Sunday: Tigers vs. Twins

Happy first day of summer. What, it’s August? Well, you couldn’t tell by the last couple months.

Jim Leyland talked last night about getting more right-handed hitters into his lineup against Twins right-hander Scott Baker, who’s giving up a higher average (.262) and OPS (.800) from the right side than the left this season. That gives a first start of the series to Marcus Thames, 5-for-16 lifetime off Baker with three home runs. That said, Carlos Guillen is 8-for-21 for his career off Baker, while Curtis Granderson has four homers in 37 at-bats off him (nine hits).

Minnesota, meanwhile, keeps three of its prominent left-handed hitters in the lineup against lefty Jarrod Washburn with Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Mauer isn’t catching, but he’s the designated hitter.

Forecasting a temperature in the upper 80s by first pitch and into the 90s as the game moves along.

TIGERS

  1. Curtis Granderson, CF
  2. Placido Polanco, 2B
  3. Marcus Thames, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Carlos Guillen, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Gerald Laird, C
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS

P: Jarrod Washburn

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, DH
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Mike Redmond, C
  8. Nick Punto, 3B
  9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

P: Scott Baker

39 Comments

Quite often I don’t agree with making out a lineup based on hitter’s history with that day’s pitcher, unless the numbers are fresh. These numbers are fresh, so let’s see how this plays.
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First order of business is preventing Mauer from hitting a homer in the first inning.
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–Rich

Still think that Option isn’t gonna vest?

In order for Magglio’s $ 18 million option for 2010 to vest:

Plate Appearances needed in 2009: 457

Magglio’s Plate Appearances in 2009: 355

Plate appearances still needed to vest: 102

Plate appearances per game played: 4.08

Tiger games left in the 2009 season: 53

Estimated (team) starts remaining vs LHP’s: 14

Number of Games needed to vest: 25

Magglio only needs to start 11 of the approximately 39 games vs RHP’s remaining to collect $ 18 million for 2010. Make that 10, after today, and he’s hitting .222 with one HR, two RBI, and a pathetic .643 OPS vs RHP’s since the break. He’s not “coming around”, except to collect a fat paycheck and clog up the lineup for another season. WTH is Leyland doing?

I already don’t feel very good about what is going on in this game. I feel like most of the time if we don’t do anything offensively within the first few innings, well we are doomed.

3 runs for the Twins this game is over. The Tigers will not hit again today. Other than Polanco’s two at bats in which he was ROBBED, Granderson is the only person that has hit anything. I like how also in two previous starts (14 innings) Washburn has only allowed 1 run to the Twins. Didn’t we hear something similar when he faced Baltimore the other day?? Interesting how we face flipping Pavano 4 times and we still can’t hit him.

Well maybe I spoke too soon. Although the top of the Twins lineup coming up here. And the ball is flying out of the park today. SCARED STILL

Nice job. Two quick outs a broken bat hit another single and a stinking triple. Well I felt good for about 1 inning. Guess Washburn doesn’t like Detroit.

I have only signed in 3 times and written 2 comments. Will this one go through?

I know I am talking to myself here. But these stranded runners are infuriating.

Rare in-game comment:
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This Keppel has 15 walks in 24 innings but our hitters acted like they didn’t know it. Kept swinging outside the zone. No information? Ignored information? This is a management issue.
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–Rich

My boy Clete’s lettin’ me down in left. Morneau shouldn’t have reached second and it cost us the lead.
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–Rich

Time to send Thomas to AAA. He costs more runs then he produce.

Tell me why Mario sounds so excited when the other team gets a big hit and screws things up for our team????? He actually sounds excited. And again, two outs and bam a bloop double and a bleeder. Glad Mario is happy about, maybe he should go to move to Minnesota.

yet another sub par pitcher prone to the walk makes our hitters looke ridiculous. Congratulations guys impressive. By the way Inge walked that was a horrible horrible horrible call. Appearently this umping crew is trying to make up for what the Twins felt was poor umping on Friday. Nice.

8th inning…..another bloop hit for the Twins. Are they lucky or just good?

lucky

Okay now, arm-chair managers. JL will bring in Rodney in the 9th no matter if it is tied or not. Then he will go to Miner in the 10th to lose it. Come on JL, prove me wrong.

here we go. Come on Ferndando.

Okay! 2 more runs for the Tigers. Now can Rodney close it out with the toughest 3 hitters in the Twins line-up? Breathe deep. Stay calm. Oh, my, I better follow my own advice.

Again why does Mario seem happy about that Cuddyer homerun. And before I could get that written Brandon makes a heck of a play. Did you see where he had that ball in his fingers. If that isn’t a web gem I don’t know what is.

Great win for the Tigers! I just wish Rodney could go 3 up and 3 down sometimes. But for the team, way to go hanging in there against a Twins team that never quits.

That was a bigger win than it might appear. You wouldn’t want to read what I’d have written if they’d lost it. In fact, I wouldn’t have wanted to read what I’d written. Fortunately, it won’t be necessary.
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The team really scraps on the field. I wish they’d scrap a little more off the field, and I don’t mean fistfights in the clubhouse. I mean game preparation. That may be the one single thing we’re missing the most.
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Be that as it may, we accomplished the week’s goal, which was to win 3 of 4 then 2 of 3. Can’t complain over the results, and they did a good job of it overall.
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I thought Gardenhire did us a huge favor by walking Granderson in the 8th. If there’s one guy on our club that I want up there in that spot, it’s Polanco. I actually said “thank you” to Gardy when he put Grandy on. The other skippers make mistakes too.
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Can you believe that Rodney got through both Mauneau and Morer, as I’ve come to call them?
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On to Bahston.
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–Rich

Tigerdog, great post, even though it was a post that depressed me.

One question for you. Would post-season at bats count toward the 457 plate appearances.

Nice victory today after last night’s Siesta Tigres game. Anyone know the Spanish word for pathetic?
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Couple of thoughts…….This isn’t the same Twinkies team we are used to seeing. Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel and Span……..Thank goodness they don’t have the pitching to go with the hitting team they do have. Frankly though, last night’s laugher was a fair price to pay for the 2 exciting wins we did get. I’ll take it any day.
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I liked the idea of batting Thames up in the order. Maximizes his AB’s, as he will more than likely be substituted for with a lead after 6. But…..the way Carlos has been hitting, that 3 hole would suite him fine.
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Wouldn’t mind seeing Magglio moved up to the 5th spot. He is swinging much better now and seems to have made the necessary adjustments. And he actually got on his horse on that short fly ball today.
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I guess we’ll have to disagree Tigerdog. Well I would first agree with you in that the 18 mil for next year is way too much for Ordonez. Bit of a quandary isn’t it? But this year I stick by my belief that Maggs will be a factor in the Tiger’s stretch drive. A positive factor that is. It may be more “hope and dream” than realistic thinking, but I’ll stick by that prediction. Prediction based on his past performance.
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It’s very satisfying to see our hitters warming up. Placido is looking very determined and confident every AB. I think with him so goes the team. I sure hope they reward him and sign him next year. It think it would be foolish not to.
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Our best chance in Boston might be tomorrow night with Edwin. Boston will be tired and ripe for a let down after an 8pm game with the Yankees tonight. Should end around 1pm. This whole series has to have been a real drainer for them. Their bats have gone silent (course that could be Yankee pitching). A win by the Tigers tomorrow would set them up with a good chance for a series split.

I cannot imagine why anyone wouldn’t want Magglio to get a lot of at bats as long as he is hitting well??? If you look at the month of August he is batting 357. If Magglio is hitting well that only means good things for the Tigers. They go hand in hand.

Was at the game- way too hot for me to enjoy it from our seats- we spent 1/2 the game in the Tigers Den.
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A nice win that certainly felt like it had the makings of a disaster early on- especially after being shut out last night. Someone already said- Polly was robbed of hits his first two at bats- it would have been a 5 for 5 day for him if the Twins hadn’t made two great plays. He is definately finding his groove at the plate.
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Personally- I don’t care about Magglio’s contract at this point. If he can be in the line-up every day and contribute to the Tigers winning- pay him his millions. Nobody held a gun to MI’s head to sign this contract. To me, Maggs was one of those guys that started the turnaround for the Tigers to become a competitive baseball team again. It’s not unusual that professional athletes get paid based on past performance, – that’s just the way it is. If he struggled last season and then was producing this season- it wouldn’t even be brought up in conversation. That’s my 2 cents.
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This time last year, we were all but out of it- so I’m going to try to enjoy the race this year. Easier to say after a win- I know. :)
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Peace out-

Tracey

Postscript: Glad to see the Maggs support. It took me a while to get my post to load. :)

It was good to see the bats win a series and not have to count on the pitchers to throw their best.
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Thomas does not seem as comfortable in left as he is in right. He is hitting over .300 since his call up and over .300 for the year with RISP. He has saved more runs with his defense than his poor defense this series cost us.
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Baseball does not have a salary cap, so I could care less what Maggs makes and if he continues to hit the way he has in the past week, get used to the 18 million number. His slight change to his stance does seem to be helping him get around on the fastball.
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Cabrera finally has the team lead in homers. I am looking for him to go on a second half homer and rbi terror like last year. Hit a for over the green monster Miggy.
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Mark

TD, a well presented post as usual, complete with facts and numbers.
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I reluctantly touched on this the other day. I think JL is putting out the team he thinks has the best chance of success. I don’t think the contract situation is a concern for him. DD worked out the contract with Ordonez/Boras and it’s his issue. I’d be surprised if he were to direct JL to bench Maggs over the contract alone. I guess it can all be boiled down to this: does one think Maggs is washed up as a productive player, or does one think this has been an anomaly and he’s going to help us down the stretch and beyond? I’m not a fortune teller and don’t know one way or the other. I’m glad it’s not my decision to make. It’s not like we get to vote on it and, without inside information, I couldn’t cast an informed vote anyway.
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Mark, you’re right concerning Thomas in left vs right. I had that thought today too, and I should temper my criticism. I just expect a lot from Clete because he has the tools.
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Cleveland surprised me. I didn’t expect them to get 2 of 3 in Chicago. They’re just playing the division tough right now.
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–Rich

Just a couple of quick comments after reading a pair of Jason’s stories on the main site:
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On JL’s views of the steroid test issue, I agree with him, everything he said. Sometimes Jim and I do agree.
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On playing Guillen in left, I see the benefits of it, but I wouldn’t be all that quick to put him out there. He’s hitting, we’ve been winning, albeit at home, and I’d want to let that go for awhile. If Carlos went out there and re-injured himself, I wouldn’t want to hear the outcry. I urge patience on that front.
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–Rich

Great win! A few thoughts from Virginia. What I see in these last few games is Polly returning to his past approach at the plate. I think he had really gotten into a pulling tendency to the point of harmless grounders and pop outs. His average has risen 14 points in the last five games. He is getting into a groove of more solid contact to right and right center. As Polly goes, so does the lineup with him. I am hopeful that he gets on his 2hit, 3hit game for a good run. It was fantastic to see Span “sputter” today. No player deserves .300 on the back of one club. I think we could split in Bean Town if we could ever get ourselves scoring first in the games. Finally, my hat is off to fellow Virginian, BINGE, for a show case play to end the game.

Greg

David, I was just thinking after today’s game that Polly was starting to see a positive trend at the plate and he is over .425 the previous 6 games. He and Grandy are the straws that stir the drink. The Tigs seem to have better luck of winning these slugfests than the 2-1or 3-2 games where the starters are solid but, lack any run support. The Venezuelan trio are starting to heat up with the weather. I believe Miggy and Carlos are encouraging Maggs to get his confidence back and his stroke going! You get those three going positive consistently and set the table prior to their AB’s and they are 3 of the better hitters in the 3-4-5 slots in baseball.

Oh yeah, my daughter tells me that pathetic in our Latinos language is “patetico” just in case we see a return of the abysmal bats in “Bahston” as Rich so rightly speaks it.

As Rich states, 3 out of 4 and 2 out of 3 ain’tbad, it’s .714 baseball. Enjoy the start of your week!

Jim

Another good homestand – our thoughts about this team sure differ between home and away – our September 9 game away stretch at Twinkies, Indians and Chisox are going to fray the nerves!!
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Nice to see Laird hitting again – hopefully just getting some time off is all he needed – was Dusty that bad behind the plate to be given so few opportunities?? The bottom half sure looks good with Laird/Avila hitting with Binge. They seem to lift Everett/Ramon along with them.
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I have been on Magg’s case as he was hitting righties so poorly until recently where he is 7 for 19 (.368) in August, well up on his season .244/.316.
He was always crunching lefties and a platoon role with Carlos seemed obvious. His RISP are .440/.481 against lefties and .233/.266 against righties.
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What Maggs earns is of course irrelevant provided the pot of gold that the Tigers have had the past 3 years doesn’t run out. If we can continue with $100m+ payrolls, they can carry him, or until the money wasted on pitchers ends in 2011.
Being unable to pay over $5m for a closer this year seems to me the good times are being reigned in and his pay would bring two very good bats to the lineup.

Well I don’t like the fact that the Red Soxs aren’t hitting well. I just feel that they are going to bust out of it sometime and unfortunately we are next????

First, to answer the earlier question, playoff plate appearances would not count towards Magglio’s vesting option. Players are paid separately for post season play. A chunk of cash is given to each team and the players vote “shares” to each player, usually equal to all players.

Rich- I have little doubt that JL thinks now that since DD didn’t get us a bat for the stretch drive, it is imperative that Magglio gets himself back on track, and Guillen, Polanco, and Granderson as well. I think the old Maggs is gone forever, or at least most of his power is, and I don’t want him clogging up the lineup again next season, and taking up that much payroll which, whether they admit it or not, limits DD’s ability to sign other players. I’d play Maggs in a straight platoon, plus deploy him as a pinch hitter for some of the many weak bats that we have appearing in critical situations. He might be a defensive replacement for Raburn or Thomas also *yukukuk*

That said, I don’t think that DD is WILLING to sign free agents, generally. I’ll say it again- NO club has spent less money on free agents, or signed fewer free agents than Detroit since 2006. Not because they’re cheap, but because that’s DD’s philosophy on team building, and he resides on the very extreme end of the spectrum.

Lyon is the most expensive new free agent that the Tigs got in three winters. 4.25 mil for ONE year. All have been for ONE year since before the 06 season.

Fernando Rodney just made Type A status, with Lyon and Polanco knocking on Type A’s door. That has some impact on whether other clubs will be willing to sign them, if they also have to give up a high draft pick as well as the multi year deal that they’ll want.

Well, the Bosox just got cleaned by the Wankees again, so they’re reeling now. Let’s kick em while they’er down!

I was happy with yesterday’s game – nice to see the guys battling back and forth with the Twinkies and staying ahead at the end. I too see Miggy heating up and being a force this next month. I think the next 4 games will be tough in Boston. Glad to see the little cushion we have now from the Sox, thanks for helping us out Tribe!

Watched the end of the Mud Hens last night, Bonderman had a terrible relief appearance – didn’t see him pitch, saw him being taken out – 1.2 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 runs. Hope he is just working out his kinks.

I usually confine my comments to on field stuff, how to maximize the personnel we have, etc., rather than delving deeply into trades, free agents and other GM activities. Not really my area. If I’m bored, I’ll make sure you’re all bored with me by sharing a funny story or a historical footnote. :-) But all that aside, I can talk about DD if nobody else wants to.
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I agree that free agent spending is not DD’s way. He prefers to draft pitchers and use them as trading chips for the most part and, when he does dip into the FA market, doesn’t even attempt to compete with the ridiculous money spent by the big market teams (you know who). It therefore comes as no surprise that our team is generally made up of pitchers we’ve groomed and position players we’ve acquired in trade. He then signs them to extended contracts to keep them from becoming FAs and to minimize arbitration. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. For example, Willis and Robertson bad, Guillen and Polanco excellent. There are plenty of other examples. On trades, same thing, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Renteria for Jurrjens was horrendous and everyone knew it at the time the deal was made (it’s all in the archives here). On the other hand, the Guillen trade was one of his best, especially considering one of the guys we traded for Carlos was our own Ramon Santiago, who returned and has helped this club a great deal. Omar Infante for Jacques Jones not good, but only in hindsight. Jackson for Joyce is a trade that we’ll reap the benefits from for years. Then there’s the Cabrera and Polanco deals.
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All in all, we’ve been heavy players in 3 of the past 4 pennant races, so I’d say something is being done right. The team of Mr. Illitch and DD has done well, IMO. The thought of financial ledgers and balance sheets makes me run screaming from the room, so I just assume that DD has a handle on things and knows what he’s doing. Naive perhaps. GMs are famously closed mouthed, with good reason, and I like to have more information when I’m studying a subject. That’s just me.
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On to Bahston (again). I was really hoping the Red Sox would split that series in New York. Now we’re facing a team that has lost six in a row. It’s not a question of which is the better team, it’s just that they won’t keep losing games. Baseball doesn’t flow that way. This series is shaping up tougher than I’d anticipated last Thursday afternoon. Hopefully E-Jax can shut them down tonight before they get rolling again. A split would be an accomplishment, all things considered.
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–Rich

Let me be the first to congratulate Marcus on his 100th career HR. Gotta be frustrating to later on be taken out of the game to have Clete commit his 3rd error in 3 games (please correct me if I’m mistaken). Thames is better in the field than people give him credit for, didn’t he make two super catches in left last week in a rare opportunity presented. Why is JL DD’s hand puppet?? Let’s hope that bats stay alive for this next series.

Rich I agree – I don’t think that is is necessarily a good thing that Boston has lost 6 straight and were swept by the (STUPID) Yankees. Just like it wasn’t good last weekend when we got Cleveland right after half of their team was traded away. They are going to play wounded and it worries me that we are catching them right now.
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They are going to see Jackson (pitching matchup in our favor it would seem) Tomorrow Porcello and Tawaza while this would seem to favor us and Rick has been real good lately. Tawaza is a AAA callup and you know my theories on that????? Wednesay is Beckett and Galarraga and well nothing needs to be said there. Thursday Verlander and while it is not listed yet based on their schedule it should be Bucholtz. And again I would normally give Verlander the edge his last two outing have been less than spectacular he has given up 5 earned runs in each of his last two outings. But then again what do I now I didn’t think that hack Pavano could beat us 4 times this year. That is pathetic.
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GO TIGERS
GK

Tazawa made his ML debut Friday night in the 14th inning. He was Boston’s last pitcher out there. He got knocked around pretty good in the 14th but was saved by a dazzling catch by Drew and a liner hitting foul by an inch. Then in the 15th, he hung a breaking pitch to A-Rod and that was it. His minor league numbers as a starter look good. This is his first season playing for pay, as he pitched in an industrial league in Japan.
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If we’re able to grab an early lead tonight, it may cause Boston’s struggling hitters to press. We’ve seen plenty of that from our own guys. Other than Victor’s homer last night, they haven’t scored a run since Thursday. This is the game that can be stolen.
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–Rich

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