Jamie Walker signed a one year, $900,000 deal with the Detroit Tigers yesterday. Walker was one of our more effective relievers, and showed some improvement in 2004. He gave up more hits, but his career 177/61 strikeout to walk ratio is nice. If Walker has a knock, it’s the long ball. He’s given up 37 homeruns in 233 2/3 career innings, which is almost 1.5 per nine innings.
But he definitely improved in what should be his primary job, and that’s getting left handed hitters out. In 2003, six of the nine homeruns he gave up were against lefties. That number droped to one in 2004.
$900,000 is a fair price. Walker has some trade value, and has a good arm. I’ve always liked watching his delivery. It’s not quite side arm, because his release point is up near his head. I can imagine lefties struggling against him, because the ball starts out coming right at them.
The Tigers also declined Al Levine’s $1.1 million option. Levine was pretty ineffective, as he barely struck out more batters then he walked, and gave up ten homers in just over seventy innings.
Both are good moves. They’re both no-brainers, but we’ll give management the credit they deserve for continuing to make good decisions.
The first annual Internet Baseball Writers Association awards were announced yesterday. Be sure to check it out.
I’d announce my ballot, but I don’t remember exactly who I voted for. The only major deviation was I voted Johan Santana as the AL Player of the Year.
Well, the curse of the Great Bambino is now over. Any team that rattles off eight straight wins against two 100 win teams is definitely a deserving champion.
Is there any irony that the World Series MVP, Manny Ramirez, could have gone to any team that was willing to pay him last off season? I guess all is forgotten.
Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox.
It’s funny how for such a long time, the Boston Red Sox couldn’t catch a break. Now it seems like they’re destined to win this thing. It’s not too often a team can make four errors in a game, and still pull it out. It’s even more rare to accomplish that feat in consecutive games.
In game three, it was the Cardinals making the mistakes. Larry Walker got thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the first trying to score on Manny Ramirez (usually a safe bet, and I can’t blame them for running), and then in the bottom of the second, Jeff Suppan failed to score on a deep grounder to second base. It might not have made the difference, but it would have put a little more heat on Pedro.
And speaking of Mr. Martinez, game three was all about him. In his most important game of his career, he gave the Red Sox seven shutout innings. And despite having David Ortiz at first base, the Red Sox went through the whole game without making an error.
So now it’s the Cardinals with their backs against the wall. Down 3-0, you have to wonder whether the second ever 3-0 comeback can happen, but I’m pessimistic. Tonight it will all be up to Jason Marquis. I’ll be watching because there’s a distinct possibility that this will be the last baseball I get until April.
I was very excited to see in the Free Press yesterday reporting on the rumor of the Tigers having a potential interest in Mike Lowell. This makes sense on a lot of levels. The Tigers are certainly without a definite incumbent at the position and Dombrowski originally acquired Lowell for the Marlins. For the Marlins, moving Lowell makes sense because on Nov. 1, Lowell can opt for free agency, if he so desires, due to a clause in his contract that allows him the opportunity to declare free agency if the Marlins don’t have a stadium deal in place. The catch is that any player who is traded with more than a year on their contract can demand a trade after one season. Lowell could also choose to file a grievance and possibly be traded sooner. At 3 yrs, $25.5 million, Lowell would be a bargain as one of the top 5-10 third basemen in all of baseball. Even should this trade not occur, I want to wax euphoric on what may have been!
I agree it is nice to finally see the Tigers signed Justin Verlander. I hope they are better able to utilize his services than they have with other recently drafted first round pitchers. It would have also been nice if he had obtained a partial season of experience in the meantime.
The World Series has thus far been a dud. All the intrigue and excitement has faded for me in the first two games. I really hope the Cardinal pitching staff can regroup and the Cardinal bats come alive so that this series takes on a different hue. Everybody seems to be catching “Idiot Mania” and getting behind the Sox. It is a nice story, but to be truthful I am a little tired of it. The bottom line is the Sox inhabit the same realm as the Yankees and a few other
privileged clubs and the competitive imbalance of baseball remains intact.
Things I would like to see and hear more of:
1.I would like to see and hear from Whitey Herzog and Don Zimmer and relative perspectives on the two teams.
2. Rather than being relegated to thirty seconds of empty chatter why couldn’t
have Fox regaled us with several minutes with Red Schoendiest and Johnny Pesky. I would gladly take that over repeated obnoxious bombardments of “Obnoxious Boss” and “Rebel Billionaire” commercials.
3. Am I only surprised that Tim McCarver and Joe Buck have yet to betray any Cardinal bias? With McCarver playing most of his career in St. Louis and Buck’s father being the legendary voice of the club, how could they not have at least some interest in Cardinal victories?
4. The Dropkick Murphys are a streetpunk band from Boston who proclaim their Irish heritage and often feature bagpipes in their songs. They have an Ep out that features Johnny Damon, Lenny DiNardo and Bronson Arroyo singing backups on a song. The song, “Tessie”, which used to be sung by the famed Royal Rooters who were Sox loyalists who used the song to stir their team to victory. I have heard it played in the background on the stadium PA but am quite surprised it hasn’t been used as “bumper” music during the broadcasts.
Justin Verlander signed a five year major league contract with the Tigers on Friday. After what appeared to be some hardball negotiations, the two side finally got the deal done. Because of the major league contract, I think Verlander’s time table will be sped up a little. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him playing for the big league squad as early as mid-2007.
Chris Shelton is tearing up the Arizona Fall League. After two weeks of play, Shelton is posting .439/.478/.902, and also was co-player of the week. If he can pan out, he’ll join Wil Ledezma as two guys with a ton of potential that were acquired via the Rule 5 draft.
Curtis Granderson is also playing well, hitting .370/.455/.444. You have to love that On Base Percentage.
Well, we’re at the end. It just seems like yesterday when the Tigers took Roy Halladay to task, beating the Blue Jays to win the season opener. It’s been almost seven months since then, and for one more week, we have baseball.
The improbable Red Sox square off against the St. Louis Cardinals. Will the Red Sox be the third straight wild card team to win the World Series, and in the process, end an 86 year old curse? Or will it be the Cardinals, a franchise with nine World Championships?
In 1946 and 1967, these teams squared off in the World Series, and both times the Cardinals won in seven games. Can the Red Sox break the curse, or will history repeat itself?
Hitting – I give the edge to the Cardinals. Albert Pujols might be the best hitter in baseball that doesn’t have the last name Bonds, and he has a very solid supporting cast. Combine this with the fact that they hammered the ball while playing in a park that slightly favors pitchers, and there’s your edge.
Not that the Red Sox slap the ball around though. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are a potent combination, and I think Manny is going to make an appearance after a quiet ALCS.
Pitching – The Red Sox have two of the best starting pitchers in all baseball. Curt Schilling is the wild card though. If he’s able to pitch effectively in two games during this season, it increases the chances of the Red Sox taking home a championship considerably. Pedro will be Pedro, and if the Red Sox were to win it, I think he’d be your series MVP.
I do think the Cardinals have more depth. Once you get past Schilling and Pedro, the Cards have the edge. They can send three solid pitchers to the mound in Jeff Suppan, Woody Williams, and Matt Morris, but I think quality beats quantity. I give the edge to the Red Sox.
Bench and Bullpen – Also close, but Dave Roberts and Doug Mientkiewicz are two guys who are goog to have sitting on your bench. I’d also take Keith Foulke over Jason Isringhausen any day. I give the edge to the Sox, but I’m not as knowledgable on the St. Louis’ bench players.
Coaching – Tony LaRussa has been here before, and he’s won more games then all but five managers. Terry Francona has done a decent job, but I give the edge to the veteran here.
Overall – As much as I’d like to see Boston win, I just don’t see it happening. St. Louis proved they can beat a big game pitcher when they bested Roger Clemens in game seven of the NLCS . The Cards have no superstars in their rotation, but they were good enough to rack up 105 wins and make it to the World Series.
I think the Cardinals are going to win in six, and Albert Pujols will be the MVP.
With the exception of the 1945 Team, the Detroit Tigers have had great catchers on each of their World Championship Teams. In 1935, player/manager Mickey Cochrane ended up number four among all catchers in Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The 1968 team had Bill Freehan (ranked 12th), and of course 1984 sported Tiger great, and current bullpen coach, Lance Parrish (ranked 19th).
1982 is probably Parrish’s best season, although he was fairly consistent throughout the early 1980s. 1984 was also one of his better seasons, and this is what it looks like:
Runs Created 73
Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .255
Wins Above Replacement Players 5.9
It’s hard to argue against a Hall of Famer, so I think I’m going save the good fight for another day. This one goes to Johnny Bench.
Score – 1975 Reds 1, 1984 Tigers 0
You can read Blade’s analysis at Reds Cutting Edge.
Whoever coined the phrase “records are made to be broken” was on to something. It seems like every year, a new piece of history is made. In my lifetime, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Roger Maris’ single season homerun record stood for over 35 years, only to see his mark surpassed by two players in the same season. And then only three years later, Mark McGwire’s new record of 70 homers was surpassed by Barry Bonds in his monster 2001 campaign.
This might top every one of them. For the first time ever, a team has come back to win a series where they were down 0-3. Boston scored two in the first on a David Ortiz two run homer, and four in the second on a grand slam by Johnny Damon. Damon then homered again in the fourth to make it 8-1. In four innings, he went from series goat to series hero. Congratulations to the Red Sox on a hard fought victory to make it to their first World Series in eighteen years.
And to make things even more interesting, the Astros and Cardinals will square off in a game seven of their own. Jim Edmonds came up big in the twelth to keep the Cards alive. The Astros biggest concern has to be Brad Lidge, who threw three incredible innings, but has been worked to death in this series. If he comes out tomorrow and puts together more of what he’s given his team in the playoffs, he should be a close second to Carlos Beltran for the MVP.
But you have to love this. Great baseball no matter how you cut it. Let’s just hope the World Series isn’t anticlimactic. If it’s anything close to what we’ve seen in the ALCS and NLCS, we’re going to get a real treat.
I doubt if anyone but the most diehard Red Sox fan predicted the Red Sox to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS. First off, it’s the Red Sox. You know, the Curse of the Bambino and everything. If a team were to come back from 3-0, it would be against the Red Sox.
But this could be a story that would do even Stephen King proud (and he’s going to have a book out about the 2004 Red Sox). For the second straight night, the Red Sox came back late in the game to tie the game up, only to win it in extra innings. They still have a tough road ahead, needing to win two straight at Yankee Stadium. But winning two in a row is a lot more realistic then winning four in a row.
And the story continues tonight, and only gets better. Curt Schilling, who was shelled in game one after proclaiming he was going to shut up 55,000 Yankees fans, has another chance. This is also the guy who had it written into his contract that he’d get a bonus “when” the Red Sox won the World Series. Now is the time get it done.
Not to be outdone, the Astros/Cards game had it’s own drama. With the game scoreless going into the bottom of the ninth, Jeff Kent came up big with a three run walk off homer to end it. Brandon Backe, who had never started a game prior to this season, pitched eight innings of one hit ball, only to give it up to Brad Lidge, who earned the win.
The Astros and Cards get a day break, so tonight it’s game six over in the ALCS. To say this is good baseball would be a gross understatement. I hope everyone is enjoying this as much as I am.
The Red Sox averted a sweep last night in a twelve inning thriller. Fox Sports has to be hoping the Red Sox come back and make this a tight series, but the Yankees send their ace to the mound this afternoon in a game that would have been played Friday had it not been for Mother Nature.
I’m one of those rare people who neither love nor hate the Yankees. I think they’re good for baseball and if they finish off the Red Sox, it’s hard to argue with seven pennants and four World Series Championships (and counting) the last nine years.
Over in the National League, things are lot less clear. I was glued to the radio driving home last night listening to game four. No matter how you cut it, we’ve gotten some great baseball this offseason. Let’s hope the World Series is just as exciting.
The Tigers claimed Byron Gettis and DeWayne Wise off of waivers. I’ll do a little mini-analysis of both later tonight, but this is nothing earth shattering.
Twenty years ago today, the Tigers won the World Series. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but a few of the players on that team are on the coaching staff of the current team. And I can only think of a couple of players in the entire league who played in 1984.
And with the anniversary comes the end of the diary. I had a lot of fun doing this, and it brought back some pleasant memories. Considering they’ve only made the playoffs one time since then, they’re cherished memories.
The Cards/Astros game started late and the Astros are up 1-0. Carlos Beltran homered, again. If the Astros make it to the World Series, he could set some records. Heck, even if they don’t he could set some records.
On the radio, everyone is writing off the Red Sox. It’s a whole new ball game at Fenway, but they’ll have to probably win all three to have a solid chance.
Someday, I’ll be sitting here in October watching the Tigers. Sooner would be preferable to later.
I’m leaving early tomorrow for Toronto. Another wedding. By the time I get back, the league championships should be winding down, if not over with. Have a great weekend.
1984 World Series Game 5
October 14, 1984 Tigers 8, Padres 4 Tigers Win Best of Seven Series 4-1
The score looks like a blowout, but what a game. The Tigers took the series in five, and beat the Padres to win the World Series at Tiger Stadium. In all, they went 4-0 in the playoffs in front of their home fans.
For the fourth straight game, the Tigers got to the Padres very early. Lou Whitaker led off the game with a single, and was forced out on a fielders choice by Alan Trammell. Kirk Gibson then hit the first of two big blasts to put the Tigers up 2-0. Lance Parrish then singled and stole second, was moved to third on a single by Larry Herndon, and was then driven in on a single by Chet Lemon. Starter Mark Thurmond was then pulled after only 1/3 of an inning in which he gave up five hits.
Reliever Andy Hawkins would get the Padres out of that jam. Larry Herndon was caught stealing third, and Barbero Garbey popped out to end the inning. Starter Dan Petry had a nice three run cushion to work with.
After giving up a single in each of the first two innings, Dan Petry gave up his first run in the third on an RBI single by Steve Garvey. In the fourth, he gave up a lead off walk to Kurt Bevacqua. Garry Templeton doubled to put men at second and third when Bobby Brown drove in Bevacqua on a sacrafice fly. Alan Wiggins singled to drive in Garry Templeton, and all of a sudden, we had a tie ball game. Sparky had seen enough, and went to Bill Scherrer in his pen, who got Tony Gwynn to fly out for the final out of the inning.
The Tigers would strike back in the bottom of the fifth. Kirk Gibson, who did it all in this game, singled and moved to second on a fly out by Lance Parrish. Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon walked to load the bases. Gibby then scored on a sac. fly (it was actually a pop out to second base) to put the Tigers up 4-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers added a run on a solo homerun by Lance Parrish. With two innings left to play, the Tigers had a two run cushion that was short lived as the Padres put another run on the board with a solo shot by Kurt Bevacqua. The Tigers now had a razor thin one run margin, and they had one chance to put up some insurance runs for Willie Hernandez.
And insurance he got. In the bottom of the eighth, Marty Castillo walked, and Lou Whitaker bunted himself on. Alan Trammell moved them both over with a bunt of his own before one of the memorable at bats in Tiger’s history happened. Kirk Gibson came to the plate and hit a massive three run shot off of Goose Gossage to give the Tigers a comfortable four run lead. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was shown often during rain outs, where Goose Gossage talked the pitching coach down from intentionally walking Gibby, claiming he would strike him out. Gibson would finish the game three for four, with three runs and five RBIs.
The Padres managed a single in the ninth, but never really threatened. Willie Hernandez earned the save, the Tigers won the World Series. They were World Champions.
1984 World Series Game 4
October 13, 1984 Tigers 4, Padres 2 Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Jack Morris had a an incredible first half in 1984. He had an equally poor second half as he got roughed up start after start. But once the playoffs started, Morris was rock solid, and definitely could be mentioned as a potential MVP candidate. This game was basically the Alan Trammell and Jack Morris show.
In the third, it was deja vu, as Lou Whitaker singled with one out, and then Alan Trammell hit a two run shot, his second homer of the game, to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. They’d threaten more in the inning, getting two more baserunners on, before starter Eric Show got the hook.
As good as Trammell was with the bat, Jack Morris was as good on the mound. Jack went the distance, giving up only five hits and two runs (one of which didn’t come until the ninth). He struck out four, and carried the Tigers to within a game of winning the championship.
Yankees and Red Sox square off in game 1 in about a half hour. Outside of the Tigers making the playoffs, this is what I love about baseball. It’s the biggest rivalry in baseball, possibly all of sports, and the Yankees and Red Sox will settle things in a seven game series starting tonight.
For the first time ever, I picked all four division series correctly. I need the Red Sox and Astros to make it to the World Series to keep my streak alive.
The Tiger’s might be done, but Tigerblog doesn’t take a break. I’ll still be keeping tabs on the Tigers in the offseason, but I also have a few other things that hopefully will make for some good reading.
1935 Bios – Prior to the 1935 diary in April, I have to introduce the participants, so during the winter I’ll either be linking to whatever biography I can find, or writing one myself.
The Debate – Blade Stevens, the Red’s blogger over at Reds Cutting Edge, and I are going to have a back and forth, position by position debate of which team was better, the 1975 Reds, or the 1984 Tigers. Should be fun, especially because I’ll win.
Norm Cash’s Career Year – Norm Cash is the last Tiger to win the batting championship. Back in 1961, he hit .361. The interesting thing is, he only had a career .271 average, and without the 1961 season, he hit .263.
So I’m going to examine how much of an anomaly this season was, and I could use everyone’s help. If you know of anyone who had a career year hitting, drop me a line and I’ll fit him into the analysis. The guy that first comes to mind is Darren Erstad.
So hopefully you’ll stop by and see what’s happening. I’m looking forward to it.
I hit a milestone today. I got my 20,000 visit. I know this is a modest figure compared to some of the other sites (Baseball Musings tops this every month), but it’s a big milestone around here. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.
1984 World Series Game 3
October 12, 1984 Tigers 5, Padres 2 Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Milt Wilcox got the nod in game three after pitching an incredible game a week before in the ALCS. He started out this game on a decent note. He let a baserunner on in each of the first two innings, but neither crossed the plate.
In the bottom of the third, the Tigers once again gave their starter a nice cushion. Chet Lemon got a one out single, and moved over to second on a Tim Lollar wild pitch. Darrell Evans moved him over to third base on a deep fly, and then Marty Castillo came up big, and hit a two run shot to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
The home team wasn’t done though. Lou Whitaker drew a walk, and was driven in on an Alan Trammell double. A Kirk Gibson walk and a Lance Parrish infield single loaded the bases beforeTim Lollar got yanked. Reliever Greg Booker then walked in Tram, and then finally stopped the bleeding by getting Barbero Garbey to fly out (he also led off the inning with a fly out).
After only two innings, the Tigers had a 4-0 lead, and they had knocked out the Padres starter. This was a trend throughout the series, and the four runs the Tigers scored actually stood. The Tigers added a run in the third when Kirk Gibson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Padres did manage to tag Milt Wilcox for a run in the third. He pitched six before handing the ball to Bill Scherrer who gave up a run in the seventh. Willie Hernandez then summarily ended any chance of the Padres coming back by throwing 2 1/3 innings of one hit ball.
With the win, the tide had once again turned in the Tiger’s favor. For the second straight game, they forced the Padres to work deep into their pen, and never really gave them a chance to come back with strong pitching.
With my new SABR membership comes responsibilities. I’m helping out the Business of Baseball committee with their weblog. So if you’re interested in the business aspects of the game, the committee website and the weblog are great resources. The big story right now is the Expos move to DC.
It’s all set, and Fox has to be happy. The ALCS will be a rematch of last season’s dramactic series that saw the the Yankees walk away with a game seven victory in extra innings. Ironically, Aaron Boone, the player who hit the homer, didn’t get a single at bat this season.
And I know I picked the Astros to win it all, but the Red Sox attitude, at least how it’s portrayed on television, has been infectious. I want these guys to win.
But the Yankees manage to pull it out, year after year. I know it’s been a few years since they’ve won a World Series, but how they win is almost as interesting as how much they win. The Twins had solid shots in Games 2 and 4 (especially Game 4) to get a victory, but the Yankees just would not go away. Ruben Sierra’s eighth inning homer was almost expected. Four run leads mean nothing to these guys.
And I question Gardenhire’s decision to pull Johan Santana so early. I know he was pitching on short rest, but this was it. If they lost, it wasn’t a matter of three or four days rest, it was matter of months of rest. And Santana was the best pitcher this year, period. It’s probably moot because he would have then only gone with Balfour for one inning before going to the setup man Juan Rincon in the eighth, but you have to ask yourself “why?”.
I’ll be flipping between the Astros/Braves and Lions games this afternoon, with probably more time on the baseball game. The season is winding down, so I want to get in as much as I can before it’s all over.
1984 World Series Game 2
October 10, 1984 Padres 5, Tigers 3 Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
If there’s one thing the Tigers did well in this series, it was getting out to early leads and knocking out the starting pitcher. This game was no exception, as the Tigers got through Padres’ starter Ed Whitson in the first inning.
Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Kirk Gibson led of the game with consecutive singles to score a run. Gibson stole second to put runners at second and third when Lance Parrish knocked in Trammell with a sacrafice fly. Darrell Evans then drove in Gibby with a single, and the Tigers were out to comfortable 3-0 lead. Ed Whitson would get one more out before giving up another single to John Grubb, and would be summarily pulled.
The Padres wouldn’t strike again until the fourth inning. Like the first inning, starer Dan Petry let the lead off man, Kurt Bevacqua, get on with a single. He’d score on a groundout by Gary Templeton to cut the lead down to a razor thing margin of one run.
The Padres took a page out the Tigers book by coming up with some great pen work. Andy Hawkins went 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one hit. Craig Lefferts did the same over three innings as they both shutdown the Tigers for the final eight innings of the game.
The Tigers pen would be as good, going 3 2/3 and giving up only two hits. The four relievers kept the Tigers in the game, but they just couldn’t get the bats going.
So they left San Diego tied 1-1. If they had lost the first and won the second, I would have said I was happy, but I wasn’t. The Tigers let this one slip from their fingers and hopefully they’d be able to wrap the series up at home.
1984 World Series – Game One
October 9, 1984 Tigers 3, Padres 2 Tigers Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
For the third time in four playoff games, the Tigers put a run on the board in the first inning. Lou Whitaker led off with a single, and Alan Trammell drove him in with a double. It’s always nice to have a lead before the other team even gets to swing their bats.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived. Terry Kennedy drove in two runs with a double in the bottom half of the first off of starter Jack Morris. For the first time in the playoffs, the Tigers were down.
The next three innings saw each team getting only hit a piece. What looked like a game that could turn into a shoot out had settled down. Jack Morris had calmed down, and Padres starter Mark Thurmond was equally effective.
Then the Tigers pounced. In the top of the fifth, Larry Herndon came up big and hit a two out, two run homer to give the Tigers the lead for good.
Jack Morris went the distance, giving up only five hits after getting roughed up in the first inning. The Padres threatened in the sixth by getting their first two men on base with singles, but Morris summarily shutdown the rally by striking out the next three batters.