Saturday: Tigers vs. Mariners

As expected, Ryan Raburn is in right field today, with Magglio Ordonez at DH. Raburn is batting second today in place of Johnny Damon, who gets the night off.

That was expected. What wasn’t expected was that Gerald Laird was iffy for today with back soreness. That was the reason Jim Leyland took him out of last night’s game for the late innings. It wasn’t just a matter of resting some regulars in a game that was out of hand. However, Laird said today he feels good enough to play, so he gets the start behind the plate. Laird and Sizemore flip in the batting order, though. Alex Avila will start Sunday with Max Scherzer on the mound.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Raburn, RF
  3. Ordonez, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Sizemore, 2B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Everett, SS

P: Justin Verlander

MARINERS

  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  2. Chone Figgins, 2B
  3. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
  4. Jose Lopez, 3B
  5. Ken Griffey Jr., DH
  6. Milton Bradley, LF
  7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  8. Adam Moore, C
  9. Jack Wilson, SS

P: Ryan Rowland-Smith

39 Comments

Ichiro has no trouble making life miserable for JV does he.

By the way–did anybody else feel that Austin Jackson had a play at 3rd on Lopez’ blooper? I think he would have been dead at 3rd but he seemed to be puzzled or something.

We’re down 2-1 in the 5th with our ace pitching. We get a man on first with none out and Laird up. You bunt. No question. Of course, Everett puncuates it by singling to center one hitter later. This is an example of how Leyland costs us ballgames.
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I know, I know, he was “trying to get Laird going.”
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Give me strength………..
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–Rich

All RHB lineup can’t put it together against this guy?
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Easy outs and and undisciplined plate appearances are making it easy for him.
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No Wings to watch tonight–we’re stuck with this one I guess.

Be nice to see Verlander throw a good one here tonight. We, and he, sure need it. Even if we limp through this offensively a good game here is really important.
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Mr. Verlander is looking sharp. Nice to see. Now if we can improve our plate approaches, we may be able to get one here.
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No Wings tonight but I did sneak over there to see that Rockies pitcher finish his no-hitter.
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–Rich

Sizemore leads off with that double and I know the axiom about being the 1st or 3rd out at 32 but I think he should at least have looked like he was considering a triple. We have 3 guys up who can struggle at times like this. It seems like getting a run here is along way away.
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Wonder if Rich will get his bunt here?

Can’t stand it when we squander games like this. I don’t care what anyone says, Raburn on the line in a pressure situation is a not a pretty sight.
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He should have caught that ball and he was awful in his AB. True, JV walked MB and had Kotchman of all people get a good swing on him. I guess he deserved it but in the greater context he had no support from his team today and the truth is we better get used to it

Frustrating. To watch other teams play baseball while we play something other.

Frustrating YES. Verlander was definately better, but in my opinion he still is missing something even though I saw moments of vintage JV. But I swear with this team if it isn’t one thing it is another. Our starting pitching is good we can’t hit. We hit our starting pitching is bad. Can we get it together for a minute PLEASE. Doesn’t it seem like we can’t get the hits in the right order?? They are usually with two outs.
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My biggest concern with this team right now is pitching. But what is increasingly becoming an issue is all the stolen bases we are allowing. It is really becoming a joke. Pitchers can’t hold anyone and Laird isn’t bailing them out this year. They are running on him at will. And it is costing us games there is no doubt in my mind. This Seattle team wasn’t hitting anything until we showed up. What does that say??? I don’t know guys, this is all making a bit nervous even though it is early in the season still.
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NOT HAPPY AT ALL.
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GK

Tiger hitters, who used to feast on LHers, now seem (Lenny DiNardo) to have trouble with even the most average (Lenny DiNardo) LH starters. This trend goes back (Lenny DiNardo) to last season.
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Also troubling is that I’m seeing that same flat, “this is drudgery” expression that Tiger players have worn on their faces and bodies since August of 2006. Only Ordonez, Inge, and Guillen are left from that team’s starters, and only Verlander and Bonderman among the pitchers. Everyone who comes here falls into the same attitude, it seems. Wonder why? Or maybe I’m just imagining it.
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–Rich

Thanks for bringing it up. Ihave arefrained from mentioning this as I thought it may be construed as bing too critical, too pessimistic or too paranoid. The fact is there seems to be a prevailing attitude from the old ‘losing’ Tigers of 2003. We have moved many of them but Inge Guillen and Bonderman remain. I think these guys (not withstanding it is not a concious effort on their part) have residual negative effects on this club.
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Anyway, I will be pleased when St. Brandon no longer mans the fort at 3rd. thought I think he is, in mayny ways, a remarkable Tiger. Bonderman is done and was done even before his thoracic problems. Guillen is done too. Time to move on and retool.

Pathetic 1st inning. MCab does not do what he should and even though he probably would have been out at home—I find that the Tigers coaching is way to cautious. You gotta send him on that fly to Ichiro–granted it would have been a perfect throw and he would have been out but you gotta make things happen and we just seem to get lulled into submission. Granderson has 4 or 5 stolen bases for the Yanks—no way he would have even 1 or 2 should he be playing for this ultra conservative coaching staff.
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Let AJ go—let him develop into the player he could be.
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At least we have a Wings “backup TV plan today.

We have a breath of fresh air with Avila and Santiago playing today. Still can’t believe a leadoff triple and no run. Shame on them.
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Gotta be opportunistic and that was gift that was unopened under the tree.

Same old same old. Can’t seem to hit the opposition’s starters. What’s up with that?

The season so far:
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Their starters: EXCELLENT
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Our Starters: LACKING

MCab comes through. I was wondering when he would come up with a timely hit.
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Why are we a station to station team—perennially? We have some speed and just don’t seem to be able to utilize it. Granderson was never made into a base stealer or a on-base guy. We have damon who to my knowledge can stal abase but has not attempted to this year. Apparently Sizemore can run. Santiago can run well enough but we I guess we just don’t have a Maury Wills as a base running coach to augment our offensive potential. It’s a mistake. This is becoming such an imprtant part of the game and we have un-evolved and stuck to to the 3 run HR theory without the the 3 run HR hitters. Duh.

Ramon—what are doing? Miss the 1st bunt attempt aon a good pitch to bunt then give one straight to Kotchman?
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You let me down dude.

That’s one ugly unproductive inning if ever I’ve seen one.
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Damon is struggling–he is not the ‘presence” we need to make things work better

I don’t even have Santiago bunt there yet. That pitcher just walked two guys so why give him an out? Totally different situation from last night when I screamed for Laird to bunt in the 5th. Then after getting strike, Ramon bunts towards first instead of third.
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In the 1st inning, I don’t care if it’s Al by god Kaline out there, you send Jackson. Make the other guys make the play!
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We’ll never accomplish anything with this manager and coaching staff. BTW, I think this team attitude I mentioned comes from the manager and coaches.
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–Rich

Why do we have such trouble with the Kotchman guy?

And why are the Wings unable to close the gap against the Coyotes?

Well, don’t feel real good. If Scherzer can get through the 6th unscathed I think we have a chance. If they score —we’re probably done. Again we have no real offense that we can count on.

My daughters 21st party at home over the weekend so happy to have a few baseball free days at an opportune time to miss seemingly 3 ugly games.
The lack of base steals has been entrenched despite JL’s NL roots. Digging up stats from a 2009 post:
“Thomas had 3 stolen bases, no caught from being on 1st and 2nd 89 times, roughly one in 30 steal opportunities. Thomas at Toledo this year went 18 SB?s with 3 caught from 75 opportunities or roughly 1 in 4. Kelly had 1 SB, 0 caught from 17 opportunities yet went 27 SB?s, 4 caught at Toledo from 154 opportunities or roughly 1 in 5.”

Dave, are you able to find stats on team LOB for the season? I’ve struck out in my few attempts to get that info.
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–Rich

Brutal watching with now 30 LOB. Will really hurt if they don’t manage to fall over the line.

Rich – one for Jason to get. Our 276 batting average drops to 239 for RISP – probably drop again after today.

Nate won again today. He is now 2-0 with a 2.2 ERA Badenhop pitched well again in relief.
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There will be a few of us that will stick around here to remind DD of that oddball move.
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Nice win today. But for gosh sakes–let’s run a bit here eh?

The Tigers seem to do all the right things to get runners into position, but the degree of failure from that point forward is mind boggling. It’s not just the Tigers, either. A lot of teams don’t know what to do in these situations. For those of us who grew up watching baseball from decades past, it’s frustrating to see this aspect of the game nearly absent.
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I think we will need to play a much smaller brand of ball while tightening up the defense.
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Good workmanlike effort from Scherzer. It will be a big help if he can continue that. Avila had a good day and should probably start just a little more often. I wouldn’t hand the job over to him yet, but I’d been thinking he wasn’t getting enough PT.
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If Clete hadn’t been injured, I sure would like to see him as the extra outfielder. It doesn’t appear that Inge is going to get any more days off then he ever has. No surprise there.
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That sure is a beautiful ballpark.
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–Rich

Well the good things first

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WE WON
Scherzer bounced back this outing
Verlverde Save
Jackson, Damon Inge and Cabrera did well
THE TWINS LOST
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The things that irritate me
The Wings lost -Howard not looking very good in playoffs
HOW MANY RUNNERS CAN ONE TEAM STRAND ON BASE AND NOT JUST ON FIRST BUT IN GOOD SCORING POSITION WITH 1 OR NO OUTS. OH MY GOD IF I COULD OF REACHED THROUGH THE TV AND STRANGLED SOMEONE I WOULD HAVE.
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For a team that was hitting pretty well in the first week or so the last 4 games or so have been sick. Magglio and the bottom of the order are deadly. Today horrible okay once you strand the runners but it was over and over today. Unacceptable. A win but no very satisfying.
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GK

A win is a win thank goodness.
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Some early Tig stats – Starters have a 5.12 ERA (13/14 in AL) with Relievers 3.21 ERA (3/14). Fielding is .972 (14/14) with Hitting .276 (4/14) and RISP .239 (7/14).
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Further to the points made by Dan and Rich, we all know base running lifts the dugout and places immense pressure on the opposing pitcher.
The Rays (14 steals) KC (13), A’s, NYY and Mariners (11 each) lead the AL in steals. Further, they all have RISP more than or close to their team BA. All remaining AL teams have RISP at or lower than their BA.
The Tigs with 2 steals is last in the AL. JL has to provide all good base runners total freedom to steal.

Eye opening numbers, Dave.
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I hate to complain all the time, but it just seems Tiger strategy is to wait around for failure. In the 1st inning today when Lamont didn’t send Jackson, how many of you then assumed Jackson would not score in that inning? Show of hands? Okay, I count 87% of you, including myself. We have got to be more aggressive. If we can’t try and score our fastest runner on a medium depth fly to right, when do we?
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Is the game passing by our manager and coaches? Why did we attempt to get younger if we continue to play like senior citizens? If the goal is to put a boring product on the field, that goal has been met.
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“Changed the whole complexion of the game,” Leyland said. “Sometimes people don’t understand in baseball what a huge difference there is between a two-run game and a one-run game.”
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Does he think we’re that stupid? I mean, does he really think baseball fans are that stupid?
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Okay, got that out of my system. A split in Anaheim would be acceptable.
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–Rich

One more positive thing–AJ!!! This guy is doing it. Much better leadoff hitter than Grandy so far. So if folks want to criticize other players based on just two weeks, lets praise Austin Jackson. You have done good, Mr. Jackson.

I agree with you, Todd. Thus far, AJ has been impressive but he’s only had 10 AB against LHP. We will need to see how he performs over the next few months and seasons, for that matter, to judge how good that deal was. But so far,so good.

–Ed

Rich, you always hit it right on the head. We have gotten younger but our strategy is to play as though we are a team of slow footed veterans. 2 steals is a joke. AJ and Sizemore have been on base enough to have more steal attempts.
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I dont know if JL thinks we are all stupid. I just dont think he has anything insightful to say. Can you imagine JL as a colour commentator? He would be just like McCarver.
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There has been concern over the lack of home run ability on this team and it is justified. Lack of power can be overcome with speed and production with runners in scoring position (which this team does not have nor chooses to use). If something doesnt change, it is going to a frustrating year.
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Also, can someone NOT from Venezuela hit a home run some time soon? Maggs and Miggs cannot hit all the home runs themselves.
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Go Tigers.
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— Bob

The way the Tigers have been hitting with RISP and the defense they are lucky to be 7-5. There hitting was not help by Figgins yesterday as he turned two hot shots into double plays with a runner on third.
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Jackson and Sizemore are both showing good potential.
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Alex had his best game behind the plate yesterday that I have seen from him. The out at the plate and throwing out Figgins were highlight plays, but I was impressed with the number of ball in the dirt that he blocked. Blocking balls was the one glaring weakness in his game last year at Erie and with the Tigers.
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Also, it was good to see JV and Max have good games and not rack up high pitch counts early. Perry is improving and it sure helps to be able to get the strikeout when you get in trouble.
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I hate the West Coast swing. I will be tired this week.
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Mark

The first laugh of the day comes courtesy of Bob with his JL as color commentator image. Two weeks of that and JL would be on the phone, looking for a managing job in Colorado.
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There are people in the world who can’t imagine that they’re ever wrong about anything and these people have trouble when questioned. There was a recent president with that self image, and I’m sure everyone knows someone like that.
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I should put in my usual disclaimer that I don’t always disagree with JL. There are times I make it a point to compliment one of his decisions. Baseball is such a difficult game to play, both physically and mentally, and I tend to direct my ire away from players who try hard, as ours do, and towards the people making the decisions.
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–Rich

Almost forgot. I don’t know how Jackson will do this year, but I do know that he’s a keeper. If he doesn’t develop into a very very good player, I’ll turn in my Olde English D. This kid’s got it. And I’ve been happy with Sizemore too. He really breaks up that 7-8-9 thing that so many complained about. Here’s one where I agree with JL, hitting Sizemore 8th. Until he hit him 7th. :-)
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–Rich

I’ve got two things before I leave for the day.
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First of all I saw something in the Tampa-Boston game today that really confused me, maybe some of my fellow bloggers can explain it. Jason Bartlett in the 1st in lead off with a lead off double, the next player had what they called on television a sac. bunt and Bartlett moved to 3rd base. Then the next Rays hitter – hit a ground ball to 2nd base and was out but Bartlett was able to score a run. I thought Does anyone know what that is???????? They scored a run with a player on 3rd with less than two outs??? I’ve never seen that before. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
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Secondly the one thing that was going to bring me happiness is to have to see the Twins play in freezing cold weather in that new stadium. Well so far all their home games it has been beautiful weather. In fact there seems to be a bubble of good weather over the twin cities this spring. I was looking at the upcoming weather forecast for the week ahead an it is going to be sunny and warm and 10 degrees warmer than here or in Chicago. If they aren’t the luckiest team on the planet I don’t know who is.
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GK

Had to travel to Ann Arbor today and thought about you, Rich. Just dental work at the University, but it still is a beautiful town. The students walk everywhere, so it slow goin around the campus.
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Looking forward to tonight’s game. Jackson has been good, espcially out in the field and at the plate. He can only get better.

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