Washington: “I decided to take my chances”

That might be the best statement about the Tigers offense at this point. Rangers manager Ron Washington was willing to put the tying run on base and risk losing the game on a Victor Martinez home run rather than let Miguel Cabrera take a swing at tying it.

Doesn’t mean Martinez can’t do it. But the way he’s hitting, Washington liked his odds. The way the Tigers are hitting in general, aside from Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta, it’s a struggle.

“I had to pick my poison,” Washington said, “and I didn’t want Cabrera taking us to extra innings. Martinez is a good hitter and I have respect for him but he’s not swinging the bat well. He could have caught one and won the ballgame but I decided to take my chances. I didn’t want Cabrera tying that game.”

Thus, after Ryan Raburn’s two-out double extended a 2-0 game for Cabrera, Neftali Feliz walked him. Cabrera is 1-for-3 off Feliz, but that one hit was a home run. Martinez was 1-for-1, but that hit was a single.

The move paid off. And while it was risky, the Tigers didn’t act surprised.

“I think the answer is very simple: They did what they felt gave them the best chance to win the game,” Jim Leyland said. “And that’s what you do as a manager. If they felt that was their best chance to win the game, then that’s what they should do. I give them a lot of credit.

“They felt that was their best shot to win the game, and I felt very comfortable with Victor in that position, a very professional hitter, a very good RBI guy. And it looked like he was pitching him a little bit careful.”

Martinez swung at a 2-0 fastball on the outside corner and grounded it into the hole, where the Rangers had second baseman Ian Kinsler positioned.

Leyland has insisted the last couple years that the only hitter who can protect Miguel Cabrera in the order is Miguel Cabrera. On Monday, it seemed like the only hitter who could support Justin Verlander was Miguel Cabrera. And even Verlander didn’t seem shocked at what the Rangers did.

“A little bit [surprised],” Verlander said. “They put the tying run on, obviously, with Victor behind him. But Miguel’s one of the best hitters in the league, if not the best hitter. I have a feeling those guys came in here and had a game plan to not let him hurt them. So obviously, that’s the easiest way to not let him do anything.”

11 Comments

That was good game management by Washington, and it was a good example of managing without fear. If Victor yanks one onto the Pepsi Porch, Ron gets skewered. He knew that.
Speaking of game management, JL had a chance to pinch hit for Avila against the lefty Oliver. Didn’t do it. I’m not saying I would have, but I hope the reason goes beyond the losing the DH thing. At that point in the game, you’re more than likely to be pinch hitting for your pitcher anyway, so it doesn’t matter if the pitcher is in the batting order.

I think he didn’t pinch hit for Avila because Martinez was already in the game and the 3rd catcher, Don Kelly, was already out of the game. I can see him not wanting to take JV out of the game and also not forcing him to hit.

Just my point, Charlie Gehringer. It was the 8th inning and by the time Avila’s (and therefore Verlander’s) spot in the order came around again, Justin would have been out of the game already, even if he had pitched into the tenth inning. At that point, you just pinch hit again and bring on the next reliever. You’d run out of pinch hitters if the game went long into extras, but that’s rare.
It’s the exact situation I talked about over the winter. If JL is afraid Martinez would get injured, he’s really managing scared.
It’s just an example. Like I said, I’m not sure if the situation called for a pinch hitter for Alex anyway.
This is fun stuff.

I thought at the time, I thought it was a good move by Washington. Not again that Victor can’t do it, but to me a bigger factor is, that wind was knocking everything down to right field. It would of been highly unlikely forvanybody to hit anything out o right. Left yes but right no!
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Interesting point Rich about pinch hitting for Avila.

If it were the bottom of the ninth…..I would WALK Cabrera AND Martinez if there were NO outs, and we were up by 1 run and the bases empty. The Tigers 6-9 batters are like minor league hitters (especially INGE & AVILLA). I’d bet the Sixth batter hits into a double play. So you would have Cabrera at 3rd with 2 outs. The seventh batter would strike out, ground out, or pop out. GAME OVER. I win 1-0.

Gutsy move all right.
I would imagine we will see Raburn, Jackson and Wells in the field tomrrow.
This would have been the perfect time to DH Ordoñez against the southpaw tomorrow.
Instead I suspect we will see Boesch DH or Avila catch.
If they were smart they would put Ordoñez on the DL and IF his ankle is going to heal then at least give it a chance before he ends up hobbled for the year.

Gotta spread a little blame on MCab for his faux pax on the bases earlier in the game. Took away 1 run probably and who knows what might have happened with another out to give?
These Tigers are really doing very little right in all facets of the game.
We don’t have speed so we get guys like AJ and Rhymes and then don’t run ‘em?
It’s like we have a manager who thinks he will get a 3 run dinger to get him back in the games. Not a lot of 3 run dingers at Comerica JL. Better find a new way to push some runs across the plate.
I sure hope we aren’t seeing Boesch entering Slumpville.
It will somewhat of a minor miracle if Penny were somehow able to beat the Rangers tomorrow.

they paid Martinez big money to make teams regret pitching around Cabrera. couldn’t do it today against a tough closer. hopefully he’ll win that battle more often than not.

Gutsy call, but the way they’re hitting why not?
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’

Meanwhile, Ramon sits. Rhymes is finding things a bit tougher than they were initially. He is an average defender but his hitting seems pretty weak right now. With Will’s struggles, why is Ramon not getting any PT?
My guess is we will be seeing Sizemore called up pretty soon if he is hitting like he started out in Toledo.
DD really needs to do something about getting relief help to transition to the back end of the bullpen. What is there now is virtually useless unless Villareal comes out with one of those surprising rookie seasons. It happens, not to us usually, but it does happen.
I think Guillenand Zumaya are already finished this year and it would not shock me to see Ordonez unable to answer the bell either. They might get away with DHing him but that creates another problem and quite frankly, as much as JL loves the guy, I think he realizes he does not need another problem.
Porcello needs to develp a strikeout pitch. The idea of getting ground balls is nice but you have to be able to get to them. Also many of them ain’t exactly grounders anymore.
Yesterday poiinted out a frightening trend to me. I was worried about what happens to the Tigers if JV can’t win? And by not winning, I don’t mean not pitching well. We have seen Justin bear the brunt of poor offensive support the last few years. Yesterday was ridiculous. You have a good pitcher and you make him feel he has to be perfect in order to win. JV has big shoulders and big heart but that kind of pressure will grind him right down.
I think it’s gonna be a long year.

Risky move on his part, but definitely a good call…

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