Verlander: It’s not early anymore

Justin Verlander struck out the top of the Indians lineup in order on 11 pitches in his eighth and final inning Thursday afternoon, firing two 100-mph fastballs, another at 101 and one at 102. He then fired some pretty good statements about the state of the team, probably the best to come from a player so far:

  • On whether the Tigers’ struggles are mystifying: “It’s not mystifying, no. That’s the game of baseball. It’s just disappointing the way we’ve been playing as a team. Obviously I think we all expected better. You can only say it’s still early for so long. We have to get this thing turned around.”
  • On what it’ll take: “I think we’ve just got to find our groove, and we’ve got to find it quickly. We’re a good team. We know that. And I think because we know we’re good, maybe it’s a little easy to sit back and say OK, it’s early. We’ll find it. We’ll find it. At some point it’s not early anymore, and you’re going to have to make adjustments to find it as a team. It’s just the game of baseball. That’s why it’s played on the field and not on paper.”
  • When does that point comes: “I would say, for me, now.”
  • What kind of adjustments: “I think we have to be more consistent as a starting staff. Really, you can look at every aspect of our team and say we have room for improvement. I think the starting staff can be more consistent. The bullpen can be more consistent. Offense, defense, everybody. This is a team, and right now this team isn’t getting it done. Will we? I think so. I’m a firm believer in that. But we have to get it going. I think once we get some confidence and a couple things start going our way — tonight’s a perfect example of things just not going your way, two bloops score the winning run. And not just bloops in the gap, they were the little dying quails right over the infielders’ head. I mean, when it rains, it pours. That’s just kind of the way it is in this game.”
  • On the emotions surrounding the ejections the last couple games: “I think there’s a little tension. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think we’re all feeling that way. Emotions run hot. God, this is eerily similar to last year, isn’t it?”
  • Does last year’s comeback become a confidence boost or a crutch: “I don’t think it’ll become a crutch, but I think it’s nice to know that we can. There was never a doubt that we can. Obviously we would’ve liked to start the first 40-whatever games hot and be 30-10 right now, but that’s not the case. But we know it’s there. Just gotta find it.”
  • Do expectations make it tough: “You guys make the xpecations, not us. We were confident last year. We knew we were good last year. We had expectations internally last year. It may not have been the mind-blowing-everybody’s-writing-us-to-go-to-the-World-Series, but we believe that in here. So I don’t see how anything’s different in this clubhouse than it was last year.”
  • Was he trying to send a message in the eighth: “No, not send a message. I was just trying to light a spark.”
  • Did he notice the 102 mph fastball: “Yeah, I saw it. I heard the fans, so I looked.”
  • Does a team meeting benefit a struggling club: “I don’t think that’s always done by the players. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. But I think that we and Skip have a good feel for when it needs to be done. It’s not like we’re not trying. It’s just we’re not getting it done right now. What’s the point in getting everybody [ticked] off if we’re already [ticked] off?”
  • Does this team need a meeting right now: “I don’t think so.”

39 Comments

Verlander is pitching his tail off. The only thing JV has not done wrong is pitch 9 inning shutouts every time he goes on the mound. (kidding).

Geez. That is the only thing he has done wrong is not pitch 9 inning shutouts everytime

All teams have funks but man, it sure feels like the Tigs have longer and are much more regular than other teams. A team funk barometer maybe a stat fior someone to develop along with the longest ever stretch for back to back wins.
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What makes this run of outs so difficult to reconcile is everyone in the organisation are genuinely well meaning good guys, though I won’t pass judgement on Delmon based on the evidence to hand thus far.
Young’s case is intriguing as we all knew despite what JL was saying that Young would need to have more than his fair share of DH duties particularly given the sieve like Tig infield. I know he was lucky to stay on the team but using the NY incident as the catalyst to making him the full time DH seems hyprocritical at best and plainly poor leadership.
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No doubt the team will come out of the funk at some stage but unless the 5 & 6 position hit and the bullpen learns to hold onto leads, this season is toast.

I don’t remember them being this bad last year and I don’t see them coming out of it so easily, especially since everything’s bad but Verlander.

MLB network had a couple of interesting stats just now. Worst AL bullpen ERA in May and worst AL record since April 19 at 11-21.

Dave,
I think you are very insightful. I have often felt that JL (and he has many attributes as a MLB manger) has used events to manufacture a convenient and sugar-coated explanation for a decision that should have been made based on performance.
For a guy who has the reputation of being gruff and to the point, he often pussy-foots around a situation until it resolves itself. I think it was Kathy who said something about taking the “bull by the horns”? Leyland has misjudged the use of Raburn, Young, Inge, Valverde and Schlereth. And that has ony been in 2012!.
I’m pretty sure most of the players like JL. Maybe it’s time to find somebody that is little more challenging to them.
He is not getting the players to play well or make sacrifices to the team effort. I see a lot of individualistic focus on this team. There seems to be no “greater good”, so to speak.
Leyland has a great understanding of the game, and he has a rapport with his players, but he seems to operate on the philosophy that they are mutaully exclusive.
He does not know how to turn that good baseball mind into instilling a “team” mentality. He leaves that up to the players and in this day and age you are talking about people who often play the game more for the salary than the pure love of the game. About people who don’t “have to” rely on their occupation soley for their personal financial comfort.
Like the generals of the last few centuries, he is fighting yesterday’s wars still.
You can’t leave these guys leaderless and rudderless in the clubhouse to sort this mess out. These are not the same type of player with the same type of motivation and character as we old-timers are fond of remembering.
Leyland often refers to some of his players as “babies” and he is right. Babies need direction, boundaries and authority. Do your job Leyland. “Mange” these guys and quit being a night watchman.

Sorry Kate. I thought it was Kathy that said that (bull….horns).

With my interest in military history, Dan, I like that line about fighting yesterday’s wars. To be perfectly honest, I can’t tell if Leyland is a good manager or not. Maybe there’s no such thing. We were creeping along last season until DD made some deals that strengthened the team by adding Fister, Betemit (yes Betemit) and then Young. Suddenly Jim was forced to use these new toys and, along with his usual everyday use of Santiago down the stretch, what had been a fair team became a very good one. Did his managing improve or did DD force his hand? I don’t know.
Leyland comes under fire at some point every season. Time before last, when challenged for who on earth could replace him, I mentioned Manny Acta, who was available at the time. Manny seems to do okay with half the money and attendance that we enjoy in Detroit.

Thank heavens for DVR’s. I have the MLB package and basically see all of the Tiger games. I had to tape today’s game; what a blessing. You just fast forward through the 0-2 counts, and the game is basically watched in 31 minutes. If I watched every Tiger AB, I would be screaming at the walls. Probably the most undisciplined hitting approaches ever in a 3 game series. JV deserves so much better. What a shame! Forget the Leyland bashing; always in the hole at 1-2 or 0-2, never seeing any pitches, can’t get a sac fly from third, can’t bunt, can’t do diddly squat! Base running is a laughing stock; defense is just a laugh. As previously stated, I love the passion that Fielder brings to the game. But he is an American League DH,along with all the other Tigers. We couldn’t manufacture one run if it would guarantee a pennant. This is a flawed team, made up of talented individuals. It’s going to take some dramatic moves to wake these guys up. Dare I say it, “Maybe it’s the curse of Inge”

curse of JL sounds more like it.

I like that Justin spoke out and thought he did a
good job of not going too far (didn’t throw anyone under the bus). He did send a clear message with his comment that the time for him is now (regarding when its not early anymore). It’s time this team pulls together and adopts the “I’ve got your back” team mentality.

when he is likely thinking “alright guys, do I have to pick up a bat and hit too?” He is right, the time is now, not 2 weeks from now.

Justin is traditionally very measured when he talks about the state of the team. Even though it was right after a game, I’m pretty sure he thought some of this out before he said it, and definitely while he was saying it.

As Ed Harris said in Apollo 13, “what have we got on the ship that’s good?”
We have the best pitcher in baseball and an extremely solid starter behind him. A trio of mostly dependable relievers with hopefully more on the way. One great hitter and several fairly good ones. A team that will score runs at some point. A GM who’s not afraid to attempt improvements. A still uninspiring division to play in. Example: Cleveland got every imaginable break in their own ballpark and still only managed to squeak out three very close games.
Hey, at least this is another way to look at things.

Thanks for all the comments. Did not see the last 2 games. Please, quit “blaming” the umpires for a few calls. It is a 9 inning game. Whos’ team is it? Yeah, maybe bat Prince 5th. What have we got to lose? Dan, I like what you wrote. We need new blood to run the team. Gibby and Trammel, c’mon down! Go Tigers!

Plus our bullpen has lost a lot of games

I wouldn’t say all the other Tigers Greg. But I will agree Fielder is a DH. Delmon is a DH. V Mart is a DH. The team is an enigma. With all its touted hitting talent it seems all the weaknesses are being exploited over and over again. The team defense which is at best average, is being exploited. The starting pitchers are probably at least a bit demoralized at this point. Any mistakes and they’re on the hook for the loss.
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It isn’t enough to play with intensity and anger. Players have to sharpen their concentration, discipline, and will themselves to win. Go up to the plate, slow everything down, have some kind of idea. Give their pitcher a rest. I know, easy for me to say.
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I don’t think JL needs to have a big hyped up team meeting, but it would be nice to see him merely change the lineup. Try something different. Surprise us. Make it fun to watch a game again. Move the free swingers down…to the bottom.
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I keep thinking of the psychologist that the New York Knights crooked owner hired in “The Natural”………..”The mind is a strange thing. We must begin by asking it ‘What is losing?’. Losing is a disease, as infectious as polio, syphilis, bubonic plague……………..Ah but curable.” Roy Hobbs finally walks out of the meeting in disgust. Wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to all grab a copy of that movie and watch it for a little distraction and inspiration.
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I see Santiago is officially above the Mendoza Line. Give him some more playing time JL.

Yes,it is JL ´s fault. He makes the lineups.
He overplayed Avila and is playing him hurt and in the wrong spot. There is no problem with his avg. He is a catcher a, anything over 200 is good enough with good defense. However he has none this year. Laird must play more . He will be booed, they will call out JL for playing “his favorite” . But Laird can call a game, catch runners stealing and cath a throw. He does anything a catcher does and bats like one. Plug him and Avila in the 8th spot.
Jl did not overpay Fielder. He was yhat bad with the Brewers. Miguel is ,just, better and at least offers ,like Tiger Girl has said, a bigger target for infielders.He is the most costly DH of all times
Santiago did not get a good preparation bwecause” he can play sleep”. No he cant, nobody cant. And you can hit 300 out of the bench once a week. Allow him to play half the time wasted with Inge and probably he will deliver. Peralta is reliable in the field and is batting his carrer avg. Last year was not his career year. He usually hit for more power and had more RBI than last year.
Cabrera must focus. Last night he was yelling at the Tribe´s dugout. He knows the rules,if you are tracking a flyball , you can break your neck , they wont help. Once the ball hits the ground or the ump calls the out , they will call the ambulance. . It is his way to take the lead but he needs to keep his mind on the game. He has been too chatty there. His number still project fo 30/120 while hitting 300. So he is for most part doing the job.
About Dirks, I told it first. I watched his at bat in DR and he is good as advertised . Yes, he is a good part of the solution
ESPN is right on Jackson , he is an All Star .
Berry a good surprise, better Boesch keep batting or Dirks, Jackson, Berry could be the outfield. If he hold up, Young could be out of town.
Fister have been as good as Verlander . Smyly has been a little roughed up. Growing pains as expected, well managed he could be the real deal. Scherzer could be the missing piece is he able to throw like last outing for the rest of the season .
The bullpen has the pieces but nobody can manage it as bad as JL. Below warming bench while the ” white flag” pitched BP.

Well, those were all just excellent points, El Tigre. You nailed it.

some pretty good assessments. especially about you calling Andy Dirks while he was in DR.

3 things. 1st get fielder off the darn field. He cant play 1st better than a 15yr old kid in little league. 2nd put austin jackson on the dl. He is not day to day he has suffered an injury that will hinder his performance the whole year if rushed to play before its 100% healed plus 4days extra. berry gets the job done just fine for now. And 3rd at 1st sign the umps are making us their chumps multiple managers need to put a stop to it even if that means getting the fans involved. I will gladly forfeit a game to send the message that hey a-hole call a fair game or suffer a barrage of debris ya stuff head. Its time this crap ends this is baseball not the fixed nfl.

So…..you’re saying that playing a 15-year old Little Leaguer (who would be too old for Little League) would improve our firstbase defense. You’re saying that Jackson should be on the DL although he already is on the DL. You’re saying that the fans should riot and throw things at the umpires until we forfeit a game. That about it?
Thanks for the input.

Crack me up :)
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— Bob

Thank you for your kind comment Dan. I tip my hat to you guys who write a full article or two every day that is much more informative and enjoyable to read than the news articles intended to not ruffle any feathers like at Detroit News. I also tip my hat to the females with their ‘human spirit’ blogs which make such a nice counter balance to us armchair generals.
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The 2012 Tigers are fast becoming an enigma that the only solution given thus far is it will take time to turn around. How can you have so much individual brilliance yet struggle to beat teams in easily ML’s worst division?
Some weird stats:
Our overall hitting has improved in May to .266 for 2/14 in the AL;
RISP overall .266 for 4/14;
Late & Close .275 for 2/14;
Batting 5th .234 for 10/14;
Batting 6th .182 for 14/14;
2nd Base .168 for 14/14;
Bases loaded .129 for 14/14;
Pinch hitter .11 for 12/14.
Regarding pitching:
Relief still has the worst ERA for the AL with 4.71;
9th+ Innings – 6.81 ERA for 14/14;
1st innings – 6.14 ERA despite our starters having an overall ERA of 3.79 for 5/14.
Not using the Raburn option a month ago was perplexing to say the least.

Sorry Marty – took me some time to post so must be enigmad out or someting like that.

I think this is a perfect speach by a team leader that states they need to be a lot better, as a team, without isolating any individual players. All he stated was true, though, as a team they have not been good, but they have the ability to come out of this. Will they? Who knows, but I’ll bet Illitch is growing a little impatient. I think they miss V-Mart, and I never thought that Prince was going to replace him in the line-up. Thanks for the stats, Dave. They are extremely disturbing, though!!!
–Mike

http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

one glimmering light for us, is we are so lucky to be in the division we are, we will be given the chance to easily climb to the top if we right the ship.

“Fielder” is kinda ironic, huh?

Verlander is now not only a leader on the mound, but elsewhere, too. Very well put, Justin.

For me, it goes back to pitching. They (excepting Smily, Verlander, and Fister) are not getting it done.

Oh yeah, hitting sucks too…

Prince is not going to be a DH. Maybe 5 or 6 years from now, but not now except for maybe an occasional chance. No, he’s not as good as Miggy , but he’s OK. He’s made some good scoops, runs his butt off, and is adjusting to the AL. I don’t have a problem with Delmon. He’s never DH’d. He’s got a drinking problem, admitted it and is trying to clean himself up. Heck, we won the division with him in LF. If Victor were here, I believe things would be alright. when the team is doing well (huh, you say, it’s been so long since consecutive wins) Jim is OK. When the team is not doing OK, he’s goes right down the tubes with them. I’d prob put Prince in front of Miggy and move Peralta up to. There are lots of reasons why I don’t think JL is the manager we need for this team right now but those are personal reasons which I won’t elaborate on.
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Yesterday, I had to have my dog put down. You dog lovers know how I feel.

My condolences on your dog. Makes me feel better about cleaning up my dog’s vomit…

On another note, nice to see Pujols working his way back to respectability. Baseball needs him to be himself.

Sorry about your dog, it’s a tough thing having to make those decisions about our four legged family members. It just about killed me to have to put my cat down a few years ago.
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I am out of ideas with this team. People who know a lot more than me haven’t figured it out, I sure can’t. I’ve been saying it for several weeks now, sure reminds me an aweful lot of 2008. I think the only saving grace we might have is that the division is weak (although not as weak as last year). But they can’t wait too much longer, like JV said it isn’t do early anymore!

I think this is similar to 2008 only in that the expectations were unrealistically high which has led to deeper than usual disappointment. The similarities end there. This is a much better team than the fading and brittle veterans they sent out there four years ago. Just needs some tweaks, as most teams do during a season. And they need some kind of streak of winning baseball. Even truly bad teams have good runs at times.

hmmmm, so THIS is what happens when your OWNER tells your GM who to sign. Dombroski “He is not a fit here”, then 5 days later “Oh hey we got him – yippie!”, and now here we are months later……pssh

I too, am sorry for Kathy’s loss, that is a tough thing to do. Have heard Prince called “Prince Can’t Fielder” on local radio. There is no mercy in the D sometimes. I guess we all have to vent in our own way. I’m going with the hope that this weekend will be the turning point. Positive thoughts only! Go Tigers!

There’s U of D Mercy………………

What is the point of media interviewing the SOC?

From MLive.com:

“By batting the right-handed hitting Cabrera at No. 3, Leyland said it might prevent a manager from bringing in a left-handed pitcher.

“That’s the reason I don’t want to flip-flop them,” he said. “The only thing that would do to your lineup is set it up better for the opposing team to have Dirks and Fielder back-to-back.”

It’s why Leyland typically likes to alternate his lineup with left- and right-handed hitters.

“This way, you have Cabrera and if they want to walk him, they now have Fielder,” he said.

On most occasions, Leyland will pencil in a lineup that has a left-handed hitter batting behind a right-handed hitter.

“Everyone talks about doing something different with the lineup,” he said. “Well, we’ve been doing something different with the lineup and I’ve been criticized for it.”

If Fielder were to bat third behind Dirks, Leyland said it’s more likely a manager would bring in a left-handed specialist to face two consecutive left-handed hitters.

By placing Cabrera in between the two lefties, a manager would be forced to make three changes to play the pitching matchups. A maneuver Leyland would gladly welcome.

“If they want to use three pitchers in one situation, well, let them do that,” he said”

How’s that workin’ for you Jim?.

don’t matter what jim does he’ll be criticized up and down about it. unless the team is winning of course – then he’ll only be criticized a moderate amount.

I thought it was a surprisingly dumb article based on a surprisingly dumb question, to be perfectly honest with you. Who in their right mind would want to flip-flop them? That’s no answer to anything. No wonder Jim gets cranky.

Different strokes for different folks.

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