Archive for the '2005 Tigers' Category

Fenway Memories and Matthew Reilly

A little over three years ago, my wife (who was then my fiance) surprised me with an Independence Day weekend trip to Boston which included catching the Tigers play at Fenway Park. Ted Williams passed away the night we were travelling to Boston, so that was the major story while we were there. I was also set to see a matchup of the two Tiger aces go head to head as Pedro Martinez and Jeff Weaver were supposed to throw. Weaver ended up being traded that night so I ended up seeing instead a rookie Mike Maroth go up against the Red Sox.

Regardless, the trip holds a special place in my heart. Since then we’ve gone to New York, Toronto and Cincinnati, but that first trip was special because it was the first. So anytime the Tigers travel to Fenway, I have fond memories of that weekend.

The Tigers struggled for the first time in a while this week against the A’s as they dropped their series. At this point, I think .500 is an admirable goal, but whether they finish above or below that figure doesn’t mean much to me. It’s time to check and see what we might have in waiting this last month of the season. I would’tn mind seeing a few fall starts by Justin Verlander or Joel Zumaya (although Zumaya is most likely going to be in the AAA playoffs). In addition, there’s plenty of tight playoff races so this last month should be a good one for baseball fans.

I picked up Matthew Reilly’s latest book “Scarecrow.” If you like action, I highly recommend Reilly. He makes most of the action books seem pale by comparison and if you want to start, you should probably read “Ice Limit” or “Temple” first. Great stuff. He has action scenes that go on for upwards of 50 pages and it’s pretty intense reading.

Have a great weekend.

Tigers Sweep Jays With 29 Runs This Weekend

Don’t look now, but the Tigers have won seven of eight and they’re now only two games below .500. They’re playoff chances are pretty much zero (Baseball Prospectus still puts us with less then a 1% chance of making up that 7.5 game deficit), but they’re playing as good as they have all season.

Today, they put on a show for the fans. By the end of the first, they were up 7-0. By the end of six, they were up 15-0. The Jays made a late rally with five in the seventh, but this game was over with early. What’s interesting is, we only outhit the Jays 15-11, yet we outscored them 17-6.

Five different Tigers had two or more runs, five had two or more RBIs, and five Tigers had multihit games. Curtis Granderson hit his third homer of the season and Carlos Pena and Craig Monroe also went yard.

This week, we get to play spoiler. The Athletics come to town and then we go to Boston for the weekend series. I’m getting sick of helping out the Yankees but I obviously want to win as many of these games as we can.

Justin Thompson Completes Comeback

I was pretty happy to see this. The last time Justin Thompson threw for a major league team was in 1999 for the Tigers. He was part of the package that netted us Juan Gonzalez for a single season, but arm problems (I think it was his shoulder) appeared to have ended his career.

And now he’s back. He just got called up by the Texas Rangers and I wish him the best.

Bad Timing, Tram


Here I am defending Alan Trammell and he goes out makes me look bad. In case you missed it, the Tigers were up 3-2 heading into the ninth. Nate Robertson had held the Red Sox to two runs on two hits, and he did it all by just throwing 90 pitches.

Instead of letting Robertson throw in the ninth, in comes the so called closer, Fernando Rodney. He gets Edgar Rentaria for the first out, but gives up a solo shot to David Ortiz to send the game into extra frames. The rest is history as the Red Sox went on to win the game (by scoring seven runs in the 10th no less).

And there’s really no excuse. Yes, he went righty/righty for the first batter, but why not put in Jamie Walker to face Ortiz. Tram showed he once again was working from some kind of flawed cook book when he does this stuff. He put his “closer” in to “close” the game. Only thing is, Fernando Rodney, while he’s a quality arm, isn’t nearly as good yet as the guys we got rid of (Ugueth Urbina and Kyle Farnsworth) or the guy we have on the shelf (Troy Percival).

Which makes this loss even less excusable. He knows his pen is depleted and rather mediocre, so why not let Robertson throw the ninth. Let him win the game.

In a lot of ways, Trammell is a lot like Sparky Anderson. Very text book. This time it got him into trouble.

And for those of you who haven’t checked, when Robertson throws 91-105 pitches, he has a .225 batting average against and a 1.27 WHIP. Not too shabby.

More Alan Trammell and Some Good Reading

I took some heat for my last post on Tram when I said he should be given one more year. First off, I apologize about the error. They were 26-26 in two runs games, not in games decided by less then two runs. All I was trying to show here was one of many indicators that the Tigers have been “okay” in close games.

I guess the main reason why I think Tram should be given another year is, he’s never been given the tools to win. We’ve been trying to rebuild since 2002 (actually, it’s a lot longer then that, but 2002 would be when the “current” rebuilding began) and we were starting from rock bottom. Even this year, when many (including myself) thought the Tigers might get over the hump, the Tigers really don’t have what it takes to win in our division much less securing a playoff spot. It goes to show you when Chris Shelton is your best hitter. While he’s had a solid season, I just don’t see him more then a “good” player on any team that’s in the playoff mix.

And while our rotation has done better then anyone would have expected, it’s still not much better then average. Kyle Farnsworth still leads our team in Runs Saved Above Average (10), and unless Bonderman (7) has a strong finish, Farnsworth could end up the team leader at season end.

I’d just like to see Tram be given a chance with a playoff contending team. If he falls on his face and doesn’t get the job done (a la Larry Bowa), then I’d feel safe about replacing him.

Two managers who come to mind that I would consider putting in Tram’s place would be Davey Johnson (who looks like he’ll be heading up the Orioles again) and Jim Leyland (not sure what his situation is, but he’ll be 61 in December). Both are proven winners and each have World Series rings. One of the readers mentioned Larry Dierker and he’d also be a definite upgrade. I am curious to know why he hasn’t found work since leaving Houston though. He did suffer from a seizure in the dugout, but that was 1999. He went on to have a few more successful years after that.

But outside of securing a handful of proven commodities, I’d like to see Tram in the dugout, and I’d also like to see how he could a handle a more talented team.

I finished David Wells autobiography “Perfect I’m Not.” It really was a great read. Just a good baseball book. And I dare someone to read it and not come away a David Wells fan or (I can hear the groans already) a Yankees Fan. Yes, they have obnoxious fans, but David Wells really paints the team in a favorable light.

I’m also reading John Helyar’s “Lords of the Reams,” which is a fantastic look at the business of baseball. I’m also 200 pages into David McCullough’s tome/biography of Harry Truman. Finally, I started another good read called “Wedding of the Waters” by Peter Bernstein. It’s a look at the construction fo the Erie Canal and it’s effect on our nation.

The Tigers took two today at KC after a tough series in Toronto. The World Champs come to town next for a three game series.

On the Radio

I’m be doing my semi-regular spot on KRMS Radio AM 1150 tonight at around 7:40 Eastern Time. You can tune in by clicking the link.

Topics should include some of the things in my latest Business of Baseball Report and most likely we’ll touch on the Wild Card race as well.

Alan Trammell and the Detroit Stars

the Tigers have now lost eight of their last ten and nine of their last twelve. It’s definitely been a rough week for the Tigers, and I have a feeling we’ll start hearing (again) fans call for Trammell’s job.

Personally, I’d like to see what Tram can do next year. I don’t think there’s a likely replacement for him so there’s no sense in letting him go. The Tigers are 26-26 in games decided by less then two runs (through 8/6) so it’s not like he’s “blown” a lot of close games either. And while I know the manager is pretty much responsible for everything, it seemed like a tale of two seasons. In the first half, the pitching staff did well but the offense didn’t (give some credit to Bob Cluck). This half, the offense has done a little better, but the pitching has tapered off (which was somewhat expected, because none of our guys have really been tested as far as durability).

So I’m just as inclined to give him one more chance. Hopefully we’ll have a full season of Magglio Ordonez and a full season of Chris Shelton. Another good arm would be nice, as would Hideki Matsui (wishful thinking).

This weekend was the inaugural Negro League appreciation weekend. I went last year and it was cool watching the Tigers play in the old Detroit Stars uniforms. If you’d like to check out more information on the Stars, be sure to check

The diary took a break because of some rainouts, and the Tigers will continue their pennant race tomorrow. A big series with the Yankees is coming up in about a week and a half.

Tigers Resign Placido Polanco

Four years for $18.4 million. I’ll take a look at the particulars and do a more detailed report when I’m home tonight.

In the meantime, you can check out a review of Juicing the Game and my Business of Baseball Report over at Hardball Times.

Rafael Palmeiro Suspended

This is obviously the big news of the day as Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days for using steroids. While we’ll probably never know exactly what it was the Raffy got nailed for, it definitely will leave a stain, at least for now unjustifiably in my opinion, on his career.

I’ll touch on this a little more when I do my Business of Baseball Report over at the Hardball Times.

Tigers at Athletics 07/29/05-07/31/05

Game 1 (Final Score: 4-8, A’s win)

Someone finally got to Douglass and handed him his first loss of the season. The A’s started the second with a double and kept on trucking. Hatteberg singled, Kielty hit a groundout for an RBI, Johnson walked, Payton hit a sac fly, and Ellis hit a two run shot to left (0-4). The Tigers got a run back in the bottom half when Shelton singled Polanco home after he doubled and advanced on Guillen’s groundout (1-4).

The one run rally did nothing to stem the tide and Dingman came into the game after Douglass gave up a lead off double, sac fly, and two RBI singles in the bottom of the third (1-7). Dingman stayed in and pitched very well, shutting down the hot Oakland offense and giving most normal teams a chance to come back and make a game of it. The Tigers were putting the ball in play but it was mostly at Oakland’s defenders who fielded well and kept Harden propped up.

Finally some of the many base runners the Tigers put on came home in the sixth. Young took a one out walk, Monroe singled him to second, and Inge doubled him home with Monroe stopping at third (2-7). Polanco hit the inning’s second double and the Tigers were within three (4-7). Duchscherer quashed all Tiger notions of evening the score in this inning, earning a pair of strikeouts from Guillen and Shelton.

After the Tiger’s explosion they went back to stranding singles and walks and giving up runs. Kendall hit a sac fly to score Johnson from third after a pair of singles in the sixth and the game ended with the Tigers two games below .500 (4-8).

Game 2 (Final Score: 5-9, A’s win)

The game started out fantastic with the offense and Robertson producing. The Tigers scored twice in the first inning with Polanco again getting on base right from the start and coming home on Guillen’s two run shot (2-0). In the second Rodriguez hit a single, stole second, and scored on Young’s single (3-0). Robertson must have been really happy since he was pitching and he had an early lead. He pitched like it for three full innings before self-destructing.

Kendall worked a walk on a full count and was later joined on base by Crosby and Chavez who hit one out singles. The next man up made Robertson pay for crossing the bases on ball gods one too many times this season and hit a grand slam (3-4). It has been a while since Robertson combined the home run with his walk problem so I guess he was about due (Yes, I know that’s not a sound statistical statement). The inning got completely out of hand with two extra base hits by Johnson and Hatteberg; Two for Johnson and all four for Hatteberg (3-6). Pudge threw a tantrum so Vance “My Grandma” Wilson was called on to catch the rest of the game. Of course, my grandma does a lot more for the team that Wilson does so that’s not quite fair to her. Robertson finally escaped with another fly after giving up the second double of the inning.

The Tigers started chipping away in the fifth with Logan crossing the plate on the third single of the inning – by Ordonez – with two away (4-6). The A’s answered in the bottom half on their third single of the inning – by Payton – and only one out away (4-7). Spiting me for comparing him to an 80 year old woman, Wilson led off the sixth with a solo homer; the Tiger’s last run of the game (5-7).

A host of Tiger pitchers combined to ineffectively keep the team within two runs. Spurling gave up a lead of double in the eighth and Walker replaced him. Walker in turn gave up an RBI single after getting the first out and German replaced him once the next guy hit another single (5-8). Scutaro got some wood on the ball and plated Swisher from third (5-9). German proceeded to load the bases on a single and a walk before finally getting Crosby to hack away at strike three. I’d like to say the Tigers closed the gap in the ninth but they went out like kittens. Cute kittens.

Game 3 (Final Score: 2-5, A’s win)

The Tigers decided to spot the A’s five runs and then try to mount a come back against an overpowering pitcher that averages about as many walks as strikeouts per game with only one out left. To be evenhanded, Oakland is playing special baseball lately; They were the first team to solve Douglass (it’s only his first time against most teams this year) and Dingman (ditto) and they beat around Bonderman, who’s been good lately with an ERA of 3.40 and striking out 6.2 batters per nine innings in the last month.

The A’s scored four of their five runs with two outs, one courtesy of a Bonderman walk with the sacks stacked with A’s. Not much good to say here except that Ordonez is continuing his hot hitting to the tune of .343/.403/.956 and pairing well with Shelton’s .350/.402/.952 in the month of July. Actually, check out the performance of all Tigers batters with at least 20 plate appearances in July courtesy of the Day-By-Database at Baseball Musings.

This series is a perfect demonstration of how far the team needs to come to be a serious playoff contender. Right now the Tigers are only decent; Good teams tear decent teams a new one like the A’s did the Tigers and go on incredible hot streaks that can resurrect a season. It is a fine goal to shoot for the playoffs in the form of a wild card but I’d rather watch the team do something in them besides get swept in the first round. The playoffs were an enjoyable pipe dream and I won’t fault anyone for optimism after the experiencing the recent Tiger history. That’s my two copper plated coins.

C Guillen 14 2 3 2 0 7 0.214 0.500
B Inge 9 1 2 1 1 3 0.222 0.333
N Logan 6 1 3 0 1 4 0.500 0.667
C Monroe 7 1 2 0 0 2 0.286 0.286
M Ordonez 13 1 2 3 1 5 0.154 0.385
P Polanco 13 2 7 2 1 8 0.538 0.615
I Rodriguez 10 1 3 0 0 3 0.300 0.300
C Shelton 13 0 2 1 1 3 0.154 0.231
R White 8 0 3 0 1 4 0.375 0.500
V Wilson 2 1 1 1 0 4 0.500 2.000
D Young 12 1 4 1 1 4 0.333 0.333









J Bonderman 6 8 4 4 4 1 6.00 2.00
V Darensbourg 2.2 2 1 1 0 0 4.09 0.91
C Dingman 2.2 1 1 1 1 4 4.09 0.91
S Douglass 2.2 6 7 7 1 0 28.64 3.18
F German 0.2 1 0 0 1 1 0.00 10.00
N Robertson 6 9 7 7 1 2 10.50 1.67
F Rodney 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.00 1.00
C Spurling 1 1 1 1 0 1 9.00 1.00
J Walker 1.1 2 1 1 0 1 8.18 1.82
Totals 24 30 22 22 9 11 8.25 1.63

From Cooperstown

Dan Holmes, who runs the website for the Baseball Hall of Fame, has a blog with a ton of interesting information called From Cooperstown. There’s also some great pics taken this weekend at the activities surrounding the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Be sure to check it out. He’s also a Tigers fan.

Tigers at Mariners 07/25/05-07/27/05

Game 1 (Final Score: 3-5, Mariners win)

The Tigers did most of their damage in the top of the fourth. Shelton singled; Ordonez and White took walks, so Rodriguez had a bases loaded opportunity with no outs. In a 1-1 count he hit a fly to center that advanced each runner one base (1-0). Monroe drove the 0-2 pitch to short so Ordonez came home and Infante struck out, stranding one (2-0). Two runs is nice but this was a bases loaded, no out opportunity against an average pitcher on a bad team and both runs required an out to score. These situations are indicative of the team’s current level of play.

The top half of the inning looked exceptionally bad compared to the bottom half. Seattle scored three runs on three hits: a single by Ibanez and homers from Beltre and Sexson (2-3). There were two more singles in the inning before Robertson finally got his game together and got some easy outs, two on infield flies. I don’t consider the Mariners to be a particularly strong team this year so it is disappointing to see them score more runs in a significantly less dangerous situation. I suppose they did perform just as badly in the same situation when it came up in the seventh.

The Tigers and Mariners both loaded the bases in the seventh. With two outs, Inge singled and Guillen drew a walk. Nelson relieved Franklin and proceeded to issue two more walks, tying the game (3-3). White had a bases loaded opportunity that he squandered when (a) Putz came in and finished him off. In the bottom half, the Mariners finally got Robertson off the mound when he gave up a single and hit Ibanez with a pitch. Rodney came in for relief and didn’t provide much. The first and second men he faced singled, the second one scoring a run, and Reed’s fielder’s choice was good for another run (3-5).

Robertson had only three bad innings: In the second when issued a couple of walks and allowed a stolen base, in the fourth with the homers, and in the seventh when he was finally replaced. He escaped the first one without casualties and might have escaped the third but he was pulled after only 88 pitches. Rodney was brought into a tough spot but most people would agree he’s pitched like the second best arm in the pen. Really, the offense should’ve completed more punches when they had the chance.

Game 2 (Final Score: 8-5, Tigers win)

This was a seesaw battle that really started when both teams traded runs in the third. The Tigers again scored first before promptly relinquishing the lead when Guillen singled McDonald home with two away (1-0). The Mariners went ahead in the bottom half scoring two on Beltre’s RBI single and Reed’s sac fly (1-2). Returning the favor, Pineiro allowed three consecutive base runners with two away in the fourth. The third runner was Young who smacked a double that plated White and Rodriguez (3-2).

Seattle came storming back in the sixth after spotting another run to Detroit on Shelton’s fifth inning two out single that scored a run (4-2). With one away, Reed, Bloomquist, and Lopez singled, scoring the first run (4-3). Johnson got Olivo to groundout, erasing the lead runner and bringing up Suzuki. Suzuki hit the first pitch he hit for a triple and the Tigers were in the back seat again (4-5). Johnson pitched two more scoreless innings before calling it a night and ended up with the victory.

Young hit a three run homer in the eighth with White and Logan on -replaced Rodriguez at first – in an attempt to dislodge the barbecue fork that has been visibly protruding from his back all season (7-5). The bases loaded opportunity in the ninth that was wasted ended up being just gravy since the team didn’t need the additional run that scored on Ordonez’s sac fly (8-5). I will mention that it was with none out, again. At this point in time I would like to congratulate Farnsworth for being effective and Rodriguez and Guillen for combining to make three caught stealing.

Game 3 (Final Score: 3-9, Mariners win)

Ick! I guess I have to write about this one. Moyer completely had his way with the team and its spouses for eight innings and the Mariners’ hitters beat the living day lights out of Maroth. I’ll stick to the highlights since that covers about all I can stomach of the lowlights.

Spurling was reasonably effective, allowing a third as many runs as Maroth in nearly three times as many innings and fewer pitches. German continued to not give up many runs, even though he threw only 21 of his 40 pitches for strikes, thanks to Ibanez getting thrown out at home. Polanco returned to the lineup and continued his torrid hitting. Maroth’s runs were scored on mostly weak hits, walks, and Monroe’s three run error with two outs in the second. The Tigers were effective at times hitting, stringing some together; The only problem was the hits were all singles. Seattle takes the series two games to one.

C Granderson 8 1 1 0 0 1 0.125 0.125
C Guillen 11 0 3 1 2 3 0.273 0.273
O Infante 7 0 1 0 0 1 0.143 0.143
B Inge 9 1 1 0 0 1 0.111 0.111
N Logan 2 1 1 1 0 1 0.500 0.500
J McDonald 5 2 1 0 1 2 0.200 0.400
C Monroe 7 0 1 1 1 1 0.143 0.143
M Ordonez 9 1 3 2 3 4 0.333 0.444
P Polanco 5 1 3 1 0 4 0.600 0.800
I Rodriguez 10 2 3 1 1 3 0.300 0.300
C Shelton 10 2 3 1 4 3 0.300 0.300
R White 11 1 5 1 0 5 0.455 0.455
V Wilson 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
D Young 9 2 4 5 0 9 0.444 1.000









V Darensbourg 1.1 2 1 1 0 2 8.18 1.82
C Dingman 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.00 0.00
K Farnsworth 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.00 1.00
F German 1.2 4 0 0 1 1 0.00 4.17
J Johnson 8 9 5 4 3 4 4.50 1.50
M Maroth 1.2 5 6 3 4 0 22.50 7.50
N Robertson 6.1 9 5 5 2 6 7.38 1.80
F Rodney 0.2 2 0 0 0 0 0.00 10.00
C Spurling 3.1 2 2 2 1 2 5.81 0.97
Totals 25 33 19 15 12 18 5.40 1.80

Kyle Farnsworth and the Wild Card

I really didn’t see this one coming. Kyle Farnsworth was traded to the Braves for Roman Colon and Zach Miner. Looks like the inability to lock in Farnsworth spooked Dombrowski, so he figured he should cut bait while Farnsworth’s stock is high.

As always, when I’m dealing with minor league players, I reach over to my book shelf and pull out my latest Baseball Prospectus. Roman Colon is in his second year, will be 26 in a couple of weeks, and to date hasn’t done all that well. His .272 batting average against isn’t too special. He did start four games, so he has that ability. He was the Brave’s AAA pitcher of the year last season and had a solid 64/32 strikeout to walk ratio in the minors.

Zach Miner wasn’t in the book but his AAA stats aren’t off the chart. 63 strikeouts through 89 1/3 innings, but he also has 45 walks. And while I don’t put too much stock in the win/loss record, it is only 2-7. His ERA isn’t great either (4.23). So if anyone knows anything about this guy, definitely drop me a line because I’m not seeing much.

I commend Dombrowski with trying to get something for a guy who didn’t seem like he was willing to sign with us next year. Hopefully Colon can fill a role in the pen. He did start in the low minors, so I could see him filling a spot starter/long relief role. Miner will probably be headed to Toledo.

With Oakland finishing their sweep today, I think we can put to rest the hopes of the Tigers backing into a Wild Card spot this year. They’re now eight games out with seven teams ahead of them. They’re closer to Seattle, who’s just behind them, then they are of making the playoffs.


Jeff has me covered. There’s reviews on both players over at Bless You Boys, so be sure to check them out.

Minor League Treat

I love Minor League If you’ve never been to the site, they now (at least I’ve just noticed it) a great feature to where you can listen to just about any game live on the net. Right now I’m listening to Zumaya throw a gem. Twelve strikeouts and counting through six innings.

Twins at Tigers 07/21/05-07/24/05

Game 1 (Final Score: 10-5, Twins win)-Johnson

Game 2 (Final Score: 6-12, Tigers win)-Maroth

Game 3 (Final Score: 1-2, Tigers win)-Douglass

Game 4 (Final Score: 5-2, Twins win)-Verlander

Game 5 (Final Score: 2-5, Tigers win)-Bonderman

It was a choice between writing and statistics so I chose everyone’s favorite.

C Granderson 14 3 6 4 1 16 0.429 1.143
C Guillen 17 2 4 1 1 7 0.235 0.412
K Hooper 1 0 1 0 0 1 1.000 1.000
O Infante 19 2 5 4 0 7 0.263 0.368
B Inge 20 1 3 2 3 4 0.150 0.200
N Logan 4 1 2 0 0 4 0.500 1.000
J McDonald 4 0 1 0 0 1 0.250 0.250
C Monroe 16 2 9 7 2 15 0.563 0.938
M Ordonez 20 4 8 3 1 12 0.400 0.600
I Rodriguez 15 3 4 1 0 4 0.267 0.267
C Shelton 22 4 9 0 1 12 0.409 0.545
R White 7 1 2 1 1 3 0.286 0.429
V Wilson 4 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
D Young 11 3 4 1 2 5 0.364 0.455









J Bonderman 8 7 2 2 2 6 2.25 1.13
D Creek 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.00 1.00
C Dingman 2 1 0 0 0 2 0.00 0.50
S Douglass 7 5 1 1 4 1 1.29 1.29
K Farnsworth 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 0.00
F German 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 2.00
J Johnson 4 10 8 6 2 1 13.50 3.00
M Maroth 6 8 6 6 2 7 9.00 1.67
F Rodney 2 1 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.00
C Spurling 3 3 2 2 2 1 6.00 1.67
J Verlander 6 8 5 5 2 3 7.50 1.67
J Walker 3 3 0 0 2 0 0.00 1.67
Totals 45 46 24 22 20 24 4.40 1.47

Some History

Probably the only thing I love more then baseball is baseball history. I’d rather scan Babe Ruth’s statistics then I would Barry Bonds, and while I don’t read enough of them, I love a good baseball book.

While this list isn’t all inclusive, here are some websites that are doing some pretty neat historical columns:

The Hardball TimesSteve Treder’s column comes out every Tuesday and it’s a must read. This week he takes a look at the business of baseball back in 1954, but he’s touched on a variety of subjects. He’s not the only one who writes about baseball history, so it’s best you stop by there every day.

Baseball’s Savior – This is a relatively new blog about the Yankees. Nick is going back and looking at the Yankee’s World Series appearances and he’s started with their first in 1921.

Black Sox Blog – This White Sox website has been taking a look at the early White Sox season. While the Sox aren’t a favorite team of mine these day’s it’s interesting to see the evolution of one of the storied franchises in the American League.

Tom Seaver Fan Club – This Mets blog is true to it’s word. While it focuses on the current day Mets, Jon also is doing a season by season retrospective of Tom Seaver. His latest was one of Terrific Tom’s best seasons of his career so be sure to check out the 1969 installment.

Reds Cutting Edge – Blade will be annoyed I put him last, but he’s been doing a series of Cincinnati Reds All Decade Teams. If you to read about how the Reds had a chance at nabbing Babe Ruth or how they lost out on both Christy Matthewson and Sam Crawford then be sure to check it out. You’ll also find the 1975 Reds diary I’ve been working on this year.

Justin Verlander, the Trade Dealine and a Series Win

Justin Verlander made his second major league start of the season on Saturday. In the second game of their day/night doubleheader, Verlander started and lost his second game of the season. In the process, I hope he’s getting something out of all this. It was another big inning that did him in as he gave up three runs in the fourth. The Tigers offense was absent for this game and didn’t give him much help either. Hopefully next time he’ll be able to walk away with the win and a game ball.

The trade deadline (at least the first one) is coming up this weekend. I hate to be a pessimist, but I think the Tigers should be sellers. Jason Johnson, despite getting roughed up in his last start, has to be a guy a contender might be interested in for the back of their rotation. He’s done this well so far with his control. While his strikeout numbers are down (60 in 126 innings), his walk totals are even lower (20). A 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and a guy who’s gone eight innings seven different times should be a guy who can net us some prospects or even better, a left handed bat. I’ve heard Anaheim might be interested in Rondell White, but I haven’t seen anything to confirm this. Finally, Dmitri Young is very expendable now that Chris Shelton has shown what he can do after an extended stay at the big league club.

Carlos Pena is a guy I’m on the fence about. Getting sent down to AAA when you haven’t been there in a while is pretty humbling. And he’s tearing things up down in Toledo (.326/.435/.541). Marcus Thames is also doing a number on minor league pitching (.378/..477/.782) but I haven’t heard much about the franchises plans for him.

The Tigers took three of five against the Twins this weekend. Despite the White Sox current success, many still look at the Twins as the bench mark of the division and to win a five game series is big. Now the Tigers head out west, so I’ll probably be missing some of the games.

The 1935 diary is caught up and the Tigers are now in first place. Can they remain there??!! Be sure to check back to find out.

Tigers at White Sox 07/18/05-07/20/05

Sorry I missed the KC series; I spent all of my usual Internet time doing work.

Game 1 (Final Score: 5-7, Sox win)

This looked like a pretty even pitching match-up on paper, which is why the games are played. Hernandez quickly made the game a mismatch when he gave Inge a delicious pitch to drive and Inge parked it in the left field seats (1-0). Douglass was successful once again on the mound and surrendered his only run in the third on a sacrifice by Podsednik. He surrendered a lead off double to Crede and had a runner on third with one out after Uribe’s groundout. So the Sox traded the second out to tie the game and Douglass struck out Iguchi (1-1).

Hernandez helped the visitors to a big lead in the fifth. Happily the Tigers did it with only one extra base hit; Sadly, they only had one extra base hit in the inning. Rodriguez got things started with a groundout but Monroe took first on a five pitch walk and third on Infante’s single. Logan’s single plated Monroe and he took second on the double steal with Infante (2-1). Inge’s deep fly went for a run, Guillen walked on four pitches, Shelton hit a big double that scored Logan but Guillen made the third out at home (4-1).

Douglass was relieved in the seventh by Spurling and he greeted Konerko with a fat pitch that went for a solo homer (4-2). With one out,
Spurling looked shaky after a double by Dye and single by Pierzynski but Trammell stayed with him. This will go down in history as a poor decision since Spurling surrendered the lead on back-to-back homers by Crede and Uribe; Then Rodney was put in as relief (4-6). The inning ended on Pudge’s second caught stealing of the game but the damage was done. Both teams added a run on solo shots in the eighth and ninth by Thomas and Rodriguez respectively (5-7). My hat is off to Rodriguez who continues to deliver extra base hits in the ninth inning.

OK, Trammell botched the pitching in the seventh. Yes, I realize he’s done it before and will continue to do so – judging from the number of times this comes up – and it will hurt the team again. However, the double steal call made a bad situation worse for the Sox in the fifth and he deserves credit for that as well. I’m still satisfied with his performance and not prepared to go looking for some schlub that probably won’t perform better, will cost more, and won’t bring the good feelings of nostalgia.

Game 2 (Final Score: 7-1, Tigers win)

This pitching match looked to and did favor the Tigers. Bonderman looked really good in the meager four innings I was able to watch; He worked both sides of the plate with all his pitches, kept the fastball low but snuck it up when needed, and had some very good hitters baffled. I especially enjoyed the high fastball he threw to Iguchi on a 2-0 count in the bottom of the third with two on and one out that moved away from him late. That Weaver trade is starting to look really exceptional and will only get better if German masters his control problems. It makes me feel giddy to think that Dombrowski pulled a steal like this off with the team’s only tradable commodity at the time and it involved both the Yankees and Athletics. All that has to happen now is have the team keep him when he comes out of arbitration and the big money comes calling.

After watching his team flail at the ball in the first (three strikeouts!), Bonderman got into a spot of trouble in the bottom half. Iguchi took a one out walk and third when Rodriguez’s throw to second went into the outfield on the stealing attempt. With the heart of the order up, Bonderman got the other two outs he needed and kept the game scoreless. The Tigers took advantage of Contreras and the scoreless game in the second with Ordonez starting the inning with a single. He watched the first two outs pass him by before Monroe lofted a soft single and Infante took both men home with home on his three run homer (3-0).

Bonderman and Contreras traded scoreless halves until the bottom of the fifth when Uribe had Pierzynski on third after a lead off double and groundout. He plated Pierzynski with the second consecutive groundout of the inning and Podsednik ended it with the third (3-1). The Tigers responded in the top of the sixth to this provocation and abused Contreras for four runs. Shelton and Ordonez went with back-to-back doubles, Young singled and took second on the throw, and Rodriguez and Monroe hit back-to-back doubles and the team had a huge lead (7-1). Bonderman dominated the Sox for the rest of the game and Dingman came in throwing fire in the ninth, striking out two to end the game.

Game 3 (Final Score: 8-6, Tigers win)

The starting pitching in the rubber match looked to favor the Sox since Garcia has been virtually unbeatable in day games and Robertson can only get runs when he bats them in. Instead, the Tigers scored plenty of runs with help from the Sox and won the series and moved one game closer to .500.

The Tigers produced two runs on three hits in the first: Two singles and a Shelton one out two run homer than brought Inge home (2-0). This bit of efficiency stands in stark contrast to the many other hits the Tigers produced and didn’t turn into runs. Iguchi cut the visitors’ lead in the bottom half and then the offenses took a couple of innings to rest up for the late game fireworks (2-1).

Two runs scored in the fifth and sixth due to White Sox errors. Inge scored from first after walking on Guillen’s single when Rowand’s throw from center hit him in the back (3-1). Rowand later earned the run back when he scored on Uribe’s single in the bottom half (3-2). Rodriguez scored from third after doubling and advancing on a groundout when Garcia bounced a pitch in front of Widger that went back to the wall (4-2). In the bottom of the seventh Widger picked up Garcia’s mistake with a solo homer off Robertson (4-3).

Rodney pitched a great half inning and the Tigers came up to bat in the top of the ninth nursing a one run lead. Infante smacked the second pitch he saw from Garcia for a solo homer and the inning was off at a run (5-3). Logan singled, Politte relieved Garcia, Inge struck out, and Guillen singled, setting the plate for Shelton to feast. Shelton hit the 2-0 pitch for an RBI single and Ordonez followed him on first with a walk (6-3). After another pitching change and with the bases loaded, Young finally did something for the first time in about a half dozen games, plating two runners with his single (8-3).

Farnsworth replaced Rodney even though this wasn’t a save situation to end the game in the ninth. Things didn’t go as planned. He walked the first two batters he faced and was staring down Rowand with runners on second and third and only one out away. Rowand used the second out to score a run so it looked like Farnsworth was in good shape but he walked his third batter of the inning (8-4). Uribe stepped into the box and Farnsworth blew him away, getting him to an 0-2 count, but Uribe smacked the third pitch for a two run single and I honestly wasn’t sitting comfortably any more (8-6). Crede singled, Farnsworth was relieved, and Dingman finally closed out the game, getting Iguchi to weakly hit the ball back to him.

C Guillen 13 1 2 0 1 2 0.154 0.154
O Infante 12 3 4 4 0 10 0.333 0.833
B Inge 11 3 3 2 2 6 0.273 0.545
N Logan 11 2 3 1 0 3 0.273 0.273
C Monroe 12 2 2 1 1 3 0.167 0.250
M Ordonez 10 2 7 1 3 8 0.700 0.800
I Rodriguez 13 3 5 2 0 10 0.385 0.769
C Shelton 14 3 5 4 0 10 0.357 0.714
R White 8 1 2 1 0 2 0.250 0.250
D Young 5 0 1 2 0 1 0.200 0.200









J Bonderman 8 3 1 1 2 5 1.13 0.63
C Dingman 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 0.00
S Douglass 6 3 1 1 2 6 1.50 0.83
K Farnsworth 0.2 2 3 3 3 0 135.00 25.00
F German 1 2 1 1 1 0 9.00 3.00
N Robertson 7 4 3 3 2 6 3.86 0.86
F Rodney 1.2 0 0 0 1 3 0.00 0.83
C Spurling 0.1 5 5 5 0 0 450.00 50.00
Totals 26 19 14 14 11 22 4.85 1.15

Business of Baseball Report and a Radio Appearance

I’ll be on KRMS 1150’s sports radio show tonight. The appearance will be sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 pm Eastern Time. While I’m sure we’ll touch a variety of topics, most of them will revolve around my Business of Baseball Report over at the Hardball Times.

Bench Clearing Brawls and the Bullpen

Carlos Guillen was showing sypmtoms of a concussion yesterday, so hopefully he’s okay. Yesterday’s events were unfortunate. Farsnworth will probably be suspended in the midst of a dominant run as closer. Lost in all of this was one of the Tigers most pathetic offensive performances of the season.

With Troy Percival on the DL again, it opens things up for Fernando Rodney and Franklyn German. Rodney threw a very nice game on Friday when he struck out seven batters in three innings of work. Kyle Farnsworth saved back to back games this weekend in his first stint as closer.

The White Sox are on deck and we haven’t done to well against them this year. I guess nobody really has. If the Tigers can win this series on the road, it would go a long way towards putting this split with the Royals behind us.

I’ve got the 1935 diary a little more caught up (at least I’m in July). The Tigers are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season heading into the 1935 All Star Break. Now if they can just catch those pesky Yankees. I know it’s not the same when I’m a couple of weeks behind, but for the next set I’ll have game recaps so it should make for better reading. All I can do now is rattle off boxscore stats.

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