Archive for April, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

The Tigers couldn’t even fell too good about their second win of the season last night because Dontrelle Willis is now on the shelf.  He hyperextended his knee in the first inning and as of now, it’s unclear as to when Willis will be ready to throw again.  Give some props to the pen in this one (I know I got on them yesterday).  Aquilino Lopez gave up just one run in four innings and then Jason Grilli threw three shutout innings to allow the Tigers to pad the score.  For now, a decision hasn’t been made as to whether Willis will hit the DL and who his replacement would be if he does.

Brandon Inge had another nice day at the plate.  He went two for four with with two runs and an RBI.  That brings his season RBI total up to nine.  Magglio Ordonez singled and he drove in two runs in the contest.

The two teams square off again and it’s a one o’clock start.  Justin Verlander will go for his first win and it’ll be Gavin Floyd throwing for the White Sox.

The 1968 Season Has Begun

The 1968 Tigers’ season kicked off yesterday and you can relive it at my 1968 Tigers Tribute Site.  I was hoping to do more season retros but never got the chance.  Still, most of the names should be somewhat familiar because this team was stacked.

Beantown Beatdown

The Tigers lost their third consecutive series to start the season yesterday and it was another bullpen meltdown.  I’ve talked about this before, but this isn’t the kind of pen where a starter can go just five innings and leave it up to the pen.  Sometime they’ll come through, but unless those top relievers are getting most of the time, it’s a recipe of disaster.  Nate Robertson lasted 5 1/3 and that left it up to the back end of the pen.  Zach Miner gave up four runs, Yorman Bazardo also gave up four and Francis Beltran gave up a single run.   Probably the only good thing was the Red Sox got only eight innings to hit or it could have been even worse.

At one point in time, the 12-6 loss was a 4-3 game and that was late as the seventh inning.  Ivan Rodriguez was a perfect three for three and Magglio Ordonez belted his first homer of the season.

Next up are the second place White Sox.  The Tigers are 0-6 in the division and 0-3 against the Sox.  If they’re going to pick a good time to kick it into gear, this would be the time.  Dontrelle Willis gets the nod and the White Sox will be throwing Jose Contreras.

A Win

The Tigers finally took their first step today towards what many think will still be a sucessful season for the team with a 7-2 drubbing over the Red Sox.  Jeremy Bonderman lasted just five innings and looked shaky at times but he was able to buckle down and hold the defending champs to two runs.  The bullpen then put in their most impressive performance of the season with four relievers combining to throw four innings of shutout ball.

Edgar Renteria was the hitting star and he finished three for four with two doubles, a walk, two RBIs and two runs.  Marcus Thames belted his first homer of the season and Carlos Guillen hit his first since opening day. 

The Tigers try to make it two straight tonight and it’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Tim Wakefield.  Both of these guys looked shaky in their first start so hopefully it’ll be Nate that bounces back.

The Skid, Episode Seven

Yeah, it’s now 0-7.  Even worse, it was another shutout as Dice-K and the Red Sox bullpen did a number on the Tigers.  Keep in mind, these are the defending champs and the odds on favorites to win it all again this year and they’re playing on their home turf.  This would have been a series where there wouldn’t be much shame if the Tigers dropped two of three with but with the perceived (yes, it’s perceived) desperation, the series takes on a completely different meaning.

The Tigers managed just five hits and two of those came from Gary Sheffield.  It’d be nice to see Sheffield heat up because I’m still convinced that how Gary goes, so goes the Tigers.  Yeah, you have Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez but my bet is, the team’s success will be more closely correlated with how Sheffield is hitting.

Kenny Rogers had a mediocre start but it wasn’t one where he’d be neccesarily handed a loss if the team actually gave him some run support.  Jason Grilli had another rough outing and he gave up two runs while Aquilino Lopez threw a 2 1/3 shutout innings.

Jeremy Bonderman gets the start tomorrow and he’ll face Jon Lester.  I like this matchup, and hence I like our chances in this one.  All monumental taks begin with a single step and hopefully that first step comes tomorrow for the Tigers.

Regarding the Start

In case you haven’t heard, the Tigers are off to a rather pedestrian start.  When it was 0-3, I told people it wasn’t a problem and even at 0-6, I’m not TOO concerned yet but history tells us some interesting things.  Only two teams have started 0-6 and made the playoffs.  The 1974 Pirates and the 1995 Reds both did it (I picked this up on the telecast last night so I hope they’re the only ones) so there’s some history that teams have been able to bounce back.  The bad news is, the 1974 Pirates won 88 games and the 1995 Reds won just 85.  I’m figuring at a minimum, the Tigers will have to win 92-93 wins to make the playoffs and even that might be low.

Taking this a step further, two American League teams last year had losing streaks of at least six games and still made the playoffs.  The Yankees lost seven in a row for their longest streak and the Angels had a six game skid so the long skid doesn’t neccesarily mean the Tigers are in really deep water.  Ironically, the two teams that made it into the ALCS, the Red Sox and Indians, had just a four game losing streak as their longest. 

I also still think the Indians are the team to beat and they stand at 3-3.  That means the Tigers, while they’re 4 1/2 games out of first place, are just three games back against their primary competition.  I know it’s probably a bit arrogant to discount the White Sox start but I’m figuring they’ll come back down to earth soon.

What’s disconcerting is that American League low ERA of 5.30.  That’s the category where the Tigers are going to have to improve.  I know they haven’t scored the runs, but even with this offense, an ERA of 4.75 isn’t going to do them much better then 85 wins.  Still, through these first six games, the Tigers have the worse offense (15 runs scored) and their pitchers have given up the most runs.  This sounds like a no brainer, but that cannot continue.

Is it disappointing that the Tigers are off to such a bad start considering this is the most anticipated season of my lifetime?  Sure it is, but there’s still months to recover.  And for those keeping score, no team has started 0-7 and made the playoffs so the question is, will tomorrow night’s game be the most important of the season?  Hardly, but it’ll be one more shovel full of dirt that’s coming out of the hole the Tigers are digging themselves into if the lose.

Tigers Lose Ugly to White Sox, Fall to 0-6

I know the games not over but in a lot of ways, it truly is over.  It’s 13-2 and while the Tigers have the bases loaded, this was still an ugly loss.  It finishes up another sweep and the Tigers now fall to 0-6.

Spoke too soon.  A double play just ended the game.  Sigh.

Anyway, the Tigers are now 0-6 and they head to Fenway for a series against the defending champs.  It’s getting late and I want to go to bed on a good note so I’m not even going to pour through tonight’s box score.  The Tigers have the day off tomorrow so I’ll opine on all of this with a more clear head.

Tigers Lose Another Strange One, Drop to 0-5

Alright, this is getting old.  Dontrelle Willis had about as bizarre of a start as I could remember.  He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning but he walked seven and after giving up two runs, Zach Miner was the latest reliever to implode and a 3-0 lead turned into a 4-3 deficit in a hurry.

Chris Shelton, I mean Clete Thomas, continues to rake and he went two for five.  Four career games and he has a four game hitting streak.  Brandon Inge was the guy who put the team on his back though.  He went two for three with a walk, a double, a homer and he drove in all three runs for the Tigers.  Jacque Jones was two for three with a walk and two runs.

The Tigers try to avoid their second straight sweep tomorrow afternoon.  Justin Verlander gets another chance and it’ll be a once Tiger killer, Mark Buehrle, throwing for the White Sox.

I’m really digging Mosaic for MLB.TV.  There’s only four games on right now, but it’s neat to be able to flip around between games.

Tigers vs. A.J. Pierzynski

The good news is, the Tigers scored a season high five runs.  The bad news is, that’s how many A.J. Pierzynski drove in just by himself as Tigers pitching laid an egg.  Nate Robertson was knocked around for five runs and ten hits in ten innings and Jason Grilli takes the loss with a three run seventh inning.  Denny Bautista and Todd Jones did their job in the eighth and ninth but no dice for a comeback by the hitters.

Clete Thomas has played three games in his career and he has a three game hitting streak.  Today he hit an impressive three for four with a stolen base, an RBI and a run.  Ivan Rodriguez also had his best game of the season with two doubles, a single, two runs and two RBIs.  Miguel Cabera was back in the lineup at DH and both he and Carlos Guillen walked three times.

Dontrelle Willis makes his Tiger debut tomorrow on the national stage in Fox’s game of the week at 4 pm.  Gavin Floyd gets the start for the White Sox.  Willis had a tough spring but the way things are going, he’ll be the guy to bust us out of this slump.

And there’s more from Andrew Hess.  He touches on the White Caps blowout win in their opener in South Bend.

Has It Been That Long?

I read an article a while back that said to be really good at something, you need to practice it extensively for ten years.  If that’s the case, you have to put up a lack of excellence for five more years because today marks the fifth anniversary that I started this blog.  Originally, it was an attachment to a fantasy baseball league I ran but it eventually branched out into it’s own domain.  I blogged infrequently the first couple of months and it wasn’t really until July of 2003 that I really found my groove and started taking it seriously.

Since then, I’ve been in seven books (eighth will be out soon), talked to Ernie Harwell on the phone, mixed it up with some of the better known stat gurus, and helped bring SABR back to Detroit.  I’ve also had the privelage to work with several other great bloggers and I’ve learned a ton.  Not just about the Tigers and their rich history but about sabermetrics as well as the happenings in team’s front offices.  I look back and it’s been a wild ride but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything and I hope five year’s from now, I’m still going strong.


Another rough one today.  Zach Greinke shut down the Tigers and it wasn’t until Brandon Inge went yard in the seventh inning that the Tigers scored their first run since Monday.  Inge has stepped it up nicely.  In addition to the homer, he singled and drew a walk.  Ivan Rodriguez continues to struggle as his exception spring didn’t carry over into the real season.

Miguel Cabrera missed the game because of a strained quad.  Inge moved to third and Clete Thomas got the start out in centerfield.  Leyland put him in the leadoff spot of all places and he finished one for four.

Jeremy Bonderman was good enough through five innings but then the Royals got to him for runs in the sixth and seventh innings.  Bobby Seay and mostly Aquilino Lopez held the Royals scoreless the rest of the way but the hitters could manage just the jack from Inge.

Nate Robertson gets the start tomorrow and he was one of the Tigers’ more effective starters this spring.  The White Sox will go with Jose Contreras.

Brian Bannister, Cy Young?

Brian Bannister showed up on a lot of overrated fantasy player lists this past year but I have a feeling that everyone other then Edgar Renteria thinks the Royals starter might have a solid season.  The Tigers were held to just three singles in this one and all three were by Renteria.  They drew a walk and of their four baserunners, two were eliminated by double plays and in only one instance did a Tiger (Renteria) reach second base.  This is about as bad as it gets for offensive performances.

Kenny Rogers was good enough but like Justin Verlander on Monday, he had a bad late inning.  He gave up two runs in the sixth and Zach Miner gave up two in the eight to make it the 4-0 final.

Jeremy Bonderman gets the nod tomorrow against Zach Greinke.  This will be the game the Tigers bats get hot for the simple reason that Greinke is on my fantasy team.  It’s funny how you have a lot of doom and gloom on the radio already.  Not like every team, even the good ones, have two game losing streaks.  And I think the Royals are better then people are giving them credit for.

A Real Announcement

Unlike my post earlier in the day, I actually have some interesting news.  Last year, I started a sister site, Tigers Minors, to cover the Tigers minor league affiliates.  The first piece of news is, Mike Cassidy has agreed to write recaps again so hopefully you’ll find the site a nice one stop source for updates on all of the teams in the Tigers minor league system.

Not to take anything anyway from Mike, but that’s not the big news.  What’s even more interesting is Andrew Hess, who pitched for UM and was the Tigers nineteenth round draft pick in 2007, will be blogging about his experiences in the minor league at Tigers Minors as well.  He’ll be starting the season with the White Caps and his first post is on some of his spring training experiences.  Stop by and say hello.

Clete Thomas Leaves Hole In Outfield After Announcing Retirement

It looks like one at bat was enough.  Clete didn’t make himself available for comment, but after belting a double in his only major league at bat, the young outfielder has announced his retirement.  He’ll end his career with an impressive 1.000/1.000/2.000 line but now it looks like the Tigers will have to move on after the announcement.

My guess is, Timo Perez will get called up to take Thomas’ spot.  Brent Clevlen is also an option as well as Freddy Guzman.  It’s a strange start to a strange day so be sure to mark your calendar (no really, mark your calendar).

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