Game 2009.097: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: A series split would have been acceptable. Going 3-1 tilted towards the home team would have been a positive step. A sweep, well, that would be freakin’ awesome (technical term). Fortunately the forecast for the Tigers is a positive step with a chance of freakin’ awesome.

Rick Porcello had some rust last time out and he wasn’t keeping the ball down and getting his customary bevy of of groundballs. The rust should be off, but there may be some adrenaline and jitters in play on the ESPN National stage.

Clayton Richard goes for the White Sox. Richard has struggled completing 6 innings just twice in his last 7 starts. But one of those times was his last start when he held the Rays to 1 run in 8 innings, with 7 Ks and 2 walks. The Tigers faced him in June and ran his pitch count to 100 before the end of the 5th inning.

The righty-heavy line up is:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Thames, DH
  6. Raburn, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Everett, SS

Chi White Sox vs. Detroit – July 26, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: Rick Porcello had a rookie moment…either that or he just had no control tonight. From the beginning Porcello couldn’t locate the ball and to the White Sox credit they made him pay. An infield single was fine, but then Porcello hung a curve ball that Alexei Ramirez ripped to left. And then a walk. And then a near double play ball that wasn’t. And then falling behind to Paul Konerko. And then the get-me-over fastball that got over the seats. And that was the ball game.

Like his last outing, Porcello’s pitches didn’t appear to be lacking in movement, but they sure were in location. He eventually settled in, but the damage was already done from the top of the first inning.

The offense didn’t get the favorable bounces that they had found in the first 3 games and Detroit only managed 1 run. It looked like they might break through in the 4th when Ordonez and Cabrera ripped back-to-back singles, and then Marcus Thames crushed a ball to centerfield that Podsednik tracked down. Three hard hit balls in a row could have been a sign that they were figuring Richard out, but that really was the only rally to speak of.

  • Casey Fien made his debut in a bases loaded situation, and got Konerko to pop out. He went on to pitch 2 more innings and strike out 2. Very nice outing and very encouraging.
  • Zach Miner was awful. He threw only 13 of his 34 pitches for strikes and created the aforementioned bases loaded situation on walks.
  • Ryan Raburn had a pretty poor game as well. He went all out on a ball ealier in the game, but he also dropped a routine fly and hit into a double play. He did drive in the only run, but that was on a ground ball force out.
  • The announcers went on and on about Porcello being late to the bag in the first inning. Yes, he was late but Thome still beat the throw. It wouldn’t have been a double play. Plus the throw wasn’t good. Maybe they save the 2nd run from scoring on that play, but Konerko hit the homer in the next at-bat anyways. Clearly there is room for improvement there and I’d guess he won’t be late to the bag again for quite some time, but I don’t think it was that big of a deal.
  • Speaking of the announcers, I rejoiced a little bit when I saw Joe Morgan wasn’t in the booth and he was replaced by Orel Hersheiser. But I was disappointed in the overall broadcast. The announcing team didn’t seem to have enough information about the Tigers, and didn’t provide enough context for a lot of the situations. For example, they talked about the Ordonez platoon without mentioning the vesting option (or if they did I missed it).
  • Richard balked when he picked off Granderson. It was so blatant I have a hard time figuring out how it was missed. He started coming home, and then changed direction. I can’t blame Granderson at all on that one. He didn’t progress his secondary lead until Richard made the motion towards home.
  • Inge looked awful at the plate. I know his knees are hurting, but that shouldn’t effect pitch selection that much. He is totally out of whack. He’s taking pitches down the middle and repeatedly swinging at pitches at his eyes.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 7/23/09

Syracuse 1 Toledo 18
It took the Mud Hens 7 innings to out produce the Tigers post All Star break run total. Carlos Guillen went 3 for 4. Brent Clevlen homered 3 times. Lot’s of people got lots of hits. Check out the boxscore. And Chris Lambert went 8 innings and allowed just 1 run with no walks and 6 K’s.

Akron 4 Erie 3
Brennan Boesch homered. Deik Scram doubled. Pat Stanley went the 4 innings before this was suspended and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, no walks, and 1 strike out. Jared Gayhart walked 2 in one inning. Brett Jensen got the blown save when he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 inning of work.

Akron 5 Erie 6 11 innings
Brennan boesch homered, singled, and walked. Andy Dirks also singled and homered. Jonah Nickerson fanned 4 and walked none allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings. Cody Satterwhite pitched 2 innings and fanned 2.

Lakeland 6 Jupiter 14
Joe Tucker went 3 for 5 with a triple. Christopher White went 2 for 4. Charlie Furbush struck out 6 in 4 innings, but he also allowed 2 homers. Lester Oliveros was rocked for 5 runs and only recorded 1 out.

West Michigan 6 Quad Cities 2
Mark Sorensen allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 K’s in 8 innings. Bryan Pounds doubled and homered. Ben Guez and Billy Nowlin each had 2 hits. Hernan Perez went 3 for 4.

Oneonta 13 Tri-City 2
Michael Rockett went 3 for 6. Rawley Bishop doubled and tripled. John Murrian doubled twice. Luis Palacios went 3 for 5. Andy Wilk fanned 8 and allowe no runs or walks and only 3 hits in 7 innings.

GCL Pirates 10 GCL Tigers 4
Eddie Rush went 3 for 4. Luis Castillo had 2 hits. Ramon Lebron struck out 7 and allowed 4 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks in 4 innings.

Game 2009.084: Royals at Tigers

PREGAME: With Zach Greinke taking on Luke French the pitching match-up would certainly seem to tilt in the Royals favor. But you know, nothing is a given – especially with this Tigers team lately.

I apologize for the abbreviated game post tonight, but you can make up for it by voting Inge. He just took the lead and there are less than 24 hours to go. And vote Shane Victorino while you’re at it. If you vote Inge 100 times you get entered into a drawing where you get free tickets and a free dinner and a free trip to the pitchers mound before the game.

Kansas City vs. Detroit – July 8, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: There was a crispness in this game that had been lacking for quite some time. The Tigers got some timely (and well placed) hits off a Cy Young front runner. They got a great start from a rookie pitcher getting his first win. And most impressively they got 2.1 perfect innings from the pen.

The pen has been shaky of late, but tonight they were dominant. Fu-Te Ni induced a double play grounder and picked up a strike out. Brandon Lyon pitched a perfect 8th on 11 pitches and Fernando Rodney with a perfect 9th on 14 pitches. All told the pen record 8 outs on 33 pitches, and 5 of them were strike-outs.

Nice win all around.

Game 2009.074: Tigers at Astros

PREGAME: Jim Leyland took advantage of an off day this week to shake up the rotation and put Alfredo Figaro in between Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. The thinking was that it would help balance the bullpen use some. He wasn’t figuring on Verlander getting chased in the 6th inning. The bullpen would have been more taxed if the Joel Zumaya hadn’t blown the lead in the 8th so I guess we can thank Joel for keeping Fernando Rodney fresh. Let’s hope Figaro can give the team at least 6 solid tonight.

Felipe Paulino returns from the DL to take the hill tonight. His K and BB numbers aren’t bad, but he will give up some long balls with 7 homers allowed in 43.1 innings.

Detroit vs. Houston – June 27, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: Well…No offense. Not much pitching. And a thumping. It happens.

  • Figaro’s fastball was live, and he threw strikes. But his breaking ball was getting hammered, mostly because he was leaving it up in the zone way too often. When he got it down he had a couple nice sings and misses.
  • Paulino looked pretty amazing. He was pounding the strike zone with all of his pitches and was consistently in the upper 90’s with his fastball. He had struggled earlier this year, but I’m  not going to say this was another case of the Tigers making a bad pitcher look good. I think this was a pitcher with good stuff making the Tigers look bad.
  • Figaro did eat 6 innings meaning the Tigers only needed to turn to the bullpen for 2 innings which Freddy Dolsi took care of meaning the bullpen is pretty much full rested. By the way, did anybody see the snot that Dolsi blew out in the 8th last night? It was freakin huge. (Yes, that may have been the highlight).

Willis to DL, Figaro to rotation

The Tigers have once again placed Dontrelle Willis on the DL due to anxiety disorder. Alfredo Figaro will be called up from Erie to start on Saturday.

I’ll have more on this in an hour or so. It’s been a little more than an hour now.

Alfredo Figaro - cr. Roger DeWitt
Alfredo Figaro - cr. Roger DeWitt

Alfredo Figaro got a little bit of a late start as a prospect. He dominated West Michigan last year, but at age 23 that wasn’t particularly exciting. He spent the later part of last year with Lakeland and was pushed to Erie this season where he has a 59/17 K/BB ratio in 68 innnings. In his last 2 starts he pitched 14.1 innings with 18 K’s. He’s also Fernando Rodney’s cousin.

As for the Willis DL stint, this will raise eyebrows. There were doubts with the initial anxiety disorder diagnosis for Willis and this will surely cause more questioning. Willis himself even said he was fine. The questions will continue because the Tigers were faced with a tough roster decision with Willis were it not for the DL stint. With it being more than 5 years since his debut he has the right to refuse a minor league assignment and he would need to pass through waivers.

I’m curious about the timing or the announcement, like why did the move not occur until today if he was hitting the DL? Couldn’t this move have been made earlier in the week and the Tigers could have had an extra player until Figaro’s start on Saturday? Then again I don’t know what is involved in diagnosing anxiety disorder and it may have been a several day process.

I still wish Willis the best, but at what point does the saga end? The team has supported him, the fans supported him, he’s been given many chances. It looks like he’ll get one more.

Get Well Soon

Some DTW thoughts go out to a couple friends of the blog who will find themselves on the disabled list for a little while.

Earlier today Big Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience shared that he’ll be undergoing back surgery tomorrow. His description paints a picture that ain’t so pretty:

In other words, my doctor will be cutting out a pie shaped piece of my spinal column, then correct my spinal deformity while on the operating table by bending my spine straight. He’ll then hold my rebuilt spine together with rods and screws.  It’s expected I’ll be on the operating table for 8-10 hours.

Later in the day we found that Dan Dickerson, Tigers radio play-by-play man extraordinaire managed to mess up both of his knees while jogging. John Keating is the second man in the booth for the time being, but I’d imagine someone else will be tagged for the gig.

Here is hoping for a speedy recovery for both of these gentlemen.

Not Cool

The other day I posted a picture of Clete’s Cougars which I grabbed off my TV while watching the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast. The picture proved to be fairly popular and it got linked up a couple of places. Wednesday afternoon I was listening to 97.1 The Ticket (unfortunately the only sports talk around in the afternoon) when host Mike Valenti directed people to 971theticket.com for a picture of Clete’s Cougars. I was curious so I ventured over to see what picture they had, and I was a little surprised to see the picture I had posted. It was there with no mention or link back to my site.

Continue reading Not Cool

The Good Friday article

In today’s Free Press there is a story that is titled “Christians call foul on baseball’s Opening Day.” I’m quoted early on in the story. The quotes are accurate, I’m not disputing them. But if you choose to read the article, read my quotes for what they are.

My quotes are:

“I can get around the meat thing,” said Ferris, a member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Troy.

“I’ll just stick to peanuts and popcorn because I don’t think there are too many seafood options at the stadium. But I’m not sure I can find a quiet place on the concourse at Comerica.”

I bring this up because I don’t view this as a controversy. I didn’t call foul or complain in any way. I was interviewed as a Catholic and a Tigers fan and what my plans were for the day. I didn’t view this is a controversy or something controversial. I’m not pushing the Tigers to change the time of the game, nor did I ever even think to suggest it as a possibility. I’m not even upset about the fact that the game was scheduled when it was.

I have been to 13 consecutive Opening Days with my friends. I’m also a practicing Catholic. With the game falling on the afternoon of Good Friday it does create a personal conflict for me. But it is a conflict that I need to work through and I wouldn’t expect the Tigers or MLB to try and accommodate me in this regard.

I’m posting about it here because, well, I can. This turned out to be much more controversial than I ever imagined. I’m not going to use this space to talk about the Catholic Church or my faith. This is a baseball site and I’m going to try and stay on topic. But I did want to clarify the remarks that I did make. (The first part of my comment does sound flippant, and while that wasn’t my intent, I did say it. I take abstaining from meat seriously and it’s not a matter of trying to “get around it” but that my day would be different than past Opening Days.)

I’m not going to open the comments on this post. While I trust that most can have a perfectly rational discussion about religion, it isn’t the topic of this site.

Fantasy Baseball League

Commentor David has put together a fantasy baseball league for Tigers fans. I won’t be participating (time constraints and all), but I’m happy to help promote. Here is the information that David sent. The draft is the 27th and the 28th.

Most of the league team owners so far are big Tigers fans. The live drafts are on March 27 and March 28 at 9:00pm. It is a 25 man roster setup, with 10 hitters, 10 pitchers and 5 bench. Head-to-head scoring with only four categories (runs, rbi, era and quality starts). 4 leagues – 2 AL-only and 2 NL-only. 2moves/week and 50 min. innings pitched/week. It is also a keeper league where you get to keep 10 players after this year. This is the first year of the leagues, so you’ve got as good a chance as anybody. Please email me at dgo@umich.edu so you can sign up (takes about a minute and a half if you have an existing Yahoo! email address). Good Luck!! and it should be a ton of FUN!!! GO TIGERS!!!

Plugs for a friends-of-the-blog

Jamie Samuelsen

Jamie Samuelsen, long time WDFN’r and more recently blogger for the Freep, starts his new gig on Monday.  He’ll be joining the morning show on WRIF.  Jamie has been a great supporter of this blog with numerous mentions on his former morning show on WDFN.  Plus he’s one of the most reasonable voices in sports talk.  So if you’re not already a WRIF listener, tune in Monday when Jamie makes his debut.  You can listen in online.

Kurt Mensching

You may know Kurt from his occasional comments here, or probably for his work at Mack Avenue Tigers. You may not know he’s a sports columnist for the Marquette Mining Journal. Via BYB we find out that Kurt has been named top sports columnist in the state for his paper’s class. Super congrats to Kurt.

Breaking Bad

Welcome to oblivion. Welcome to last place. I don’t care about the payroll and dollars per win or any of that. I care that my team, my emotional and time and financial investment, the way I choose to “enjoy” my summer, is going out with a whimper. A team in last place in a division that is hardly daunting. And it seemed to happen so effortlessly.

At this point in the season, the losses don’t kill me anymore. At least in the individual game sense. The bullpen melt downs which once left me furious just leave me shaking my head. But the way last night’s 5-0 game went down had me seething in my seat. I couched it in that the Tigers had some hard hit balls with runners on that managed to find gloves instead of gaps, but in the end it was another shutout. And everyone seems okay with that, with Jim Leyland tipping his cap to the other pitcher.

The same Jim Leyland who earlier said that he stunk this year, and that “”The days of the babysitting and the milking along, that’s over with.” While that same pitcher who just shut down the Tigers on 4 hits was highly critical of his performance, saying he couldn’t locate at all. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we’ve heard from Tigers starters – even when they get lit up – that they “had great stuff” or were “a couple pitches away from getting out of it.”

Sometime around the 7th inning we moved down to the second row behind home plate. I could see in the dugout and was wondering what was going through the players’ minds. As for my mind? With the Tigers 6 outs away from another shutout, I wanted to stand up and say: “Last place. You guys are 6 outs away from being a last place team. Are you prepared to accept that? You’re too good for this. You have too much pride to let it happen. You’re too good to go out without a fight. You’re breaking your fans’ hearts. The three millionth fan of the year showed up tonight, and that reward is this listless shutout? Please, give me something.” Essentially I was pleading for anything.

I’m but one fan, but if any Tiger happens to read this, you’ve crushed me. You’ve broken my spirit and my heart. I’m mad, sad, frustrated, angry, fed-up, and every other negative feeling. But mostly I’m broken down.

Improved draft status or not, last place is too much to bear. I did that for too many years. I can’t go back.

Last place, with a whimper. Could there be any other way?

*Analysis with numbers and some objectivity will begin to flow in the coming days. This post is the “fan” portion of fanalyst.

WTF: Make your own acronym

WTF: What the…
WTF: Where’s the Focus
WTF: Where’s the fundamentals

This Tigers team continues to leave me lost and bewildered. I enjoyed a beautiful day at the park, as I watched the Tigers make 2 boneheaded plays on the bases. Twice today the Tigers hit into double plays, and neither were of the ground ball variety.

Curtis Granderson was half way to third base when Magglio Ordonez’s blast to center was hauled in during the 9th inning. The trouble was there was only one out and Granderson had started on first base.

When the Tigers loaded the bases in the 6th inning (the third time of the day), Marcus Thames hit a liner to third base. Mike Hessman who was on first was caught way off the bag.

That was actually a little karmic for Thames, who was hung off of second base when Brandon Inge hit a liner to second the night before.

People will scream about fundamentals, and rightfully so. But these are professionals who play the game 8 months a year. Most have been playing professionally at least a half dozen years. Of course they know what they should and shouldn’t do. Of course the coaching staff doesn’t coach them to make these mistakes. How does it happen?

I know a popular refrain is that the Tigers have mailed it in. I don’t see it. I see guys hustling and moving as well (or in some cases better) than they have all season. This is a team that didn’t give away at-bats today. They worked 8 walks. They put runners on base late the night before. They posted 13 runs on Monday after coming out of the Metrodome playing a pair of strong games.

But this crap keeps happening and it’s inexplicable. Do you really think that a Curtis Granderson doesn’t care? Do you think he’s someone going through the motions? These guys are showing emotion when they do well and showing frustration when they don’t. And yet they continue to make mistakes.

I’m just at a loss.