The Tigers limped out of their final homestand against the White Sox with a split. Curtis Granderson’s walk off homer on Monday was probably the funnest part of the series, but the Tigers’ bats seemed to go south in the last two games. Now the Tigers head to Minnesota for a three game series that will wrap up their season. If the Tigers win two of three, they’ll exceed (barely) their win total from last season.
Billfer touched on this, but the Tigers topped 2 million in attendance for the first time since opening Comerica Park. ESPN’s numbers don’t appear to take into account yesterday’s 13,000 people, so if you add those, it puts us around 2,037,000 people, which is good for 21st in MLB. Attendance throughout the league set an all time record, so I’ll be taking a look at how this stacks up to the rest of the teams.
Local author Tom Stanton, who’s written some great books like “Road to Cooperstown” and “The Final Season” is going to be making appearances at local libraries to talk about his upcoming work “The Detroit Tigers Reader.” You can see where he’ll be by clicking here.
It looks like the Red Sox and Yankees will give us a bit of excitement this weekend and the series affects both the AL East and the wildcard. The only other playoff race not decided is the NL wildcard, but the Astros have a two game lead. The Indians and White Sox are tied, so whoever comes out of that Yankees/Red Sox series has to make sure they at least take a game, or they’ll be out of the race.
September 29, 1935 White Sox 3, Tigers 2 (93-57)
September 29, 1935 White Sox 14, Tigers 2 (93-58)
While it was nice to see Elden Auker back on the mound after being hit by a line drive last week, it wasn’t nice to see him get shelled. By the bottom of the second, the White Sox had eight runs and Joe Sullivan was in relief of Auker. Sullivan couldn’t stem the tide as he was tagged for six more runs and by the bottom of the third inning, the Tigers were down 14-2.
September 28, 1935 White Sox 6, Tigers 3 (92-56)
Tommy Bridges was cruising along with a shutout through five innings, but the White Sox tagged him for two runs in the sixth, then four in the eighth as the White Sox beat the Tigers in the front end of their doubleheader. Bridges struck out three and gave up only seven hits, but the White Sox made them count.
September 25, 1935 Tigers 8, White Sox 3 (93-56)
Schoolboy Rowe threw a nice game and the Tigers’ bats ran up the score in the second game of the doubleheader. Prior to the first game, manager Mickey Cochrane said that whoever threw better between Bridges and Rowe in the doubleheader would get the nod in game one of the World Series.
The Tigers ran up the score and by the top of the fourth inning, they had a 6-0 lead. Charlie Gehringer had a huge day, going three for five with a homerun, two runs and three RBIs. Pete Fox also hit the ball as he went two for four with a homer, three runs and an RBI.
While 15 runs in two games is hardly an offensive onslaught, it was good enough for the Tigers to blowout the just as bad Seattle Mariners this weekend. We dropped the first game on Friday, but bounced back to win our last two games.
Jason Grilli made his first career start on Saturday and really shined. I know the Mariners aren’t great, but anytime you can hold a major league team to two hits through seven innings, you have to be impressed. Jason Grilli won the third and final game for the Mud Hens as they won the Governors Cup (International League World Series).
The Tigers would have to take all four against the White Sox to finish the season above .500 at home. They need one home win to match last years total of 38.
The Tigers signed their first round draft pick Cameron Maybin. Definitely good news, and it’s expected that he’ll play A ball next year. He got a nice chunk of change as his signing bonus was $2.65 million.
The Tigers have a chance to make an impact on the playoff picture this week when they square off against the White Sox. Heck, I guess no matter what happens, win or lose, it will have some kind of impact. The Tigers haven’t had much luck against the White Sox this season, so it’d be nice to see them turn it around now. Better late then never.
September 25, 1935 Indians 3, Tigers 2 (92-55)
Chief Hogsett did all he could to win the game in relief of Elden Auker. Auker was hit on the wrist by a come backer in the first inning. While no bones were broken, the World Series was coming up and the Tigers needed all their good arms ready to play the Chicago Cubs.
Hogsett homered to drive in one of the Tigers’ runs and Billy Rogell drove in the other with an RBI single in the second inning.
September 24, 1935 Indians 14, Tigers 7 (92-54)
Mickey Cochrane was absent from the Tigers bench in this game because he went to New York to watch the Joe Louis/Max Baer title bout. The game was actually close through six innings, but General Crowder, and then Roxie Lawson fell apart to give up a total of eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
A four-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Kansas City Royals. It just doesn’t get any lower than this. Then, suddenly… It hit me. The appropriate strategy for the final 10 games of the season: Draft position. Since the powers that be have decided that the first overall pick will alternate between leagues, it’s a close race between the Pirates and the Rockies for first overall (with the Pirates 1½ game “ahead” currently). On the American League side, it is, unfortunately, already mathematically impossible for the Royals to finish ahead of us. However, the Mariners (our next opponent, no less!) are just 1½ games “ahead” of us and we only need to make up 3½ games on Tampa Bay to pass them by. On the NL side, we’ll need to make sure to out-lose the Dodgers, who currently have exactly the same record as we do, and the Rockies are way out front – we need to make up 4 games to pass them (or 5½ games to pass the Pirates, should the Rox find their way to the first overall pick). So, that’s the new plan… There’s 10 games left, let’s lose ’em all, and we could wind up as high as the third overall pick in next summer’s draft.
How will we lose them all? I know, let’s shut down Jeremy Bonderman for the year. Then, let’s feature (in just 10 games, remember) at least two starts each from Sean Douglass, Matt Ginter, and Jason Grilli (and shutting down Bonderman nearly assures this). Hey, while we’re at it, let’s take a look at that lineup, huh?
Catcher: Well, Ivan Rodriguez says he wants to clear his head (see lower half of the Tigers Corner column at the “Bonderman being shut down” link above)? Fine. Let’s start Vance Wilson for the last 10 games. And, while we’re at it, let’s reward Max St. Pierre for his very nice year down in AA… by getting him acclimated to his future career role: backup catcher.
1st Base: You know what? For developmental value, I’m in favor of going ahead and letting Chris Shelton finish out the year here.
2nd Base: Hey, Placido, nice year. Here’s your reward: A nice 10-game rest. Save some for next year, buddy. Somebody get Kevin Hooper on the blower and tell him to grab the next plane to Detroit.
Left Field: Well, Craig, congratulations are in order. You’re leading the team in RBIs, and no one else is even within shouting distance. So what say you shut it down for the last 10 games, and we’ll see if the real Nook Logan will please stand up.
Center Field: Now, you might be asking yourself… Why Logan in left field? Because, like Shelton at first base, we’ll be employing Curtis Granderson in center for developmental purposes.
Right Field: Magglio, buddy, really… We believe you about the knee thing. Even if the Chicago media types don’t. And the sports hernia, well… Stuff happens. But, honestly, let’s not risk anything, huh? Save it for next year. In the meantime, we’ll be putting the strikeout-tastic Marcus Thames in right, because he’s probably got a family to feed and all, and who knows, maybe some other team will see something they like and pick him up for next year. Let’s give him a chance.
Designated Hitter: Wow, Dmitri, you really weren’t kidding when you said playing left field wasn’t really a good thing for you, long term… So, yeah, take a seat, pal. No problem. It’s really better for us to bat our pitchers from here on out, anyways. Warm ’em up for next year’s interleague play, that’s the ticket.
Oh, yeah, and as long as we’re working completely on next year, let’s get Cameron Maybin inked. Way to go, Double-D… Now let’s just work on losing these last 10 games.
September 22, 1935 Browns 1, Tigers 0 (92-53)
Hank Greenberg doubled. That’s the extent of the hitting highlights.
Talk about a tough stretch. While I didn’t hear the interview, I guess Tram sounded pretty demoralized before the game. I could just imagine how he felt after the game.
In case you missed it, the Tigers were swept by the Royals. The Tigers won the season series 10-9, but that’s not a good enough record against the worst team in baseball (minus one of their better players, David DeJesus). Now the Tigers have to play .500 ball the rest of the way just to match last year’s total of 72 wins.
Assuming the Tigers lose four more games (which is likely with a series against the White Sox and just based on the way we’re playing) it will be their 500th loss in the past five years. There’s no doubt this decade has been the darkest ever in franchise history..
And while I’m going to stick with Tram to the end, it’s now likely he’ll be gone soon. Jim Leyland is going to be courted by both the Tigers and the Pirates, and it will be interesting to see how things develop. If Dave Dombrowski does decide to change managers, next year will be his litmus test. If he brings in a seasoned manager like Leyland and we still flounder around the 90 loss mark, I think his days will then be numbered.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the final week and a half of baseball leading up to the post season. There’s some great races going on, and who would have thought at this time last month that the White Sox would be in trouble. The Tigers will have a chance to make a mark on that race early next week, and the final four game series between the White Sox and the Indians should make for some good baseball. Although it will have some solid competition as the Yankees and Red Sox square off. Only a 1/2 game seperate those two teams.
What’s sad is, that at this time next month the season will be winding down. Enjoy baseball while you can, because it’s almost over with.
I forgot to mention this the first time through, but Jeremy Bonderman has been shut down. His elbow has been bothering him, and it’s mostly due to learning a circle change this year (got this from Will Carroll’s UTK).
September 21, 1935 Tigers 6, Browns 2 (91-52)
The Tigers won the first game of their double header with the St. Louis Browns behind a strong performance by Tommy Bridges. He won his 21st game of the season and he held the Browns to two runs on seven hits.
The Browns actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer both tripled and scored two runs and Marv Owen and Goose Goslin had two hits.
September 21, 1935 Tigers 2, Browns 0 (92-52)
Elden Auker threw a gem as the Tigers clinched their second straight American League pennant. Auker threw a six hit shutout and he struck out four batters.
The Tigers were headed to their fifth World Series in franchise history and it still wasn’t certain who they’d be playing. The Chicago Cubs, who were on a tear in the month of September, led the St. Louis Cardinals by 3 1/2 games. The Cubs had won 17 in a row and were 19-1 in the month of September.
Hoping to avoid ignominy and multiple kinds of records for avoiding walks, Ivan Rodriguez has, just moments ago, entered the double digits for walks on the year, drawing a leadoff walk in the top of the 2nd inning from Jimmy Gobble. This, along with drawing a similar leadoff walk in the top of the 2nd of yesterday’s first game off of Royals rookie J.P. Howell, has given Pudge a grand total of 10 walks on the season. Congratulations are in order.
Alright, I’m in the home stretch of the 1935 Tigers diary, but I’ve run into a problem. If anyone knows the answer to this, I’d appreciate you passing it on.
According to my box scores, the Tigers clinched the penant on this day in 1935. But that didn’t match up with my running magic number (which was off by one). Anyway, I have them with a magic number of three after taking two games against the Browns in a doubleheader today.
Here’s where I’m running into a problem. If you look at the season ending standings, the Tigers were 93-58 with three games cancelled. The Yankees finished with an 89-60 mark with five games left. If the Tiger lose their three and the Yankees win their five, then the Yanks finish a game ahead of the Tigers.
The only thing I can think of was that those games were permanently cancelled, and in effect, shafting the Yankees. Is this the right answer? If anyone knows, either drop a comment or shoot me an email. I’d appreciate it. That way I can go back and fix my old entries and get everything up to date.
September 19, 1935 Red Sox 4, Tigers 1 (90-52)
Once again, the Tigers league leading offense didn’t show up as the Tigers lost their third straight game. General Crowder was solid, but a three run eighth inning gave the Red Sox all they’d need. On the other side, Lefty Grove held the Tigers, giving up only one run on eights hits.
After taking the series opener against the Angels, the Tigers have now lost three straight. They’re 4-13 in September, but we’re not here to look at the bad. I’m putting on my rose colored glasses and looking for things to build on.
Unfortunately, I have to look really, really hard.
Let’s start with Friday. The Tigers came back from a 4-2 deficit to take the lead. Yes, they eventually allowed the Angels to tie the game back up and summarily win it in extra frames, but the team didn’t lie down. In that game, Fernando Rodney threw 1 1/3 shutout innings. Which leads us too…….
Positive number two. Fernando Rodney’s very solid season has been lost in the Tigers recent rut. Yeah, he blew a save the next day, but he’s thrown 38 innings and he has 39 strikeouts agaisnt only 11 walks. He has a .227 batting average against and while the five blown saves look bad, he’s better then anyone else we have and would make a nice cheap alternative as the closer for the entire season next year. I’m hoping Dombrowski doesn’t go shopping. I’d just as soon pick up a couple of good quality long guys then spend a large chunk of money on next year’s Troy Percival.
Curtis Granderson went five for five today and he’s now hitting .318 through 107 at bats. Positive number three is we now have our starting center fielder for 2006 and hopefully beyond. He also has three fielding runs above average in the short amount of time he’s played, so the fielding ability is definitely there as well.
I’ll throw in one more. Magglio Ordonez has quietly put together a nice second half (the only half for him) of the season. While the power isn’t there, we all expected his homer total to go down. But he has a rock solid .379 OBP and has 29 walks vs. 31 strikeouts. Expect him to improve on his numbers next year.
It’s tough being an optimist and a Tiger fan. But the good points are definitely there if you dig deep enough.
September 18, 1935 Red Sox 4, Tigers 3 (90-51)
The Tiger outhit the Red Sox 13-8, but they came up a run short on the score board as they were edged by the Red Sox. Schoolboy Rowe’s solid start went to waste and the game winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth on a bases loaded single by Wes Ferrell.
Pete Fox and Rowe were the hitting stars as they both had two hits. And while the Yankees picked up a half game in the standings because of they split their doubleheader, the loss meant the Tigers were a little bit closer to locking up the pennant.
September 17, 1935 Red Sox 5, Tigers 4 (90-50)
The Tigers failed to get any closer to their second straight pennant as they dropped a close game to the Red Sox. The Tigers took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning only to have Elden Auker give up two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Auker took the loss as he gave up 14 hits through seven innings of work. The Yankees beat the Browns, so the Tigers still led the Yankees by 9 1/2 games.
September 16, 1935 Tigers 5, Red Sox 3
Tommy Bridges had a nice start as he held the Red Sox to three runs on ten hits as he won his 20th game of the season. He got all of his help in the fourth inning when the Tigers scored five runs.
With the win, the Tigers extended their lead to 9 1/2 games. It was only a matter of time now before the Tigers clinched the pennant.
First of all, let’s congratulate Ivan Rodriguez on his 8th walk of the season last night, whereupon he came around to score on Curtis Granderson’s inside-the-park home run. But let’s also appreciate the strange look about Pudge’s stat line on the year. Just as one aspect of it, he’s got quite a good chance to finish the season with double-digit homers (he’s already got this one) and single-digit walks (needs to avoid getting 2 more Annie Oakleys in the Tigers’ last 17 games).
Only 24 men in 25 such seasons (Todd Greene is the only double-dipper) have ever accomplished the feat. Sad to tell, but it was a Tiger that broke the mold: Steve Souchock in 1953 smoked 11 bombs, but walked just 8 times. It happened twice in the ’60’s (Gene Green of the ’62 Indians (11 HR/8 walks) and Willie Smith of the ’64 L.A. Angels (11/8)… right after the Tigers had traded him in the previous off-season), then only once in the ’70’s (Andres Mora of the ’77 Orioles (13/5)). It exploded to 6 occurrences in the ’80’s, starting with the strike-shortened season of Gary Gray of the ’81 Mariners (13/4) and the ’84 seasons of Jim Presley, Mariners (10/6) and Bill Schroeder, Brewers (14/8). It was all the way to 1988 before a National Leaguer turned the trick, but then there were actually 2 of them in that year – Ricky Jordan of the Phillies (11/7), and Bo Diaz’s 10 HR and 7 walks for the Reds that year, a feat made even more memorable when considering that 4 of his walks were intentional (likely he batted #8 in front of the pitcher quite a bit). Tony Armas completed the ’80’s with 11 HR and 7 walks for the ’89 California Angels. The ’90’s were all the more productive, featuring 10 such seasons. Mel Hall started it all in 1990 for the Yankees with 12 HR and just 6 walks (and, though he nearly matched Willie Smith’s high of 118 games with 113, he did get 360 at-bats on the year compared to Smith’s 359). It’s a little hard to remember Andre Dawson as a Red Sock, but he managed to turn this trick in the strike-shortened ’94 season with the Sawx (16/9). Sandy Alomar, Jr. pulled it off in the strike-shortened ’95 season with the Indians (10/7), and ’96 saw two more players do it: Rex Hudler for the Angels (16/9) and Jermaine Dye for the Braves (12/8). 1998 was the real bumper crop, with four players turning the trick: Roberto Kelly for the Rangers (16/8), Jeff Abbott for the White Sox (12/9), Richie Sexson for the Indians (11/6), and Shane Spencer’s amazing debut with the Yankees (10/5). Spencer turned the trick in the fewest at-bats ever, needing only 67. In 1999, the pace slowed to a crawl by comparison, with only Craig Paquette (10/6) of the Cardinals qualifying. 2000 returned to multiple entries, with Shawon Dunston of the Cardinals (12/6) and Fernando Seguignol of the Expos (12/6). Nobody did it in 2001, so naturally there were three qualifiers in 2002: Karim Garcia for the Indians (16/6), Joe Crede of the White Sox (12/8), and Todd Greene of the Rangers (10/2). Oddly enough, Todd Greene duplicated his numbers in both categories exactly the next year, becoming the first man ever to do it twice (much less twice in a row), and also the last man to pull off the feat. Until this year, that is.
Now, among that group, the leader in games is Willie Smith with 118 (Pudge currently has 119), as mentioned Mel Hall leads with 360 at-bats (Pudge is at 469), Rex Hudler leads with 60 runs scored (Pudge has 70), Willie Smith leads with 108 hits (Pudge 134), most doubles goes to Mel Hall with 23 (Pudge 31), most triples is Willie Smith with 6 (Pudge 5), most home runs goes to Andre Dawson, Karim Garcia and Roberto Kelly with 16 (Pudge 14), most RBI is Karim Garcia with 52 (Pudge 49), most stolen bases is Rex Hudler with 14 (Pudge 7), most strikeouts is Jermaine Dye with 67 (Pudge 85), most intentional walks is Bo Diaz with 4 (Pudge 2), most HBP is Andre Dawson with 4 (Pudge 2), most sacrifices goes to Bill Schroeder, Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Shawon Dunston with 4 (Pudge 1), most sacrifice flies is Jeff Abbott with 5 (Pudge 7), most GIDP is Bo Diaz with 16 (Pudge 18), highest batting average is Shane Spencer at .373 (Pudge .286), highest OBP is also Spencer at .411 (Pudge .296), and Spencer also leads in SLG at .910 (Pudge .463).
So, let’s see…. Among 18 categories (15 of them counting stats), Pudge already holds the lead in 8 of them. None of his leads are in the average categories, so you really could say he’s got 8 of 15… And he’s got a real shot at a few more, notably HRs and RBIs (and with more games to play in Comerica Park, he could at least tie for triples, too). Of course, he has the lead in most of those categories mainly due to his commanding lead in just two – games and at-bats. What we are witnessing with Pudge’s strange batting line for the 2005 season is yet another baseball first… (Drum roll, please.) Unless he manages to screw up and walk two more times in the last 17 games, Ivan Rodriguez will be the first ever full-time player with single-digit walks and double-digit home runs.
Personally, I’d be willing to overlook this as an anomaly, because while Pudge has never been what you might call prodigious in the walk department, this season would represent a new low for him (indeed, as has been covered elsewhere, it will be very near to a historic low for all of baseball history). However, if he turns in another performance anywhere close to this next year, it might be time for a new nickname: Ivan “I Hate Walks” Rodriguez.
Congratulations to the Toledo Mudhens, who won their first Governors Cup since 1967. They swept the Indianapolis Indians in three games, so we should be seeing guys like Ryan Rayburn and Marcus Thames up with the big league club shortly (most likely Saturday I’d guess).
I’ve gotten enough email about this and heard enough about it on talk radio to figure out Ivan Rodriguez’s complaints about the team have taken center stage. In addition, Alan Trammell has come under fire for the cliff this team has fallen off of. The two go hand in hand, so they’re worth disecting together.
What Ivan Rodriguez is doing is wrong. Plain and simple. It’s one thing to try to call your team out and inspire them, but what Pudge is trying to do is bring the team down. I know he’s had a rough season, both on and off the field, but what he’s done since the Farnsworth trade (openly criticize teammates and his coaches) is inexcusable. More so because he can’t even back up what he’s talking about. Maybe when he says the team sucks, he should be looking in the mirror when he says it, because his season hasn’t gone as well as season’s past.
He does lead the team in hitting, but he has a grand total of 49 RBIs. And this is for a guy who’s hacking at anything. Eight more strikeouts and he has a career best, and his .759 OPS is his worst in over a decade. The only thing that’s improved of late is his defense. To date, he has 12 Fielding Runs Above Average, which is his best since 2001. Three more and he’ll have his best fielding season since 1999.
Not to mention how guys like Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe, who have been with the team all season (really the only regular starters besides Pudge who hasn’t missed some kind of substantial time or gotten benched), must feel when they’re told by a future Hall of Famer that they suck. I doubt if they appreciate being told they don’t play the right way.
So, either Pudge is trying to get Tram out (and he’s going about it in a poor way) or he’s trying to get out of Detroit. I think it’s the later, but he has to remember that two years ago, nobody wanted him. We were his only suitors. And now he’s biting the hand that’s fed him.
Which brings me to Tram. I still feel, because of some misguided loyalty to what he did for the team in the 1980s, that he should be given one more year. He’ll have to contend with Pudge because I doubt if we’ll be able to unload him. I think that will be as big of a test as any. I think managment has to address the team’s needs (starting pitching and a quality left handed bat) and give Tram the tools to win. Let him fail without excuses.
Toledo is playing game three of their playoff series with the Indianoplis Indians. They’re up 2-0 and a win tonight will give them the Governor’s Cup. Unfortunately there’s a rain delay, so we might have to wait another night.