Archive for July, 2006

A Whole Lot of Nothing – Brian Rogers for Sean Casey

This is one of the low risk, low return type of trades that at the end of the day, probably won’t have much of an impact one way or the other on how the team does down the stretch.  Sean Casey is a a career .304 hitter, and he will take a walk (.377 OBP this year).  The problem is, he hits for pretty much no power.  He has three homeruns this year, and other then his breakout 2004 season, Casey’s hit no more then 14 homeruns in a season in the past five years.  Casey’s biggest problem is, while he doesn’t strikeout a ton, the downside of that is a ton of double plays.  Casey grounded into 27 last year and is pretty slow.

On the flip side, everyone points to Chris Shelton’s struggles but he seemed to be getting back on track.  In a “what have you done for me lately,” Shelton hit .289/.344/.386 in July.  He hit only one homerun.  While that doesn’t sound too impressive, Casey hit .308/.389/.359 with no homeruns in July which isn’t that much better.

Neither Casey nor Shelton are stellar fielders, so that’s a wash.  Basically, I see this deal as insurance.  It gives us one more guy in case Dmitri Young has a melt down, or someone like Marcus Thames, who’s been spending some time at DH, gets hurt.  And it gives Chris Shelton some time to experiment and maybe get back to where he was in April without much pressure down at Toledo.  On top of that, Casey is supposed to be a good locker room prescence.  While I don’t really look at that as a huge positive, it’s much better then getting someone with a bad attitude (duh).

And you have to feel for Casey.  He went from the worst team in the National League to the best team in baseball right now.  He seemed excited on the radio so hopefully the chance at a ring gives him some motivation and he gets off to a nice start tomorrow.

Tigers Trade Minor Leaguer Brian Rogers to Pirates for Sean Casey

More on this tonight.  I’m not overwhelmed and think it was unneccesary, but the price wasn’t very high.

Six Run Eighth by Twins Costs Tigers Sweep

What a weird inning and what a way for the wheels to come off the wagon.  Jeremy Bonderman was cruising.  He had a one hitter going through seven innings, and that one hit was the lead off hitter in the first inning.  Then Bonderman went five batters without getting an out and mixed in there was an error by Chris Shelton and a bases loaded balk by Bonderman.  The Tigers actually got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but they fell short of coming back. 

On the face of things, if you would have told me on Friday afternoon that the Tigers would win two of three, I would have taken it.  The one bright point of the day was the White Sox lost their game when the Orioles came back on them in the ninth inning.  So the Tigers head into a four game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, minus Scott Kazmir, with an eight and a half game lead.

The second big deadline deal took place today.  Earlier this week, Carlos Lee went to Texas and now today, Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle are both Yankees.  I’m not sure I like this influx of talent all coming to the American League but I don’t see the Tigers making a big splash tomorrow as the first trade deadline expires.


For a Twins’ fan perspective of yesterday’s game, here’s Aaron Gleeman’s analysis of what went down yesterday.  Good stuff as always from Aaron.

Brent Clevlen Contributes in Series Finale Against Twins

Talk about a debut.  Brent Cleven threw out Luis Castillo in the first inning, and then he doubled and scored the only run of the game so far in the third inning.  1-0 Tigers.


The Tigers touched up Johan Santana for another run in the fifth run.  Craig Monroe and Magglio Ordonez hit back to back doubles, and it’s 2-0 with Ordonez at second with one out.  Santana is already up to 88 pitches.


Placido Polanco just drove home Brent Clevlen. Clevlen has scored two of the three Tiger runs.  In the meantime, Jeremy Bonderman is having one of those incredible starts.  Luis Castillo singled in the first and nobody has gotten a hit off of him since.  Santana just got pulled and it’s 3-0 in the sixth.

Brent Clevlen Makes Debut for Tigers Today Against Twins

It has to bittersweet for Brent Clevlen.  He’s struggled at Erie this season but he still go the call up this weekend.  The bittersweet part of it is, he’ll be facing one of the best pitchers in the league in Johan Santana today.  Clevlen will be giving Curtis Granderson a break today out in center field.

Tigers Knock Brad Radke Out Early in Game Two Versus Twins

Radke only lasted three innings and the Tigers tagged him for four runs.  Not to discriminate, the Tigers also knocked around Kyle Lohse for two runs on Curtis Granderson’s two run homer.  Granderson’s having a great game.  Two for two with a single, a homerun, three RBIs and two runs.  Nate Robertson was cruising along, but as I’m typing this, Justin Morneau just took him deep for a two run shot.  So it’s 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth.


Don’t look now, but Josh Rabe just took Nate Robertson deep for a two run shot, so it’s now just 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh.  Then Jason Tyner got an infield hit, so there’s a man on first and nobody down.  Joel Zumaya is just coming in to pitch.


Joel Zumaya got out of the inning, but Tyner scored.  Zumaya gave up two pitches and then a sac. fly by Luis Castillo, and just like that, the Twins are down by only a run.  It’d be nice to get a run or two here in the eighth.


Just what the doctor ordered.  Dmitri Young hit a solo shot to left so it’s now 7-5.  Marcus Thames followed that up with a single.  Young’s two for three tonight, and since coming back from his leave, he’s 10 for 25 (.400) with three homeruns, six runs and seven RBIs in seven games.


Joel Zumaya gave up two singles in the eighth inning (including one to former Tiger Rondell White) but it got out of the jam by striking out Jason Kubel to end the inning.  7-5 heading into the ninth.


The Tigers added a run in the ninth on Magglio Ordonez’s sac. fly, but Todd Jones made things very interesting in the bottom of the ninth.  Only one run scored to make it 8-6, but the winning run was at the plate.  It was save number 29 for Jones and the Tigers won their 70th game of the season.  If they finish the sweep tomorrow, they’ll have matched last year’s win total before the close of July.

Tigers Hang on to Beat Twins in Ten Innings

Zach Miner had struggled in his previous two starts and when you looking at the pitching match ups, this looked like the game the Tigers would least likely have a chance to win.  On the other side was Francisco Liriano, who’s throwing better then anyone right now.  Liriano was good, but not good enough.  He gave up two runs in the first inning on Magglio Ordonez’s two run double, and by the third inning, Zach Miner had given up two runs as well.

Miner went six innings and didn’t give up a run in his final three frames.  Jamie Walker pitched two scoreless innings and then Fernando Rodney threw a perfect ninth to send the game into extra frames.

In the top of the tenth, Chris Shelton led off with a single and Omar Infante ran for him.  Infante was bunted over to second by Vance Wilson.  Curtis Granderson struck out and that left things up to Placido Polanco.  Polanco had hit .400 with men in scoring position heading into today’s game and he kept up with a clutch single that moved Infante to third.  Then Craig Monroe came up huge with a single that drove home Omar Infante to make it 3-2.

Todd Jones got the Twins out in the order, including striking out the final batter, to pick up his 28th save.  Pat Caputo mentioned this over at Open Book, but Jones has been throwing very well.  He’s now thrown 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and it the last time he blew a game was June 14th.

The White Sox won, so they move a game ahead of the Twins and remain 8 1/2 games behind the Tigers.  Tomorrow we have Nate Robertson vs. Brad Radke.

The Greatest Tigers Team of All Time?

The Tigers have the day off and they’re currently 68-33.  If they go 37-24 (.607) the rest of the way, they’ll finish with 105 wins, a franchise record.  They’ll also finish with a .648 winning percentage, which would put them in third place all time behind the franchise best 1934 Tigers (.656) and the hard luck 1915 Tigers (.649).  Ironically, neither of those two teams won the World Series.  In fact the 1915 Tigers finished 100-54 (the first ever 100 win team in franchise history) yet they finished one game behind the first place Boston Red Sox in what was Babe Ruth’s first full season.

Let’s get really optimistic, and assume that the Tigers win 105 games this year and then go on to win the World Series.  Where will the 2006 Tigers rank amongst the best teams in the franchise’s history?

The Tigers have really only had one dynasty.  In the twelve seasons from 1934 through 1945, the Tigers won the pennant four times and won the World Series twice.  After that, each of the good Tigers’ seasons were pretty much isolated.  They never made the World Series or playoffs in back to back seasons, and their tightest stretch was when the went three years between 1984 to 1987.  So while the Tigers have had some really good teams since 1945, they’ve always been islands.

In looking at the team, you have one bonafide Hall of Famer in Ivan Rodriguez.  After that, they have some good players, and they also have a lot of good young players, so I think that’s the tricky part.  If Justin Verlander wins 18 or even 20 games, it’s hard to compare him to Tommy Bridges or Hal Newhouser or Jack Morris knowing the shelf life of starting pitchers these days.

If I had to pick the greatest Tiger team, I’d have to go with the 1934/1935, which was essentially the same team.  The 1934 team fell just short in the World Series, losing to the Cardinals (the classic Gas House Gang team) in seven games but then came back and won it in 1935.  These teams were stacked though.  Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane and Charlie Gehringer are all top 10, if not top 5, at their position all time.  Goose Goslin is also a Hall of Famer and you have a very good rotation with Tommy Bridges (who should be in the Hall of Fame), Schoolboy Rowe and Elden Auker.   You even had the first real closer in Firpo Marberry.  Marberry held the single season save record from 1924 until his mark of 22 saves was broken in 1949 by Joe Page.

After that, it becomes a little more difficult.  I think the 1984 Tigers and 1968 Tigers are about a draw and both were very good team.  The 1940 and 1945 teams were both very good as well.  And don’t forget the three consecutive pennants the Tigers won from 1907 through 1909 (falling short of winning it all in each one).  And finally, you have the 1961 Tigers, which won 101 games and finished well behind of one of those great teams the Yankees fielded.

I think it’s the fact that the Tigers came out of nowhere this year and took everyone by surprise that I can’t put them in any of those team’s league.  Yet.  The season isn’t over with though and I think how they do over the next couple of years will also factor into things.  Is the 1934 my best team if they don’t win it in 1935?  It’s hard to tell.  If the Tigers go on to win three World Series over the next five years, that would affect my thinking as well.

So what do you think?

Justin Verlander, Magglio Ordonez Lead Tigers to Victory in Series Finale

Justin Verlander continues to amaze.  Other then a solo homerun to Joe Inglett, Verlander was pretty much flawless through 6 2/3 innings.  Todd Jones had an uneventful ninth inning and he picked up his 27th save of the season.  He’s now tied for the league lead with 13 wins.

Magglio Ordonez’s two run double turned out to be the difference in the game.  The Tigers added a couple more and Craig Monroe finished the game with three hits.  Dmitri Young got his first day off since coming back.

The Twins swept the White Sox, so the Tigers picked up another game.  The Tigers get the day off before heading for a pretty big three game series with the Twins.  They’ll be facing the big guns on the mound (Liriano and Santana) and the Tigers will go a long way towards burying their competition if they can pull off two of three.

Another Ugly Game at Jacobs Field

The Tigers stayed in this one for a while, but the back end of their bullpen didn’t hold up.  After Kenny Rogers got shelled, Roman Colon gave up one run and the Jason Grilli gave gave up four runs.  The only Tiger pitcher to leave the game unscathed was Wil Ledezma and he only threw on inning.

Dmitri Young finished the game three for four with an RBI, a homerun and two runs.  He’s now raised his season batting average up to .231.  He historically hits well at Jacobs Field, so I expect to see him in the lineup again tonight.

The White Sox also lost last night and only one game seperates them and the Twins.  In the Wild Card, the Yankees won their game as well, so they’re only a half game back of the White Sox.

It’s Justin Verlander vs. C.C. Sabathia this afternoon.

Kenny Rogers Doesn’t Pitch Well Against Indians Tonight

Understatement of the century.  Kenny Rogers gave up seven runs in 2/3 of inning tonight.  Oddly, he and Roman Colon combined to strikeout the side.  Brandon Inge hit a two run shot to answer for the big first inning by the Indians, but the Tribe added a run and it’s now 8-3.

Just for Dan, the Tigers put on the hit and run in the first inning, and it worked.  Curtis Granderson was going and beat out the toss on Placido Polanco’s ground out.  Of course, neither Ivan Rodriguez nor Magglio Ordonez could bring him, so it really didn’t matter in the end.

This is going to be another long game.  It’s 8:30, and we’re only in the third inning.  White Sox lead the Twins 1-0 in the first.


Just like that, the Tigers are back in the game.  The Tigers scored four in the fourth to make it 8-7.  Dmitri Young homered in his second straight game for one of the runs.  Wil Ledezma is running into trouble in the fifth though.  This one definitely isn’t over yet though.


It’s now 12-7 in the eighth.  And the White Sox are coming back against the Twins.  It’s now 4-3 in Chicago, with the Twins leading.

Tigers Hang on to Beat Indians in Series Opener

After a five run first inning, the Tigers almost let this one slip.  Jeremy Bonderman was pretty mediocre, and Fernando Rodney got roughed up in the eighth inning to make it a two run game.  Leyland let Rodney pitch through it (partially because Zumaya wasn’t available after pitching two innings the game before) and he got himself out of the jam.  Todd Jones gave up a one out single, but didn’t really get into trouble in the ninth.

Twins win, and the White Sox lost, so the Tigers lead is now an impressive 7 1/2 games.  Tonight we have Kenny Rogers versus Paul Byrd.  And there’s a nice matchup in the Twins/White Sox game.  Jose Contreras goes up against Johan Santana.

And I guess the big first innings are a rarity.  The last time a team has scored five or more in the first inning in three consecutive games was when the St. Louis Browns did it in 1891.

First Innings, Humberto Sanchez and Alfonso Soriano

Alright, my website host has been having problems and I lost this the first time I wrote it. 

For the third straight game, the Tigers had a big first inning.  They put five runs on the board in the first for Jeremy Bonderman, and the way he’s been throwing, that should be more then enough (Tigers added a run in the fourth.  The first inning was capped off with Brandon Inge’s three run homerun.  And just for Dan, Dmitri Young singled and scored on Inge’s homerun.

Humberto Sanchez was pulled from his start for Toledo today because of a sore elbow.  This was announced shortly after reports came out indicating that the White Sox were about to get Alfonso Soriano for a deal that centered around Brandon McCarthy.  There was speculation that the Tigers pulled Sanchez out because they were about to pull the trigger on a deal, but Joe Falls seemed to think that nothing was up when he talked on the radio this afternoon.

The White Sox did pick up Mike MacDougal in a trade with the Royals.  MacDougal is a hard thrower and the White Sox are doing all they can to have as many good arms in the pen heading into the latter part of the season. 

And speaking of the Mud Hens and Sanchez, at this time last year, I would put the Tiger game on the TV, mute it and listen to either the Mud Hens or Seawolves.  This year, the Tigers have my complete attention and I haven’t listened to a minor league game since April.  I have made sure I stop by the Detroit Tigers Weblog for his daily Minor League Wrap to make sure I know what’s going on.

Bonderman just gave up a solo shot so it’s 6-1.  The Twins and White Sox are scoreless, and I heard that the Twins reshuffled their rotation so they’ll have both Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano throwing against us this weekend.  Talk about respect.


Dmitri Young just hit a solo shot to make it 7-1 in the fifth.


The Indians touched up Bonderman for three runs in the fifth inning.  After throwing 93 pitches, Leyland put Jamie Walker in there.  Hopefully those two innings Zumaya pitched yesterday in garbage time doesn’t come back to haunt the Tigers.  Hopefully Walker will throw two, then we’ll have Rodney for one or two depending on the lead at the time.


The Indians scored one in the seventh, but the Tigers answered and scored on in the eight on Pudge Rodriguez’s RBI single.  And they have guys on first and second with only one out so hopefully they can put this game away.  And the Twins look like they’re going to top the White Sox, so if the Tigers hold on, they’ll pick up another game.


Carlos Guillen singled with two outs to give the Tigers a four run lead.  Dmitri Young struck out to end the inning.  9-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Tigers Pick Up a Game on Chicago This Weekend, Dmitri Young Experiment Continues

The White Sox dropped two games to the Rangers this weekend, so the Tigers have extended their AL East lead to 6 1/2 games.  They have the Indians and Devil Rays coming up over the next 10 days so they definitely have a shot to pad their lead if the White Sox should slip.  Crammed in there is a series with the now relevant Minnesota Twins.  Francisco Liriano pitched today, so he’ll be due to throw in the series.  We’ll miss Johan Santana though.  What will be nice is the White Sox and Twins go head to head early this week.  One of them has to lose, so one of them will hopefully lose ground as long as the Tigers take care of Cleveland.

Dmitri Young went hitless today, but he reached on an error and scored and later had an RBI on a sac. fly.  He didn’t look horrible at first base either.  Most importantly, he didn’t cost us any games.  This is kind of weird time for the Tigers to experiment but they have to know what they have with the trading deadline just over a week away.

Nate Robertson gave up two homeruns today, and while he never came close to giving up that six (and eventually eight) run lead the bats gave him in the first inning, he was hardly stellar.  Hopefully he was pitching to the score but it was his first win in the month of July.  His WHIP and batting average against are almost where they were last year, so it’ll be interesting to see whether his ERA regresses to the 4.48 he had last year or whether he can buck the trend and keep it under 4.00.  He’s now won one more game then he did in 2005.

I’m surprised Leyland left Joel Zumaya in there for two innings with such a big lead.  Maybe he didn’t want to see a repeat of Friday’s game when Roman Colon made things interesting and the tying run eventually reached the plate.  I figured Grilli would have been better in there with a four run lead, saving Zumaya for tomorrow against the hard hitting Indians.

Good matchup of young pitchers.  Jeremy Bonderman goes head to head against Cliff Lee.  I wonder what’s going on in Cleveland on Wednesday, because it’s a 12:05 start.  Pretty early.

Tigers Take Big Early Lead Against Oakland For Second Straight Day

Yesteday, the Tigers scored five runs in the first inning.  Today they scored six.  Hopefully Nate Robertson does a better job of protecting that lead then Miner did.


The bad news is Nate Robertson was tagged for three runs in the third.  The good news is, the Tigers put two more runs on the board, so it’s 8-3 in the fourth.  Curtis Granderson and Carlos Guillen both have RBI doubles.

Tigers Blow Big Lead On National Scene

Things started out well for the Tigers yesterday.  A five run first inning was capped off by a bases loaded clearing double by Carlos Guillen that gave Zach Miner a nice lead to work.  Unfortunately, it was very short lived because Miner gave up five in the top of the second.  I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in the dugout during that inning to hear what the hitters had to say about Miner collapsing after given a five run lead.

With two bad starts, it wouldn’t surprise me if you start hearing about the fans wanting to replace Miner in the rotation.  Wil Ledezma would be the likely choice but he was hardly stellar yesterday.  And I doubt if they’ll call up Humberto Sanchez, because I think they want to keep him down in the minors until after the trade deadline.  His value might be higher now then it’ll ever be and a couple of poor outings at the big league level could drop his trade value.

Dmitri Young singled but it wasn’t really of much consequence.  Placido Polanco had four hits.  Today’s game is the rubber game, both for this series and the season series.  The Tigers have split the season series with the A’s 3-3.  It’ll be Estaban Loaiza vs. Nate Robertson.

Welcome Back, Dmitri Young

While it wasn’t his first at bat of the season, Dmitri Young made what amounts to his second debut this year.  After a heap load of personal problems, the Tigers are going to give Young a chance to prove himself before the trade deadline.  All he did today was break a 1-1 tie with a two run single in the fourth inning.  He’s also struck out (third inning) and grounded to second (sixth inning).  Tigers are up 7-1 heading into the eighth inning.

I’ll be honest, when asked about Dmitri Young a few weeks ago, I thought the Tigers would be better off just cutting him loose and moving on, but I’m now glad they didn’t.  He’s got ten days to prove his value, and if the Tigers can use him instead of making a deal, they should be better off in the long term.  I was also impressed with the ovation he got in his first at bat.

Justin Verlander threw six solid innings and then Walker threw a perfect seventh.  Walker now has a 0.99 ERA.  They’re keeping him in there to throw the eighth.  I’ll check back in when the game’s done.  Oh yeah, and the White Sox are tied 1-1 in the third.


Roman Colon got into trouble in the ninth and Fernando Rodney had to come in and relieve him.  The tying ran actually came up to plate but Rodney was able to get Eric Chavez to ground out to end the game.  Young picked up another single in the eighth so he finished two for four.

New Cubs Blog

Aaron Maxwell, kid brother of White Sox fan Jay Maxwell (Black Sox Blog) has started a new Cubs blog and has an interesting take on why the Cubs haven’t won the World Series in almost a century.  He’s also getting set up to write a 1907 Cubs diary (these things have taken off) so it should be a fun site.  Stop by and say hi at The Curse of Wrigley Field.

And speaking of diaries, I have a new project in the works.  I hadn’t planned on doing one until 2008 to commemorate the 1968 Tigers, but this one sounds like fun and should be a great prelude to that one.  Just putting together the final pieces before I announce it.

Doing the Little Things

Baseball’s a weird game like this.  In the bottom of the seventh, the game was tied 1-1.  Carlos Guillen flew out, but then Marcus Thames drew a walk.  Craig Monroe then hit a hard grounder to Joe Crede at third base that looked like it was going to be an inning ending double play.  You’ll never see this in the box score, but Tad Iguchi fielded the ball at second base, and before he could get rid of the ball, Marcus Thames took it out.  From where I was sitting, it looked clean.  It was hard, but definitely legal.

The Tigers were given new life in the inning.  Basically a fourth out.  And Chris Shelton took advantage of it by doubling home Craig Monroe.

The other big inning was the top of the fourth.  Tad Iguchi led off with a ground out, and then Kenny Rogers fell behind Jim Thome and ended up giving him nothing to hit and gave him first base.  With the big bats coming up, I told the guys I was with at the game that I’d be happy if the White Sox only scored one run this inning.  Paul Konerko followed that up with a walk and then Jermaine Dye hit a very weak little bloop single into right field.  Still with one out, Joe Crede singled into left and put the White Sox on the board.

This is where the game could have gotten ugly.  Instead, Rogers got Juan Uribe to pop up and then got back up catcher Chris Widger to fly out.  End of inning, and like I said near the start of the damage, I was happy only one run scored.

Joel Zumaya was fun to watch.  He threw two great innings and he’s definitely a guy who fires up the crowd.  All in all, it was a great game to be at.

Next up is three games against the Oakland A’s.  If the playoffs started today, the Tigers would face the A’s in the division playoffs.  And in the lineup will be Dmitri Young this weekend so we’ll get to see whether he’s new and improved.  It’d be nice if we had that left handed bat in the system without having to go out and get one.

And both the Tigers and you have really motivated me.  I love the constructive criticism and dialogue that’s been happening at the site and this is what I envisioned when I started things up.  So I’m going to “try” to update the site daily, instead of the two to three times a week I’ve been posting as of late.

Tigers Take Game Two

A grand slam from Craig Monroe and some great pitching by Jeremy Bonderman did this trick in this one.  After two games, we’re right where we started with a 4 1/2 game lead. 

I think today might be most interesting pitching matchup.  You have two pitchers (Jose Contreras vs. Kenny Rogers) who had solid first halves, but both are starting to taper off.  It’s get away day, so we could some interesting lineups, at least on the Tigers side.  And not to curse myself, but the greatest chance for rain will be around game time, so there’s a chance this one won’t even be played.  I’ll be at the game so I’m hoping the bad weather holds off.

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