Archive for the '2009 Tigers' Category

Ron Bourquin Suspended

Minor League infielder Ron Bourquin got a 50 game suspension for testing positive for amphetimines.  What’s interesting is Bourquin could have been lost in the Rule 5 draft, but he’s now effectively protected because I doubt a team would want to scoop him up knowing he’ll take up a roster spot and miss 50 games. 

Bouquin was the Tigers second round pick in 2006, the year they took Andrew Miller in the first round.  He has a career .365 slugging percentage in four minor league seasons and that doesn’t bode too well for a corner outfielder.

Jose Valverde Projected As a Tiger

Paul White at the USA Today is projecting that the Tigers will sign Astros closer Jose Valverde.  He’s a little too injury prone for my tastes and my bet is his price tag will be too high.  The Tigers have some good young arms to use in the pen.  If they’re going to go for value, I think that’s where they should try to save money.

Billy Martin, Prospects and the Offseason

Just a few quick links.  First off, Chris Jaffe has written an excellent book (I’ve seen parts of it) on baseball managers. Evaluating Baseball Managers: A Comprehensive History and Performance Analysis, 1876-2008 goes way back into the 1800s and brings things up to present, analyzing managers along the way.  He wrote a couple of excerpts and one of them is on former Tiger manager Billy Martin.

Also at the Hardball Times, Matt Hagen lists out the Tigers top ten prospects.  It’s good to see Ryan Strieby is finally getting the props he deserves. 

Finally, Mets blogger Jay Flannelly is projecting out a bunch of teams post season plans and he looked at the Tigers yesterday.  I don’t agree with all of his moves but it makes for an interesting dicussion.

Catching Up

I shouldn’t complain too much because being busy isn’t a bad thing but I’ve been neglecting the site.  No promises, but I’m hoping to reverse that and while I want to touch on a few things that have happened since I posted last, way back when, it’ll probably be incomplete because of ALL the things that have happened.

First off, Kurt Mensching at Mack Avenue Tigers picked up the DIBS (Detroit Independant Baseball Scribes) ball and coordinated a set of postseason awards for the Tigers.  No surprises, but I definitely need to update my Tiger links for some of these newer (or not so new) sites.

Second, the 2010 Hardball Times Baseball Annual is out.  I did my usual Business of Baseball piece but it’s another great read.  I’m a little biased, but I think THT is the best free baseball website out there as far as content.  If you want to help out the site, pay a few bucks more and order directly through this link because the margins are quite a bit better then if you buy through a store or via Amazon.

The Tigers got a couple of third place finishes in the award voting so far.  Justin Verlander finished third in the Cy Young while Rick Porcello came in third for AL ROY.  It was nice to see the voters get it right in the AL Cy Young.  Greinke was hands down the best pitcher and I’m glad they looked past his win/loss total.  Somebody gave Verlander a first place vote but oddly, out of the five players who received votes, he was tied for last in overall votes received. 

Tom Brookens is your new first base coach.  I was always a fan of Brookens back in his time with the Tigers and it’s cool seeing another past Tiger get a job with the team.  Last year he coached Erie and he’s also spent time with Oneonta and West Michigan.

Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff’s time with the Tigers were both short ones as the Tigers said they won’t pursue either player.  Both were busts although fortunately the price tag (as far as we know) wasn’t all that great.  All of the crazy trade rumors haven’t been fun but it goes with the program.  The team collapsed and the Detroit economy is in the crapper so unfortunately, something has to give.  It’d just be nice if it wasn’t the face of the team in Curtis Granderson.

Marcus and Matt

The Tigers made some roster moves a couple of days ago and the big one was the non-tendering of Marcus Thames.  That makes him a free agent and it ends his somewhat bizarre career as a Tiger.  At times, he looked like he could belt 40 in a year but at other times, he looked lost at the plate.  99 of his 101 career home runs came in a Tigers uniform and his best season was 2006 when he broke out in the Tigers championship run.  He finished with 26 home runs that year but his second half batting average was .199.  In 2008, he finished with 25 home runs, but 10 of them came in the month of June and once again, he struggled in the second half.

A lot of people thought Thames never got a chance to play everyday and now it looks like we’ll get to see if  he deserved it or not because you’d have to think Thames would go to a team who’d play him everyday.  It’d be nice if he left the division so we don’t have him haunting us for 20 games every year but it’ll also be interesting to see what kind of ballpark he’s hitting in.

Matt Treanor was also cut loose but this wasn’t a surprise.  His career with the Tigers lasted all of four games before he hit the disabled list for the season.  The Tigers also moved Michael Hollimon off of the 40 man roster to make room for Jay Sborz, who would have hit the minor league free agent circuit other wise.

Rick Porcello won the Tigers Rookie of the Year award, which wasn’t a huge surprise.  The Tigers exclusive negotiating window began on Thursday so it’ll be interesting to see who’s coming back and which holes the Tigers have to fill during the offseason.

Carlos Guillen, Scott Sizemore and the Playoffs

It’s hard to believe it’s been over two weeks since the Tigers collapse.  The playoffs are winding down and baseball is less then two weeks away from being finished.  It looks like, barring something crazy out of the Angels, that we’ll see the Phillies against the Yankees, which will make for an interesting dynamic.  The Yankees, of course, have more World Series wins by far then any other team.  Conversvely, the Phillies have been known more for their losing ways.  They didn’t win their first World Series until 1980 and they have just two in a storied history.  The Phillies are also the only team to have more then 10,000 losses in their history.

Carlos Guillen made some noise last weekend that’s still being discussed.  He didn’t like how he was treated down the stretch and he talked about it.  Now it looks like Guillen and Leyland have talked and we’re all good.  I don’t know enough about his injury to say, but saying his switching positions are to blame is a little sketchy.  He’s been “fragile” since he’s played with Detroit and while he did have a solid second half, if I remember correctly, he wasn’t able to hit from one side of the plate.  He’s now basically turned into one of several decent options and if he wants to play everyday, he has to go out this spring and show he deserves to be out there.

Scott Sizemore is lighting it up this fall in Arizona.  Through Tuesday, he was seven for nineteen with five extra base hits (two doubles and three home runs).  That’s after a season split between Erie and Toledo where he sported an .889 OPS.   Not too bad for a guy who’s known more for his glove then anything and this will make the fact that Placido Polanco is a free agent kind of sticky.  The value play would be to let Polanco go and start Sizemore but he’s an unknown at the big league level.

The End

“Now his failure is complete”

Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi

So ends the Tigers season.  It was a heck of a game tonight and one that probably would have been more fun if not for the emotional investment.  When the dust settled, the Tigers sat as the losers and now their season is done.  I’d like to say I hate the Twins and some of that resentment goes all the way back to 1987 but the way the Twins have played down their stretch, it’s hard not to give them their due.

Jim Price or Dan Dickerson (I can’t remember which) tried to defend the Tigers and their stretch run saying it’s more how the Twins played rather then the Tigers collapsing but it’s hard to defend the overall numbers.  Since July 1, the Tigers are exactly 43-43.  That’s over three months of baseball playing at a .500 clip and while that was almost good enough for the American League Central, the Tigers would have been in third place in a couple of divisions.  If they were competing for the AL Wildcard, they’d be nine games back.  They’re a decent team in a mediocre division.

Now it’s back to the drawing board with some caveats.  To stay in contention, the Tigers had to play Magglio Ordonez so he’s be taking up $18 million in salary next year.  Throw in what Miguel Cabrera is making as well as some of the poorer contracts like Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis and I wouldn’t expect anything big happening.  The Tigers solid start prevented ownership from making some big league cuts and they’ll probably have to do the same thing next year to prevent an overhaul/rebuilding of the team.

It just would have been nice to see the Tigers in the playoffs.  I liked them playing the Yankees in the first round because of the shorter series.  If they somehow managed to get past New York, it was fairly wide open.  it’s just too bad there wasn’t a new team or two to make the postseason.  In fact right now I don’t even know who I’ll be rooting for.  The Arizona Fall League starts in a week so there’s always that as well.  I’m still hoping to make it out there one day.  I probably won’t get it, but the Postseason.TV package looks kind of neat.

Another Tigers season is in the books.  Enjoy the postsason because there’s bound to be some good baseball.


The Tigers did their job last night, unfortunately, because they didn’t do it the past few days, all they did was force a one game playoff tomorrow against the Twins.  There were some great individual performances but the Tigers almost let this one get away as well.

Let’s start with Justin Verlander.  He won his 19th and that might help him pick up a couple more Cy Young votes.  He gave up three runs in the eighth on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.    The strikeouts bring his total up to 269 and that’s the most by a Tiger since Mickey Lolich back in 1971.  Verlander threw 121 pitches and you wonder how much longer we can ride this horse.

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Ryan Rabun belted two home runs and he now has 16 on the season.  Not bad for a guy who got just 257 at bats.  Ten of those came in the second half when Raburn’s playing time increased.  Magglio Ordonez was a perfect four for four and he lifted his batting average up to .309.  That leaves his OPS at .798 with the one game tomorrow to go.  That would be his worst since his injury laden season back in 2005.

It’ll be Rick Porcello against Scott Baker tomorrow afternoon (5:07 start time).  Nothing like leaving it up to the rookie to get us into the playoffs although Porcello was good against the Twins last week.  That probably leaves Edwin Jackson to start game one against the Yankees if we make it.

The Hard Way

Like the Spartans this afternoon, the Tigers are taking the hard way to their first division title since 1987.  Their loss tonight puts them in a tie with the Twins with one to go.  They need a win and then a Twins loss to win the division outright, and it also forces the Tigers to pitch Justin Verlander tomorrow instead of throwing him in game one of the ALDS.

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If the Tigers and Twins both win or both lose, they play one in Minnesota and if the Tigers go with their next guy, it’ll be the rookie Rick Porcello throwing.  That game will be at 5 pm on Tuesday because the Vikings will have the Metrodome for Monday night football.

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Of course the worst case scenario is the Tigers lose and the Twins win and then the Tigers season is done.  This is probably an understatement, but that would be a drag.

It looks like the Dodgers might pull a 2006 Tigers.  They had a big lead and they clinched a playoff spot a while ago, but they haven’t been able to wrap up the division.  If the Rockies win tonight and tomorrow, they’ll get the division crown and the Dodgers will settle for the Wild Card.

Crazy Eights

Not only are the Tigers losing 8-0 to the White Sox, but the Twins are beating the Royals 8-0.  Not a good night so we’ll have to wait for tomorrow.  Maybe we can get a trifecta, with the Tigers winning, the Twins losing and the Spartan trouncing the Wolverines.  I’ll be in E. Lansing tomorrow. порно одесса

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Full Circle

The Tigers started the week with a two game lead and now after four games with their division rival, they still sit two games ahead of the pack.  The good news is, we have a two game lead with three to play instead of a two game lead with seven to play so at the very least, progress made.  Now, the Tigers need to win just one game to force a playoff game with the Twins and two to win the division outright and that’s all assuming the Twins win out.

Of course the Tigers could have wrapped everything up yesterday, but why make things easy.  They lost 8-3 in their finale with the Twins in a poor collaborative pitching performance.  Nate Robertson took the loss and he gave up four runs in six innings while Casey Fien and Bobby Seay gave up two runs each.  Armando Gallaraga was the only hurler to throw at least an inning and not give up a run.

Magglio Ordonez went two for four and he raised his batting average above .300.  Gerald Laird went two for four with a run and an RBI.

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Tonight, it’ll be Jack Peavy against Edwin Jackson.  Let’s not make things too interesting guys.

Big Win

The Tigers not only beat Carl Pavano for the first time this season but the Tigers cut their magic number down to two in the process.  A win tomorrow means the Tigers have their first division championship in 22 years.  The 7-2 win was sweet and it was three big hits surrounded by a ton of support.  Brandon Inge had a two run double in the second that made it a 2-2 game, Ramon Santiago singled home two later in the second and then Magglio Ordonez doubled home three in the fifth inning and he did it with two outs.  This quite possibly was the Tigers most important win since, well, yesterday.

Eddie Bonine got it done again.  He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five innings.  Zach Miner then pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings and Brandon Lyon struck out two in the eighth and he pitched out of a jam (and made up for yesterday).  Fernando Rodney then pitched a shutout ninth as the Tigers walked away with the 7-2 win.

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Tomorrow, it’ll be Scott Baker against Nate Robertson.  For the Twins, it’s win or go home.  At this point, they have to pretty much win their final four games.  For the Tigers, then need just one win (even if it’s against the Sox) out of their next four to clinch at least a share of the division title.  I like the way the math is looking.

Pins and Needles

Well, the Tigers won tonight.  My blood pressure is still recovering but a win is a win and that puts the Tigers magic number down to four.  The Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead, saw the Twins cut it down to 5-4 by the eighth and the an insurance run by the Tigers in the bottom of the eighth proved to be neccesary because the Twins scored another run in the ninth and left a man on second when the game ended.

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Justin Verlander picked up his 18th win of the season.  He struck out eight and the pivotal moment of the game was when Jim Leyland left in their to face Michael Cuddyer in the with two outs and a runner on second despite Verlander being well over the 120 pitch mark.  It proved to be a smart move because Verlander got Cuddyer to ground out to Brandon Inge.  Verlander was still hitting 98 on the gun in that final at bat.

Magglio Ordonez had a big two run, two out single in the third inning.  Miguel Cabrera put the Tigers on the board in the first and Curtis Granderson went yard in the ninth for what turned out to be the winning run.  For Granderson, it was his 30th of the season.  For Cabrera, it was number 33.

In the afternoon game, the Tigers lost a tough one 3-2 in ten innings.  Rick Porcello gave up just one run in 6 1/3 innings and Brandon Lyon gave up two tenth inning runs and he took the loss.

It’s weird not having to worry about other games. The Tigers and Twins are playing each other and the White Sox no longer matter (as a playoff contendor, they could play the role as spoiler later this week).  If the Tigers win the next two, they’re in the playoffs.

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Well, the Tigers big series with the Twins will kick off tomorrow instead of today.  With the rain and 40 mph gusts, it would have been an interesting game.  The noon projected temperature is supposed to be 55, not much higher then the temp right now and there’s a 30% chance of rain all day.  I’m assuming they’ll stick with Porcello/Blackburn in the afternoon game so that leaves Justin Verlander and Brian Duensing in the evening game.

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One Shall Stand and One Shall Fall

Yeah, old Optimus Prime knew what he was talking about.  Pretty much eveything that’s happened the last 155 games has come down to this four game series between the Twins and the Tigers in the AL Central.  The Tigers come in with a two game lead and their magic number is six.  Simple math tells us that if the Tigers take three of four, the race is over.  Even a more realistic split would put the Tigers one win away from a tie for the Central crown.  The two game lead might not look like much, but it’s huge with just seven games left in the season.

Over the weekend, the Tigers didn’t help themselves by losing two of three to the Sox.  They got plenty of offense in Saturday’s 12-5 win in a game where oddly they have to come back from a 5-0 deficit.  They got shut out by Jake Peavy and the pen on Friday and then yesterday,  they blew a 2-1 lead and lost 8-4.  What was disconcerting in that game was how Fernando Rodney was roughed up for three runs that put the game way out of reach.  They make a big deal out of his save/non-save splits (one more reason the stat is stupid because players actually seem to pitch to it). but those eighth inning runs really came back to haunt the Tigers because they were able to put together a rally in the ninth.  Now maybe they don’t score those ninth inning runs in a close game, but still.

Curtis Granderson hit a lead off home run, his 28th long ball of the season.  Edwin Jackson took the loss and he fell to 13-8 on the season.

Game one is tonight and this is effectively the playoffs with the Tigers having a built in 2-0 lead.  It’s Rick Porcello against Nick Blackburn in the opener.  Blackburn is 1-1 against the Tigers this year and his last complete game was a win against Detroit.  Porcello is 1-2 against the Twins with one really good outing (seven shutout innings), one okay outing (three runs in six innings a week and a half ago) and one terrible outing (six runs in four innings in early July).  This first game is particularly huge because of the significant swing between a three game lead and a one game lead.

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Indians Sweep

The Tigers held off the Indians long enough to walk away with their fourth straight win as they finished a three game sweep over the Indians.  Justin Verlander looked sharp after a couple of mediocre starts and he improved to 17-9  He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks with eleven strikeouts in seven innings.  The eleven punch outs give him 256 on the season and that’s the fifth best season total for a Tiger.  He’d have to get to 271 to pass Mickey Lolich at number four.  The top season is Mickey Lolich in 1971 when he struck out 308 (the only time a Tiger has struck out 300 or more).

The bullpen made this one interesting.  Bobby Seay came into the eighth, gave up back to back hits then a run before yielding to Brandon Lyon who pitched out the jam.  Fernando Rodney then came and gave up a two run home run in the ninth but he still picked up the save  because he had three runs to work with.

The Tigers big inning was the fourth when they scored four.  Four different Tigers drove in runs in the frame.  Carlos Guillen continued his hot hitting and he went three for three with a walk, a double, a run and an RBI.  Brandon Inge went two for five with a run and an RBI.

The Twins were off so the Tigers magic number is now down to eight.  Detroit kicks off a three game set in Chicago and it’ll be Eddie Bonine (???) going up against Jake Peavy in the opener.  The Twins go to Kansas City and it’d be nice if the Royals could help us out a little bit.

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Edwin Jackson Shines In Big Win For Tigers

It’s funny how things work out.  While I didn’t blast the trade, I was skeptical of the move that sent Matt Joyce to the Rays for Edwin Jackson but it was interesting to see that on the same day Jackson was pitching at the front of the rotation in a heated pennant race, Matt Joyce was the starting outfielder in the Triple-A championship.  Jackson threw seven shutout innings and while they weren’t all easy, he pitched to his thirteenth win of the season.

Brandon Lyon and Bobby Seay got into trouble in the eighth but even after Lyon walked in a run, he was able to strikeout Luis Valbuena to get himself out of the jam.  Fernando Rodney pitched a shutout ninth and he picked up his 34th save of the season.

Ryan Raburn put the Tigers on the board in the third with a solo home run.  It was his 14th of the season.  Magglio Ordonez went three for four and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double that proved to be the difference in the game.

The Twins did win so the Tigers magic number is now 10.  Tonight, it’ll be Rick Porcello against Justin Masterson.  Hopefully the White Sox can steal the finale against the Twins and help us out just a bit.


The Tigers scraped together a solid win and gave Tiger fans some relief as they added to their AL Central Division lead with a 6-2 win over the Twins.  Nate Robertson was good enough through five and the bullpen was very solid as the Tigers took the finale in Minnesota.  Robertson improved to 2-2 and he gave up two runs in five frames while Zach Miner threw two shutout innings of relief.  Fernando Rodney even got it done in a non-save situation in what may have been the Tigers most important game of the season.

Placido Polanco gave the Tigers the lead for good with a two run single in the fifth inning.  He finished with two hits, three RBIs and a run.  Ryan Raburn had a  solo home run while Magglio Ordonez went two for four with a run and an RBI.  The Tigers left eleven men on base, so this one could have been a lot worse.

The win gives the Tigers a three game lead as they go into the middle series of their final road trip of the season.  The magic number is eleven so the Tigers could hypothetically clinch the division before the Twins come to Detroit the following week but they’d need an excellent week to go with a train wreck by the Twins.  The Tigers do have tomorrow off before they head to Cleveland for three games.  It’ll be Edwin Jackson versus Aaron Laffey in the opener.  The Twins take on the White Sox starting tomorrow in Chicago.

Double Down

The Tigers late season skid continued as they lost to the second place Twins for the second straight time.  It looks like Jim Leyland rode Justin Verlander just a bit too long in this one and while I’m all for riding the horse that got you there, this went a little overboard.  In all, Verlander threw 128 pitches and he came out just in time to see Brandon Lyon give up a three run home run (two of those runs went against Verlander) to put this game out of reach.  The end result is the Tigers now have just a two game lead in the Central with one more game in Minnesota.

Verlander was very good through the first seven innings.  He gave up a first inning run on a solo shot by Joe Mauer but then he pitched six scoreless frames.  The loss puts Verlander at 16-9 on the season.

Placido Polanco went four for five with two runs.  Miguel Cabrera went three for four and he put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with an RBI single.  Aubrey Huff singled home the other run for Detroit.

The finale is tomorrow at 2:10.  It’ll be Nate Robertson against Scott Baker.  This is a big game folks.

Tigers Win For Ernie Harwell

Yesterday, the Tigers celebrated Ernie Harwell’s career as it was announced a couple of weeks ago that he has inoperable cancer.  Ernie kept it short and sweet which is one of the things that made him a great radio announcer.  I think someone had a similar sign at the game, but for me, Ernie Harwell = Baseball.  I grew up in a day when there weren’t as many games on television so the radio was the medium of choice for baseball fans.  I’ve heard this from others, but Ernie’s voice was what I fell asleep to as a kid most nights and if you walked (yes, we did this back in the day) around your neighborhood, you’d see a handful of people sitting in their garage or on their porch with the radio tuned to the Tigers.

One of my highpoints since I began writing was having the chance to interview Ernie Harwell.  It was in early 2007 when he had just come out with his audio scrapbook.  You can check out part one and part two over at the Hardball Times.

The Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit yesterday so the Tigers are doing their best to hold back the Twins.  Eddie Bonine gave up three runs by the end of the fourth and he pretty much left it up to the pen.  Four relievers then combined to throw four shutout innings to close out the game and that gave the Tigers the chance to come back.  Zach Miner threw a shutout sixth and he improved to 7-5 while Fernando Rodney did it in the ninth and he picked up his 33rd save.  Bobby Seay picked up his 27th hold and that’s amongst the league leaders.

Adam Everett led the Tigers at the plate.  He had an RBI double in the fourth and then he singled home the tying run in the sixth. Placido Polanco and Curtis Graderson also had two hits each and it was Polanco who singled home the go ahead run in the 4-3 win.

The Tigers still have the 4 1/2 game lead and their magic number 13.  The Tigers play this afternoon and that’ll set the scene for the Tigers three game set in Minnesota this weekend.  It’s Edwin Jackson against Zach Greinke so this should be a good one.

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