF
7. Infante, 2B
8. Avila, C
9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2013.146: Tigers at White Sox

Detroit Tigers: 83-62, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland). 

Well, if the Tigers are going to insist on playing the feast-or-famine game on offense, we might as well enjoy the feast, right? Great games by Fielder, Martinez, Avila, and Iglesias. Cabrera concerns me: he did hit 3 fairly deep, but he just doesn’t seem to have the power to get it out of the ballpark right now (you know what they say about your power coming from your hips and legs). Hopefully he will hit one about 450 ft. tonight and make me look silly.

Not that we needed all of the runs. Rick Porcello pitched a fine game, so fine in fact that Jim Leyland let him finish the thing off himself, for his first career complete game. Congratulations, Mr. Porcello.

A surprising statistic that came out of an exchange last night with Vince in MN: Current WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched):

  1. 0.962 Max Scherzer
  2. 1.143 Anibal Sanchez
  3. 1.296 Doug Fister
  4. 1.309 Rick Porcello
  5. 1.339 Justin Verlander

So yes, Rick Porcello has a lower WHIP than Verlander, who is dead last in the starting rotation (Fister, Porcello, and Verlander are really close enough that they are more or less even statistically). More of Porcello’s runners end up scoring for some reason (4.56 ERA vs. 3.64 ERA for Verlander and 3.77 for Fister), perhaps because more of his WHIP is hit and less of it is walks, although his OPS against (.722) is comparable to Fister (.707) and Verlander (.705).

One thing Porcello would seem to be better at than tonight’s pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, is holding runners on base. 10 bases have been stolen while Porcello has been on the mound, out of 15 attempts. While Sanchez is pitching opponents have been successful on 20 out of 21 tries.

*****

As we discussed in the comments section yesterday, Jhonny Peralta has begun working out with the Tigers, although no decision has been made about his eligibility (the earliest he is eligible to return is the season-ending 3-game series at Miami).

A bit of a surprise today: Jason Beck has reported that he worked out taking fly balls in left field. Peralta has never played the outfield at any level of professional baseball. Shades of Mickey Stanley in 1968? Hmm.

Peralta has also changed agents, switching to SFX from ACES, who was involved with many of the players caught up in the Biogenesis scandal. Sounds like a good move.

*****

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  I’ve been doing pretty well with these, but nobody is really jumping out for me today. I think I will go with Victor Martinez.

Tonight’s Let’s-Put-Cleveland-In-The-Rear-View-Mirror Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Castellanos, LF
  7. Infante, 2B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Iglesias, SS