Archive for July, 2007

Jordan Tata and a Neifi Perez Redux

The Tigers snapped their skid and remained in sole possession of first place late last night behind a solid first career start by Jordan Tata.  The righthander gave up just two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings of work.  Chad Durbin and Todd Jones each threw a scoreless frame to close the game out, but it was nice to see Tata, and Virgil Vasquez before him, put together a couple of nice starts.  It means the Tigers have some depth going down the stretch and I’m a bit curious to find out if this was a showcase start for Tata as far as a potential trade.  Guess we’ll find out since the first trade deadline is today.

Curtis Granderon and Placido Polanco both had three hits in the game and Polanco is now just eight points back of Magglio Ordonez for the batting title with Ichiro sandwiched between the two of them.  Granderson scored three more runs and that brings his season total up to 84.

You’d think the Tigers would have learned from last year’s mistake with Neifi Perez but the lastest trade rumor I’ve heard is that the Tigers might be going after Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson.  He has a career slugging percentage of just .366 which is actually lower then Neifi’s .375.  Yes, it’s hard to believe but there might actually be worse hitters then Neifi and the Tigers might be going after him.  Wilson also called out one of his teammates during the offseason and basically told the manager who he’d prefer to have as a double play partner (Jose Castillo was the player he called out).  Wilson actually is a pretty good fielder (10 fielding runs above average) but I still say we stay away from this one.

Blowouts, Kenny Rogers and Wil Ledezma

At least the Angels are a good team but that’s not an excuse as the Tigers were embarassed in all three of their games in a weekend series against the Angels.  Last nights beating on ESPN’s game of the week was a tough one to take considering Jeremy Bonderman was roughed up in one of his worst starts of his career.  He didn’t even make it through the third inning and he was tagged with eleven runs (ten earned) and his ERA shot up 64 points because of it.  This time, the first inning wasn’t his only bad inning although he did give up four in the first frame.  From looking at his splits page, that first inning continues to be a problem.  27 of the 69 runs he’s given up has been in the first frame in 2007 and in his career, 117 of his of his 493 runs have come in the first inning.  A lot of times he pitches out of it and goes five or six innings but you always hate to dig that hole so early.

Kenny Rogers is back on the disabled list with a swollen elbow so the Tigers once again have a hole in their rotation.  Jordan Tata was called up from Triple A to fill in and he’ll get the start tonight against Oakland.  Tata hasn’t seen much action outside of a cup of coffee at the end of last season and this will be his first major league start.  After spending some time on the disabled list to start the season, he’s thrown pretty well for Toledo this year.

Wil Ledezma was designated for assignment by the Braves after being pretty ineffective at getting batters out for them.  They might be able to get something for him in a trade but if not, he’ll go on waivers where he’s fair game.  Maybe he’ll end up in Tampa Bay where he can resurrect his career like Carlos Pena has (who is now sitting on 25 homeruns).

One Bad Inning

It’s early to start throwing around labels, but Andrew Miller’s inability to work late into games could cost the young starter down the line.  In his last four starts, he’s thrown just five innings or fewer and with the Tigers bullpen as it stands, no lead is safe.  So as good as Miller is through five, he has to be more effecient and work later into games to better help the Tigers win ball games.

Case in point was this afternoon.  Andrew Miller left in the sixth and Jason Grilli gave up two runs (one of Millers and one of his to tie the game up).  Then there was a complete melt down in the eighth inning when the Angels scored seven innings.  Garrett Anderson belted a three run homer that might not have been a homer to get things going and it went even further downhill from there. 

Magglio Ordonez belted his sixteenth homer of the season and he drove in two runs.  Curtis Granderson singled and stole his thirteenth base as he pushes closer and closer to being only the third player ever to rack up 20 doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases in a season.   Willie Mays did it in 1957 and the Cubs Frank Schulte did it way back in 1911 so Granderson would be in pretty select company.  Mike Hessman’s three game hitting streak came to an end today.  It’s his first game since getting called up that he failed to get a hit.

Jeremy Bonderman throws for the Angels tomorrow night as the Tigers try to avoid a sweep.  Rookie Dustin Mosely gets the start for the Angels.

The End of the End for Tiger Stadium

Tiger fans saw a lot more then just a loss in Anaheim yesterday.  After some shadow victories late (I’ve been documenting this stuff in my BOB Reports at the Hardball Times) in the game for those who were proponents of saving the stadium, the city council voted to tear down the stadium.  The good news is, part of the structure as well as the field will be preserved for local youth baseball so it wasn’t a complete shutout.

Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez and Kyle Farnsworth

Another tough loss yesterday.  The Tigers lost their five game series against the White Sox and of the three losses, the Tigers pretty much gave two of those game away.  Now they have a tough west coast swing with a three game weekend series against the Angels to kick things off.  One again, they’re not only on FOX’s game of the week tomorrow but they’re also on ESPN on Sunday night.  It’s Jered Weaver on the mound tonight against Nate Robertson.

Curtis Granderson hasn’t tripled since July 14 so he’s stuck on 16.  I’ve said this before, but triples are one of those weird stats that can dry up in a hurry.  Granderson could pick up two or three quick ones and put 25 back within reach or he could finish the season with 18.  He now has 15 homers though with two of those coming in this past series against the White Sox.  He also seems a lock to pick up 100 runs although I thought for certain that he’d pick up 100 last year and he just fell short.

Magglio Ordonez’s double pace has also slowed down.  He has 38 and while 50 is definitely within reach, his earlier torrid pace has slowed when it looked like the single season record was a possibility.  Unlike Granderson though, he hasn’t picked up his homerun pace and he’s hit just two in the month of July.

Trade rumors are swirling and while it looks like the Tigers might be out of the running for Octavio Dotel, a familiar face could be the most likely guy the Tigers pick up.  Kyle Farnsworth is being dangled by the Yankees and he could be a cheaper alternative then a lot of the other options out there.  Farnsworth was very good for us back in 2005 and while he has a hot head, I think he’d do okay back in Detroit.

Ryan Raburn Has Career Day In Tigers Win Over White Sox

I never got back to the doubleheader sweep, but this is much more interesting news.  Ryan Raburn, who had been called up just this month, put together a game that’d do just about anyone proud.  He homered twice and drove in seven runs.  The last Tiger to drive in seven runs in a game was Carlos Pena back in 2003 and since 1957, only Jim Northrup drove in more runs in a game when he drove in eight twice (once in 1968 and once in 1973).  He finished the game four for five and he scored three runs in a truly spectacular individual performance.  And prior to the seven RBIs, he had just four RBIs in his entire major league career.

Kenny Rogers had his third straight tough start.  He gave up seven runs in four innings and it forced the Tigers to come back a couple of different times in this one.  Jason Grilli picked up the win but he was hardly spectacular either.  He gave up two runs in three innings.  Only Tim Byrdak, who hadn’t pitched at the big league level in a month because of an injury, got through the game unscathed with two shutout innings to close out the game. For his trouble, he picked up his first save of the season.

Curtis Granderon had yet another nice game.  He picked up two hits and three runs and he trails only Gary Sheffield on the team with his 79 runs.  In all, seven Tigers had more then one hit with Raburn, Mike Rabelo and Brandon Inge getting three or more.

The rubber game for the five game series is this afternoon.  Justin Verlander will go up against rookie starter John Danks.  Danks was a top flight prospect coming into the season that won a spot in the rotation in spring training.  He’s looked very good a times but at other times he’s gotten pummelled so this one could go either way.

White Sox Sweep Tigers

The Tigers lost both ends of a doubleheader yesterday, and just as I’m about to write this up, I hear my son waking up.  Game two was an ugly one and details will follow later this morning.

Curtis Granderson, Mike Hessman Lead Tigers In Win Over White Sox

It may not have been Mike Hessman’s major league debut, but it’s been a while since the third baseman had seen some time at the big league level.  And he took full advantage of his chance in his Tiger debut with a very nice game.  He went two for four with two RBIs and two runs.  Hessman helped fill in while Marcus Thames is out and while Hessman played most of his season this year for the Hens at third, he did a nice enough job, and provided enough of a punch, as the Tigers starting first baseman last night.

Curtis Granderson stole the show though.  He was a perfect three for three and oddly, he was a triple short of hitting for the cycle.  He did add homerun number 14 to his list of accomplishments and he drove in four runs while scoring two.  Placido Polanco chipped in with three hits, a run and an RBI.

The pitching didn’t do as well, but it did just enough to help the Tigers pick up the win.  Andrew Miller was roughed up for five runs in 4 2/3 innings and his last pitch went way over the catchers head.  Jason Grilli pitched 1 1/3 innings and he picked up his fourth win while Todd Jones pitched a shutout ninth to pick up save number 27.

The Indians lost so the Tigers have their two game lead back.  They can guarantee another 1/2 game lead if they sweep the White Sox today.  The Tigers and White Sox play two today with Jeremy Bonderman getting the start in the first game and then Virgil Vasquez, who just got called back up, will go in the second game.  Both games are on Fox Sports Net so there’s plenty of baseball for Tiger fans today.

Brandon Inge Belts Walk Off Homer In Tigers Ten Inning Win Over Royals

Brandon Inge hit a two run walk off homer in the bottom of the tenth inning to win it for the Tigers in what turned out to be a high scoring, 10-8 affair with the Royals.  Inge’s homerun was one of four with Craig Monroe, Placido Polanco and Ryan Raburn all going yard as well.  It was the first homerun of Raburn’s career and Craig Monroe had a team leading four RBIs.

Justin Verlander looked mortal, and while he left the game in the sixth inning with the lead, it was hardly a fantastic start.  Yeah, he struck out seven and walked just two but he gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.  Todd Jones gave up two in the ninth to send the game into extra frames and then it was Chad Durbin who threw a shutout tenth and picked up the win.

The Indians lost so it’s back to a two game lead in the Central.  The Twins bounced back from their sweep at the hands of the Tigers and they’ve won two straight since to pick up a game while the White Sox appear to be done with them being just a game up on the Royals.  This afternoon, it’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Brian Bannister in the rubber game.  It’s on FOX 2 so be sure to check over there instead of FSN.

Sweeps, Attendance and Marcus Thames

The Tigers finished their three game sweep over the Twins, effectively burying that team and setting them nine games back.  It was a pretty solid game with the Tigers scoring their first three runs in the seventh inning once Scott Baker cooled off.  The Twins answered and tied it in the bottom of the seventh and while the Twins had a nice chance in the eighth to take the lead, a bizarre play turned almost a sure thing run into an out.  Justin Mourneau was on third with one out, Bobby Seay threw one in the dirt but it took a nice bounce back and Mike Rabello was able to get to Seay in time to get Mourneau in a run down trying to score.  He was finally called out when he stopped and let the ball hit him.

Brandon Inge put the Tigers on the board in the seventh with an RBI double and then he came up with the game winner in the top of the tenth inning when he drove home Timo Perez with an RBI double.  Placido Polanco also had a nice game and he went three for six with a run and an RBI.  Zach Miner picked up his first win of the season and Todd Jones got it done in the tenth for his 26th save.

The Tigers announced on Wednesday that they had sold enough tickets to break their previous attendance record set in 1984.  I think 3 million is out of reach with tickets selling out at a lot of games but maybe that’s a mark that can be reached next year.

Marcus Thames hit the disabled list and he’ll be out for a couple of weeks.  He tweaked his hamstring making a diving catch in Wednesday night’s game.  Timo Perez was brought up in his place and he did a nice job in yesterday’s game.  He went one for four with a walk and he scored the winning run in the tenth inning.

Tigers Edge Twins Again

The Tigers handled Johan Santana last night and in the process, won their third straight game.  A win this afternoon would complete a sweep over the Twins and effectively bury that team for the time being.  The fact that the Tigers got it done, and against one of the best pitchers in baseball, was nice to see.

Andrew Miller gave the Tigers five quality innings but you always wonder what’s going to happen once the Tigers to the back end of the pen.  Jason Grilli gave up a run in the sixth but after that, the pen did a nice jog.  Chad Durbin threw 1 1/3 shutout innings and Todd Jones threw shutout ninth to pick up his 25th save.  Miller improved to 5-3 on the season with the win.

The big hit was a solo homerun by Magglio Ordonez which at the time made it a 3-1 ball game.  It proved to be the winning run though and along with a two run double, you had Ordonez driving in all three runs for the Tigers in this one.  In fact, he has all four Tiger RBIs in this series.  Ryan Raburn had a nice game as well.  He doubled off of Johan and he later scored on Ordonez’s double and then he drew a walk. 

It’s Jeremy Bonderman against Scott Baker this afternoon.  The Indians lost yesterday afternoon, so they now have a two game lead over them (three in the loss column). The Twins are now eight back.

Cameron Maybin Third Best Prospect In Baseball

Baseball America put out their mid-season prospect list and Cameron Maybin jumped all the way up to three.   Only the Diamondbacks Justin Upton and the Reds Jay Bruce were higher on the list.  Andrew Miller fell off because he’s in the majors and no other Tiger made the cut.

Nate Robertson Throws Seven Shutout Innings In Tigers Win Over Twins

Nate Robertson is used to a lack of run support and in last night’s game he needed to be nearly perfect to win it because the Tigers were only able to pick up one run off of Matt Garza.  Fortunately, he nearly was perfect and he held the Twins to just three hits in seven shutout innings to pick up his sixth win of the season.  He walked two and struck out five and he had some help from Macay McBride and Todd Jones, who each threw a shutout frame.  Robertson did get into trouble in the sixth inning (right after the Tigers scored their run) and after letting two men get on base, he struck out Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer to finish up the inning and get out of the jam.

The lone Tiger run came in the sixth inning and at first it looked like it could be a big inning.  Brandon Inge reached first on an error by Jason Bartlett and then he moved to second on a wild pitch.  Curtis Granderson (more on him later) drew a walk to put two Tigers on with nobody out.  Then Placido Polanco botched a bunt attemp and popped it to Joe Mauer in four territory before Gary Sheffield flew out to left.  Magglio Ordonez came through in the clutch though and he hit a seeing eye single between the shortstop and the third baseman that allowed Inge to score from second base.

Curtis Granderson was three for four with a walk and he also belted his 27th double of the season.  Outside of Granderson’s three hits, the Tigers managed just two other singles and Ivan Rodriguez had a particularly tough game with three strikeouts.

The Indians won as well so the Tigers lead still sits at one game (two losses).  The Twins of course lose a game and they’re seven down.  Tonight, it’ll be Andruw Miller going up against Johan Santana and the Tigers definitely have their work cut out for them in this one.

Curtis Granderson Wins AL Player of the Week

Curtis Granderson hit .500 (8 for 16) in the days following the All Star Break and that was good enough to garner him the American League Player of the Week.  It’s the first weekly award of Granderson’s career.  Hopefully he can keep it up and help the Tigers take care of the Twins beginning tonight.

Also, Tim Kirby at has a great story on Mud Hens third baseman Mike Hessman, who’s having a breakout year of sorts.  This is Hessman’s third season with the Mud Hens after spending a lot of time in the Braves organization.  With nearly two monts left to play, Hessman’s already set a career mark in RBIs and he’s just one short of his career high in homeruns.  Not too shabby from the former 15th roun pick.

Guillermo Moscoso Throws Perfect Game for Oneonta

Tigers’ farmhand Guillermo Moscoso threw a perfect game yesterday for the Oneonta Tigers.    He was signed by the Tigers out of Venezuela back in 2003 and this is his third season playing short season ball for the team after two years in the Dominican Summer League.  Still, it’s an impressive feat for the 23 year old.

Marcus Thames Drives in Four Runs In Tigers Win

The Tigers opened the floodgates again and for the fifteenth time this season, they put a pair of numbers in the run column instead of just one.  Marcus Thames belted his eleventh homerun and he drove in four to lead the way while Curtis Granderson once again did it all.  He finished with three hits and three runs and he stole his tenth base of the season.  It was one of five bases that the Tigers stole and even Sean Casey got in on the action with his second steal.  A couple more from him, and he’ll touch his career high of four set back in 2003.

Justin Verlander won his eleventh game of the season.  He gave up a couple of early runs and then a couple in the middle innings and he finished with four against him on eight hits and a walk.  He struck out six in his five innings of work.

It was particularly nice seeing the Tigers beat up on Jeff Weaver.  It’s hard to believe it’s been over five years since we made the deal that sent him to the Yankees.  He’s never come close to matching some of the better seasons he had with Detroit and while Carlos Pena (at least for us) and Franklyn German never worked out, Jeremy Bonderman (the infamous player to be named later) was worth the price by himself.

The Indians won so they’ve matched the Tigers in the second half and the Tigers hold on to their 1/2 game lead.  Next up is a big three game series against the streaking Twins, who now sit just six games back of the Tigers.  It’d be nice to bury the Twinkies with a series win and Nate Robertson kicks things off tomorrow with the hitters’ having to contend with Matt Garza.

Kenji Johjima’s Grand Slam Costs Kenny Rogers First Decision of the Season

Maybe I was spoiled,  but the way Kenny Rogers had pitched both in the playoffs and to open the season, I thought he was unbeatable.  Last night he met his match though and after the Tigers gave him a one run lead on a solo homerun by Curtis Granderson, he proceeded to give up six runs with the bulk of the damage coming in the sixth inning when Kenji Johjima took him deep with the bases loaded.    Even worse, he had a tough time finding the plate and two of the guys who scored on the slam were there because of walks.  Rogers also didn’t strike out a single batter.

The Tigers put together a big rally in the eighth inning and Carlos Guillen’s two run single made it a 6-4 game but that’s as far as the Tigers would get.  The hitting star was definitely Curtis Granderson, who led off the game with a solo homerun and then led off the Tigers’ three run eighth inning with his sixteenth triple. 

The Indians also lost so the Tigers held on to their half game lead.  The Twins have won three straight though and they’re getting close enough to become a threat.  The Tigers will try to salvage a split in this afternoons’ game with Justin Verlander going up against a familiar face to Tigers’ fans in Jeff Weaver in a rematch of game five of the Workd Series.  Beating down Weaver won’t make up for that game five loss but it sure would feel good if the Tigers hitters could take it to him.

Gary Sheffield’s Slam Enough For Tigers Win

Gary Sheffield did it again and you wonder how much longer it’ll take before Sheffield starts getting the MVP hype.  He belted his 22nd homer of the season and it just happened to be with the bases loaded.  The four runs put the Tigers on the board and while it was Sheffield’s only hit, it provided all of the runs the Tigers would need.

Sean Casey belted his second homer of the season after he came in to pinch hit for Marcus Thames.  Ivan Rodriguez had three hits (he’s now hitting .299) and Ryan Raburn drew two walks and he scored a run.

Jeremy Bonderman improved to 10-1 with the win.  He gave up three runs on six hits, but he didn’t walk anyone and he struck out five.  Two o the six hits were homers.  Todd Jones gave up a couple of hits in the ninth, but he pitched out of his own jame and he picked up his 23rd save of the season.

It’s another late one tonight as Kenny Rogers goes up against Miguel Batista.  Rogers will try to improved on his 3-0 record and Batista has lost three of his last four decisions so I like our chances in this one.

Felix Hernandez, Umpires Too Much For Tigers

It doesn’t seem like the Tigers were coming off of a five game winning streak because of the break, but it came to an end none the less in a bizarre game in Seattle.  The Tigers took an early 2-0 lead but then a three run fifth inning did the Tigers in.  I’m working from what I heard on the radio, but it sounded like the umpire blew a call not once but twice when Carlos Guillen tagged out Adrian Beltre sliding into second base but was called safe.  Amidst the confusion, Richie Sexson scampered home for what would turn out to be the winning run.  And then Ivan Rodiriguez was bumped in the fourth after he got called for another interference call.

Andrew Miller dropped to 4-3 but outside of the odd inning, he threw a nice game.  He struck out six and walked just two in five innings and he also got some nice support from the pen.  Jason Grilli, Macay McBride, and Jose Capellan (who’s been pretty good so far) all threw a shutout frame in the game.  Capellan has held the opposition to just two hits in 5 1/3 innings and his only earned run was the one he gave up in his Tiger debut a couple of weeks ago.

Gary Sheffield had three hits and he stole two bases in the game.  Curtis Granderson singled, doubled and he scored both Tiger runs. 

Jeremy Bonderman gets the start tonight (I hate these 10 pm games) and the Tigers hitters will face Jarod Washburn, who’s a lefty.  So it’ll be interesting to see how Leyland shuffles his lineup with a lefty on the mound.

Timo Perez Is Star of Stars

Timo Perez had a stand out performance last night in the Triple A All Star Game as the International League dispatched the Pacific Coast League 7-5.  Perez finished the game three for four with two RBIs with a run and he earned the International League’s Star of Stars Award.  Congrats to the Tigers farm hand.

Baseball is back tonight and the Tigers have a tough one out of the gate with the recently tough Seattle Mariners and Felix Hernandez on the mound.  Andrew Miller takes the mound for the series opener and what’s the beginning of a pretty long road trip. The Tigers play seven on the road over the next week before coming home for one weekend series against the Royals.  Then they leave town for ten days with another west coast trip that takes them into early August.  The big series is next week’s three game set against the Twins

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