On slides and sliders

Torii Hunter was a longtime Tiger killer during his years as a Minnesota Twin, so the fact that he set up a Tigers loss Friday shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Credit him with the slide that toppled Omar Infante at second base and broke up what would’ve been an inning-ending double play, extending the sixth inning for Howard Kendrick’s go-ahead two-run double.

“Break it up,” Hunter said when asked after the game. “Break it up and give ourselves a chance. I got a nice little secondary [lead] so Ican get out there a little earlier and I hustled and just tried to touch him and alter his throw and I was able to do that. That’s all you want to do is play the game that way.”

That doesn’t mean Infante wasn’t beating himself up a little bit.

“Yeah, when I get the ball, I see Torii Hunter,” Infante said. “I know he’s coming to me to break up the double play. It’s a tough play, because I catch the ball and see him and throw the ball to first base. But I have a chance. If my throw’s good, I make the out.”

Infante said he watched the replay afterwards to check out the timing. He seemed to think he could’ve gotten off a better throw.

“When I see the replay, I see after I throw, he [made contact with] me,” Infante said.

Infante seemed to believe coming across the bag on that play, rather than staying back and taking the throw, would’ve put him in a better position to avoid the slide.

“I think I have to go to the ball and not wait for the throw from third base,” he said. “I have to go to the ball. When I wait, I stay back. That’s why when I stay back, it’s hard for me to throw. Sometimes I have to alter my body.”

Of course, the break-up slide extended the inning for Howard Kendrick. However, it was a hanging slider on an 0-2 count from Rick Porcello that Kendrick hit into the left-center field gap to score two runs.

Porcello, like Infante, took responsibility. He had gotten through the middle of the Angels batting order last time through by starting them off with breaking pitches and setting up his sinker, and it worked so well he struck out the Angels in order in the fourth. Next time through, in the sixth, he and catcher Alex Avila tried the opposite.

With a better-executed slider, it probably would’ve worked.

“Sixth, seventh inning, you have to have your best stuff,” Porcello said. “That’s when you have to find something within yourself to execute those pitches. Obviously, my past two outings, late in the game like that we’ve been getting hurt. When I get in that situation again, I have to dig down deep and make a better pitch.”

31 Comments

Nice post, Jason. Headline sums up Angels 1-0 series lead.

You have to love a guy who goes in after the game to see what he could have done different to produce a different outcome. Bravo, Omar!

and say it to the media. On the other hand, Inge would still be defending himself and would never admit he even “could” have done something different.

Oooh, that was a well timed left hook to the body, Kathy. But you’re probably right.

My thought was that Omar is still new to the AL after his absence, and may not have been all that familiar with Trumbo’s speed. He did rush the throw when he didn’t have to. But sometimes you wonder, when a team fails to make a play like that, is there some law that says it has to bite you? Rick should be able to throw one bad pitch without costing him the game. He’s been pitching very well.

If I had been in charge with this team put together the way it is, I would have constructed a fence to run along centerfield between LC and RC. Shorten that distance since all our guys hit to center so much. I’d measure how high Austin Jackson can jump at the fence and build it exactly that high. Then put in a picnic area within the new space and name it Jacksonville.
There are many ways to compete.

Hey Richard. I respect your comments too. With all due respect, your comment about the white flag was uncalled for. I have my right to an opinion also. Respectfully.

What does a white flag mean? Surrender? Greg, I can not believe that you have given up. It is very frustrating that the Tigers are not scoring runs. GK, do you think the overpaid hitters are not trying? What is the answer? Maybe someone should “coach” them because they can not do it by themselves. Go Tigers!

I would never lose hope until the mathematical odds say we are done. I guess the white flag analogy was meant to reflect that maybe we have to face reality. Our roster is flawed; look at all the wild card,and division leaders. What do we have on them? Three super stars and maybe 3 other good players. The others have 25 players, role players that we have but are not performing. Can we win? Absolutely.
But to go day in and day out with great starting pitching, and be 4-5 in your last 9 home games, there are flaws. That’s all I’m saying. And I wasn’t disingenuous when I said it.

Greg…I am sorry for offending you. My comment was proffered in frustration and was poorly stated. If surrender is your choice, I respect it. I guess too I could not believe hearing something like that from you given how generally positive you are.

Greg, you have always been a “pro” here on this board. No one here should have to measure or over-analyze what they feel like saying. A lot of us here feel the same way when we see the team we love falter.
Today is another day, we might win, we might lose. We might want to blame Leyland, we might want to blame Dombrowski. Or Baker or Raburn for that matter. One thing for sure, we can’t blame ourselves–but we can watch, and Hope & Dream.
And then commiserate about it later! That’s the beauty of baseball and this Blog.

If I was a disinterested outsider, I’d say the Tigers’ chances are slim. As a fan, I think we can get it done. The only fact here is that we won’t know anything until after we play the White Sox ourselves.

Gutsy move by Boston’s GM. And the Dodgers too.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er’ @3rd or RF, we have Jeff Baker.

I actually don’t expect too too much from Smyly today. With Putkonen gone I’m not sure who we’re gonna bring in (read RHP) if those tough RHB gets to drew early.
The kid has something for sure but if he doesn’t today, it could get real ugly.

Just checked the official MLB standings and noticed that the AL Central is still the tightest race of them all. Chicago Vs. Detroit!!!!!! Isn’t that the way we want it???
Now Tampa Bay is gaining on the Yanks and the Giants and Dodgers are getting ready for a great September race to the finish line, too. Great baseball yet to be played. One day at a time. Win today’s game. Move on. Lose today’s game. Try to get better for the next one. Can we win this division?? Absolutely. Go Tigers!!!!!!!

I think a fan wants two things. One is to be in the pennant race and the other is to have his/her team playing well. The latter usually leads to the former, but not in our case. While we appreciate having a contender, we don’t appreciate bad baseball. Smart baseball fans can’t be fooled with an inferior product. Thus the amount of frustration we see with a team that is indeed contending.

A point to ponder: with Cabrera having to DH for an unknown period of time, Delmon Young is put into the outfield mix. Does this take playing time away from Dirks and, seemingly less important, Boesch? JL is loathe to put Delmon on the bench.
It also points up that we need a 3rdbaseman. Any of you who follow the market know where we might find one?

Yes, at Double A.

Dirks has earned the right to play over BB. BB has talent but his cut and pitch selection both need work. Gameday shows pitchers regularly expanding the zone outside and BB swinging at pitches he doesn’t have a shot at. And frequently using a pull swing to boot, leading to further failure. BB needs to ADJUST by laying off the outside stuff and /or closing up to the plate and/or driving the ball to the off field.

Interesting.

I mean interesting in reference to Castellanos.

Yes–it is and who would have thought?
Then again, I fully expect Miggy to be manning his post sooner rather than later.
Boesch? Horrible swing right now. Jumping and lunging all over the place. Leads to weak topped ground balls and harmless pops to left.

How does the name Raburn poll on this site? I’ll start. He’s more likely to do more damage with one swing than our other 5-9′s do in four.

He’s lookin’ better all the time. (When you consider the alternatives). Acid test for Baker tonight. I hope he can transform my cynicism about DD making that move. I didn’t like it to begin with and I don’t like it now. No way I’d want the guy on the post-season roster. I do understand the supposed versatility factor.
Delmon is back at #5 hole.

last nights game was a particularly rough one for me. We just blew such an opportunity (grienke + bad/tired bullpen).
.
Haven’t even scouted today’s game. Did look at Ran Raburn’s numbers from last night – and what’s up with the strikeouts? I know he’s hitting – and thank gawd because of Baker’s inability.
.
Hopefully AL ABQ pitches tonight and pitches well.

Done deal for LA.

Dodgers, that is.

So how much roster turnover have the Dodgers had since opening day?

Lots. Particularly since the ownership change. Off hand I can name Victorino, Ramirez, Blanton, League, Choate, Gonzalez, Beckett, Punto and Crawford.

In other off topic news, I receive an e-mail from MLB.com every few days trying to sell the “stars and stripes” collection. Having trouble moving those, maybe. Perhaps people don’t equate team logos in military camouflage to stars and stripes?

Don’t often see team leaders performing and the mere mortals behind constantly failing when the pressure is on.
Still think the Inge comment was telling of the contrasting mood of the clubhouse going to the A’s. If the air was thick in April, how heavy must it be coming into September??

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