Friday: Tigers vs. Royals

I’m off this weekend, which happens to be one of my favorite weekends of the baseball season. I have two fantasy football drafts, which isn’t the reason I’m off, but certainly gives me the benefit of study time/setting up the command center before the crapshoot begins. It’s the first real sign that baseball season is wrapping up, but it’s also a very nice diversion when you’re heading down the home stretch (especially if your October looks more free than you originally expected). It also helps when you have the first overall pick in one of those drafts to gloat about with people, some of whom read this blog.

Anyways, I’ll be back on Labor Day for the makeup game with the Yankees. If you’re heading to the game on Monday, be prepared for traffic with the Labor Day Parade down Woodward. In any case, have a good weekend.

TIGERS (64-69)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Larish, 3B
  6. Sheffield, DH
  7. Thames, LF
  8. Renteria, SS
  9. Inge, C

ROYALS (56-77)

  1. Mike Aviles, SS
  2. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  3. David DeJesus, LF
  4. Jose Guillen, RF
  5. Mark Teahen, 3B
  6. Billy Butler, DH
  7. Ross Gload, 1B
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Joey Gathright, CF

38 Comments

About Aug:

I checked and over the last 7 years (including this year) the Tigers are 73-121 in the month of August. That makes the old June swoon of SF Giant days look like a piker in comparison. Now granted those were some pretty poor years but even in the decent era (the past three say), they are well below .500 baseball in August. So it does beg the question of why?

I don’t know for certain but statistically speaking even if you normalized for a “bad” team you would still find that August is a month in which this team stinks. The home/away mixes look the same year on year so I don’t think it skews for that. So what’s the reason? Heat and humidity in Detroit or all across the nation? Conditioning? Lack of focus and concentration? Tougher division schedules in those years (interleague is over by then)?

My guess is that we don’t get the NL to feast on during the last 8 weeks of the season and so Tiger pitching gets to deal with one more hitter (the DH) and better hitting teams in general. Can’t be the heat and humidity because that’s the same for everyone.

I’d rather see Ramon playing 3rd and Larish DHing tonight. Sheffield is back to pop-up mode and hasn’t had a hit now in about 5 games.
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What a bargain at 13-14 million per.

Miner is looking more and more every time out, like he can handle a starting role. he may have about 1 inning lef in him tonight tough as he has 88 pitches in 5 innings.

Great AB Curtis and now Polanco has to try to NOT pull the ball. I hate seeing him cosnsitently pull the ball. It has changed him for the worse.

Thank You Polanco–that is the Polly I know and love taking the ball to RF.

Don’t pick any Lions, Jason.
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Zach is definitely a starting pitcher. They’d have to have a pretty good rotation to leave him out of it. I think he’ll only get better.
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It’s amazing how Inge can go in at third on a moment’s notice and still immediately start taking runs off the board for the opposition. I can’t fathom not using him there, especially with our groundball pitchers. Heck, have him learn shortstop over the winter.
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Edgar “Slow-Mo” Renteria gets over to make a nice stop then dawdles on the throw again. He makes me crazy.
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Cabrera could have easily come out after that injury, but went back out there. That’s a good sign.
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Maggs is showing signs of breaking out of his slump.
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I’d sure like to get a look at Dusty Ryan starting next week. I’d like to know how we stand in the catching department. I guess getting Inge back on third is a pipe dream, but things can happen.
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–Rich

Hey, Rich, since you brought up Dusty Ryan as a catcher, how about Miguel Olivo of KC? I realize he may not be the greatest but he wants out of KC due to lack of playing time. Look at the stats. Olivo .264 BA, 11 HR, 36 RBI in 70 gms, 21 as DH. He threw out 11 of 29 base stealers, 38 %. The Royals prefer to use John Buck with a .224 BA, 8 HR, 41 RBI in 93 gms. Buck threw out 4 of 51 base stealers, 8 %. Why do the Royals continue to use Buck so much more? There could be something about handling the pitchers. They had a 4.82 ERA with Olivo and a 4.63 ERA with Buck. Is that a great enough difference? I Just can’t see the Tigers going with Inge/Sardinha again. Pudge won’t come back to be platooned. Wilson may very well be done. Unless there is someone a whole lot better available, could Olivo be a possibility? Maybe Olivo and a good backup. That would get Inge back to 3rd base. Maybe I am just grasping at straws.

Inge’s value to this team is playing 3rd base. He will hit better, given that job. I would like to see what Dusty Ryan can do catching. I would hope they at least give him a look.

Rich,

Our seats are in the right field box- 2nd row. We get quite a bit of camera time from homeruns hit to right. Hopefully Monday they will be Tigers homeruns.

Glad to see Miner pitch well again. I can’t believe he wouldn’t at least start next season as a starter- either in Detroit or elsewhere.

Tracey

Hi Marty, yes I agree with that–IF, he is to be kept on the team. He still could get traded, though somewhat unlikely.
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This team does not need a project and as athletic as Brandon is, he is still a project as a MLB catcher.
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This team does not need a project for a 3B either. Larish might work out there but dammit they should have been thinking of that 2 years ago.
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Guillen at 3B is not an answer IMO. He is debatedly adequate defensively and offensively he is diminishing in production and at an age where that is a consistency in trend rather than an anomaly. I would think .270-.280 with a dozen HRs and 70 RBIs would be the very most you might expect from Carlos IF he can stay healthy. And the trend on that is showing that he can’t. Carlos is a DH and a good utility guy now.
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Dusty Ryan should be given a chance. He can hit .220 and still have potential. IF Sardinha hits .220 he has quite possibly overachieved.
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Theres a “skeleton” of a guy in Erie that looks like he can hit .300 and steal some bases. James Skelton is slightly built, but he looks like he can play.
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I think this club needs a bit of a makeover. I sure hope they don’t think they can go at things with the same management and the same palyers and expect different results next year. I’ve sasid this too often, but they need to get rid of Sheffield. Renteria and Robertson should go to while they have any semblance of appeal left to other clubs.
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I hope they make a blockbuster deal for Ordonez. I realize the guy can hit but that is about all he can do. And that part of his game is slipping and he too is at an age where you can expect more slippage. Our pitching staff needs all the help it can get and with Guillen, Ordonez, Renteria and almost everyone who played LF this year, they simply didn’t get that.
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Leyland has been detrimental to the cause this year as well. As much as we all kinda like his gruff, irrascible exterior, we need to tell it like it is. He is a career sub .500 manager and that has happened even with some good seasons. He is stubborn to a fault and plays favorites. He is not an innovative energetic manager. I have complained about his use of Granderson (not running him) and his refusal to play small ball. How many DPs this year have Ordonez (and for that matter, even Polanco) hit in to end an inning when Curtis could have been at 2nd if you run your leadoff man? Why even bother leading off with Granderson if you aren’t gonna run him? If they want Curtis to leadoff then they should have cultivated his abilities to maximize his potential. It was a bit ridiculous, really.
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And that whole Sheffield in LF thing this spring was something right out of a Ken Kesey novel. There were cuckoos flyoing over Comerica to be sure.
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And the most flagrant failing for JL was his inability to motivate this asseblage of all-stars. He just didn’t do it. He’s been telling us all year how things are his fault and he has been managing badly etc. Well that doesn’t really do a lot of good. Those are irritatingly vacuous words for leaders to use when they have failed to lead. Politicians do it all the time.
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Illitch needs to cut his losses and he needs to start at the top. I know DD has made some questionable acquisitions but to his credit he hasn’t sat on his duff and is willing to be a little risky in an attempt to make things better. He also presumably relied upon the advice of JL in pursuing guys like Renteria, Sheffield & Jacque Jones. I could abide with Illitch keeping him around but JL really has to go. Tiger fans do not need a lovable old coot mascot, they need a vibrant, open-minded, no-hole-barred personality runnin g this team on the field.
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If the Tigers can be courageous enough to trade Ordonez to get a premier young starter to fortify the rotation, they should consider batting Curtis 3rd ahead of Cab. Take advantage of his ability to drive the fastball, and utilize his power a little more. Who leads off? Well I would hope they can find themselves a speedy little shortstop to flash some leather and swipe some bases!
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Back to the beginning–it is a treat to see INge paly 3rd ain’t it?!

All of the above is true.
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When Inge goes in at third, I personally gain a flush of confidence. The same can be said of Santiago. And when someone makes a terrific defensive play, it’s bound to fire up both the team and the hometown fans. That’s what we’ve been missing. Now, JL downplays all of that. He’s all caught up in the x’s and o’s too much to see what’s going on. He doesn’t seem to understand that these are young men that, even in baseball, can get fired up. He wants everything calm and steady. Sure, it’s a long season but he keeps it too calm and steady.
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Add the above to the obvious positive of allowing fewer baserunners/runs per game, and why wouldn’t anyone want that? I admit my many years have made me an obsessive proponent of pitching and defense, but I’ll preach that theme until the proverbial cows come home.
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BTW, Larish doesn’t appear to have the arm to play 3B, so they might want to look into trading him to a club that needs a firstbase prospect.
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–Rich

While I’m at it, some further thoughts.
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Brandon Inge himself has said that he wants to be the regular thirdbaseman for the Detroit Tigers. Okay, Brandon, the job is yours, but you’ve got to do something for me. I want you to spend all winter and all next spring working on your hitting. I need you to hit .260 and I need you to learn to bunt. I want to see these things by May of next year or the deal is off. I wouldn’t ask this of someone if I wasn’t sure he could accomplish it. I’m sure Inge can.
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Same with Sheffield. Gary, I know you want to reach 500 homeruns. Okay, I’ll need you to hit .280 and learn to move some runners over when necessary. If you can’t do that for me, I’ll sit you down and you’ll never get to 500. If we’re going to pay $14M for no production, you may as well not produce from the comfort of the dugout.
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These guys need some goals set for them. A little peak into my managing style.
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–Rich

I wonder how many 1st pitch DPs Ordonez has grounded into this year?
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1st and 3rd no out and he still refuses to be selective.. Perhaps that’s wron-maybe he is being selective!! he selects the 1st pitch.
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I doubt Maggs will reach 90 RBIs this year.

Well you knew Butleer was going to get a hit and I thought he might even go deep again. Kenny was done before the double play. He was dealing with that bad leg which he has been trying to stretch out for a couple of innings now.
Typical JL move, a dumb one. If he bothered to walk out to the mound he should have just taken the ball from him then. Instead he tells the 20 year vet what? Go get him Kenny? Why would Rogers need that at this point in his career.
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Chalk this one up to to Leyland.
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Another point, the Tigers, and I know there will be those that automatically disagree and will show some stats, need another power hitter to complement Cabrera. I mean a legitimate one, not one that used to do it or has done once before. Look at the White Sox. They have 6 guys with 15 Hrs and will have 3 of them with 30. No coincidence they are contending.
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Tigers have 4 guys with 15 and none over 30. The Sox have tagged a lot of 3-run FRs this year and that can account for a lot of Wins.
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We do not have back-to-back power potential.
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I’m not saying that this is the reason for the failure of the season, pitching says a lot about that, but the hitting all year has been , well, shall I say Hit and Miss!!
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Great game????? Bad pitching, poor hitting. Great Defense.

Hmmm…Duckworth has 2 wins this year. Both over the Tigers?

As I said above, I thought Jl really cost us this game. The huge run differential occurred after Rogers should have been taken out when he let the first 2 guys on to lead off the 6th.
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I get a kick out of the quote below. Just what is meant by “taking responsibility for it”? Does JL take the loss of Kenny’s career record? Does he lose any salary for making a bad decision? Does he get 2o lashes with a wet noodle?
Does he get fired?
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Some resposnibility. Hollow rhetoric and pretense.

“I put this one on me,” Leyland said.”If I had made one move, it could have changed the whole game. We might have won it, who knows? But that home run killed us, and I take responsibility for it.

“I asked him if he had pitches left in him, and he said he did. But I should have made a move there.”
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Man, we are seeing one ugly season for Nate Robertson. He would be wise to get himself traded because the Tiger fans will be maerciless on him next year. I thought Grilli was a fan target. They will be on Nate next year big time. He does deserve it though.
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Wonder if the DD (Dynamic Duo not Dave Dombrowski) will call up any southpaws? I would say it might be good idea to have a look at some. next year is looking pretty bleak for our LHP strength. Rogers is pretty much finished, Robertson is probably the worst pitcher in the league, Willis may never be able to throw strikes again, Fossum is stop-gap material and Rapada and McBride aren’t gonna cut it either. The only lefty we have worth being mildy optimistic about is Bobby Seay.
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This could be ANOTHER big obstacle for the club. Not sure why they wouldn’t give Oslund a look. There is a dearth of LHP talent on the farm. The only real promising guy I have noticed is in A ball, Jonathon Kibler.
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A lot really depends on Willis next year and my guess is this LHP problem (plus his recently signed contract) will save Nate’s bacon (read job).
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We do need some power in the lineup next year too. Ordonez did not supply enough this year. Thames a bit, but as far as everyday players go, we need more output and more 3 run game-changing HRs.
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Tuesday should be interesting. At this point any change we see in this club qualifies as interesting.

Greg, great to hear from you and excellent comments. A lot of you will disagree but I like Sheff. He was supposed to be our other power hitter. It just was not his year. JL keeps playing him because he thinks Gary will break out any time (stubborn). Just like not knowing when to pull a pitcher. Maybe he should ask for some advice from Captain Hook (Sparky of course). I would not trade Maggs. A speedy shortstop at leadoff (Santiago?), Grandy batting second, Polanco third, then Maggs, Cabby, and Carlos. It is such a beautiful day in Grand Rapids it will be tough to watch the entire game. Go Tigers! –Dave

I didn’t see the game and, from the sound of it, don’t plan to look at it. I guess you pitch up to 100 pitches regardless of outcome? No-brainer way to manage. There won’t be much newsworthy till tomorrow.
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We went into DC last night to see the Nationals host the Braves. Hoped to see Jurrjens, but he’s starting today. It was our first time (finally) at the brand new Nationals Park and it’s a beauty. Easily the best we’ve been to. Better than Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and only Pittsburgh comes close. Comerica doesn’t even make the list. Of course, DC is the newest stadium so it should be best. It features excellent site lines, good food, a high def scoreboard/jumbotron that can only be described as magnificent, and a stunning vista. There are also a number of places where you can stand (in peace I might add, no usher hassles) to watch the action, which is great for people like me with bad backs. They also have a “Saturday Night at the Movies” thing where they show a baseball movie on the big screen. Last night was “The Natural” and they’ve already screened “A League of their Own” and “Field of Dreams”. We didn’t stay for the movie because they went extra innings, and we didn’t stay for that either. As it was, we arrived home at 1 AM. The park sits a block from the subway station and there are plans to make that block a Disney-like street of shops and restaurants. It’s all quite impressive, especially considering how quickly the entire thing has come together.
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–Rich

That sounds like a great place Rich. I have always had plans to visit Washington and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I guess I will start putting those plans into action.
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Sardinha is playing today and Larish is at 3rd—-go figure. I’d rather see them catch Raburn!
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Just read the Sheffield interview at freep.com
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Man that guy is so self-centered he thinks he’s not. I hope the Tigers can accomodate his wanting to play in Florida and before 2010. IMO, keeping guys like him, Renteria, Robertson and Leyland around means the club is not serious enough about recognizing problems and change.
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I’m not blaming this year on Gary Sheffield by no means. But I do think a cathartic change of the “old order” is in order.

Gil Meche has been hammered lately. He seems to pitch well against us though.
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Will we ever see Murderer’s Row from this lineup?

G-Man has been a bright light to be sure. The guy exudes confidence and seems to pitch better when he is in trouble. Unlike most of his colleagues on the staff. The guy gets in difficulty and just “bears down”.
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Meche just eats us up for some reason. He is a really nice pitcher but when he is in a funk and everybody else is hitting him we should too. I am concerned about our hitting and combine that with our glaring deficencies on the mound it does not portend well for next year.
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The Royals may have a poor won-loss record but I really like their personnel. Gordon Butler, Nunez, Soria, Greinke. That’s an awful lot of young talent.

I also just read the Sheffield article in the Free Press. Gary supports the Detroit schools and took a couple of teammates on a private plane. Williams and Musial hit over .300 in their twilight years and maybe Gary has just not been healthy. Hey Rich, I like your managing style and if you play well you keep playing. If not, we find someone that can, that is why I think JL is relying on his players to win all the games but you have to manage! –Dave

I’ll bet Meche is shakingin his boots coming out for the 3rd inning to face Larish, Santiaga and Sardinha.
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G-man had a tough break there. The guy is really impressive and really had battled himself out of that very tight spot.
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I hope these guys actually hit the ball today and get him 3 or 4 becasue if they do–he’ll win the game.

All right Sheff up in an important situation. Let’s see if his ‘bat” can do some talking!

Well Sheffield did have a good swing. Gotta give him that.
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Got a break there on the DP, I think he was safe at 1st from what I saw on the replay. Nice job by Larish to field that ball.
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Dusty Ryan coming up–that’s great. Something to look forward to. Rapada but no Oslund. Good to see Hessman get the nod too.

Where is the offense again?

Hoping the callups do good, especially Dusty Ryan catching. Sardinha’s .108 average isn’t going to cut it as a backup. Also Inge needs to go back to 3rd at least while Guillen is out. It’d be good to see Hessman make an impact as well.

Hate to say it but G-Man is done for today. They need to pull him. That was guty, gutty performance and his consistency this year has been absolutely remarkable.

Sheffield has developed warning track power. But at least he is hitting the ball with soe authority lately.

B_U_N_T

With Wells being so wild, I have Polanco take a strike, then bunt. Not just a straight bunt call.
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Inge was safe at third, but JL was arguing the wrong thing. And that’s Kevin Causey, the same minor league umpire who booted Polanco a couple weeks ago. And another guy the next day.
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Then Cab comes through and it’s all good.
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–Rich

That is why Ramon Santiago should and could play everyday shortstop.

Agreed.
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Speaking of shortstops, I saw our old buddy Omar Infante playing there for Atlanta last night. He turned in a play similar to the one Razor just made, but slightly better. Omar is starting, hitting at .308 while batting 5th, and sports number 4 these days. So the Braves got Omar and Jurrjens, and we got Renteria and Jacques Jones. Depressing, ain’t it? :-)
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–Rich

Question for you baseball guys- how is the winning pitcher determined? Galarraga left the game after 7 innings with a 2-2 tie- we scored the go ahead runs in the 8th after Glover pitched the top of the 8th.

At the ballpark they announced Galarraga as the WP, my mlb text alert listed Glover, and the box score on this website lists Galarraga in one place and Glover in another. Everytime I think I get how they score it, it turns out I don’t.
Thanks in advance.

Tracey

Tracey they got it wrong at the ballpark. Glover is the winner. The pitcher who is the pitcher of record when the runs score is the winner. To in this case it was Glover. Galarraga was already out of the game and Glover had pitched. Now for an example if we would of scored the runs in the bottom of the seventh instead of the bottom of the eighth it would of been Galarraga. He would of been the pitcher of record.
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Hope that is clear as mud.

Good example. Also, the starter has to complete at least 5 innings and leave with a lead that holds up to get the win. In Galarraga’s case, he could have some 18 wins with a better ballclub and be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year.
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Pretty good ballgame today, not sloppy or anything. It can still be fun to watch even though your team is out of it. I realize it’s KC, but Rodney did a good job. He was controlling everything he threw. I dog him a lot so I have to give him credit. It’s true that if he was consistent, he’d be an excellent closer. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late in the season for him to prove that beyond a doubt. Just keep going out there, F-Rod.
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I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s makeup game. It’s strange how Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day used to be days for big, traditional and scheduled doubleheaders, and now it’s just as likely teams will have the day off. Anyway, good day. Johnsonville brats grilled and consumed and a pretty sunset here.
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–Rich

Rich, I was just on the espn site and checking on my fantasy baseball players. I have Chipper Jones and notice that Omar was hitting over .300. My mom is a die hard Tiger fan and her favorite Tiger was Infante. Just a few more comments. I do not like the fielders indifference and why did we not try and throw out Buck. Are you saying we might throw the ball away? I say I am going to throw out every runner! Ah yes, we used to go to all the twilight double headers. When Inge was up and every one thought he was going to bunt, take the pitches until you get a stike. When the pitcher knows you are going to bunt, he is not going to groove one. I will be looking for the Yankee Pudge sign tomorrow! Go Tigers! –Dave

Dave, I agree, throw um all out if you can. What’s the worst that can happen?…runner ends up at third. So what if he wasn’t that important to begin with. Makes no sense.
I agree with your mom too. I liked Infante, I liked him a lot as a matter of fact. Unfortunately, JL always liked the Nefster better. Figure that one out. On second thought, it ain’t worth the trouble…..just another one of the many “head scratchers”.

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