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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.

Hey B.

Just a note to let you know I am still lurking about in here. Whenever I am looking to read or find out info on the Tigers yours is the the only word I trust. Keep up the good work brother and I pray this is the year.

Mike Green

Posted by Mike Green on April 12th, 2007 at 8:16 pm

One more thing, I love having two legitimate big league closers…maybe even two and a half including Rodney. Jones looks great so far this year, I know it’s early, but he was great from July on last year, and it’s not like he comes in and throws fire and could wear down throughout the year. Also…how many other teams would have Ledezma in the rotation right now? The Yankees and Twins sure would.

Posted by Ian on April 12th, 2007 at 8:56 pm

Todd Jones might seem like a legit closer for now, but hes margin for error is very very thin. He doesn’t strike anyone out, so he’s heavily relying on a few things that could all change very quickly. Actually, four things:

*Homers. He needs to keep the ball in the ballpark. He did that last year, and he stays low in the zone with a lot of heavy pitches, so he should probably be fine. He only allowed 4 homers last year. If he starts leaving the ball up, they’ll tee off on him because, as already noted, he doesn’t miss bats.

*Walks. He needs to never walk anyone. He’s walked 2 in 5 innings so far this year. That’s too many, though obviously it’s a small sample size. Still, he walked 11 all of last year, so it certainly isn’t a good sign, if anything.

*Defense. Specifically, the infield defense. As you may know, the Tigers had a terrific defense last year, and this will have to continue. As a mattor of fact, I would pull Carlos Guillen out of the game whenever possible when Jones is going for a save.

*Luck. Jones allowed a normal number of base hits last year, with a BABIP of .297. The Tigers defense was second in all of baseball in 2006, allowing hits in about 28.8% of balls in play. It makes sense that Jones would allow a few more, since ground balls go for hits a little more often than fly balls. So far this year, however, Jones has been lucky, allowing hits in only about 13.3% of balls in play. He’s not going to start punching out a lot of batters, so get ready for some hits to drop, and when they do, don’t start complaining about poor luck with ducksnort singles. Strikeouts rarely result in baserunners.

It’s only a matter of time before Jones starts blowing games. All we can hope for is more 2 and 3-run leads instead of the 1-run leads Jones has worked with so far. We’re lucky to have the record we have, all things considered.

In summary, Jones has pitched well, and I suppose you can say that he’s been a “legitimate” closer, though it’s unclear what that actually means. If any part of his game slips, he’ll be suddenly “illegitmate” and people will start talking about it that way only then because they didn’t look at the facts ahead of time. Todd Jones is one of the many things that went right for the Tigers last year, and if we keep pressing our luck with him we’re bound to end up with a few Whammies.

One more thing. Brian, let it be noted that this is a “first guess”, and I’ll readily admit that there must have been something I missed if Jones turns in another decent season. When (or if) Jones starts blowing games, causing people to start questioning his legitimacy, will they, Detroit columnists, ESPN, and bloggers) be called second guessers? Somehow I doubt it.

Posted by Dan on April 13th, 2007 at 9:46 am

I’m pretty sure you’re behind the times on that one, Dan, this has been an issue pointed out by everybody for some time. Sorry, you don’t get to claim credit for the idea.

Home runs seems to be the best reason he is a successful closer to me. He just allows such a small percentage.

The point remains, I’d rather he come to the mound with no one on the bases than be thrown into the positions Zumaya finds himself in. Thanks to pitching to contact and a great defense behind him, Jones is doing his job fine in Detroit.

Posted by Kurt on April 13th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

And yes, I know Dan, you were saying the same thing last year and have valid reasoning. But I gotta kid a bit!

Posted by Kurt on April 13th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Fair enough, Kurt. I’m certainly not asking for credit for the idea – any such suggestion was a reference to being called a “second guesser”. I am not a second guesser. I may be wrong about a particular thing, and that’s because I may have overlooked something, but I take my positions based on reasoning and probability.

That, and I hear a lot about how good a closer Todd Jones is. He isn’t. He is a halfway decent pitcher who pitches the 9th inning most often. That’s a better description of him than “legitimate” or “good”. You guys may have covered that ground already on Tigerblog, and that’s commendable, but I still hear a lot about how good Jones is.

Posted by Dan on April 13th, 2007 at 2:10 pm

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