Justin Verlander crossed the 170 inning threshold yesterday. We’re really getting into uncharted territory. He also leads the team and is 34th in the majors in Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP). This is one of prices we’re going to pay for blowing that big lead. Even if the Tigers do still make the playoffs, if we had a six or seven game lead right now, we’d be able to rest guys like Verlander to get ready for the playoffs.
The cycle by Gary Matthews, Jr. was particularly interesting because he had it done by the sixth inning. It was also a natural cycle, in which he singled, doubled, tripled and homered in succession. I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a game where either of those things happened.
The Twins lost, but they go today so we could be heading into this series with Baltimore with only a one game lead. The Twins might be without Francisco Liriano for the rest of the season, so that’ll hurt them a ton. Then again, they seem to have been doing fine without him the last month or so.
On Friday, we’ll see Jeremy Bonderman go up against Hayden Penn. It’s interesting because people tend to forget Bonderman is only 23 even though this is his fourth season in the majors. Hayden Penn is a couple of years younger but this is a solid matchup up potentially future star starters.
Man, this was huge. Carlos Guillen hit a homerun in the second inning to put the Tigers on the board then he hit a walk off solo homerun in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Most of the game was played in the rain. With neither the Rangers nor the Tigers sharing an off day, there would have been no good time to make up the game considering rain is in the forecast tomorrow as well. So they had to get this one in despite the poor conditions.
Craig Monroe had three outfield assists, two of which were plays at the plate. A great performance by Monroe despite not getting a single hit.
Between the outfield assists and the double plays (three of them), Kenny Rogers was able to give up ten hits yet he allowed two baserunners to score. Fernando Rodney filled in nicely for an injured Joel Zumaya (wrist injury) and pitched two perfect innings to close out the game.
The Twins are down by two in the sixth inning. It sure would be nice if the Tigers picked up a game. The White Sox don’t play until 10 pm.
Toledo looks like they’re going to win game one in the IL finals. West Michigan is tied 3-3 in the ninth inning so that one could go either way.
Good pitching matchup tomorrow. Kevin Millwood versus Justin Verlander.
The Mud Hens squeaked into the playoffs last week. They finished the regular season tied with Indianapolis and the Mud Hens came out on top in a one game playoff. They they beat up on the Charlotte Knights in four games and they’ll now face the Rochester Red Wings in a best of five series for the Governor’s Cup. The series kicks off today. Ironically, the Red Wings are the Twins Triple A affiliate.
The West Michigan White Caps also had a successful playoff run and they’ll square off against the Kane County Cougars in a best of five series. Kane County is the Oakland A’s Single A affilitate. This series also starts today.
If there’s some good news, it’s that the White Sox lost today. With three weeks left in the season, the Tigers stand two games ahead of the streaking Twins and 3 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox for the Wild Card. More good news is, both the Twins and White Sox play tough teams all week this coming week. In the meantime, the Tigers have two days off this week and play two at home against the struggling Rangers and three at home against the Orioles. So if the Tigers aren’t at least a game or two better then they are right now, it means either 1) the White Sox and Twins are playing out of their minds and/or 2) The Tigers have hit rock bottom and they’re no longer taking care of business against the bad teams.
The Tigers continue to struggle at the plate. They’ve scored seven runs in the past three games and that’s boosted by the five runs they racked up Friday. This series had it all, and in a bad way. The Tigers lost a nice lead on Friday (twice), they lost a pitchers dual on Saturday and then got blown out today.
Jeremy Bonderman hasn’t had a quality start since August 15 and his post All Star Break numbers are getting downright bad. If you throw in today’s game, his ERA is 5.38 and his WHIP is up over 1.50. He’s also walking batters a much higher clip, so it’s interesting that while people talked about Nate Robertson and Kenny Roger’s second half collapse, it was Bonderman who’s really been knocked around.
To a certain extent, the pitching is still there. The Tigers still lead the majors in ERA and they’re one of only two teams who have an ERA below 4.00 (Padres are the other team). They’re also tied for first in WHIP at 1.28 (again with the Padres). Even in the second half, the Tigers have the fourth best ERA, so the collapse has been on offense.
Despite being middle of the pack in batting average, the Tigers are 26th in OBP at .326. That’s not good and accounts for a lot of the solo homeruns the Tigers have hit this year.
The Twins are no longer on the schedule this year, which I’m thinking is a good thing. We play three at Chicago next week, which is going to pretty much define whether the Tigers coast in the final week or are fighting for their lives for even a Wild Card spot.
On Tuesday, we have Kenny Rogers going up against Vicente Padilla. Enjoy the day off. I think there’s a football game or something on tomorrow night.
Tough loss last night. Welcome to the big leagues, Andrew Miller. In his defense, Justin Verlander was hardly awesome in his couple of starts last year for the Tigers so we shouldn’t expect too much from the college star. You would have thought that the Yankees game he pitched in was higher pressure, but maybe this big series had him rattled.
Mike Maroth pitched two solid innings to close out the game. Granted it was mop up time at that point but it was still nice to see him get some work in.
Hosting problems took down Tigerblog for most of the day and night yesterday. I apologize and I’ve been told that while there may be more outages, most of the problems should be fixed by Monday.
It’s Nate Robertson going up against Boof Bonser this evening. Robertson has bounced back with two solid starts after a horrible one against the White Sox. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep things going. The last time he didn’t throw at least six innings was June 11 and he’s only had one start this season where he went less then five innings.
Here’s one thing I noticed when looking at the Tigers stats. Jeremy Bonderman has only given up 14 homeruns in 186 innings. That’s very solid. He should also have his first 200 strikeout season by year end.
Man, this game seemed big. At the end of the day, we might look back at it and say it wasn’t as important as we thought but the perception of this series is that every game is critical. The good news is, the Tigers took game one so regardless of what happens the rest of the weekend, the Tigers will still have the lead come Sunday.
Since August 27, Curtis Granderson has gone 12 for 43. While that in and of itself isn’t all that special (.279), Granderson has scored nine runs in those eleven games. It’s nice to see Granderson is now at least doing okay rather then horrible like he did through most of August. And he got the Tigers started yesterday with a lead off homerun.
Justin Verlander was awesome. He didn’t give up a run until his final inning in the seventh. I still think Johan Santana is going to win the Cy Young, but Verlander could find himself getting some votes. And at this point, he should be a lock for Rookie of the Year.
Four Tigers homered yesterday. I already talked about Curtis Granderson but Marcus Thames, Ivan Rodriguez and Omar Infante all went yard as well. Omar Infante has now lifted his batting average up to .290 after three hits last night.
The Tigers turned three double plays yesterday and Verlander picked off Luis Castillo so even though the Twins were getting on base, they weren’t there for long.
Tonight’s matchup is Wil Ledezma against Matt Garza. Garza has had some good starts and some bad starts since being called up to replace Francisco Liriano. His last start was a pasting by the Yankees but prior to that he put together back to back quality starts, but this is a guy we can beat.
Alright, I’m back. My wife, son and my niece Tyler all took a trip down to Florida and we spent some time at Walt Disney World. Had a good time, but now it’s back to reality.
The last time the Tigers won a series was when they won two of three against the Red Sox. That was August 14-16 so this has been a pretty extended slide. Since August 18, the Tigers are 6-13. This week, the Tigers dropped two close games to the Mariners. Today’s game was particularly odd because not only was there a three hour rain delay, but the game went into extra innings.
Right now, the Twins are beating the Devil Rays 1-0 with plenty of game left. If they win, the Tigers lead will be down to a mere three games with a huge four game series this weekend against the Twins at the Metrodome. The White Sox look like they’re going to win so that will leave us with a 4 1/2 game lead for the Wild Card. Yes, it’s gotten to the point where we’re keeping an eye on the Wild Card again.
Dmitri Young was released today. After a great July, Young was just as mediocre through out August. In 20 games and 71 at bats, Young had a .268/.307/.437 line. That’s pretty bad for a guy who really can’t field a position well. It’ll be interesting to now see whether Chris Shelton will make the playoff roster after this move.
Mike Maroth was taken off the disabled list today. With Wil Ledezma throwing well, it’ll be interesting to see how Maroth fits in.
The Toledo Mudhens won a one game playoff game on Monday so they’ll squeak into the International League playoffs. Toledo won the International League championship last year and West Michigan also made the playoffs (for the third straight time). Erie has hit hard times though. The Tigers recently fired the entire coaching staff after back to back last place finishes.
Tomorrow we’ll have a battle of rookies. Justin Verlander will go up against Scott Baker. Looks like the game will be on ESPN2.
Alright, I’m pretty annoyed. I had a nice post all wrapped up despite the fact that I’m on vacation down in Florida. When I hit the save button, it crapped out and I lost it all. I tried. So instead of taking more chances, I’ll probably just get caught when I return from the trip. Tigers are down 2-1 tonight. Solid outing by Wil Ledezma.
I was in a hurry this morning and I completely forgot to mention Andrew Miller’s debut. He pitched in game one yesterday and threw 17 pitches, 12 of which were strikes. He did hit Craig Wilson and while he didn’t strike anybody, he never got into trouble. Not too shabby for dealing with a Yankee Stadium crowd.
The Tigers lost again today. Randy Johnson handled the Tigers nicely and it would have looked even nicer had he gotten pulled after eight innings. Neifi Perez was 0 for 3 and he’s now hitting .156. All five of hits have been singles so his slugging percentage is also .156.
Marcus Thames hit homerun number 24. He’s got a legit shot at thirty if he’s allowed the chance.
Curtis Granderson hit eighth and Pudge hit leadoff. With Brent Clevlen back in the minors, Granderson is the Tigers best option against lefties. Why did we send him down? Sigh.
The good news is, the White Sox lost today to the Devil Rays so our 4 1/2 game lead is still intact. Next up for the Tigers are the Angels who appear to be out of it. Rosters expand tomorrow, so help is on the way.
It’s interesting how much one inning and one homerun can make such a difference in people’s perception. If Craig Monroe strikes out in the ninth and the Tigers lose, then you’d get the typical “sky is falling” reaction. Instead you’ll hear a lot of stuff (okay, crap) about how the Tigers are destined to win it in 2006. I’m in the middle of course. 4 1/2 games is a nice lead, but it could be gone in a hurry.
The Tigers went down 3-2 in game two against the Yankees and Craig Monroe hit a huge two out, three run shot to give the Tigers the win. The Tigers blew a scoring chance in the eighth when Monroe led off with a double and stayed there. Guess he was annoyed about that so he took matters into his own hands.
Both starters (Ledezma and Robertson) had very good starts and neither walked away with a win.
Game three against the Yankees is this afternoon. It’ll be Jeremy Bonderman going up against Randy Johnson.
The Tigers and Yankees were rained out today and they’ll play a doubleheader tomorrow. With that, here’s a few random thoughts.
I’m not sure who would be hungrier. A player like Sean Casey who’s up there in age and has never won a championship, or a veteran like Ivan Rodriguez or Kenny Rogers who have tasted a World Series win and now might only have one last chance to relive it. I really think Pudge is going to be the key down the stretch. I can’t see him letting this team get down and in a lot of ways, I can see him almost being like another coach in the dugout. That’s quite a difference from the antics that went on last year. I’ll take it though.
The last time the Tigers were in first place in September was in 1988. Following the September drama of 1987 and a nice first half, the Tigers had a four game lead on August 21, 1988. One month later, on September 19, 1988, the Tigers were in fourth place and six games back of first place. They went 6-21 during that stretch and while they made things close, a lot of their late wins came after the Red Sox had locked up the division. The next season, they came just short of setting a franchise record for losses. Food for thought for those people who felt we should sit tight at the trade deadline and plan for the future.
At the All Star Break, it looked like as many as five players would have a shot at thirty homeruns. Now, it looks like nobody is going to get there. Marcus Thames has the best shot but he probably won’t get the at bats to do it. The Tigers do have a shot at having seven different players hit 20, although that’s assuming Chris Shelton gets some time in the lineup come September.
Big doubleheader tomorrow. As Ernie Banks used to say, “Let’s play two.”
There is some good news that came out of this weekend. If your goal is still to win the AL Central (mine is), you got the best case scenario over in Chicago with the Twins in town. The Twins took two of three so even though the Tigers dropped two of three to Indians, the Tigers only lost a half game in the standings.
Curtis Granderson hit his first homerun since July 29th today to lead off the game. He’s now only hit two homeruns since June 23rd so he’s been in a pretty extended slump. Granderson also saw his batting average bottom out at .259 yesterday before getting a little pop today with two hits. This is a guy who looked like he was going to score a 100 runs easy. Now it looks like he might not even get to 85.
Is it irony that the Tigers won today and Neifi Perez was out of the lineup. Pat Caputo piped in on Friday about how Omar Infante was getting the shaft and while he’s probably a few days too late, at least he’s mentioning it. Perez is four for twenty three and all four hits have been singles. He’s scored one run and drove in one. The only reason he won’t cost us many games is, there’s not that many games left for him to play in. Hopefully Leyland will wake up to this and we’ll see more Infante going forward.
That’s five pretty good starts in a row for Kenny Rogers. I think we can put his whole second half jinx to rest.
The Tigers won their 82nd game today, so they’ve now guaranteed themselves a winning season. The last time that happened was 13 years ago back in 1993. Cecil Fielder was still hitting homeruns, Sparky Anderson was still the coach and Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker all still played for the team. I see only two players on that team that are still active. Chris Gomez has bounced around and he’s now playing for the Orioles and then David Wells is probably in his final season with the Red Sox.
The Tigers have tomorrow off. And then in a best case scenario, we’ll be seeing a preview of the ALCS when the Tigers travel to Yankee Stadium to take on the Bronx Bombers. It looks like Andrew Miller is going to get called up for the trip so that’ll be quite an interesting trial by fire. The Yankees are only three back in the loss column from the Tigers for the best record in baseball.
Tigerblog was highlighted in a Detroit News article today about Detroit area blogs. It’s a great read if you’re a local.
Nate Robertson saw his ERA go up by 0.76 points today when he took it on the nose in the series finale against the White Sox. The good news is, he stayed out there for almost seven innings so the Tigers’ pen is nice and rested for the Indians this weekend. It’s not too often you see a starter take ten runs in the box score.
As far as the Sean Casey baserunning thing, I say big deal. Casey hustles, we were down by seven runs and while I know he’s a professional, people make mistakes. I think he’ll be taking it out on himself far worse then what anyone else could do and if anything, we might see a very motivated Sean Casey out there this weekend. I thought it was wrong for the fans to boo him in his next at bat, although I guess they have every right too. Just didn’t make sense to me.
Curtis Granderson showed some signs of breaking out of his slump when he went two for four today. Heading into the game, he was zero for his last 21 and two for his last 34. His last homerun was still July 29th though.
Neifi Perez grounded out to end the game with the bases loaded. I know it wouldn’t have even cut the lead in half if he did something, but get used to that kind of hitting. I’m not sure what his single was like yesterday, but his first as a Tiger on Tuesday was a weak little flair to the opposite field. He still hasn’t a drawn a walk in 16 plate appearances.
The Tigers play three at Cleveland this weekend. This is the last time we play Cleveland this year and tomorrow’s game will have Jeremy Bonderman going up against Jeremy Sowers. Sowers has been pretty effective in his rookie campaign and this will be the first time we face the lefty.
There’s no doubt that Zach Miner had a very nice run and while he filled in nicely when he won six straight games in June and early July, Miner could be finding himself the odd man out. He got the nod when Mike Maroth went on the disabled list, but with Maroth set to come back soon Miner might get only one more start to show he’s still got it in the rotation. Miner has lost four of his last six decisions and in his last eight starts, he’s seen his ERA balloon from 2.57 to 4.76.
Give some props to the bullpen. Wil Ledezma got roughed up in the second inning and allowed two of the runners he inherited from Miner to score, but he calmed down and held the White Sox scoreless from the third through sixth inning. Colby Lewis gave up a solo homerun to Joe Crede (Crede’s second of the game) after the Tigers had shaved the lead to a single run, but Jamie Walker and Jason Grilli held the White Sox to only one hit in the final three innings. Final was 7-5.
Dmitri Young got the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a two run homerun. He’s still slugging .634 since coming back to the team. Sean Casey had a big two run double that made it 6-5 and he now has 18 RBIs in 22 games since joining the Tigers.
It’s an afternoon game today. Nate Robertson has been throwing well so hopefully he’ll be able to keep it up. He faces Jon Garland, who’s been the White Sox best pitcher of late.
It’s funny how the two pitchers everyone got concerned about were Rogers and Justin Verlander. Both have bounced back in this series in a big way and while it might not last, it wasn’t certainly timely.
Marcus Thames had the big game at the bat. He walked in a run in the first, tripled home a run in the third and then topped all of that with a solo homerun in the fifth inning. It was his first homerun and first RBI in over two weeks. The last time he had a multihit game was July 31.
We all moaned when we saw Neifi Perez’s name penciled in at the leadoff spot. Just to prove me wrong (again), Perez led off the game with a weak little flair single to right field and he later scored on Magglio Ordonez’s RBI single. In his next at bat, he tried to bunt himself on but did such a horrible job, he ended up popping out to the first baseman. What was even more strange was Pablo Ozuna did the same thing in the next inning.
We were sitting on the third base side close to the Tigers dugout. What’s weird is, it’s almost impossible to know whether any given pitch is a ball or strike because of the angle. Sounds like Ozzie Guillen had a legitimate beef when he got kicked out of the game.
Going into the series, I would have been happy with a split and the Tigers are now guaranteed that. It would be nice to bury the White Sox though. Zach Miner goes head to head with Freddy Garcia tonight.
It’s only the seventh inning, but the Tigers have put up seven runs. The game was close through four innings before Craig Monroe made it 4-1 with a two run shot and then Sean Casey doubled home two in the sixth. He’d later score on Brandon Inge’s RBI single and just like that, the Tigers are up 7-1. Justin Verlander is cruising and his only blemish so far has been a Jermaine Dye solo homerun.
All seven runs were credited to Jose Contreras. Just to show you how dominant Contreras has been against Detroit, this is the first time in five starts that Contreras has given up more then a single run in any given inning.
Verlander just walked Mackowiak with two outs and they now have the pen going. He got ahead on Cintron 1-2 but fell to a full count. Fortunately he got him to ground out. Nice play by Carlos Guillen.
The Neifi Perez era has started with a whimper. Three at bats and nothing to show for it.
Nice win for the Tigers. 7-1 ended up being the final. Joel Zumaya pitched the eighth and then Jones pitched in the ninth. Perez finished his Tiger debut by going 0 for 4. No big surprise there. I’ll be at the game tomorrow.
In Will Carroll’s latest UTK, he talks about Mike Maroth being ready to come back. The problem is, we already have a five man rotation and while there was some speculation that the Tigers might go to a modified six man rotation, it looks like Jim Leyland is leaning against it. Carroll speculates that either one of the Tigers’ current five starters will find himself in the bullpen or even hit the DL. I don’t want to give away too much because it’s a subscription only column, but the situation bears watching.
Alright, first the trade. I’m sure Neifi Perez is a nice guy, but he’s also one of the worst major league hitters ever. Ever. You’re talking about a guy with a career OPS of .677. Heading into the season, his career OPS+ was 65. So basically adjusted for the ballpark, Neifi Perez is 65% of the hitter of an “average” major leaguer is. He’s been a whipping boy for Baseball Prospectus for a long time, with good reason. The only thing I’d use him as is a late inning defensive replacement (he can play all over the infield) when there’s little chance that he’ll get any swings at the plate. If he’s taking time away from even Omar Infante, this was a bad move.
The Tigers traded Chris Robinson, who was catching down in Lakeland. He was a third round draft pick last year and John Sickels gave him a C+ rating in his book. He was hitting for average this year (.286) but not for much power (one homerun). He is only 22 though. Honestly, the fact that we gave up anything for Perez makes this a pretty bad deal. Thing subtraction by addition.
The Tigers finally got the bats going today, but this time their pitching left them. Jeremy Bonderman was roughed up and didn’t even nab an official start even when he was spotted six runs by the Tigers’ bats in the sixth inning. The Tigers wouldn’t score the rest of the game though and Jason Grilli gave up a single run in the fifth inning that ended up being the difference.
Brent Clevlen continues to hit the ball really well. He makes for a nice right handed replacement to a slumping Curtis Granderson and he’s hitting .364 in 22 at bats. Six of his eight hits have been for extra bases and he’s scored nine runs in thirteen games. Craig Monroe also continued to get it done with two more RBIs today. Probably the biggest WTF of the game was Ivan Rodriguez hitting lead off and playing first base. Then again, he’s been very good this year against lefties (.869 OPS heading into the game) and I know this isn’t the first time Leyland has used him there against a lefty starter.
The White Sox lost, so the Tigers head into their huge four game series against Chicago with a five and a half game lead. Tomorrow will be Justin Verlander against Jose Contreras. I’ll be going to the game Tuesday and that game will be Kenny Rogers against Mark Buehrle. Winning even two of four would be big because it would keep the White Sox at bay. Anything more would be huge.
And here everyone was worried about the Tigers’ pitching. The past two games, the Tigers have scored a grand total of two runs. They’ve given up only five, which is usually good enough to win. Unfortunately, the offense just isn’t there.
Nate Robertson had another solid start and unless he collapses here soon, I think you can say the second half troubles are behind him. He’s now up over 160 innings and he also has his third straight season over 100 strikeouts.
Cheers just came on after the game. I loved this show and watched it quite a bit when it was on. I remember the final season took place during my senior year of college but it was a show I grew up with. Of course that show led into Frasier, which was also on for a decade. Anyway, I apologize for the digression.
Curtis Granderson continues to struggle. He’s hit one homerun since June 23 and he’s hitting only .237 in 114 at bats (heading into today’s game) since the All Star break.
Craig Monroe continues to rake. He hit homerun number 20 today and drove in the Tigers’ only run. That’s seven homeruns since the All Star break and he’s still hitting above .350.
The Tigers have a chance to split the four game series tomorrow. And just to make things more interesting, the White Sox are winning.
There’s no doubt the Tigers have something in Andrew Miller. We should get a little taste of what he can do in September but it won’t be until 2007 until we really get to see how good he is. Regardless, Kevin Goldstein at BP picked Andrew Miller as the third best left handed starting pitching prospect. He joins Cameron Maybin as one of the top prospects in the Tigers farm system.
Even more impressive is that the two guys ahead of Miller are both in the Dodgers system, who have the best farm system in baseball right now. Goldstein also does a nice job of explaining why good lefties are so hard to find.
The Tigers are up 3-1 in the fifth inning.