Archive for the '2009 Tigers' Category

Tigers Rally Back From Four Down to Beat Mariners

The Tigers won their rubber game with the Mariners yesterday afternoon with an impressive come from behind victory.  The Tigers were down by four runs two different times (4-0 and 6-2) and they managed to put this one in the win column.  They scored three in the sixth to make it a one run game and then Clete Thomas singled home Miguel Cabrera for the walk off hit.

Alex Avila came up big again.  He roped a two out single that capped off the three run sixth to put the Tigers just one back.  Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge each hit solo shots and Raburn finished with three hits.  Miguel Cabrera went two for five and he scored a pair of runs.

Prior to joining the Tigers, Jarrod Washburn had given up five or more runs in a start just three times over 20 starts.  Since joining the Tigers, he’s done it three times in four starts as the pen and hitters had to bail him out of this one.  Despite going 0-1 with a 6.04 ERA with the Tigers though, Detroit has won three of his four starts although they needed plenty of offense in two of those games.

Zach Miner threw two shutout innings and Bobby Seay pitched a shutout ninth to improve to 4-2.  Neither reliever gave up a baserunner so you had an exceptional day from the bullpen in this one.

Now the Tigers head out west for three against the Athletics.  It’s a 10:05 start time tonight and Edwin Jackson will take on Gio Gonzalez.  The White Sox play the Orioles this weekend and the Twins play Kansas City.

Ichiro Home Run Costs Justin Verlander In Tigers Loss to Mariners

Justin Verlander had another solid start he just made one big mistake when he served up a home run to Ichiro.  The two run blast turned a 1-0 deficit into a three run deficit that the Tigers never recovered from. It also didn’t help that the Tigers made Ian Snell look like a Cy Young candidate.  Magglio Ordonez had three of the Tigers six hits (all singles from Ordonez) and the lone run came on a solo shot by Carlos Guillen.   Carlos has an .873 OPS with five home runs since returning from the disabled list so he has provided a bit of a boost.  Now it’d be nice if Aubrey Huff (one for eight since joining the Tigers) did what the Tigers were hoping for when they dealt for him.

Verlander struck out ten and that was the sixth time he got into double figures in strikeouts  It also brings his season total up to 204.  The last time a Tiger struck out 200 was Jeremy Bonderman in 2006 but Bonderman had just 202 in 34 starts while Verlander has 204 in 26 starts.  300 is probably out of reach but 223 would put him into the top ten for the Tigers in a single season (Jack Morris in 1986).  250  is a possiblity and the last time a Tigers did that was back in 1972 when Mickey Lolich did it.

The White Sox and Twins both won so the Tigers lead is back down to two.  This afternoon it’ll be Jarrod Washburn against Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Tigers Rally Late to Top Mariners

This was a nice win.  Rick Porcello had a solid start before the pen kind of messed things up but then the Tigers stormed back in the eighth inning with four runs to walk away with this one.  Six of the eight runs that were scored in the game all came in the eighth.

Porcello struck out a career high eight batters as he needed 93 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings.  He left with the bases loaded but Ryan Perry got Franklin Gutierrez to get out of the jam.  Perry then pitched a shutout seventh but Leyland may have left him in there for too long because he came out in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single that started the Mariners two run rally in the inning.

The Tigers struck back in the eighth though once Felix Hernandez was out of there.  Alex Avila belted his third career home run to cut the lead in half and then Miguel Cabrera came up huge with a two run single to give the Tigers the lead.  Ryan Raburn then came home on a weird double steal to give the Tigers some insurance.  The pitcher, Sean White, did that goofy fake to third, throw to first and it almost worked because they caught Miguel Cabrera in a run down.  While that was happening, Raburn bolted home and scored.  Cool stuff.

Fernando Rodney gave up a couple of hits but he struck out two in a shutout ninth to pick up his 25th save.  Cabrera finished the game three for four with two RBIs while Ramon Santiago had a big single in that eighth inning and he eventually scored.

The White Sox lost a tough one as they blew a 4-1 lead against the Royals.  That gives the Tigers a three game cushion.  Tonight, it’ll be Ian Snell against Justin Verlander.    Verlander bounced back from three mediocre starts in a row to throw eight shutout innings against the Red Sox last week.  Hopefully that’s the Verlander we see.

Tigers Sign Top Draft Pick Jacob Turner

Dave Dombrowski and the front office was busy yesterday as they pushed a midnight deadline to sign their top draft picks.  Dombrowski did it again though and he inked top draft pick Jacob Turner, second round pick Andrew Oliver and sixth round pick Daniel Fields to deals before the midnight deadline.

Turner got an impressive payday with a $4.7 million signing bonus.  Andrew Oliver’s signing bonus was $1.495 million and Fields’, the son of former Tiger player and coach Bruce Fields, signed on for $1.625 million signing bonus.

Tigers Trade Brett Jacobson for Aubrey Huff

The Tigers pulled the trigger on a deal that’ll bring Aubrey Huff to the team for pitching prospect Brett Jacobson.  This is basically the left handed bat the Tigers were looking for a couple of weeks ago at the trade deadline, just Huff’s power is all but sapped.  He’s hit just 13 home runs this year and his OPS against right handed pitching is just .767 soI’d hardly call this is a high impact trade.

Jacobson was the Tigers fourth round draft pick last season.  He was having a fair season for Lakeland after a lights out short season with the Whitecaps last season.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good – Armando Galarraga bounced back with a solid start.  He pitched just five innings, but he gave up just two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts.  He lasted 92 pitches, which is good considering he’s been sick and the pen pitched four shutout innings before Fernando Rodney gave up the go ahead run in the top of the tenth.

The Bad – Ryan Raburn made three errors at third base, including two in the tenth inning that led to the game winning run.  Fernando Rodney took the loss in this one, but Ryan Raburn definitely gets an assist.

The Ugly – This game should have never went to ten frames because the Tigers were 0 for 16 with runners in scoring position.  They outhit the Royals 10-5 and one of their runs didn’t even come on a hit (Adam Everett scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.

Sigh, we should be happy because the Tigers had a nice little winning streak but this is definitely a game the Tigers should have won.  Magglio Ordonez belted a home run and four hitters had a pair of hits each. So the offense was there, just not the timely offense.

The Tigers get a much needed day off tomorrow before they host the Mariners for three.  Game one pits Rick Porcello against Felix Hernandez on Tuesday so that should be a good one.  Jarrod Washburn pitches against is old team in the final on Thursday afternoon.

The White Sox are early in their game with the A’s.  A win by Chicago means out lead is down to a game and a half.  In fact I’m going to tune into that right after I hit publish.

Verlander Helps Tigers Salvage Finale Against Red Sox

Well, the first three games in this series didn’t go very well but Justin Verlander fulfilled his role as ace by coming up with a shutdown outing against one of the better offenses in baseball. Verlander was throwing 100 mph late in the game and he needed it to strike out eight in eight shutout frames in a 2-0 win.  In all, he gave up just four hits and a walk for his thirteenth win of the season. Fernando Rodney pitched a hitless ninth to pick up his 24th save of the season.

Ryan Raburn not only had a good game with the stick, but he made a nice play at third base as well.  Raburn put the Tigers on the board in the fourth with an RBI single and then he belted a solo home run in the seventh inning.  Not too shabby considering the Tigers had just five hits.  Magglio Ordonez singled and he drew a walk to join Raburn as the lone Tigers who reached base twice.

The White Sox were off and the Twins lost so the Tigers have a two and a half game lead (three in the loss column) heading into a three game weekend series at home against the Royals.  It’ll be Zach Greinke against Jarrod Washburn tomorrow night so hopefully the third time is the charm for the recently acquired southpaw.

Tigers Survive Another Rocky Start By Washburn

The Tigers bounced back from Saturday’s beat down to edge out another tight on yesterday afternoon.  Even better, the Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit with their big inning being a four run fourth inning.  The Twins never let go though and Michael Cuddyer’s second home run of the game in the ninth made it a one run game but that’s as close as they’d get.

Jarrod Washburn gave the Tigers six innings but he gave up five runs on ten hits and a walk.  Let’s hope Washburn’s last two starts as an exception and he bounces back but I have a feeling his “savior” tag is already long gone.  Brandon Lyon picked up the win and he improved to 5-4 and he’s quietly become the Tigers big pickup of the offseason.  After some early struggles, he’s posted ERA’s of 0.56 (June), 1.35 (July) and 0.00 (August in 3 2/3 innings) the past month and change.  He hasn’t given up a run in his last eleven appearances and he’s gone 2-0 with a save and four holds in that time.

Fernando Rodney gave up the ninth inning home run but he had two runs to work with so he still picked up save number 23. Bobby Seay and Ryan Perry combined to give up a run in the seventh.

The big hit of the game was a one out single in the eighth inning by Placido Polanco.  Clete Thomas also pitched in the eighth with a run scoring ground out.  Miguel Cabrera hit his 23rd home run and he drove in two while Marcus Thames went dee with his twelth, that also was his 100th career home run.  Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen each had three hits and Curtis Granderson joined the 20/20 club again with his 20th stolen base.

The White Sox also lost so the Tigers got their three game lead back.  It’s a four game lead in the loss column and the Tigers have a six loss lead over the Twins.  Unfortunately, the Tigers travel to Boston against a tough Red Sox team that’s coming off a three game sweep to the Yankees.  It’s Edwin Jackson against Brad Penny in the opener and I’m pretty sure this one is on ESPN.

Tigers Come Out On Top In Ugly Game

This game looked pretty brutal from the box score.  I was at a wedding so I didn’t get to see it but the Tigers and Twins combined for 18 runs, 30 hits, nineteen strikeouts and three errors.  The Tigers came out on top mostly because of a six run first inning that was capped off by a two run home run by Alex Avila.  He finished the game two for four with four RBIs.  Miguel Carbera also went yard with number 22 and he finished with three RBIs.  Curtis Granderson scored three times and Placido Polanco had four hits.  Seven different Tigers scored but oddly only four drove in runs.

Armando Galarraga had a rough start also he had a nice lead to work with.  He needed 109 pitches to get through five innings and he gave up four runs on eight hits and five walks.  Ryan Perry gave up a pair and Fernando Rodney struggled again in a non save situtation and he gave up two runs in the ninth.

I missed Carl Pavano getting traded to the Twins. It looks like the Twins got him for the infamous player to be named later.  Anyway, he makes his Twins debut and his last start was a gem against the Tigers a week ago.  Justin Verlander throws for the Tigers as he goes for win number thirteen.  It’d be nice if the Tigers could bury the Twins and make it a two team race through the final month and a half.  A series sweep would go along way towards accomplishing that.  The White Sox also lost so the Tigers have a nice little three game lead.

Traded Prospects Don’t Crack List

While Lucas French could make more of an immediate impact for the Mariners, many thought Mauricio Robles as the guy with the greatest long term potential between the two players that were traded for Jarod Washburn.  What’s interesting is Baseball America came out with a top ten traded prospect list and neither guy showed up on the list.  Robles did show up as an honorable mention (so he’s in the 11-15 range).  Everyone is worried that this is a John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander redux but my bet is, we didn’t get a Doyle Alexander and Robles isn’t the next John Smoltz.

Edwin Jackson Throws Eight Shutout Innings In Tigers Win

The Tigers took a 2-1 advantage in their four game series with the Orioles as Edwin Jackson bounced back from a rough start. Jackson threw eighth shutout innings before he gave up a two run home run to Adam Jones in the ninth inning.  Jackson then yielded to Fernando Rodney, who also got into trouble in the ninth but he pitched out of his own jam to pick up his 22nd save of the season.  Jackson’s final line had him improving to 8-5 and he gave up two runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in eight innings.

Magglio Ordonez went two for four with a solo home run, his sixth long ball of the season.  Placido Polanco had a two run single in the eighth inning and he came around to score on Miguel Cabrera’s single. 

Tomorrow is the finale and it’ll be an afternoon showdown. Rick Porcello throws for the Tigers and David Hernandez goes for Baltimore.  The Twins are losing but the White Sox are winning so we’ll see what happens with the rest of the division here soon.

The Tigers also made a couple of moves.  Alex Avila and Chris Lambert were called up from the minors.  Avila was the Tigers fifth round draft pick last year and the Tigers now have two of the five players who were drafted in 2008 on their big league roster.  Dusty Ryan and Wilkin Ramirez were sent down in their place.

Great minds must think a like.  When I titled my morning piece “Washout” I hadn’t read any other news sources.  The this afternoon I was sitting in a clients lobby and I noticed the headline for the Tigers recap was named the same thing.


For those Tigers fan hoping for the next Doyle Alexander, things didn’t go quite as planned last night.  Jarrod Washburn made his Tigers debut and gave up six runs before he departed with an out in the sixth inning.  Oddly, the Orioles eight run offensive onslaught came without Luke Scott in the lineup.  Washburn gave up runs in four of the six innings he threw in and two of the six hits he gave up went over the fence.  Zach Miner didn’t throw much better and he gave up two runs in 2 1/3 innings while Fu-Te Ni did his job (albeit with the game out of reach) and he threw 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

Magglio Ordonez showed some life and he went two for fie with an RBI.  Miguel Cabrera doubled and he drew a walk.  The Tigers did put some runners on base against Brian Matusz in his major league debut but in a couple of instances, he showed some poise and pitched out of the jams. 

The White Sox and Twins both won so things are once again tighter (one and 2 1/2 games back).  Edwin Jackson gets the start tonight and the Orioles will throw Jeremy Guthrie.

Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson both started their rehab assignments last night.  Neither appeared to light the world on fire but hopefully they’re both on the road to their way back.

And Your Leadoff Hitters Is….Wilkin Ramirez?

Wilkin Ramirez got called up today and he’s getting thrust into the lead off spot against leff handed starter Brian Matusz.  This was a big time WTF moment but Ramirez does have a .416 OBP against lefties down in Triple A so maybe the move will pay some dividends.  There have been some more unusual lineup moves I’ve questioned that ended up working out (somehow). Casey Fien was sent down to Toledo and my guess is, Ramirez goes back when Nate Robertson is set to come up from his rehab assignment.  Speaking of Robertson, he’s throwing in the second inning after a scoreless first in Toledo.

2009 Draft Standout

While some of the Tigers’ higher round picks like Wade Gaynor (3rd round) and Edwin Gomez (4th round) have struggled so far this year, the Tigers ninth round draft pick, John Murrian, has had an outstanding season for the Oneonta Tigers.  The scouting report on him has him as an above average fielder and with little power at the plate but a good eye.  So far, he’s lived up to that with a 16/12 strikeout to walk ratio in 105 at bats.  You have to love that .420 on base percentage.  The backup catcher at Oneonta and the Tigers 18th round pick, Eric Roof, is also having a decent season.  I wonder if that 6’5″, 185 lb line is accurate.  That’s pretty tall and skinny for a catcher.

Signing day is coming up and the Tigers have yet to sign their top two picks, Jacob Turner (1) and Andrew Oliver (2).  So far, the Dombrowski front office has a perfect record so I’m optimistic they’ll be able to get some deals done.

Tigers Survive Five Run First By Orioles

Luke Scott drove in a pair in the first inning and that capped off a five run first inning for the Orioles in what looked to be a meltdown start for Justin Verlander.  Fortunately for the Tigers, Verlander bounced back and threw seven shutout innings after that and the offense got just enough for the Tigers to sneak away with a win in this one.  Verlander ended up throwing 119 pitches and he gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in eight innings.  Fernando Rodney pitched a shutout ninth and improved to 2-2 on the season.

I think a big reason the Tigers came back in this one was because they immediately answered the Orioles big inning with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first.  Placido Polanco doubled home Curtis Granderson and then Miguel Cabrera belted a two run double to make it 5-3.  Cabrera later hit a solo home run in the fifth to make it 5-5.  Then in the bottom of the ninth, Clete Thomas put one over the fence at the deepest part of the ballpark for the game winner.  Thomas reached base three times with a single, a home run and a walk.  Ramon Santiago had a big hit in the fourth when he singled home Marcus Thames with two outs in the inning.

The White Sox and Twins were both off so the Tigers picked up a half game on each of them.  Tomorrow, Jarrod Washburn makes his much anticipated Tigers debut while the Orioles throw Brian Matusz, who’s making his major league debut.  Matusz was the Orioles first round (fourth overall) draft pick last year.

Rays Help Out Verlander’s Cause

One advantage of being self employed is what you’re able to do at work.  Right now, I’m watching the Rays dismantle Zach Greinke.  It’s a tough call right now between Greinke (he only has ten wins and that won’t help with the voters who have a hard time looking past this) and Verlander and a few others for the Cy Young and this game could help tip things towards Verlander for the moment at least as far as this matchup.  Of course that means Verlander will have to follow through and pitch a good game tonight.

Verlander is on pace for around 250 strikeouts this season.  If he got there, he’d be the first Tiger since Mickey Lolich in 1972 to hit the milestone.  Only three Tigers have done it. Lolich struck out 250 or more three times and Denny McLain and Hal Newshouser each did it once.

Robertson and Bonderman Begins Rehab

While I wouldn’t bank on either guy making a big impact this season, both Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman will begin rehab assignments beginning Tuesday with the Hens.  It looks like the goal is to have both guys back right around the time the Tigers can extend their rosters to 40 players.  The way Armando Galarraga has been throwing, the better of those two guys could end up finishing the season as the teams fifth starter.

What’s interesting is if both are held in the minors until September (I think you can keep a guy in rehab for 30 days), neither will make the post season roster.  The Tigers won’t need five starters in the post season but the best case scenario is one or both are lights out and they force the Tigers hand to bring them back early to help out in October.

No-Hitters and Beat Downs

I almost saw my first no-hitter in person this afternoon.  I took my son Devin to the Lugnuts game and Lansing pitcher Joel Carreno had a no-hitter going until he gave up a single with one out in the eighth.  He came out after that and Jason Roenicke finished the one-hitter up.  I’m going to write more on this in my Hardball Times column this week, but I’m really learning to love Minor League Baseball.  My son (who’s five) made it through his first game (when it’s just the two of us) to completion and I got to watch  probably at least 2/3 of the game. 

The news on the Tigers’ front wasn’t nearly as good as the Tigers were beat down.  Armando Galarraga gave up eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in an 11-1 loss.  Casey Fien was also bounced around and the lone pitcher to get the job done was Fu-Te Ni, who threw 1 2/3 shutout innings to close out the game.  Ni now has 15 strikeouts and just three walks in 13 1/3 innings.  This guy looks like he was a find.

The Tigers hitters made Carl Pavano look like a Cy Young winner and they managed just six singles.  Curtis Granderson went two for four while Gerald Laird went one for three and he scored the lone Tigers runs.

It’s Dodgers and Braves tonight.  I’ll have it on while I’m cranking out some tax returns (yes, we still do tax returns well into the summer).  The White Sox and Twins both lost as well so the Tigers keep their 1 1/2 and 3 game leads respectively heading into their four game set with the Orioles.  It’s Justin Verlander going up against Chris Tillman, who’s making just his second big league start.  The White Sox take on the Angels and the Twins face the Indians in the weekday series.

Tigers Balk Away With Win In Twelve Over Indians

The Tigers and Indians went into extra frames again last night and this time it was the Tigers who came out on top 4-3.  Ryan Raburn singled home the Tigers first run in the twelth and then right after that, Clete Thomas scored on a balk by reliever Jose Veras.  The Tigers needed that last one though because Zach Miner gave up a run in the bottom half of the inning but fortunately he had two to work with as he picked up his first save of the season.  Bobby Seay picked up the win and outside of Rodney giving up a ninth inning run, the pen followed up Rick Porcello’s fantastic start rather nicely.

Speaking of Porcello, he bounced back in a big way.  He needed just 91 pitches (and eight of those came against the first batter he faced, Grady Sizemore, who drew the only walk against Porcello) to get through eight innings and he gave up just one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out three.  He needed only five pitches to get through the third.

I’m way behind the times on the technology.  If I could find a well timed game, I’d like to watch an entire game on the enhanced gameday platform which looks like it has a ton of cool options.  I also haven’t hopped on the Twitter band wagon yet.  Most things will have to wait until next season (business number two is heating up and number three has yet to get off the ground).

Back to the game, Miguel Cabrera had a nice day at the plate.  He went three for six with an RBI and that puts him at .336 on the season.  He’s going to have a tough time catching Ichiro at .363 (Mauer is second at .353) but with two months to play, anything can happen.  Rod and Mario were talking about him being a lock for 100 RBIs and he’s just about on pace for that but his past two months saw him drive in just 10 each.  He’s still riding that fantastic May when he drove in 23.

Ryan Raburn also had a nice game with three hits.  After starting the season three for 26, he’s gone 38 for 130 (.292).  Raburn has also had the distinction of hitting at all nine spots in the batting order as well as fielding five positions (first, third and all three outfield spots).

The White Sox won and now the Twins are trending down so the Tigers have a game and a half lead over Chicago and a three game lead over the Twins.  The rubber game with the Indians is this afternoon and it’ll be Armando Galarraga going up against Carl Pavano.  Then the Tigers come home to face Luke Scott and the Orioles for four games to kick off a seven game home stand that finishes with three against the Twins.  It looks like all of the Tigers remaining weekday home games are on Thursday so I might have to pull Devin out of school to have our best chance at making a game together.  We are planning on going out to Lansing this afternoon to catch a Lugnuts game.  I was hoping to hit three minor league parks this year so if we get to Lansing this afternoon, that leaves Midland.

One Person Who’s Sad Jarrod Washburn Was Traded to Detroit

I had let my subscription to Baseball Reference’s Play Index lapse and I renewed today so I started messing around with it.  The first thing I did was ran the “by pitcher” numbers for Brandon Inge and some interesting things popped up.

With pitcher’s who he’s faced at least 30 times, Inge has a 1.000+ OPS against three different pitchers.  One of those is new Tigers hurler Jarrod Washburn, who Inge has a .300/.382/.633 line against.  Oddly, the guy he’s had the most success against is Zach Greinke (although Greinke had that tough run so maybe it’s not too surprising).  He has three home runs against Greinke (tied with Jeff Weaver, another familiar name) and he’s hit .385/.455/641.  That’s down from last year though because this year, Inge is one for seven against him.

Then I ran the numbers on Washburn and Inge is the best current hitter against him.  Gary Sheffield is a ,429 hitter against Washburn and Ivan Rodriguez hit .436 against him.  Rounding the hitters with more then 25 PAs and a 1.000+ OPS is Craig Monroe with a 1.028 OPS.

Other interesting and mundane tidbits on Washburn include…

1)  Washburn is terribly consistent between his first and second half splits.  His OPS against in the second half (.748) is just 15 points higher then his first half OPS (.733).
2)  He’s served up more first pitch fastballs (47) then any other count.
3) Washburn typically gets worse as the game goes one.  His OPS against in the first three innings is .683, then it goes to .759 in innings four through six and ends with a .914 in the final three frames. 
4)  He’s 12-3 (most wins) against the Rays but then he’s 8-15 (most losses) against the Athletics.
5) He’s 15-5 with a .643 OPS against on artificial turf

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