Archive for August, 2005

Tigers End August on Winning Note, Goose Goslin Homers

August 31, 1935 Tigers 6, Browns 1 (81-44)

The Tigers finished up the month of August with a strong win over the St. Louis Browns. In all, the Tigers finished August with a terrific 23-7 mark and basically used that as a springboard as they built up an insurmountable lead in the American League.

General Crowder gave up ten hits, but only one Brown crossed the plate. He was helped out by two double plays that were started by Billy Rogell.

Goose Goslin homered and drove in two runs and both Rogell and Mickey Cochrane had two hits.

Roxie Lawson Four Hits Athletics, Gehringer Homers

August 28, 1935 Tiger 11, Athletics 0 (79-43)

Roxie Lawson made his second start of the season after being purchased from Toledo, and once again, he came up big. He threw his second shutout in a week (his only two career shutouts to date) and held Philadelphia to four hits.

Charlie Gehringer was two for five with three RBIs and and a run. One of his two hits was his seventeenth homer of the season. Pete Fox, Frank Reiber and Billy Rogell all scored two runs.

Ty Cobb Debuts 100 Years Ago Today

August 30, 1905 was the day Ty Cobb made his major league debut. For a great narrative (and a section on his biography of Ty Cobb) I highly recommend you check out Dan Holmes blog, From Cooperstown.

Tigers Comeback Falls Short

August 30, 1935 Browns 8, Tigers 7 (80-44)

At times during the 1935 season, Tommy Bridges was simply unhittable. It was those other times that prevented him from having a truly historic season. This game got out of hand when Bridges was knocked around in the sixth inning. The Tigers saw their 6-1 lead evaporate to a 6-6 tie, and to make matters worse, the pen couldn’t get the job done. Chief Hogsett gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth as the Browns took an 8-6 lead.

The Tigers weren’t quite done though. In the top of the ninth, the Tigers shaved the lead to a single run, and with a runner on third base and two outs, Browns centerfielder Sammy West made a circus catch out of Goose Goslin’s apparant game tying hit to end the game.

Tommy Bridges did try to help himself out with the bat. He drove in three runs with a double. Goose Goslin was two for three with two RBIs and a run.

Hank Greenberg’s Five RBIs Leads Tigers to Fourth Straight Win

August 29, 1935 Tigers 13, Browns 3 (80-43)

Hank Greenberg hit his 34th homer of the season and he drove in five runs as the Tigers ran up the score on the the last place St. Louis Browns. Six different Tigers had multihit games and Pete Fox, Goose Goslin and Charlie Gehringer all drove in two runs.

Elden Auker gave up three runs on nine hits as he coasted to another victory. The win put the Tigers nine and a half games ahead of the Yankees.

Fenway Beatdown and the Trading Deadline

Fenway Park is a tough place to play. The dimensions and the wall make it especially unique. It’s even tougher to play when you spot the other team eleven runs. The Tiger’s pitching staff gave up runs in six of the Red Sox eight innings today.

With September coming up soon, it’ll be back to the AL Central. This week we have three against the Indians and four against the White Sox. The only two series that aren’t against AL Central teams are a four game set against the Angels and three games at home against the Mariners. I’m taking my son to his first Tiger game on September 11 so I’m really looking forward to that. Kids get to run the bases, and since he’s still pretty little, he’ll need help from dad. I was down on the field at Tiger Stadium, but I’ve never been down on the field at Comerica Park.

The final trading deadline is coming up, and I haven’t heard many rumors, so it looks like the Tigers will be sitting tight. The guys I’d like to see them deal don’t have a ton of trade value (it always seems to work like that) so in the end, even if we do make a deal, I don’t see it making a huge impact on the team.

Tigers Take Two Against Athletics

August 27, 1935 Tigers 6, Athletics 5 (77-43)

The Tigers edged the Athletics in the first game of their doubleheader. It was the Tigers third doubleheader in seven days. The Tigers drew nine walks, two of which drove in runs in the third inning. More importantly, with the game tied at 5-5, Pete Fox doubled in the bottom of the ninth, and eventually crossed the plate after three straight walks to end the game.

Pete Fox was two for three with three runs and Hank Greenberg had two hits and an RBI. Starter Vic Sorrell was knocked around for twelve hits, but he did just enough to walk away with the win.

August 27, 1935 Tigers 5, Athletics 0 (78-43)

Schoolboy Rowe made a run at history by striking out twelve Athletics in nine innings of five hit ball. The previous record of thirteen was held by Philadelphia’s Sugar Cain. Regardless, Rowe earned his sixteenth win of the season.

Charlie Gehringer had two hits and two runs while Hank Greenberg had two hits and an RBI. The two wins gave the Tigers a nine and a half game lead over the Yankees in the American League.

Tigers Run Up the Score in First Game of Doubleheader, Drop Second Game

August 26, 1935 Tigers 13, Athletics 7 (76-42)

The Tigers were actually down in this game as they trailed Philadelphia 7-4. They stormed back and scored runs in each of their final four innings as they ran up the score and racked up 17 hits.

Hank Greenberg had three RBI and three runs while Marv Owen drove in four.

August 26, 1935 Athletics 3, Tigers 2 (76-43)

Tommy Bridges lost a pitchers dual as he gave up only four hits. Unfortunately one of those hits was a solo homer by Jimmie Foxx and two errors in the ninth led to the game winning runs.

Billy Rogell and Jo Jo White both tripled and Mickey Cochrane doubled, scored and drove in a run.

Fenway Memories and Matthew Reilly

A little over three years ago, my wife (who was then my fiance) surprised me with an Independence Day weekend trip to Boston which included catching the Tigers play at Fenway Park. Ted Williams passed away the night we were travelling to Boston, so that was the major story while we were there. I was also set to see a matchup of the two Tiger aces go head to head as Pedro Martinez and Jeff Weaver were supposed to throw. Weaver ended up being traded that night so I ended up seeing instead a rookie Mike Maroth go up against the Red Sox.

Regardless, the trip holds a special place in my heart. Since then we’ve gone to New York, Toronto and Cincinnati, but that first trip was special because it was the first. So anytime the Tigers travel to Fenway, I have fond memories of that weekend.

The Tigers struggled for the first time in a while this week against the A’s as they dropped their series. At this point, I think .500 is an admirable goal, but whether they finish above or below that figure doesn’t mean much to me. It’s time to check and see what we might have in waiting this last month of the season. I would’tn mind seeing a few fall starts by Justin Verlander or Joel Zumaya (although Zumaya is most likely going to be in the AAA playoffs). In addition, there’s plenty of tight playoff races so this last month should be a good one for baseball fans.

I picked up Matthew Reilly’s latest book “Scarecrow.” If you like action, I highly recommend Reilly. He makes most of the action books seem pale by comparison and if you want to start, you should probably read “Ice Limit” or “Temple” first. Great stuff. He has action scenes that go on for upwards of 50 pages and it’s pretty intense reading.

Have a great weekend.

Charlie Gehringer, Elden Auker Lead Tigers To Win

August 25, 1935 Tigers 6, Athletics 2 (76-42)

Elden Auker held the Athletics to two runs on eight hits as the Tigers extended their lead over the Yankees to 8 1/2 games. He walked two and struck out one as he earned his thirteenth win of the season.

Charlie Gehringer drove in a pair of runs while Jo Jo White tripled, scored and drove in a run.

Roxie Lawson Shut Outs Red Sox in Season Debut

August 24, 1935 Tigers 2, Red Sox 0 (74-42)

Roxie Lawson made his start in over two years as he threw a five hitter against the Red Sox. It was his first career shutout and while he walked five, he also struck out five.

The Tigers scored both of their runs in the bottom of the sixth when Red Sox first baseman Babe Dahlgren let a Goose Goslin grounder go through his legs. Jo Jo White and Charlie Gerhinger came around to score on the play as Lefty Grove was tagged for two unearned earns.

The Yankees lost their game against the Browns, so once again the Tigers had built up an eight game lead.

Schoolboy Rowe Four Hits Red Sox

August 23, 1935 Tigers 4, Red Sox 0 (73-42)

For the third game out of the last six days, Mickey Cochrane handed the ball to starter Schoolboy Rowe and for the second time in those six games, he threw a shutout. This time around, it was an impressive four hit shutout in which Rowe struck out six batters.

Even more impressive was Rowe went two for four with a homerun and two RBIs to help out his own cause. Billy Rogell had three hits, a run and an RBI and Jo Jo White had two hits and two runs.

Tigers Give Up Big Lead, Lose to Red Sox

August 22, 1935 Red Sox 10, Tigers 9 (72-42)

Tommy Bridges cruised along until he got shelled in the eighth inning. In all, three pitchers would give up six runs in that eighth inning as the Tigers gave up a four run lead.

Hank Greenberg hit his 33rd homer of the season as he drove in four runs. Marv Owen had four hits and two RBIs and Pete Fox scored three runs.

Tigers Sweep Jays With 29 Runs This Weekend

Don’t look now, but the Tigers have won seven of eight and they’re now only two games below .500. They’re playoff chances are pretty much zero (Baseball Prospectus still puts us with less then a 1% chance of making up that 7.5 game deficit), but they’re playing as good as they have all season.

Today, they put on a show for the fans. By the end of the first, they were up 7-0. By the end of six, they were up 15-0. The Jays made a late rally with five in the seventh, but this game was over with early. What’s interesting is, we only outhit the Jays 15-11, yet we outscored them 17-6.

Five different Tigers had two or more runs, five had two or more RBIs, and five Tigers had multihit games. Curtis Granderson hit his third homer of the season and Carlos Pena and Craig Monroe also went yard.

This week, we get to play spoiler. The Athletics come to town and then we go to Boston for the weekend series. I’m getting sick of helping out the Yankees but I obviously want to win as many of these games as we can.

Crowder, Auker Pitch Tigers to Doubleheader Sweep

August 21, 1935 Tigers 4, Red Sox 1 (71-41)

General Crowder held the Red Sox to a mere four hits as he earned his 15th win of the season. Crowder walked two and struck out two.

Marv Owen drove in two runs and had two hits and Pete Fox had two doubles and an RBI. Goose Goslin scored twice.

August 21, 1935 Tigers 3, Red Sox 2 (72-42)

The Tigers scored a go ahead run in the bottom of the eight and Elden Auker held the Red Sox to two runs on eleven hits. Charlie Gehringer tripled and scored a run while Pete Fox doubled, scored and drove in a run.

The two wins padded the Tigers lead over the Yankees to seven games. With forty games left, the Tigers chances of winning their second straight pennant seemed better and better every day.

Yankees Edge Tigers, Two Teams Split Four Game Series

August 20, 1935 Yankees 6, Tigers 5 (70-41)

Schoolboy Rowe was hit hard after getting only one days rest between starts. The Yankees tagged him for three runs in the first and three in the third before Mickey Cochrane went to his pen.

The Tigers tried to stage a comeback but just fell short. Hank Greenberg drove in two with his 32nd homer of the season to start off a four run rally in the sixth, but in the end, they’d fall a run short.

Yankees Top Tigers, Vic Sorrell Hit Hard

August 19, 1935 Yankees 7, Tigers 5 (70-40)

The Yankees jumped all over starter Vic Sorrell and sent him packing in the third inning. By the end of three innings, the Yankees had a 4-0 lead. The Tigers staged a comeback in the fourth with three runs, but they could never surpass the Yanks, who hit the ball well all game long.

Charlie Gehringer had two hits and two RBIs and Hank Greenberg doubled twice.

Schoolboy Rowe Three Hits Yankees

August 18, 1975 Tigers 6, Yankees 0 (73-42)

Schoolboy Rowe put on a pitching clinic in front of 39,000 Tiger fans as the Tigers increased their lead over the Yankees to eight games. Rowe even helped out his own cause by hitting a two run homer. What made the win even more impressive was Rowe was hit with a line drive in the groin in the third inning. After a 15 minute delay, Rowe came back on the field and held the Yanks hitless until the eighth inning.

Pete Fox hit a solo homer and scored two runs and Goose Goslin was two for four.

It’s been a while…

I haven’t made a contribution here in a while, somewhat because life has been a touch too much in the way, and moreso because it’s just been too depressing to contemplate Tiger thoughts since the collapse that began with the trip west right before the trading deadline.

I’m firmly in the Alan Trammell camp. Would I have left in Nate Robertson a couple games back? Yeah, I probably would have. But a manager has to manage the egos on the team, too. My dad hated Sparky Anderson‘s “captain hook routine”, which is what he called it when Sparky would pull a pitcher who was throwing perfectly fine for a fresh arm out of the bullpen. Even in Game 5 of the ’84 Series, he wondered why Sparky wouldn’t trust Dan Petry past 3-2/3 innings, after all, the Pads had only tied the game… But then, once you bring on Bill Scherrer, why, oh why, do you replace him with Aurelio Lopez after one lousy single among his 3 outs? Then you trust Senor Smoke for 2-1/3 perfect innings — that’s 7 up, 7 down — but you bring on Willie Hernandez for the final 2 innings? Let’s just say that the homer Willie gave up to Kurt Bevacqua to draw the Pads to just a 5-4 deficit was not greeted well. I wasn’t as vocally anti-Sparky as my dad was, because I took the big picture into account. You can’t argue with results. Ask my dad about the Willie Hernandez-for-Aurelio Lopez move today, he’ll get a bulging vein in his forehead over it, I guarantee you.

Well, I spent far more words on that than I intended, but part of that was the nice surprise of finding the fantastic play-by-play of Game 5 of the ’84 World Series available from the fine folks of retrosheet.

What I really wanted to comment on today was the demise of Rondell White to a separated left shoulder. I had noticed several times already that Rondell was among the league leaders in batting average, a stat that surprised me. I had not been under the impression that Rondell was the 8th-best hitter in the AL. Then I set out to create a chart that might show why I had that perception. But let me explain something first. Bill James sometimes talked about how much a player’s batting average represented his total offensive output, which got me to thinking about Rondell’s batting average versus his OPS. Now, remember that OPS consists of batting average twice plus a player’s walk rate, plus his extra bases (or isolated power). For instance, let’s say it’s Opening Day, and the top 4 players of your lineup come up 5 times each. If player A goes 3-for-5 on all singles, he has a 600 batting average, 600 OBP and a 600 SLG, for a 1200 OPS. If player B goes 2-for-5 with a home run, he has a 400 batting average, a 400 OBP and a 1000 SLG for a 1400 OPS. If player C goes 2-for-4, both singles, plus a walk, he has a 500 batting average, a 600 OBP and a 500 SLG for an OPS of 1100. If player D goes 1-for-3 with a triple and 2 walks, he has a 333 batting average, a 600 OBP and a 1000 SLG for an OPS of 1600. In that situation, the man with the worst batting average has the team lead, rater surprisingly to some, in OPS. However, the guy who just had 3 singles isn’t so shabby, either, because those singles count toward both his OBP and his SLG, so they are essentially counted twice. Anyways, that is how I came up with the following chart (of the top 25 batting averages in the American League), with the final stat being the percentage of the player’s OPS coming from his batting average (for the formula-friendly, that’s 2xBA divided by OPS).

1. J. Damon – BA 332, OPS 852 – 77.9%
2. P. Polanco – BA 329, OPS 817 – 80.5%
3. M. Young – BA 327, OPS 886 – 73.8%
4. V. Guerrero – BA 326, OPS 975 – 66.9%
5. B. Roberts – BA 319, OPS 918 – 69.5%
6. M. Tejada – BA 317, OPS 911 – 69.6%
7. A. Rodriguez – BA 314, OPS 1013 – 62.0%
8. R. White – BA 313, OPS 836 – 74.9%
9. T. Hafner – BA 309, OPS 974 – 63.4%
10. I. Suzuki – BA 308, OPS 794 – 77.6%
11. J. Varitek – BA 305, OPS 939 – 64.5%
12. D. Jeter – BA 304, OPS 831 – 73.2%
13. D. Ortiz – BA 303, OPS 993 – 61.0%
14. J. Peralta – BA 302, OPS 906 – 66.7%
15. G. Sheffield – BA 302, OPS 925 – 65.3%
16. S. Hillenbrand – BA 301, OPS 835 – 72.1%
17. H. Matsui – BA 299, OPS 861 – 69.5%
18. M. Sweeney – BA 297, OPS 864 – 68.8%
19. J. Mauer – BA 297, OPS 805 – 73.8%
20. C. Crisp – BA 296, OPS 788 – 75.1%
21. R. Ibanez – BA 295, OPS 819 – 72.0%
22. J. Lugo – BA 295, OPS 745 – 79.1%
23. B. Mueller – BA 294, OPS 809 – 72.7%
24. I. Rodriguez – BA 290, OPS 752 – 77.1%
25. D. DeJesus – BA 290, OPS 791 – 73.3%

There you have it, Placido Polanco has the least offensive contribution outside of his batting average among this group, and since this is the top 25 batting averages in the league, he’s likely also the leader in that category league-wide. Other players coming in at worse than White are Ichiro, Coco Crisp, Julio Lugo and the Tigers’ own Ivan Rodriguez, mainly due to his precipitous drop-off in the walk department (just 6 in 386 at-bats… far worse than his career average). Or, in other words, the Tigers are owners of (quite likely… again, I haven’t calculated these for all American Leaguers) 3 of the top 6 emptiest batting averages in the league. Small wonder why we’re having problems scoring runs.

Tigers Edge Yankees in Ten Innings

August 17, 1935 Tigers 3, Yankees 2 (69-39)

The Tigers gave Navin Field’s faithful a great game as the Tigers increased their lead over the Yankees to a season high seven games. The Tigers got on the board with single runs in both the first and second inning against Yanks starter Lefty Gomez. The Yankees then answered with runs in the third and the fifth before the game settled into a solid pitchers dual.

In the bottom of the tenth, Goose Goslin singled but was forced out on a fielder choice by Billy Rogell. Ray Hayworth followed that up with a double which put runners on second and third. Gomez intentionally walked Marv Owen when the blunder of the game happened. Mickey Cochrane put himself in as a pinch hitter for General Crowder and hit a grounder to Yankees second baseman Jack Saltzgaver. While playing in, the backup infielder seemed confused as to whether he should try to get the runner out at home or whether he should try for a double play. In his confusion, he simply threw the ball to first base for the out, but Rogell scored to win the game.

The game almost had a brawl as well. In the sixth inning, Yankees shortstop Tony Lazzeri tried taking out Marv Owen at third. Both players threw out threats, but nothing came of it.

General Crowder threw an awesome game. He went ten innings and he gave up only two runs on ten hits. He also outdueled a future Hall of Famer to take the first game of a pivotal series.

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