More fun with Verlander and pitch counts

UPDATE Wednesday @ 5:30pm: Manager Jim Leyland said in his pregame remarks Wednesday that he’s going to strictly watch Verlander’s pitch counts from here on out and hold him to a certain number. He wouldn’t say what that number is, whether it’s the 120-pitch mark he had in mind last night or something lower.

“I’m going to be strict with the pitch count with him,” Leyland said. “That’s the way it’s going to be, whether it’s the seventh inning, the eighth inning or the fourth inning. I’m going to take care of him. …

“I’m not a big pitch count guy, but I’m not going to have [an injury] happen on my watch.”

You might remember the little statistical nugget from Justin Verlander’s start last week, when he became the first Major League pitcher since 1997 to throw 125 pitches over just five innings and earn a victory. Well, he couldn’t do that again, though he came close on both counts, but he still had something noteworthy out of this one.

With 121 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, Verlander became just the fifth Major League pitcher since 1992 to throw 120 or more pitches over back-to-back outings without getting through the sixth inning in either of them. The others: Scott Erickson and Wilson Alvarez in 1999, Dwight Gooden in ’96 and Mark Langston in ’02. It’s probably worth noting that those other four all did it at the end of May or later in their respective seasons, while Verlander pulled it off in April. It’s also worth noting that Erickson and Gooden had an extra day of rest in between their starts, while Alvarez and Langston — like Verlander — both pitched on their normal four days’ rest.

It’s definitely worth noting that Verlander would’ve finished the sixth if not for the Ryan Raburn error. But then, he wouldn’t have needed that out had he not walked Jim Thome a batter earlier for the third time in the game.

It might well be up for debate whether Verlander should’ve gone out there for the 6th with his pitch count at 105, especially given Jim Leyland’s postgame comments that he had his mind made up pregame that Verlander was going to throw 120 pitches. But before you debate it, you have to consider the circumstances of the Tigers bullpen, which has been worn down by this recent stretch without an off day, arguably more than any other part of the team.

You might well have seen the impact on Eddie Bonine tonight, who came in to try to finish the sixth after Raburn’s error and clearly didn’t have it, hitting Brendan Harris and walking Denard Span on five pitches.

22 Comments

In the 6th, he should have thrown Thome several elevated fastballs because I’m pretty sure Jim was sitting on a breaking pitch. Thome is no dhummy. Had Verlander retired Thome, or even gotten out of the inning with the fly to Raburn, I would have considered sending him out for the 7th too. The bullpen is a mess right now. Desperate times, and all that. Now we’ve got Scherzer, known for high pitch counts, going tomorrow night.
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–Rich

And our hitters are getting killed by breaking balls off the outside corner being called strikes.
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–Rich

Porcello seems to be pitching more like Verlander lately, too. And that’s not necesarily a good thing.
-Mike
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Tigers have 21 errors in 21 games. Twins have 2. I am amazed the Tigers haven’t lost more, that is a lot of errors for a big league club! I am curious how many of those errors led to runs being scored, obviously last night it led to all of them. Raburn might have had to run a long way, but the only way that would be an error is if it is off the tip of his glove that he couldn’t get there, he actually overran it a bit. Disappointing for sure for Verlander. Not that I am pinning it all on Ryan, we needed to score to win and we didn’t, so it doesn’t matter if we gave up 20 runs or 2, we still lose.

But a bad trend for the Tigers to continue to have so many errors.

Oh, and when do we officially stop excusing the rookies for their play? I usually have patience but at the same time, if they aren’t ready for the position they shouldn’t be in there.

Just hate losing to the Twins, they are such the golden child and even worse, they deserve it…

Good morning all.
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That was a frustrating game. The strike zone was weird. Very wide and I would say for both sides as well. The Raburn error was not good, but I dont blame Ryan for it. The blame falls on management for continuing to force a square peg in a round hole. Raburn is not an outfielder. He is an effort guy and I love it, but when you watch him track fly balls, it is an adventure with no plan or technical skills whatsoever. I agree with Rich; second base is his best position and I would give him a bunch of starts at second and send Sizemore down to get it back together.
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Sizemore is dangerously close to looking like Chris Shelton during his demise in the summer of 06. Shelton became so messed up in his head he was a wreck. He took fastballs right down the middle and flailed away a breaking balls out of the zone. Sizemore is doing the same. Shelton was constantly in 0-2 counts and Sizemore always seems to be in an 0-2 count. That causes him to be defensive and when he does get a hit it is bloop or a bleeder as previously mentioned. He needs a blow in Toledo to get his confidence back. I still like him for the future.
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So the Twins lose Nathan and they just move the pieces around and Rauch has 7 saves and an ERA under 2.00. It doesnt matter what happens to the Twins; there always seems to have somebody that can fill voids. I have alot of respect for that organization and Gardenhire. They have it figured out. I dont know if we are good enough to beat them this year. Certainly not under the current conditions.
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The starting pitching must get better, the defense is ridiculous and the bullpen will be a MASH unit if they continue to be taxed. Maybe something will click soon. Let’s hope Minnesota does not run away and hide on us.
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

If management truly thought Sizemore would be ready from Day 1, why were they unable to use him at any stage in 2009 whilst continuing to play Inge at all costs despite his obvious limitations through injury. Funny how money clouds your judgement and turns you into believers.
Or is our management not as creative as the Twins or Phillies?
I feel sorry for Raburn as he no doubt could be a solid player, but definitely no Natural when it comes to fielding any position management thinks they can plug into.

It is still early in the season. I have been concerned about the defense all year. Not just the errors, but the plays that should be made has inflated the ERA of some of our pitchers. JV worked out of some tough jams and deserved better in this one.
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Sizemore will hit and has some pop in his bat. He show it in all of his stops last year and the past two springs. Like most every rookie he will have the shake your head moments, but his past shows me he will adjust. I like Polonco, but his play last year made him look like an aging player. It is not really a matter of just Sizemore replacing Polly. Damon would not be here if Polly was here.
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I think our hitters would of done better last night if they would of sat on the change up. He threw a lot of 84 mph belt high that were taken for strikes. His fastball and slider were tough, but he threw a lot of those change ups. It was not like they were moving a lot like a Rodney change up. How many of those pitches were called 3rd strikes. If your not going to hit a guys fastball, why not look sit on something else and don’t miss when you get it. Why look fastball, it you cannot hit is good one.
..Mark

One more thing even in a loss it was sweet watching the way JV pitched to the M and M boys.

When Sizemore threw that ball to first base or what he thought was first base, I just couldn’t believe it. I’d put Raburn at 2ned and leave him there.

We’re going to find out a whole lot about this team tonight and tomorrow. At this point, they’re right on course for that 83-79 I predicted. When I re-think it, however, I wonder if it will require the Tigers being in the race late in September to achieve that record. If they fall out earlier, they do have this history of 2nd half collapses………………..
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I have a bad feeling we’re going to be cursing that lost opportunity back in 2009 for years to come.
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Doesn’t that just cheer ya right up? :-)
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There was a foul pop behind firstbase last night that wasn’t caught. If I could remember exactly when it was, I’d go back and look at it, but I’m not going to do a big search just so I can make a comment here. Anyway, unless you’re Norm Cash, it wasn’t really Cabrera’s play, it would be the secondbaseman’s. I only remember Sizemore showing up in the picture late, and have no idea how far he had to go for it. Does anyone know who the hitter was on that one? Plays that aren’t made are as bad as errors, they just don’t show up in the boxscore.
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–Rich

Rich,

It was the last batter of the inning, I think it was Hudson. I do remember that Ni did get the guy out with no damage. No plays usually cost more runs than errors, but they are not tracked.
.Mark

Sorry but Raburn isn’t the answer at 2nd or ANY position. His history shows he is horrible at every position hes played. He has a .950 fpct at 2nd in both major & minor, he’s worse at 3rd .867 fpct in 169 minor league games and .811 in 27 major games. If Raburn is playing 2nd last night that ball Thome hit goes into right field and the run scores anyway. That second run only matters if Raburn knew how to catch a flyball. His roll on the team is what it is, to fill in for the sick and injured and to give somebody the day off once in awhile.

I have the game on DVR and will look at the play or non-play. I know everyone is down on Raburn and are ready to kick him to the curb, but I still like him. He was tremendous for us with his bat last year. Since day 1, I always thought he’d make a better infielder. Of course, he only got to play 3rd base maybe once or twice and he made 2 errors in that one game last year. He has a strong arm and has quick hands.

OK, I watched it. Cabrera lost it. It fell behind his left arm. Of course, there was no one else close to catch it. He didn’t wave anyone off either. When I first started watching the replay, I had to witness the Sizemore error again. Magglio was closer to Miggy than Sizemore was.

Exactly, Pup. I like Raburn too and I’m just wanting to find a position for him. I think he’s athletic enough to do well at any one position, and that’s something he’s never had. As usual, I’m behind the players and hard on management decision-making. The bottom line of managing anything is to put your people in a position not only to succeed, but to excel. And there are some sorry excuses for managers in all businesses, not just in sports.
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Thanks Mark, I’ll look that up if I have a minute. I’m just curious about that particular play.
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–Rich

Got a question from a few games back, hope someone can help me out. I was just getting into the car and the announcers said something about a base being awarded because one of our players used a hat or something to try to catch a ball? Anyone remember that? I am thinking it was from Saturday but I could be off on that.

Anyways, I did a search and couldn’t find it, but we were confused at what happened and the rule. Any help?

Thanks!

Raburn would certainly benefit from an assigned position. I think the best place for him is at 3rd. A reaction position would obviate the circumstances where he has to think about what the ball is going to do. As mentioned he does have a strong arm. Alas, we already have a 3rd baseman and a very good one, at least defensively. I don’t like him at 2B. The best thing the Tigers could do with him is probably to trade him to the NL. He will wither on the pine here.
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I think they will try to save face with the Sizemore decision. I stated before I thought it was very ill-advised to announce the job was his and especially after a serious injury. I don’t know if he will be able to turn things around but he looks pretty bad right now.
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Not sure why they are playing boesch in LF tonight. He is a more natural RF. They should be playing Damon in LF and they could DH Magglio again.

Tiger Girl, I’ll try and explain what happened. Avila was catching and while the ball was on the ground, he placed his face mask on the ball. The umpire called it a balk and means the runner on base can advance to the next base. Since the runner was on 3rd base…..well, he got to come home. This is a rule that not many of us ever heard about, but indeed it is.

Dan,
NO way do you put Raburn at 3rd! He started his minor league career there and was so bad they moved him to second. That game last year when he made 4 errors was no fluke thats the way he plays 3rd. Like I stated earlier in 169 minor league games he had a .867 fielding pct.

Just a couple of quick comments. The call on Avila(mentioned above) was totally without merit. Avila had the ball in control; there was no advantage for us. This should have been left alone, and would have been in a Yankee/Sox game. Right now, my big concern is with the defense and free passes by the starters. I haven’t done the stats, but JV’s pitch count was pushed higher by the two errors and certainly his walks. Not making an earth shattering remark, but our starters get pushed to the wall when the D cannot come through, and especially with two outs. One less walk and no errors last night, and V’s count is at least -20. The dynamic of the game would change immediately. And right now, I would not be opposed to anyone bunting when we get a runner on. In last night’s game, we held the M and M’s, “Spam”, and Cudayer in check, and still lost. We can’t do that too many nights. Re Sizemore, we have piled a ton of pressure on him. I hope he doesn’t self destruct.
Greg

For starters, Rich regarding the play you were talking about, it was kinda in a place that would of been a long way for anyone. I was at the game last night and I know because of the cameras sometimes you really can’t tell where they were positioned and how far of a run it really is.
Kinda one of those Bermuda triangle things.
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I don’t think that Raburn is the best outfielder we have frankly our outfield is lacking I think. I think that Raburn has a great arm and I can remember him a few times last year throwing guys out at home. But as I said last night I while he was able to get there, I am not sure all of you saw where he started from and how far he ran to get to the position he did. And I agree that it is an error, it is what I call a “tough error”. And I think that some would be more forgiving of him if he were hitting like he was last year. There have been way too many errors on this team this year, but there is a lot of blame to go around on that account. I think that as far as position players – Inge and maybe Everett, and Kelly are the only three that haven’t gotten an error. (not sure about Damon)
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I think as soon as all of resign to the fact that this is a decent team but not a great team the better off we will all be.
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GK

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