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Tigers Hammer Jeff Weaver For Fourth Straight Win

Ivan Rodriguez led the Tigers at the plate last night as they blew out the Mariners 12-6 for their fourth straight win.  It was Pudge’s third game in which he had four hits this season.  He homered, drove in two and scored twice.  Curtis Granderson picked up his 22nd triple and he scored three runs while Placido Polanco put himself in the batting title race with a three for four game in which he drove in four and scored two times and Timo Perez went three for four with a triple and two RBIs.  Finally, Brandon Inge was the other Tiger to go yard.  It was his fourteenth of the season.  So a lot of hitting highlights in this one and quite a few of them were off of former Tiger Jeff Weaver.

Nate Robertson had a rough start which forced the Tigers to once again go to the pen earlier then they would have liked.  Robertson gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Zach Miner picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of relief in which he gave up one run and Fernando Rodney and Yorman Bazardo each threw a scoreless frame.

While the wins are nice, all they’ve done is match the Yankees, who have a four game winning streak of their own.  The good news is, with a win this afternoon, the Tigers can bury the Mariners and they’ll know they have to make up games on just one team.   It’ll be an interesting matchup of two solid young starters with Felix Hernandez pitching against Jeremy Bonderman.



Tigers Lose Finale to Athletics

The Tigers finished their road trip with a whimper and for a team that had the best road record, a 3-8 road trip was pretty uncharacteristic of the team.  It’s unfortunate too because Nate Robertson, while not great, threw a decent enough game.  He gave up just three runs on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts in six innings.  Bobby Seay got into trouble in the eighth but he got some help from Jason Grilli.  That just stopped the game from getting out of hand though.

Once again, the Tigers bats were held in check and they managd just seven hits.  Placido Polanco went two for three with a walk, a double and a run to lead the way for the Tigers.  Magglio Ordonez singled, drew two walks, drove in a run and scored.

Now Gary Sheffield is complaing of a sore shoulder and to round out the bad news, as I speculated, the potential trade for Jack Wilson is alive and well.  The Tigers open up a three game series against the White Sox at home beginning tomorrow.  Andrew Miller gets the ball and he’ll face Mark Buehrle so we’ll have a battle of the left handers.



Tigers Blowout Indians In Series Finale

It’s nice seeing these kind of games once in a while.  Those “no doubt about it” kind of games where you can sit back and relax by the fifth inning.  Even better, the Tigers dismantled the Indians’ ace, C.C. Sabathia.

Carlos Guillen led the way with a team high four RBIs while Gary Sheffield drove three and he belted his 20th homerun of the season.  Magglio Ordonez has another three hit game and Placido Polanco crossed the plate three times.  Even Craig Monroe picked up a hit.

Justin Verlander picked up his tenth win of the season with seven solid innings.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts.  Bobby Seay and then Jose Capellan each threw a scoreless inning to close the game out.

With the two straight wins, the Tigers now sit just a single game back of the Indians.  It doesn’t get any easier though because the Red Sox roll into town to wrap things up before the All Star Break.  Andrew Miller will take on Julian Tavarez in the opener tomorrow night.



Justin Verlander Throws No Hitter

I’m having problems with my internet connection so I’m hoping to squeak this in.  Justin Verlander threw a no hitter tonight over the Brewers and it’s the first no hitter by a Tiger since Jack Morris did it back in the 1984.

Of course I was stuck in a car somewhere that I couldn’t even listen to the game so I missed a small slice of history.



Bless You Boys Blogs With the Enemy

Ian at Bless You Boys has a brief chat with Chris from Amazin’ Avenue about the Mets and the Tigers’ upcoming series.  Good stuff.  I had given up Damian Easley for dead but like Tony Clark, he’s hung around and put together a solid season.



Batgirl Takes A Break

It looks like another quality blogger has called it quits.  Batgirl was one of the funniest blogs out there and you couldn’t help but chuckle whenever you stopped by to read something.  The stuff with the Legos were pricesless as well.  Whenever I watch the White Sox, I’ll always think of them as the bitch sox and think of her site.



Denny McLain On Alcohol and Josh Hancock

Denny McLain made some very well thought out and interesting comments on his blog about alcohol in the clubhouse and Josh Hancock’s premature passing. 



Baseball America’s Business Blog

We all know I have a pretty keen interest in the business of baseball so that’s why I was excited when Baseball America started a blog related to the business aspects of the minor leagues.  Josh Leventhal has done a very nice job in his first few posts and I’m definitely going to make this a regular stop.



Nook Logan Hurt Yesterday, Status Unclear

I know this isn’t the Tigers, but former centerfielder Nook Logan, much to the dismay of many Nationals fans, looked to be the lock for the starting centerfield job there.  I’ve always enjoyed watching Logan but I also felt his value was more in line with an Alex Sanchez type of player with a better feel for centerfield.  He’ll end up with a hollow .280 batting average and because he can run, he’ll probably misused as a lead off hitter.

Anyway, Logan strained his groin yesterday and the team should know more tomorrow about his status.  Anything that slows Logan down though severely diminishes his value though, because that’s about all he has.



Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual

I know this isn’t about the Tigers but it’s great to see bloggers doing this kind of stuff.  One of my favorite Padres blogger, Geoff Young at Ducksnorts, recently published the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual.  I bought the download and there’s a ton of stuff in here.  You get both a look back at the 2006 season and a ton of historical information.  These things are hard enough to do when it’s a collaborative effort and it’s doubly impressive that Geoff was able to pull this off by himself.  There’s also a foreward by Padres CEO Sandy Alderson.  Great job, Geoff.



Ron Santo Gets the Shaft Again

I know this isn’t Tigers related, but for the third straight time, the Veteran’s Committee has failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame.  While that by itself isn’t a huge problem, it becomes one when you have a guy like Ron Santo waiting in the wings.  At least he got closer and hopefully in two years the third baseman will find his way in.

Aaron hasn’t gotten to the commentary on this over at Wrigley Field Curse but he told me that he plans on doing a quick highlight of Santo’s career for those of you who aren’t familiar with him.



More Minor Leagues

This time it’s the Dodgers.  If you liked the coverage so far over at Detroit Minors, a similar website has started that will cover the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates.  Whether it’s keeping track of a great farm system or if you just want to keep tabs on the Dodgers new minor league affiliate in Midland, MI, you can do all this and more at the Dodgers Minor League Baseball Blog.  I’m hoping to check out the Great Lakes Loons in their new digs in Midland this year, especially when the Whitecaps roll into town.



Jeremy Bonderman – Is 2007 the Year?

It’s hard to argue that Jeremy Bonderman hasn’t gotten better in each of his four major league seasons.  He nearly doubled his 2003 strikout total (108) in his 2006 campaign (202) and the number of innings he’s logged has gone up in each of the four years while his ERA has come down in all four.  He still hasn’t broken through the 15 win barrier, but his 14-8 record in 2006 doesn’t do him justice.  Jeremy Bonderman is the best pitcher on the Tigers right now.  At some point, Justin Verlander and maybe even Andrew Miller could pass him, but Bonderman’s the ace and he showed flashes of being one in 2006.

So the question is, if he’s so good, when will we see that season where he finishes near, or even at, the top of the Cy Young voting?   I personally think that season could be 2007 and in a lot of ways, so does Baseball Prospectus.

Baseball Prospectus recently published their PECOTA cards for the 2007 season.  You can check out Bonderman’s card but here’s a quick run down.

The first thing that was noteworthy was that they put Jeremy Bonderman sixth in all of baseball and third in the American League in weighted mean VORP (44.7).  The guys in front of him are Pedro Martinez, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy and of course the front runner, Johan Santana.  So if the projections end up being correct and he finishes as the sixth best pitcher to that group, I wouldn’t see a whole lot of shame in that.

The one thing I did find odd is even Bonderman’s 90 percentile doesn’t have him at 200 strikeouts.  It does have him at 16-6 with a 1.13 WHIP and a 2.62 ERA.  Although I have a feeling if he has a 2.62 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, that we’ll see closer to 20 wins with the lineup that the Tigers will be bringing in 2007.

Probably the most impressive part of the card was that BP gives Bonderman a 45% breakout rate and an 88% improve rate.  So they’re basically saying that in all likely hood, Bonderman should top that mean weighted average and then have a 50% of coming out close to the top.  I like those numbers especially when you combine them with only a 4% attrition and a 4% collages rating. 

Also impressive is Bonderman’s comparable pitchers.  He has a 42 similarity index which is okay for making comparisons and his most comparable pitcher is Larry Dierker who had a pretty solid career before flaming out. He won 22 games as a 22 year old but he was done by age 30.  Second is Bill Gullickson, who also had an early start and had a breakout season at the age of 24.  I thought the most optimistic one was Bert Blyleven, who is Bonderman’s fifth most comparable pitcher. 

The cards are a lot of fun to check out.  Sheffield’s card doesn’t look too hot but his 2006 injury plays a big factor in that.  They expect a pretty steep decline from Kenny Rogers and they have a pretty wide range for what Justin Verlander might do. 



Three TYIBs Go Tigers Way

The Tigers won three “This Year in Baseball” awards this season.  Recently unveiled by MLB.com, Joel Zumaya won setup man of the year, Jim Leyland won manager of the year, and Sean Casey won blooper of the year for the 5-7-3 put out in which he didn’t run on the play.

Congrats to Leyland and Zumaya.  For Casey, I feel bad because I thought that gaffe was beaten to death and a lot of the criticism was unwarranted.



Tigers Top 20 Prospects

John Sickels broke down the Tigers top 20 prospects today.  The good news is, they have two very good prospects in Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.  The bad news is, nobody else even warranted a better then a B- rating so the farm system is still pretty thin. 

The wild card will probably be Brent Clevlen.  He had a rough season Double A, but actually hit the ball pretty well when he got called up.  He’ll probably start the season in Triple A because there’s really no spot for him right now with the Tigers surplus of outfielders.  Jair Jurjjens is a name that’s being thrown around as being on the back end of the Tigers pen but Sickels indicates he should get more time in the minors.

One thing I’m hoping to expand next year is my coverage of the minor leagues.  I don’t know if it’ll be on Tigerblog or another site because I’m going to have some help (okay, I’m going to have someone do it for me).  It’s always been something I’ve followed on the peripherary but never close enough to warrant talking about it too much.

For a ton of great prospect information, I highly recommend John Sickels book.  I highlighted it in my five must reads a week or so ago.



Tigers Not Making Things Easy, Lose to Orioles

The first seven inning of the Tigers afternoon game against the Orioles went pretty well.  Magglio Ordonez hit a two run homerun in the first and Curtis Granderson followed that up with a solo shot in the third to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.  Unfortunately, Nate Robertson didn’t have his best stuff and while he only gave up two runs, that was close enough for Fernando Rodney to lose it in the eighth inning.

Robertson pitched out of three big jams.  He left the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings and he left two men on in the fourth inning, which was the one where the Orioles scored twice.  The Tigers blew a big opportunity in the fifth inning.  They loaded the bases with nobody down and then didn’t score a single run. 

And of course the Orioles made them pay for that in the eighth.  The Brian Roberts single was somewhat acceptable but then he hit David Newhan.  A double steal and a double later and the Tigers lead was gone.

Three pieces of good news.  One, the Twins are losing 4-0 and Josh Beckett is looking really good (the game is on ESPN2).  Two, the Tigers head to Kansas City to play a Royals team they’ve done very well against.  Three, the Tigers have the tie breaker with the Twins.  So if they end up tied, because the Tigers and Twins are in the same division, the Wild Card goes to the loser of the season series.  The Tigers won the season series 11-9 so if the two teams end in a tie, the Tigers are division champs.  I know that’s little consolation but with only nine games left, it could be big.

It’s Wil Ledezma going up against Luke Hudson tomorrow.



More Tigers at the Hardball Times

Bryan Tsao at the Hardball Times penned a very good column (looks like first of a series) about how Dave Dombrowski built the surprise 2006 Tigers.  This first installment talks about the pitching staff.



More Tigers at the Hardball Times

Bryan Tsao at the Hardball Times penned a very good column (looks like first of a series) about how Dave Dombrowski built the surprise 2006 Tigers.  This first installment talks about the pitching staff.



Angelblog

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may be in last place in the AL West, but their blogosphere is alive and kicked.  Be sure to check out the newest addition at Angelblog.  I helped him out with his model for the 1961 season lookback and it’s interesting looking at this 1961 expansion team’s past.



Cardinals, Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames and Milestones

The Cardinals are a pretty good team, even when they’re beat up.  Albert Pujols made his return and the knock on the Tigers has been that they’ve only played well against the bad teams.  Hopefully the Tigers dispelled that myth here this weekend with a sweep at home over the Cardinals. 

The Cardinals and the Tigers have quite a past and two of the Tigers nine World Series appearances were against the Cardinals.  In 1934, probably the greatest Tiger team of all time lost an exciting seven game series to the Gas House Gang.  And then in 1968, the Tigers beat the Cardinals in another exciting seven game series and became one of the few teams to ever come from behind from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series.

Curtis Granderson had an excellent series against the Cardinals this weekend.  He had seven hits and he scored six runs in the three games against the Redbirds and he even hit a homerun and stole a base.  We’re not even at the midpoint season and he has 51 runs and he’s now hovering just under the .300 mark with a .296 batting average.  He’s also doing his job at the leadoff spot and he’s seventh in the American League with 4.2 pitches per plate appearance and the guys in front of him are some pretty big names (Jason Giambi and Manny Ramirez are two of them).  He could have somewhat of a decline in the second half because he might not be able to keep up his .387 batting average on balls in play but even if he tapers off, he should put up some pretty nice numbers in his first full season.

What a game on Saturday.  Marcus Thames came in and hit a two run homerun in the bottom of the ninth off of Jason Isringhausen to tie the game up.  Thames didn’t drive in the winning run, but it was that blast that put the Tigers in a position to win that game.  Thames now has 15 homeruns in 165 at bats and his slugging percentage is .661.  He has 28 extra base hits and the team leader, Granderson, has 32.  And that’s in a little more then half of the at bats.

I didn’t confirm this, but I heard on the radio that only two previous Tiger teams have had at least 50 wins at the 75 game mark.  The one time was 1984 when the Tigers won their last World Series.  The other time was 1911, who were 51-24 at the 75 game mark.  The 1911 team really collapsed shortly after that.  Their high point was 59-24 when they were 5 1/2 games in first place on July 18, 1911.  After that point they went 30-41 and finished in second place, 13 1/2 games out of first place.  1911 is also what was probably Ty Cobb’s best season.  He hit .420 that year, his career best and the eighth best single season average of all time.

Next up is the Astros, who are playing right now against the White Sox.  And speaking of the Sox, they’re still red hot.  If they can pull this game out (they’re down 2-1), they’ll have won their tenth straight game.  Tuesday’s matchup is probably the most interesting because it’ll be Roger Clemens second start since coming back for the Astros.

UPDATE

Speaking of milestones, this the 1,000 post at Tigerblog.  Most were written by me, but a few others made did their share as well.  It took me over three years to get here so post 2,000 will probably happen sometime in 2010.



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