Verlander meets Tom Seaver

The Tigers had three rough days in New York last week. Justin Verlander had a particularly rough outing in the series opener last Tuesday, but he might’ve gained something from a meeting with Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. The point was to get Verlander to look at a lineup and determine where his outs are.

“Not to give too much credit to good hitters,” Verlander said. “That’s basically what I got out of it. Believe in yourself. Don’t try to overthink stuff.”

Jim Leyland talked before the game about looking down a lineup and determining where your outs are, which hitters are going to be tougher battles than others, and formulating a game plan that way. That seemed to be one of the points Leyland wants Verlander to gather, not that he’s usually one who lacks for confidence.

10 Comments

I posted a comment at the end of the previous thread just now, by mistake. I’m interested in any feedback on my comments that other bloggers might have.
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I was looking for the nastygram(s) that got Zelic banned, but I see that they were deleted before I logged on today. Just as well I suppose.

AA Mark

Mark, I agree with all three of your points. Hitting is concentration. I can’t see how some guys can have a good AB while engaged in a conversation with the catcher and umpire. I won’t name names, we’ve all seen it happen. Fielding is also concentration but, unlike hitting, can be learned if an effort to learn is put forth. There’s no excuse for poor fielding, none. That’s why it’s my biggest pet peeve. Career years still happen, but the big salaries may have taken a chunk out of them.
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I’ll put forth another point. We’ve played six games in Minnesota, our toughest road stop by far. Two of the three series there have already been played. The Twins are averaging 6.67 runs per game in those six. Justin Verlander hasn’t started any of these games. None. There have been plenty of opportunities in the past month to adjust the rotation, so no one can say it wasn’t possible. Why on earth would anyone go into any battle with half of their artillery left behind? I made my own rotation adjustment a few weeks ago. It took me ten minutes and I didn’t even use a spreadsheet. So why no Verlander in the big games?
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–Rich

Pitch recognition and bat speed are big factors in hitting. Most players that make it to the big leagues can hit a fastball. It is usually recognizing the off speed stuff that is the difference between average and good hitters. Some guys never seem to be able to lay off the low off speed stuff that drops out the of zone before it hits the plate.
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The mental part of fielding can be learned, like throwing to the right base, positioning, hitting the cutoff man, backing up a play, etc. The athletic part of fielding like getting a read on the ball and a good jump is more of a natural gift that is hard to teach. Jackson is an example of an outfielder with exceptional God given talent who can work to get even better, but most players will never have his natural ability to track a fly ball.
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Given the inconsistent hitting with RISP, poor defense and poor starting pitching to this point in the season I am surprised they this close to the Twins. Hopefully, the hitting and defense will be better in the second half. The starter have done better lately, but the bullpen has fallen off. Guillen was the big injury of the first half that was negated by Boesch. It would be nice to find as vital of a replacement for Zumaya in the second half.
..Mark

The bullpen has been one weird place this last year. Rodney and Lyon let go, Seay, Miner, Perry, Zumaya all on the DL with 3 of them likely out for the season.
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Yet we have survived.
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Heath Bell is available–he would sure shore up the 8th inning problem.
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If Perry can come back effectively things will look a lot better. But that’s the proverbial big IF.
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Philly is looking for a replacement 3B. Hmmmm!
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Wonder who DD & JL will call up. I presume Schlereth but if JL admitted the reason Ni was ineffective was because of underuse then maybe they are thinking a RHP instead. Trouble is there are none. Unless they do what I think they might and go for one of their favs (Figaro). I hope they don’t.
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(I think Weinhardt and Satterwhite are injured).
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Interesting self analysis by Damon. Inge thinks they have to do better too! DUH!
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Another up and coming LHB outfielder at Erie—Andy Dirks. Has some pop and some speed. 2 years away probably.
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Seattle is a team they have to beat.

There is no doubt that a trade for a pitcher would help but who do you trade? I would imagine all teams would want the guys we hopefully won’t trade (Jackson, Cabby, Boesch, Verlander). The problem is nobody wants the Lairds and Inges.

BTW yesterday’s game was brutal but not surprising considering as usual we can’t hit the guys who are struggling. Don’t they make any in-game adjustments at the plate like a pitcher would as the lineup turns over?
Interesting comments from Slowey about him watching Blackburn the day before having so much success with the breaking ball so he just followed suit and won as well.

In a previous post, someone mentioned that the “Twins and Sox have gotten into the Tigers player’s heads. ” May I add the Royals to that list? Remember what that team did to the Tigers at the end of a couple seasons recently. They continue to do it year after year even though they somehow lose to most other teams and finish near the bottom of the division. Also, did I see recently where the Royals team had the best batting average in the AL?

As far as replacing Ni in the bullpen, if there was a clear-cut choice in their system why not make the move by now? I am wondering if the delay is because DD is talking to someone about a small trade for a bullpen pitcher. The problem is giving someone up to get anyone. It would seem the best possibility would be an outfielder from Toledo. That seems to be an area where the Tigers have a surplus. With Jackson and Boesch looking as though they have 2 spots sewed up for awhile, where would all those OF fit into Tiger plans? Ordonez has another one of those option years. Maybe 2 OF will be needed to replace Damon and Raburn/Kelly. Just some thoughts here. What do the rest of you think?

I think a trade is possible with the permanent loss of Zumaya. Other than Coke, we no longer have an 8th inning guy, if we ever had one in the first place. For all the talk of letting Polanco walk, not many mention Brandon Lyon. Wouldn’t he have come in handy this year?
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I don’t think our defenders all need Austin Jackson-like skills. They just need to make the basic plays. Turn the doubleplay. Catch a flyball. Understand what the pitcher is trying to make the hitter do and anticipate. We’ve already lost several games this year because of failing at these basic things.
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I was the one that said the Twins and Sox get into the Tigers’ heads. When I said we can’t beat teams in our division, that includes the Royals. I suspect it’s the opposite problem, though. The Tigers subconsciously let down against them. But you have to think that our divisional foes handle us because we’re too predictable? After all, they see us more than anyone.
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I don’t think anything will change until the team philosophy changes. We can make trades till the proverbial cows come home but everyone we acquire becomes……….Tigers. You know what I mean?
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–Rich

I think I know what you mean, Rich. First of all, DD needs to build a team for Comerica Park. That means speed and defense and more LH power. Look at what Boesch has accomplished so far. I also get the feeling maybe Avila can provide some of it eventually. Damon’s LHB has certainly not helped yet. Secondly, JL’s managerial style needs to change or he needs to leave. He just does not seem to use every talent his players have. Example: Jackson’s bunting to get on base and speed in stealing a base. Anyone could go on about JL.

I agree that if there were a clear-cut replacement for Ni, it would’ve been announced already, so something else is in the works.
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Interesting to read your comments about other teams in our division getting inside the Tigers’ heads. I often wonder why KC has our number. Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Letting their guard down?
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I appreciate this blog as a place to discuss this. Being on the west coast I don’t have too many people around to ponder this with over some cold ones. I tried asking my husband, who told me I was getting worked up over nothing. I answered that I wasn’t worked up, I’m fascinated that the Royals, no matter how bad they are, beat the Tigers. He didn’t find it as fascinating, and looked at me like I had 3 heads. Maybe the rest of you have 3 heads like me, but I don’t care, it’s fun to read your opinions. Wish I could share a cold brewski with all of you!
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JP

Re: the Royals. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain when they beat us. No pressure, in other words.

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