Archive for April, 2007

WPA and Last Night’s Tiger Game

Here’s the WPA graph for last night’s Tigers game.  The Tigers got all their win expectancy all the way to 85% by the fourth inning and the it was up over 87% until that the Royals started scoring all of those runs.  At the beginning of the seventh inning, they were down to just over 30%.  The Gary Sheffield double alone was worth close to 15% and then Placido Polanco’s go ahead RBI single gave the Tigers a 26% boost.

No surprise as Placido Polanco had an impressive .523 WPA.  Since the team starts at .500, that means the next of all of the other players combined was actually negative so Polanco’s timely hitting pretty much won the game.  Wil Ledezma finished with a negative .215 and Sean Casey finished at the bottom of the position player list at negative .159.

Placido Polanco, Magglio Ordonez Lead Tigers in Second Straight Win

Alright, the Tigers had their difficulties yesterday but they picked up the win and they now sit atop the AL Central with a 9-5 record.  Mike Maroth gave up a quick run before the Tigers’ bats (i.e. Magglio Ordonez) got going.  Ordonez singled home a run in the bottom of the first and then he doubled home two in the third to gives the Tigers a two run cushion.  In the fourth, Marcus Thames hit his first homerun to make it 4-1 and the Royals finally answered with a solo shot from David DeJesus.  Then Placido Polanco fired back with a solo homer (his first of the season) to make it 5-2.  Then the wheels fell off the wagon.

Mike Maroth had been throwing a decent game but he was hit hard in the sixth.  He gave up another run and left a runner on base when Wil Ledezma came in.  Unfortunately, he could finish things out and with two outs, he gave up three more runs and just like that, the Tigers were down by a run.

The Tigers finally answered in the seventh.  With one out, Placido Polanco tripled and then he scored on Gary Sheffield’s double to tie the game.  Wil Ledezma at this point had recovered from the beating he took in the sixth and he shut out the Royals in the seventh and eighth.  Then in the Tigers eighth, Omar Infante led off with a big single, he moved to second on Neifi Perez’s bunt and he scored on yet another Placido Polanco hit for the game winner.  Todd Jones slammed the door shut in the ninth and he picked up his seventh save of the season.

Polanco finished the game three for five with two RBIs and three runs.  Ordonez drove in three and Wil Ledezma picked up the win and he’s now 3-0.  Todd Jones hasn’t given up a run yet and he’s seven for seven in save opportunities.  It’s definitely a good start for Jonesy.

The Tigers go for the sweep this afternoon.  It’ll be Jeremy Bonderman going up against Gil Meche.

Ivan Rodriguez Drive in Six in Tigers Win Over Royals

The Tigers got the sticks going today in a 12-5 blowout win over the Royals.  Ivan Rodriguez hit a grand slam and he finished with six RBIs while Carlos Guillen homered and drove in four runs.  The Tigers chased out Zach Greinke in the first inning but they didn’t stop there and seven of their runs came in the first two frames.

Justin Verlander threw six solid innings and he picked up the win.  He gave up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts.  Jose Mesa made things interesting (in a bad way) and he gave up two runs while getting only one hitter out and in the process, his ERA has ballooned to over 20.

Tomorow, it’ll be Mike Maroth who will try to continue his solid start to the season.  The Tigers will try to knock around Royals starter Jorge De la Rosa.

Nate Robertson Gets No Support in Great Start

While it’s never good, you’d think Nate Robertson would be used to the lack of run support.  After starting 2-0 with two fine starts, he got it done today as well but unfortunately the Tigers didn’t hit for him and they picked up just one run.  The lone Tiger run came in the first inning when Curtis Granderson scored on an error by Josh Towers.  In fact the offense was so bad that after that first inning, the Tigers racked up just two hits and they were both by Ivan Rodriguez.

Robertson was very sharp in seven innings of work.  He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts.  Joel Zumaya threw the final frame and he didn’t give up a base runner.

The Twins also lost and the Indians won so the Tribe vaults both teams and the Tigers now stand a half game back of them.  The White Sox are off to a rough start but if the Tigers hadn’t gotten a couple of key hits (like the Pudge homer last week), the Tigers might be down there with them.  But first place is just 6-3 and we all know this was going to be a shoot out amongst four teams.

The Tigers finally come home after ten games on the road and they’ll take on the last place Royals tomorrow night.  It’ll be a battle of two good young pitchers in Zach Greinke and Justin Verlander.  Justin has a thirteen scoreless inning streak going and hopefully he can get that up to around twenty or so after tomorrow.

Tigers Come From Behind to Beat Jays

Well, the Tigers stole another one today and this time it was against one of the premier closers in the game. B.J. Ryan had some back troubles this spring and you wonder if it’s still bothering him because this is his second blown save already this year.

Things didn’t start out well as Chad Durbin was hit hard for the second straight start.  By the end of the second, the Tigers were down 4-0.  The Tigers narrowed that lead to 4-3 with an RBI singled by Ivan Rodriguez and a two run homerun by Brandon Inge but Durbin gave up two more runs in the fourth to make it 6-3.

Jason Grilli came in to pitch and while he was shutting down the Jays, the Tigers began picking away at the lead.  Magglio Ordonez doubled home a run in the fifth and then in the seventh, he drove home another run with a double to make it a one run game.  Craig Monroe then hit a ball that almost went over the wall but fell just short for an RBI double in the eighth to tie the game at six.  Wil Ledezma came in and burst everyone’s bubble by giving up a homerun to the first batter he faced, Lyle Overbay to make it 7-6.

Then in the top of the ninth, against B.J. Ryan, things got off to a bad start.  Ivan Rodriguez hit a pop up on what probably was ball four to make it one out but then Ryan continued to have problems with his control as he walked the next three batters.  Marcus Thames came in to pinch hit for Sean Casey and he hit a broken bat two run double down the left field line to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.  Craig Monroe then drove in Carlos Guillen on a ground out and Thames scored when Brandon Inge reached on an error to give the Tigers a bit of insurance.  Then a one hit ninth by Todd Jones put the game away.

Wil Ledezma ended up with the win despite giving up the lead.  Todd Jones saved his sixth game and he has yet to give up a run.  Gary Sheffield scored three times despite not getting a hit in the game in the 10-7 game.

Tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be Nate Robertson against Josh Towers.  Robertson’s off to a pretty nice start and if he can do it again tomorrow, the Tigers will walk away with this series.

Fantastic Start by Jeremy Bonderman Goes to Waste in Tigers Ten Inning Loss

Man, this one was tough.  Jeremy Bonderman threw nine awesome innings and for his troubles, he didn’t even get the win. He gave up one run on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts.  In the tenth, Fernando Rodney gave up an infield single to Aaron Hill then he misplayed a bunt to put two runners on.  He then failed to make a play on yet another bunt to load the bases and a deep fly ball to Alex Rios scored Hill to end it.

Roy Halladay was in Cy Young form.  He threw all ten innings and it’s his second ten inning win in his career.  Ironically, the other one is against the Tigers as well back in 2003.

Magglio Ordonez hit a solo homerun in the second inning and that was all we could get off of Halladay.  Placido Polanco had two more hits and he’s now hitting .386.

Tomorrow, it’ll be Chad Durbin against A.J. Burnett.  Durbin was shelled in his last start and you wonder how long of a leash he has.  And the Tigers did a number on A.J. Burnett in that crazy 10-9 game last week. 

No Love For the Tigers at Baseball Prospectus

Baseball Prospectus put out their version of the power rankings today (called the Hit List) and despite the 6-3 start, the Tigers came in at fifteenth.  Only the Cardinals finished lower then the Tigers and still had a winning record.  The Indians came in at second place and the Twins also finished ahead of the Tigers at thirteen.  Two spots down are the White Sox at seventeen. 

Brandon Inge Homers, Drives in Three As Tigers Hold on to Beat Jays

Brandon Inge had his first multihit game of the year today as he led the Tigers at the plate.  He went two for three with a homerun and three RBIs as the Tigers edged the Jays 6-5.  Sean Casey also had a solid game with two hits and two runs.

Mike Maroth had a nice start and he improved to 2-0 on the season. He gave up two runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts in six solid innings. Jose Mesa then came in and made things interesting. He had no problems in the seventh but then in the eighth, he walked the lead off man and then gave up a single to Aaron Hill.  Joel Zumaya came in and threw a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position before Greg Zauh hit a sac. fly and Lyle Overbay doubled to make it a one run game.  He got out of the jam though and put the Jays down one-two-three in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

The Twins and Rays are tied at two in the eighth so we’ll have to wait to see whether the Tigers have sole possession of first place or a share of it with the Twins.  Tomorrow’s pitching matchup is a good as Roy Halladay and Jeremy Bonderman square off in a rematch of opening day.

Cameron Maybin Hits Homeruns in Three Straight Games

After a tough start down in Lakeland, Cameron Maybin has caught fire and homered in each of his last three games.  He now has six runs and five RBIs and an impressive .286/.423/.762 in his first seven games.  Not too shabby for the top prospect.

Pitching, Craig Monroe’s Slam Pushes Tigers to Win Over Orioles

Not too shabby.  Tiger pitchers, led by Justin Verlander, held the Orioles to a single run on six hits through twelve innings.  Verlander threw seven shutout frames and he struck out five while Fernando Rodney and Wil Ledezma each pitched two scoreless innings.  It wasn’t until the bottom of the twelth, when the Tigers had a comfortable lead, that Bobby Seay gave up a run and got into a jam in the bottom of the twelth.  Todd Jones was there though and he picked up the final out to pick up his fifth save of the season.

The Tigers scored all four of their runs in the twelth and they were all on a Craig Monroe grand slam.  He finished the game three for six and he also picked up a double.  Carlos Guillen was two for four with two walks and he was one of the guys on base when Monroe went yard.

The Twins won so the Tigers sit atop the Central tied with Minnesota.  I know it’s early, but it’s better then trying to play catchup.  Now the Tigers head to Toronto to play four.  Mike Maroth pitches tonight and tomorrow we’ll get a rematch between Jeremy Bonderman and Roy Halladay.

Relive 1967

40 years ago today, the 1967 baseball season started and on the American League side, we had the closest pennant race ever.  I’ve talked about this before, but with the help of some fellow bloggers, I’ve put together a website on the 1967 American League Pennant race to relive this classic season.  And for Tiger fans, this will be good introduction to a lot of the players on the 1968 team (which I’ll be doing a diary on next year).

And if you’re a NL fan, Jeff Matthews at Gas House Gang will be doing a 1967 Cardinals diary.  The opening day post should be up some time tonight.

Nate Robertson Shuts Down Orioles in Tigers Win

Nate Robertson threw a gem tonight against the Orioles as the left hander threw 7 1/3 shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and a walk with five strikeouts.  The lone Oriole run was a solo homerun by Corey Patterson off of Joel Zumaya.

The Tigers did the bulk of their damage in a crazy sixth inning.  Neifi Perez led off with a single and then Curtis Granderson drew a walk.  Placido Polanco was trying to push them both over with a bunt but he ended up beating it out instead to load the bases.  Gary Sheffield struck out and then Magglio Ordonez hit a sharp grounder to short in what looked like a tailor made double play only Polanco got down to second quick enough to cause Brian Roberts to throw it away.  Two runs scored and the rest is history.

The Tigers added a third run in the eighth when Curtis Granderson stretched a single into a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Placido Polanco’s sac. fly.

Justin Verlander gets the start tomorrow in the rubber game.  He’ll face Adam Loewen, who’s never pitched against the Tigers before in his brief career.

Jason Beck Mailbag

Jason Beck wrote up another mailbag column and in it, he talks about why Nate Robertson is so good against lefties, whether Kenny Rogers will be retire after the 2007 season and why we don’t hear more about Curtis Granderson’s defensive abilities.  Good stuff as usual from Mr. Beck.

Chad Durbin Hit Hard by Orioles in Tigers Loss

Chad Durbin’s debut as a Tiger didn’t go all that well as the Orioles won their home opener.  They tagged Durbin for four runs in the third and then two more in the fifth in the 6-2 Tigers loss.  Wil Ledezma had a nice outing with 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief and Jose Mesa actually got some guys out as he pitched an eighth inning that didn’t mean all that much.

The Tigers couldn’t quite figure out Danny Cabrera.  Sean Casey touched him up for an RBI double in the second but the Tigers didn’t scored against him again until the eighth when Curtis Granderson tripled home Craig Monroe.  Placido Polanco continued his hot hitting (.423 so far this year) with two more hits and Gary Sheffield continued his struggles and went 0 for 4.

Nate Robertson will get the start tomorrow night.  The good news is, the Twins also got beat up by the Yankees so the Tigers are still just a game back.

Tigers Steal One In KC on Ivan Rodriguez Ninth Inning Homerun

The Tigers didn’t do anything in this game until the ninth inning.  Fortunately, they got some solid pitching.  Jeremy Bonderman gave up two runs on seven hits with one strikeout and both Bobby Seay and Fernando Rodney threw a scoreless frame.  The Tigers were held to just four hits and no runs through eight but then they stole this one in the ninth.  Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a double and Carlos Guillen walked before Ivan Rodriguez hit a huge three run homerun to push the Tigers ahead 3-2.  A scoreless inning by Todd Jones meant a save for him and a series win for the Tigers.

Chad Durbin gets the start tomorrow in an afternoon game (3:05) against the Orioles.  It’s their home opener and Danny Cabrera will be throwing for Baltimore.  It sure would be nice to ruin their opening day with a third straight win by the Tigers.


Eight strikeouts for Bonderman.  Typed this too fast and didn’t proof it well enough

Tigers Top Royals With Three Long Balls

Talk about some crazy weather.  This Saturday game was started in 29 degree weather.  I’ve played softball in weather that cold and it’s not fun and I feel for these guys.  Especially the first baseman who has to take those throws.

Anyway, the Tigers got the job earlier this afternoon.  Curtis Granderson, Ivan Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield all went yard and it was Shefs’ first homer in a Tiger uniform.  Curtis Granderson had a particularly good game.  He went two for three with the homerun, a walk, two RBIs and two runs.  Just as important, he didn’t strike out so he’s averaging one strikeout a game through the first four.  Could be better, but he’s also drawn two walks and he’s hitting .375.  Yeah, it’s a small sample size so we’ll see how he’s doing at the end of the month.

Mike Maroth picked up the win despite a so so start.  He gave up four runs on six hits and a walk with three strikouts.  Joel Zumaya pitched two shutout frames and Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth and he picked up his second save of the season.

It’s Jeremy Bonderman in the rubber game tomorrow and he’ll face Brandon Duckworth.  Have a great Easter.

Jose Mesa Hit Hard, Takes Lose in Series Opener Against Royals

I knew the Jose Mesa signing would come back to haunt us.  And to answer Dan’s question, he was put out there because we signed him.  I know that’s going to appease you, but what I’m hoping is, he gets a couple more quick relief outings, he blows them all, and we just cut bait.  I never understood why we signed the guy and I don’t know why he’s here.

Take today as an example.  He gave up the go ahead run along with one more and he got just a single batter out.  Wil Ledezma picked him up and got out of the jam he started but the end result was a solid start by Justin Verlander just went to waste.

The lone Tiger run came in the second when Craig Monroe drove home Carlos Guillen with a sac. fly.  Monroe also doubled and he was probably the hitting star of the game.

Mike Maroth will get the start tomorrow against the Royals “ace” in Gil Meche.  It’s in the afternoon and hopefully it’ll be a little warmer for the guys.

Jim Leyland and Bullpen Use

Here’s a solid story on Jim Leyland’s use of his bullpen.  He gets some good recommendations in former Tigers’ general manager Bill Lajoie and Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.  Leyland talks about protecting his pitchers making sure relievers have the proper amount of rest.

Minor League Opening Day

Today, the four full season minor league affiliates for the Tigers all have their opening day.  Be sure to stop by Tigers Minors tonight as he’ll have details on all four of the games.

Snow Out?

It’s snowing pretty good at least up where I’m at.  I wonder if they’re going to get today’s game in.


The game is postponed. Looks like they’ll play it September 10th.  So Justin Verlander will get his first start in Kansas City tomorrow.  Sounds like it’s going to be just as cold there.

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