Archive for June, 2007

Sean Casey Hits First Homerun In Tigers Blowout Win

Sean Casey finally went yard and he helped lead the way for the Tigers in their 15-1 win over the Nationals.  He finished the game with two hits, four RBIs and two runs.  Marcus Thames hit a pinch hit two run homer and he’s now homered in both games in the series.  Magglio Ordonez racked up his 34th double of the season as he continues his terrific pace.  Anyway, I could go on because just about everyone had a nice boxscore.

Chad Durbin threw six solid innings and he improved to 6-3 on the season.  For his troubles, he could lose his spot in the rotation when Kenny Rogers comes back on Friday.  Jim Leyland isn’t going to reveal who the odd man out is until then but the odds are, it’ll be Durbin even though he’s thrown a bit better then Mike Maroth.

Eulogio De La Cruz threw a perfect ninth inning and he struck out two.  I’m normally a fan of Mario and Rod on FSN but Rod’s continous references to De La Cruz as Frankie because he couldn’t pronounce Eulogio was starting to get annoying.

The Indians lost so once again, the Tigers have moved into a tie for first place in the Central.  Jeremy Bonderman takes the mound tonight in the finale as he hopes to continue his winning streak and the Tiger hitters will face Mike Bacsik, who I don’t know too much about.

Justin Verlander Wins Player of the Week

All Justin Verlander did last week was throw a no hitter and then he won again on Sunday as he had a hand in two of the Tigers three wins last week.  For his efforts, he won American League Player of the Week.

Tigers Hang On To Beat Nationals

It was another scary one but at least the Tigers game against the Nationals tonight had a happy ending (9-8 win).  The Tigers jumped out to a 9-1 lead only to see the Nationals chip away at the least until they pulled to within one run (and a runner at third base) in the ninth inning.  Todd Jones buckled down after a very rough outing though and he gave the Tigers just enough to win it.  Just enough. 

Mike Maroth was tagged for five runs (two scored after he left the game) in five innings but he picked up the win.  Rod Allen hinted on the television broadcast that big changes might be in the works with Kenny Rogers coming back on Friday.  My guess is that Mike Maroth might be the odd man out.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Tigers made some kind of move with Fernando Rodney either although he is out of options and that’s somewhat limiting.

Eulogio De La Cruz made his major league debut and he looked sharp in a shutout eighth inning.  He did give up a double but he got the other three batters out.  Jason Grilli also gave the Tigers some solid relief.  He got the team out of a jam in the sixth and then he threw a shutout eighth.

Carlos Guillen had a nice day at the plate.  He went three for four with a homerun, three RBIs and two runs.  Marcus Thames hit his fifth homerun and Gary Sheffield had two hits, two RBIs and a run.  Even Mike Maroth got in on the action and he doubled and scored a run to help out his own cause.

Chad Durbin will take on Jason Simontacchi tomorrow.  Durbin’s lost his last two but in one of those game he gave up just three runs in eight innings.  He very well could be pitching for a job so hopefully he’s up for the challenge.

Wayne Comer and Les Cain

SABR is putting out a book on the 1968 Tigers next year and I’ve been busy working two biographies on Wayne Comer and Les Cain. I’d be interested to hear if any readers have stories or comments on either guy so if you know of either guy, drop me a line of leave a comment.

Nate Robertson Working His Way Back

Nate Robertson is going to throw on the side today and if that goes well, he could get a rehab start next week according to this Jason Beck story.  Robertson came out of the gate throwing well this year but then he looked like a different person in his last six starts.  He lost five of those six and in four of them he gave up at least four runs.  And then there was that disaster on June 5th where he was tagged for six runs without getting a single batter out.

Still, if he can get back to his April form where he held hitters to a .600 OPS in five starts, it’ll be a big boost to the team.  Keep in mind that Robertson led all starters in batting average against left handed hitters last year and earlier in the year he forced Rod Gardenhire to sit last year’s batting champion, Joe Mauer, because of his effectiveness against left handed hitters.  Plus, being left handed, I have a fondness for southpaws so I’m looking forward to seeing Robertson back in the rotation.

Tigers Bounce Back In Rubber Game to Win Series Over Phillies

The Tigers have played four three game series in the month of June and with the win today over the Phillies, the Tigers locked up their third series of those four.  This afternoon’s game was won with the big inning as the Tigers picked up five of their seven runs in the 7-4 win in the seventh inning.  The inning was capped off by a two run double by Magglio Ordonez that gave him three RBIs on the day.

And staying on Ordonez, he picked up his 33rd double of the season.  My benchmark for a “good” season is 40 and he’s almost there at the half way point.  We ran through some of the doubles records in a previous post but even if he touches 50, which seems like a forgone conclusion, it’ll be the first time since George Kell had exactly 50 doubles way back in 1950.

Justin Verlander put together a nice outing and he improved to 8-2 on the season.  He gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts.  It was a pretty hot day and he gave the Tigers seven innings and that’s worth something.  Leyland was also able to keep him under 100 pitches after the Tigers rallied for those five runs.

Fernando Rodney faltered again.  In 14 of his 25 games, he’s given up at least one run and that’s not the kind of number you want to see from a guy who’s probably the team’s best reliever with Joel Zumaya out.  It sure would be nice to see Rodney turn it around but whenever he comes into the game, I get the same feeling I get when Todd Jones comes in.

Next up is a pretty important series because it’s against onc of the worst team’s in baseball, the Washington Nationals.  Two of three should be a must and a sweep would be nice because this is a team that was bad before their rotation got hit by some injuries.  The opener tomorrow will have Mike Maroth going up against Matt Chico.

Jeremy Bonderman Gives Up Four Homeruns, Still Improves to 7-0

The offense bailed out Jeremy Bonderman yesterday, who had one of his worst starts of the season. He gave up five runs on four long balls in six innings but with another great day for the hitters, it was good enough to improve to 7-0 on the season. Tim Byrdak was also hit hard and he saw his ERA balloon from 1.72 to 3.12. That’s how it goes with relievers though. He’s had two poor relief appearances sandwiched between 12 pretty good ones but it’s those two poor ones that inflate his ERA.

Ivan Rodriguez was a man on a mission yesterday and that day off must have done him some good. He went three for five with his seventh homerun, five RBIs and three runs. The five RBIs falls one short of his career high of six RBIs and it’s the eleventh time he’s driven in five in a game. He did it three times last year.

Curtis Granderson scored three more runs to bring his season total up to 46. Based on Granderson’s first half, I thought he was a lock to score a hundred last year but he fell just short. Same thing this year. Unless he really struggles in the second half, he should get that 100th run.

Sean Casey had four hits and he’s right on the cusp of hitting .300 for the season. He still hasn’t hit that first homerun though but after hitting just .192 in April, he’s hitting over .350 since then.

Tonight, it’s Andrew Miller throwing against Jamie Moyer. I’ll be at a friend’s house and I’m sure he’ll have it on so I’m hoping to finally see Miller throw.

Tigers Comeback Falls Short In Loss to Brewers

The Tigers lost their second straight game to the Brewers and there went a series that the Tigers probably could have picked up.  Chad Durbin was knocked around early and Wil Ledezma was hit hard as well.  The other relievers that the Tigers used pitched well enough but those first five runs that Durbin and Ledezma gave up turned out to be just enough.

The Tigers did put together a rally in the ninth that just fell short.  Down 6-3, the Tigers scored two runs and they had a runner on third with one out but they couldn’t push that tying run across the plate.  Craig Monroe went down on strikes as did Mike Rabello.  You wonder why Ivan Rodriguez wasn’t used in place of Robello (I haven’t heard if Leyland’s addresses this or not).

Which got me thinking, how valuable is it to get your key players a day off?  This was Ivan Rodriguez’s day off and had he come in and tied the game up with a single in the ninth, who knows how long the game might have gone.  And in the end, the Tigers still could have lost the game even with some ninth inning theatrics.  I’m not defending Leyland or anything, just trying to get into his head.  Maybe to him, the risk of tying the game up was offset by giving your Hall of Fame catcher a full dayoff and he choose to stick with Rabello in that final at bat.  I mean, best case scenario, he comes in and goes yard and ends it without having to put on his mask.  Worst case, he ties it up, has to catch 11 innings, and then the Tigers still end up losing in extra frames.  Anyway, it was a judgement call that Leyland will probably have to answer to.

Vance Wilson is out for the year so Rabello will continue his duties as the backup catcher.  And Kenny Rogers will could hopefully be his final rehab start for the White Caps tomorrow.

Next up is three against a hot Phillies team in Philadelphia.  We’ll see Jeremy Bonderman going up against Jon Lieber in the opener tomorrow night.

Final Thoughts on Justin Verlander’s No-Hitter and the Pen Fails the Tigers Again

It’s funny how a game can define, or at least help define, a pitcher’s career.  A guy that comes to mind is Josh Beckett.  For the longest time he never quite lived up to expectations and then all at once, he was catapulted into stardom in the 2003 World Series, particularly game six where he won impressively on short rest.  In a lot of ways, the same thing is happening to Justin Verlander.  Yeah, he won Rookie of the Year but a lot of people thought he was the default pick because Francisco Liriano went down.  And his 2007 season was off to a nice start but it was lost in the new Tiger’s offensive machine.  Now he’s front page news and it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here on out.

The Tigers lost tonight but Mike Maroth did everything he could to keep the Tigers in their 3-2 loss.  With his spot in the rotation potentially on the line, Maroth threw seven solid frames in what was probably his best start since May 11 when he gave up just one run in 6 2/3 innings.  Yeah, he tempted fate by giving up thirteen base runners (nine hits and four walks) in his seven innings but he only let one of those cross the plate.  He was helped out by three double plays including an odd one on a flyout to Magglio Ordonez.

Anyway, Maroth left the game with the lead but then Fernando Rodney came in and lost it by giving up two runs in the eighth.  This time, walks weren’t a problem.  He just let one go over the fence with a runner on. 

The offense didn’t product much either.  Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez each had two hits and an RBI while Brandon Inge was two for four with a run.  The hit by Granderson extended his hitting streak to thirteen innings and one of Granderson’s hits was his twentieth double of the season to go along with his 20 triples.  There’s a chance Granderson could finish with 20 homeruns, 20 triples and 40 doubles and the last person to do that was George Brett, who did it as a 23 year old back in 1979.  The only other player to do it was Jim Bottomley in 1928.  Bottomley is one of those players you don’t hear too much about it but he was pivotal piece of the Gas House Gang where he played on a Cardinals team that won two World Series and four pennants in a six year span from 1926 through 1931.

That’s it.  Just two guys on that list.  I was susprised Lou Gehrig’s name didn’t show up on the list but the one year he had 20 triples (1926), he only had 16 homeruns.  Then in 1927 (his first MVP), he had 47 homeruns, but just missed with 18 triples.  Gehrig is another one of those guys who misses the top 5 best of all time lists but was a stud in his own right.  He had seven different seasons where he drove in at least 150 runs and his .632 slugging is behind just Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson.  The Indians are up by four in the seventh so it looks like once again, the Tigers will drop a game behind the Indians.  Chad Durbin throws tomorrow in the rubber game and he’ll take on Ben Sheets.

Tigers Tie Indians With Verlander’s No Hitter

I’m still a little annoyed (okay, a lot) that I missed the no hitter yesterday but what can you do.  The fact that he struck out twelve while doing it yet still keeping his pitch count manageable (112 with 73 being strikes) is a testament to how great of an outing he had.

Brandon Inge pushed his batting average up to .250 with a nice day at the plate.  He went two for two with a walk, a homerun, two RBIs and two runs.  It was homerun number eleven and he’s well on his way to another 20 homer season.  And despite the batting average, he’s drawing walks and hitting for some power.  This shows in his .805 OPS, which would be a career high for the third baseman if it finishes there.  His .347 OBP would also be a career high.

And lost in all of the no-hit talk is the fact that the Tigers tied the Indians for first place in the division.  A three game winning streak will do that.  And just as important, the Twins and White Sox are falling further behind so this could turn into a two team race pretty quickly.

Mike Maroth takes on Chris Capuano tonight and Maroth has had a tough stretch here lately although his last start against the Rangers was “fair.”  The big problem has been the long ball. In four of his last six starts he’s given up at least two and in three of those six he’s given up three.  Hopefully he can get the job done tonight and the Tigers can pick up first place all by themselves.

Justin Verlander Throws No Hitter

I’m having problems with my internet connection so I’m hoping to squeak this in.  Justin Verlander threw a no hitter tonight over the Brewers and it’s the first no hitter by a Tiger since Jack Morris did it back in the 1984.

Of course I was stuck in a car somewhere that I couldn’t even listen to the game so I missed a small slice of history.

Kenny Rogers Looks Sharp In First Rehab Start

Kenny Rogers got in his first rehab start yesterday for the Mud Hens.  You can’t argue with the results so now it’s just a matter of getting to the point where he can be depended on to give the team six innings in a start.   The question will be, who will he replace in the rotation.  Andrew Miller is one for two so far this year but both Nate Robertson and Mike Maroth have been roughed up lately.

Tigers Send Mets Packing After Series Win

Anytime a high caliber team like the Mets roll into town, it’s hard to expect anything.  Fortunately, the Tigers got some more great hitting in the final two games to walk away with a series win against one of the best teams in the National League.

Today’s game saw the most offense and once again, it was Gary Sheffield providing some of the fireworks.  He finished the game four for five with his seventeenth homerun, two RBIs and two runs.  Omar Infante, Ivan Rodriguez and Placido Polanco all scored three runs while five Tigers had at least three hits in the beatdown.  Brandon Inge hit homerun number ten and he drove in a career high five RBIs in a fantastic day at the plate.

One downer was that Carlos Guillen left the game with a hamstring injury.  Guillen has been nursing what seems like a variety of injuries all year and you almost hope he doesn’t get scooped up for the All Star game.  I’m not sure how much those three days matters, but Guillen needs a break.

Andrew Miller improved to 2-0 although it was more because of all the offense then it was a great start.  He gave up four runs on five hits three walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.  Like his last major league start, his phenomonal 3/1 groundball to flyball ratio didn’t carry over and he gave up six ground ball outs to five fly ball outs.

The Indians lost today so the Tigers sit just a game and a half back in the Central and while I hate to talk about it already, they’re a game and a half ahead of the surprising Mariners for the Wild Card.  The Tigers have the night off tomorrow and then it’s three against the first place Brewers.  It wasn’t that long ago (it just feels like it) that the Brewers were one of the Tigers division rivals.  Now they only play them every few years in interleague play.

The Tigers 43rd Round Pick…..

….is a guy by the name of Richard Zumaya.  I’m assuming this is Joel’s brother because he also came out of California and it’s not a terribly common name. 

More Draft News

Bryan Smith at BP likes the Tigers sixth round pick and tenth round pick and has a brief discussion on both guys in his Unfiltered column.

This marks the third straight draft where the Tigers ended up with a top five caliber regardless of where they picked.  Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin could have easily gone first overall and Rick Porcello was projected as high as second and in most peoples rankings, was a top five pick.

Bless You Boys Blogs With the Enemy

Ian at Bless You Boys has a brief chat with Chris from Amazin’ Avenue about the Mets and the Tigers’ upcoming series.  Good stuff.  I had given up Damian Easley for dead but like Tony Clark, he’s hung around and put together a solid season.

Tiger Stadium to be Torn Down In 2008

The fat lady has sung as far as Tiger Stadium goes.  The good news is, there’s some people working very hard to try to save a portion of the stadium, which doesn’t happen too often so there should be something to at least visit.  And I commend the people who tried to save the stadium in it’s entirety.  They just had way too steep of an uphill battle in this one. 

Tigers Draft Recap – Day One

Day one is in the books and here’s who the hopeful Tigers of the future are that were picked up in the first five rounds yesterday.

Round 1, pick 27 – Rick Porcello – I already talked about him.

Round 1s, pick 60 – This was the supplemental pick the Tigers picked up when the Orioles signed Jamie Walker.  The Tigers chose Brandon Hamilton, a high schooler from Alabama.  This kid has some great stuff but he needs to work on his control.  He’s another typical Dave Dombrowski pick, and that’s a kid who needs some work but who can tough 95 on the gun.

Round 2, pick 91 – The Tigers took Danny Worth, a short stop from Pepperdine University with their third pick.  He’s a solid defender and his bat is coming along but he doesn’t have a lot of pop.

Round 3, pick 121 – Luke Putkoen is a right handed pitcher from North Carolina.  I don’t know a lot about him.

Round 4, pick 151 – Charlie Furbush is a lefty from LSU.  The guy sounds like Mike Maroth with his delivery but he’s someone who can touch the low 90s on the gun.

Round 5, pick 181 – Casey Crosby is a lefty from Kaneland High School in Illinois.  His biggest knock is that he’s a high school football star as well but like Furbash, he throws in the low 90s and even has the foundations for a slider and curveball.

So six picks, five pitchers.  This has been the Tigers MO.  Load up on arms, and worry about position players via free agency.  I’m really excited to see Porcello is they can sign him in time to play short season ball.

Tigers Blast Rangers Again To Take Series

The Tigers put on another offensive display last night against one of the worst pitching teams in baseball.  All seven Tigers who had hits had at least two and three Tigers had three hit games.  Sean Casey went three for five and he’s now pulled his batting average up to a season high .283 (okay, he was one for three in the very first game of the season but since then, it’s been an uphill climb for him).  His OPS is also right on the edge of crossing .700 and just a couple of weeks ago he was in the .500s so it’s nice to see Casey turrning things around.

Magglio Ordonez also had three hits and he’s now hitting .368.  No doubles, but his next one will be number thirty.  Curtis Granderson also had three hits and and two of those were triples to bring his season total up to a league leading twelve.  He has six triples in his last eight games.  What’s probably most strange is he only has two triples at home.  Comerica Park has seen more triples then any other ballpark in the last few years. 

Mike Maroth just pitched his five innings and he improved to 4-2 on the season.  He gave up three runs on eight hits and three walks with a single strikeout.  Aquilino Lopez and Yorman Barzardo, the two pitchers the Tigers called up to replace Nate Robertson and Zach Miner, each threw two shutout frames.  One of those two guys will be sent back down to Toledo when Andrew Miller gets called up for his start on Sunday.

The Mets are in town for a tough three game series.  You’re looking at two of the top offenses in baseball going at it and the Mets have the second best record in the National League.  Chad Durbin gets the start tonight and he’ll go up against Jorge Sosa.

Curtis Granderson Has Two More Triples

It’s only the third inning but Curtis Granderson has tripled two more times to bring his season total up to twelve.  Maybe 25 isn’t out of reach.  Then again, he could hit five the rest of the season and still probably lead the league.

Sheffield hit homerun number 16 and it’s his fourth in four games.  They still have six more innnings in this one.

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