Scoop: Fielder hangs in at first base

The Tigers had plenty of plays that kept them in the game Thursday, from Justin Verlander’s strikeouts to Alex Avila’s double to Austin Jackson’s walkoff hit. Two plays that might have gotten overlooked were the scoops that Prince Fielder made at first on low throws from Jhonny Peralta.

Manager Jim Leyland wasn’t overlooking them.

“He picked them both clean and got outs on both of them. That was huge,” Leyland said. “That was absolutely huge for us. Raffy [Belliard] and him worked a lot in Spring Training on that and it paid off today. Those are huge plays.”

The first of them came in the second inning following David Ortiz’s leadoff double. Peralta went to the hole to pick up Kevin Youkilis’ grounder, looked to Ortiz at second and fired to first, but didn’t get enough on the ball, which skipped in the dirt in front of Fielder. He reached out and timed his swipe perfectly, getting the out and keeping Ortiz there.

The second play came leading off the sixth inning, very similar, to retire Mike Aviles. That became big in hindsight once Miguel Cabrera’s error and an Adrian Gonzalez walk put two runners on with two out for Ortiz, who struck out. If not for that out, Verlander could’ve had a bases-loaded, one-out jam for Ortiz and Youkilis.

“That’s to Prince’s credit and Raffy’s credit,” Leyland continued. “They worked on it, and it paid huge dividends today. Those were huge plays. … If either one of those get by, you’re in trouble. That was huge for us.”

Fielder said the work was the least he could do for Cabrera, who was willing to make the move from first to third to accommodate him.

“With Miguel doing all the hard work he was doing, I felt I owed it not only to the team but to him,” Fielder said, “because I couldn’t be here without him being willing to move to third base. I thought I owed it to him to work just as hard as he is at third, to work hard at first.”

25 Comments

I certainly didn’t overlook those plays after writing this morning that we may be disappointed in Prince’s 1stbase play. He picked those clean. Nice work.

They were key.
And also to JL’s credit (I can’t believe I am saying this), i think he was right to take JV1 out and put JV2 in. I’m ticked off about the outcome of that ( in terms of Justin not getting the victory and Papa not bearing down and holding runners on) but I do think it was the right move to make on opening day with the lead, the pitch count and the history of saves that papa has.
It just did not follow the script. That happens.

i agree. sometimes a very reasonable decision is made that just doesn’t work out. Today, Halladay also gave way after 8 scoreless, 92 pitches to Papelbon who closed it. Managers are second guessed all the time, but putting a quality closer in to finish a game shouldn’t draw much scrutiny. nice team win.
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just one game, but Boston must be a bit uneasy about the back end of their pen with Bailey DL’d for a few months. good time for Tigers to be playing them with he and Crawford out.

One more comment, perhaps a little irrelevant, I was impressed with Danny worth’s base-running on AJ’s clutch walk off hit. I know it may sound a bit ridiculous as how easy is it to score on a hit when you are on 3rd with the bases loaded? Well, it’s not that simple with less than 2 out—you can’t just boogie–you have to make sure the ball does not get caught on the fly—Worth held back and waited till he saw that ball was by punto—not a foregone conclusion–actually showed a presence of mind. I think this guy is gonna stick.

Good point. Worth sounded after the game like he was ready to take off on contact in the right situation and potentially have to collide with Saltalamacchia. He said he knew Jackson’s ball was a game-ender right away because it was right over the bag.

Gentlemen – the bases were loaded, he did not need to see if the ball got past Punto, only that it hit the ground. There was not going to be a collision on the play, if Punto picks up that scorcer, he gets Worth at the plate pretty easily on the force out.

We commented on them at the time as well. Good picks “ala Sean Casey”

I have a theory regarding those throws from Jhonny. Just a quick thought after it happened because he has always been so “reliable”. Maybe just having to get used to throwing to someone who is about 5 or 6 inches shorter than Miguel. He could always throw that ball hard and high and Miguel always caught it. Just speculating that it might be an adjustment issue.

to all tigers fans from brewers fan… good luck this year and congrats on having Prince as part of your family. You will not be disapointed. He is upstanding guy on and off the field who cares about his team, his family, and winning.

One more thing, hope to see you prince game one of world series at Miller Park :)

Austin Jackson – so glad he had a good game.

Me too, Evan. Just saw the commercial featuring Verlander, Kemp, Tulo, Votto?, and a couple others where Verlander says at the end: caught by the outfielder, perfect game and shows a small clip of Jackson making, what I assume was the catch in Armondo’s perfect game. Very appropriate to see Austin get some love. After several years, maybe due to my Slavic roots,I still carry a grudge about Jim Joyce. Robbed Detroit of it’s only perfect game, I believe. Correct me if I’m wrong and that beautiful catch by Austin which saved that game. JJ can cry a million tears, but that game should have been ruled a perfect game. I can’t think of too many other teams where he would make that call.

Good base-running instincts: I might be wrong about this but on the Prince SacFly Cabby took 2nd on the throw home. The catch was in relatively shallow CF. I did not notice a cutoff man on the throw. (Usually that is gonna be the 1st baseman) and my guess is that is how Cabby got to 2nd. Didn’t figure in the scoring but that again is smart, heads up base-running. Miguel is one of the better base-runers on the team IMO, recognized the throw was going to have to go through and tagged up. Anybody else notice what happened on that play?

He went to second with the throw. The throw was in time for a play at home but rebounded on the mound. There was a play at home so not cut was made. And a close one perhaps.

Good baserunning is a breath of fresh air – four times in his career, Cobb reached first, stole second, stole third, and then stole home. Johnny Damon and Gary Sheffield had great running games as tigers when they could do little else.

Cabrera may the smartest player on the team. His other skills overshadow his baseball smarts, and they often go unmentioned. He makes heads up plays quite often. For all the lack of team speed, the Tigers as a whole do run the bases intelligently most of the time.

That’s two that Prince made today, but from a guy who has watched him play all those years in Milwaukee. You’re all going to be scratching your head as the season goes on trying to figure out how in the world he can’t catch a ball or dig one out of the dirt. By and large if it’s not thrown right to him, he’s in trouble.

Galaraga released today by the orioles. I’ll never forget the look on his face at the end of his perfect game.

6. Avila
7. Peralta
8. Dirks. DH
9. Raburn.2b
Tomorrow?

I don’t think JL would bat Raburn 9th. Somewhere you are gonna have 2 RHB hitting connsecutively anyway with AJ following Raburn. I think you will see JL flip Dirks and Raburn tomorrow.

I said it at that time and I’ll say it now. It wasn’t just Jim Joyce that stole the perfect game it was MLB. Until they apologize and overturn it as far as I’m concerned baseball has a black eye. Can anyone think of any game or situation that a error by an official has created such a lasting injustice. Galaraga has the game of a lifetime, and all Jim Joyce can do is intentionally ruin it because deep down he knows HE was a better pitcher than him.

A little surprised that Dirks is the DH. I thought he might slot delmon there but it is clear that JL is not going to take too many chances with upsetting the Delmon’s rhythm. That being said, if he were to play Clete I think it would be likely that Clete would play D.
I still smell a trade possibly. Who leaves when Inge gets off the DL. Two guys who hit LH and play outfield on the bench is redundant. The again, so is having Worth and Inge.
Sorry for bringing up the “I” word.

They have until friday for the first decision: Dirks or Thomas to make room for Smyly

When JL made his late defensive changes on Thursday, he used Thomas and Kelly in the outfield, so that should tell us something. What role is the extra outfielder expected to fill? That’s the question, and the answer to which guy will stay for now. IMO, as always.

If Raburn is DH against LHP with Inge in 2B. And in 2B against LHP someone must be the DH. Thomas (or Dirks )must be the “regular” DH. Kelly can not be the DH since he needs him available as defensive replacement

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