Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

Jim Leyland is playing the reverse lineups today against James Shields, who’s allowing a .198 average to left-handed hitters this year compared to .273 to righties.

With this lineup, Leyland said he was weighing who to lead off. He ultimately went with Avisail Garcia.

TIGERS (career numbers off Shields)
1. Avisail Garcia, cf
2. Torii Hunter, rf (12-for-36, 8 K’s)
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3b (14-for-30, HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
4. Prince Fielder, 1b (1-for-8, 2 walks)
5. Victor Martinez, dh (7-for-22, 7 K’s)
6. Jhonny Peralta, ss (10-for-24, 3 HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
7. Matt Tuiasosopo, lf (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
8. Brayan Pena, c (2-for-5, walk, K)
9. Ramon Santiago, ss (5-for-19, 5 K’s)
P: Justin Verlander

ROYALS (career numbers off Verlander)
1. Alex Gordon, lf (11-for-51, 2 HR, 4 walks, 19 K’s)
2. Eric Hosmer, 1b (4-for-23, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
3. Salvador Perez, c (3-for-10, K)
4. Billy Butler, dh (23-for-55,  2 HR, 5 walks, 7 K’s)
5. Lorenzo Cain, cf (1-for-3)
6. David Lough, rf
7. Mike Moustakas, 3b (3-for-21, walk, 5 K’s)
8. Elliot Johnson, 2b (0-for-2, K)
9. Alcides Escobar, ss
P: James Shields


I like it! Although I don’t understand Santiago for Infante (3-4 last night).
I predict 2E with a big day.

I agree on all three points Winelad!

I thought I was going to be in a minority, but I like that lineup too.

I assume Ramon is at 2B, not SS.

Interesting that’s for sure….but I looked at Shields numbers and righties hit him almost .100 points higher.

A classic would be if he ordered the switch hitters to bat RH, too!!!!!!!!!!! KC should get many hits through our two SS defensive alignment.

Have you noticed that 2E has a really good eye? Is Omar tired? I hope Ramon runs into one! Go Tigers!

a REALLY good eye. Jim and Dan would refer to it as the “force field” during ST. 2E has done a great job and I hope he gets to play more often than he has been the past month.

Ramon doesn’t have the range to play 2B well.

OFF TOPIC but what do ya’ll think about the Angels Dodgers game last night? Ian Kennedy ended up hitting 2 people in the head – including Greinke – and a scrum ensued!

Anything baseball related is never off topic. Thanks for reminding me to look at that video.

I was angered by what Kennedy did.

However, Greincke seems to be involved in too many of these. Hitting people in the head is just wrong, drill them lower if needed. I was amazed that Puig kid stayed in the game after getting hit in the head.
Watching the replay, you could see the Roid Rage coming from McGuire. All that was missing was Dave Rosema’s kung fu kick!

Will the game be played? I am hearing about some rough storms coming across the plains.

yessir the game (i.e. the kansas city area) will not be affected all that jazz will run to the northeast or the area.

*OF the area

so how does benching Infante play into the strategy of Shields vs RH 283 avg??

I think when I looked Infante doesn’t hit him well…who knows

you are correct GK, in 19 PAs his slash line is .167/.211/.222/.433

Just saw the newest cover of SI with our #3 and 4 hitters on it – very cool photo – way to go Miggy and Biggy!

I have no idea how to insert photos on this site, otherwise I would

prince should spend more time in the batting cages than at photoshoots.

Another reminder if you are on facebook. The SI photo is there, also from the Detroit Athletic Club is an article about Mr Tiger and how he took charge in 2002 to change the losing ways! My Hero! Go Tigers!

On that beanbrawl last night, it had been settled within the “guidelines” until Ian Kennedy hit Greinke. That was over the top. Then there’s this:
from Neil deGrasse Tyson‏@neiltyson6m
Not that anybody asked, but a baseball thrown 90 mph has about the same energy as a 0.22 caliber bullet fired from a handgun.

Grienke sure has himself in the middle of a lot of trouble this year doesn’t he? You can’t be throwing at people’s heads……way way stupid and reckless. I’m seeing some suspensions on the way.

Ryan Field is going to LA? Big promotion for him. Congrats, Ryan!

if it’s the same ryan fields that i’m thinking of, thank god he is outta detroit. Him and Mickey York keep me from any FSN pre or post baseaball game show!

Kennedy has hit around 47 in recent years. At least the first was unintentional. Remember that Fister can cause the same reaction.
Shields better ERA than any Tiger starter not named Anibal and 2-8 record.

Shields has been excellent…..he suffers from similar problems Fister has had, run support.

True:3.29 per game 86th in MLB

Shields is a tough assignment for those given the opportunity to play today. We face a lefty on Friday so a couple of them for sure will play again. Go Tigers!!!!

That picture of the Tigers’ version of Mantle and Maris will be on the upcoming SI cover. Great picture of the Bash Bros. OK, Prince, do your thing.

Nice to see Avi with that lead off double. …figured we’d ground into a dp I just thought it would be Prince?

2E just got robbed

Interesting, they’ve already cancelled tonight white soxs game because of weather that might happen. Maybe Even can help me with this, but the weather map (radar) really doesn’t look like much.

that doesn’t happen very often

northern Illinois/Indiana and southern Michigan are all areas of potentially very explosive weather later tonight. hail, wind damage and even tornadoes.

Oh man. Stay safe.

Derecho win storms with up to 100mph winds tonight and tomorrow.

Supposed to say “wind”.

Derecho’s are pretty interesting phenomena

I know i cant stand mickey york. He needs to go back to nbc or where ever he came from. Ryan fields isnt as bad as mickey but still not good. Now i love craig monroe. Hes awesome. He actually knows what hes talking about and you can tell hes passionate about the tigers.

i agree. Just on a side note, one time I head York say something about “haven’t seen such a shelling since the germans bombed pearl harbor” during the 1st round of the playoffs a year or two ago (it was against the yankees). Me and my whole family went silent – and someone turned the TV off.

Ya thats the kind of stuff that makes him such an idiot. I didnt actually hear that one but i would of been angry if i did. How can he even still have a job after saying that.

yea that’s what we said….even worse we laid my grandfather to rest earlier that day….he fought in WW2.

Oh my gosh. Thats horrible.

I guess you are all aware they were quoting Animal House?

no but that is an interesting thought

he was quoting,..

I didnt know that but hes still an idiot

Oh and interesting lineup. I like it. As for infante i think its more of just giving him a day off. U know how leyland likes to do that on the days that the hitter doesnt have a good line against that pitcher.

how many stinking double plays have these guys bounced into this series. Jeez its frustrating how many innings we’ve run ourselves out of this series.

Miguel robbed….what a catch by that guy….jerk(haha)

good defensive play by ramon!

As usual JV throwing a ton of pitches

2E! 2E! 2E!

Look at our bench guys getting it done today. Nice. How has 2e not had more opportunities in the majors. This guy is legit.

I wonder if 2E is doing better on the Tigers due to better coaching. Seattle seems to have trouble developing young hitters.

Or the park .Montero is or was another there

Good point. Im just glad we signed him. We may have the best bench players in the a.l. there all contributing. 2 of em are hitting .300.

While 2E’s defense leaves something to be desired – and prolly his running – everything else seems really good. Good off the bench, good eye, has lots of power, etc…

He is also in a lineup where he can relax. Hitting 6 or 7 for this Tigers team takes a lot of pressure of him, and he sure has responded well.

I wonder if leyland made garcia take those two fastballs that were right down the middle. He looked upset that he didnt get to take a hack at either one of those. I kinda am. He would of punished either one of those pitches.

Best I’ve seen Velander look in a month or so…..I hope that’s a sign of a turn around the corner.

Is it turned over to Benoit and Valverde??

That SS can pick it, nice play to end the 8th

We need one more run to have the 3-2 final score in our favor.

Please leave Smyly in for the 9th

Valverde facing the same hitters as he did last night.


Splitter again

That didn’t even look like it was hit that well. ….I’m shocked today. Maybe I shouldnt be but I am.

Smyly single and a bomb. And all those runs left on the bases. Stunner wasnt even a pitch that would of been called a strike and now two errors.

Here we go with the BP issues. Totally disgusted. But Jim got his hand shook at the bottom of the stairs.

VV blown save, JV no win. Extra innings. I don’t believe the Tigers have a good record in extra inning games. Another 3-2 score?

No they don’t.

Might not had tied the game had they thrown out the runner in the 9th on the K. Would have been nice to see even a throw to 2nd, given VV’s shaky performances.

Yet another crappy Hunter AB

Miggys looked even worse

2-6 in xtras

Hunter’s been worthless. Miggy swung at 3 out of the strike zone? Is that steam coming from JV’s ears or just the humidity in the dugout?

Not only does Valverde demoralize fans he obviously demoralizes his team-mates.
Horrible job of pitching to a young guy with 2 strikes on him.
Tigers playing back on their heels now.
They’ve given up on this game. It’s written all over them.
And now we rely on Coke to do what he has proven over and over again that he can’t do. Get RH hitters out.

Look how happy the Royals are. How long has it been since we’ve seen the Tigers celebrate like that?

Honest to God, they have got to cut Valverde loose. The guys didn’t hit enough, for sure, but Papa’s arm is shot.

There you go…..3-2 extra inning loss. If it hadn’t been for the “second stringers” (Garcia, Pena, T-soap) they would have been shut out. No hitting from the regulars. What is it with this road kill?

I can’t imagine what it feels like to be a Tiger starting pitcher. You have a bullpen who can’t secure victory and you have all these high-priced hitters in your lineup that can’t do better than 2 runs a game. It is obviously discouraging.
I know all of us cringed with a 2 run lead because everybody with a brain in their head knows exactly what we have waiting for us in that bullpen when it comes time to use it.

The lack of hitting can’t all fall on Lloyd’s shoulders, since he has an assistant, Toby Harrah. That was supposed to help.

KC did something the Tigers haven’t been able to dot his season and that is have a comeback. KC proved one thing this series…they only get runs in one inning per game (this one 2). The Tigers prove once again they suck on the road and they are prolific at leaving runners on base. Which again came back to bite them in the butt. They proved that the starting pitching is one of the only things it has going or them consistently. They proved the pen is still shakey and that goes for Smyly Valverde and Coke today…none of them were great. (Remember he gave up to singles and the one run)

I would have left Smyly in there, but I’m sure Jim would not want the loss on him. Smyly is so misused.

Despicable! This is really starting to get old! Smyly should of had a longer leash. I think everyone would agree that they would rather have smyly pitch with a runner on than valverde. But whatever i guess. Valverdes gotta go. We need a different closer period. U cant blow one every few chances and still let the guy continue to close. I thought that was common sense. And then to rely on the most unreliable arm in our pen is just straight up stupid. When will it end? When we ve lost so many games. that we dont make the playoffs. Something has got to happen and its gotta happen now!

The difference between being a dominant winning team and being an also-ran loser is rearing its ugly head on the Detroit Tigers. It is up to the manager to “manage” this situation and not blindly resort to doing the same thing and biting your nails on the top step.
These guys folded like a cheap tent and are dangerously close to becoming the team we witnessed against the Giants.
There is absolutely no way JL can justify using Valverde as his closer. He also completely needs to re-evaluate Phil Coke’s role in that bullpen. The square peg idea of trying to have Coke bail out Valverde didn’t work last year and it won’t work this year either.

There is a way of avoiding all these seeming difficult decisions for JL. DD needs to step in and take charge.
Rondon would be an easy decision over VV. He was unable to do the job that he shouldn’t have been asked to do earlier. I know that. But at least he is not joke.
I would expect something will come of this and the price to pay for it will be high. My guess is Janssen from Toronto.

Yes, they will have to pay to clean this mess up.

For the Clown defenders out there, look at the most startling number, five home runs in 17 innings, three of them contributing to Tiger defeats. He was lucky in the Cleveland game; he had more of a cushion. Dan you are spot on; the soul of this team left them when that ball left the park. Bottom of nine;two errors. Top of ten, Miggy strikes out on three straight pitches. I knew, yes I knew that we would lose the game. How many more appearances will it take? How many more excuses JIm? A quality closer doesn’t do this. He might onece or twice a season. OURS HAS BOMBED IN 17 INNINGS. I’m sick of the excuses for JVV; he was done last year, and we all knew it. But Dave brought him back, so he could spit a bottle of water, and dance like a CLOWN!
1. JV was deserving of a win today. Great job. Secondary pitches were the bomb!
2. The role player played their roles well. You couldn’t ask for more. They got the runs for us.
3. Santiago defense was stellar today.
I feel sorry for Mr. Ilitch. He’s paid a lot of dough to win the series. Well, unless our starters go nine each game, that dough might not rise. Did I remind you that we have a CLOWN for a closer. Torii, what’s wrong? Miggy, rise to the occasion! Prince, earn that 23 million per year. Did I tell you——-

I waited throughout the postgame show to hear Jim explain to us what we didn’t know about baseball. Did I miss it, or did he skip it?
First time I ever saw that team quit.

I usually don’t watch the post games when something like that happens because I am just so pissed, (but I did today) but it took forever to get into the clubhouse and the only ones that gave interviews were Valverde, Coke and Hunter. Leyland never spoke.

No hitting…..4-24 with runners in scoring position this series along with a shakey pen is a recipe for disaster. Lots and lots of blame to go around….

Ancillary damage. VV saps the motivation from the team. The defense knows they will be dealing with a runner on 2nd base and the exciting potential of a DP will not be there for them. The outfielders fall asleep. The starters begin to wonder why they are pitching their hearts and souls out. When you wipe the smile off of Miggy’s face you know you have demoralized the team. Did Miggy look like he was having much fun out there at the end? Did he get the swag going and challenge the pitcher like we see him do? No, even the incomparable Cabrera was sickened and disheartened. Even they know that their closer is out on that mound in survival mode trying to hang on to a shred of his former reputation and that the game itself is secondary to what is going on in his mind.
It’s pretty simple really, if Valverde stays the pennant goes.

And Greg, you are absolutely right. Torii does look wrong, actually he looks lazy to me.
It might be time for Miggy and Biggy both to stop hob-nobbing with the “enemy” and start getting real serious about the game they play. Not taking anything away from Miguel as he is big kid out there but they need to set the tone for the rest of the team.

Torii looked like he was coming out of his funk a little over the weekend, but he looked bad again in this series….lazy at bats. But with the exception of a few hitters over the last three days (4-24with risp) they all looked lazy.

Drew as closer or Rondon? Internal solutions until trade deadline. Gotta try something before we have to give up a big piece (smyly, porcello, garcia or nick C).

I don’t think it’s a matter of who we give up, but a matter of what is out there to get? Not much, I think. Dombrowski dug this club a real hole this winter. I still can’t figure that out.

Is that what you call “hedging your bets”?

I had to listen to my son screaming on the phone “NO,NO,NO. You can’t have that, put him on a bus and send him away, look how disheartened they are, they need a real closer, and maybe change managers,” For about 5 minutes that went on.

Oh, and I forgot one: This team doesn’t look happy.

Nick C is not going anywhere. They need a middle of the order hitter next year. If VMart doesn’t find himslef and JP leaves, it gets worse.
I see a guy like Andy Dirks placed on a spit here and DD getting another wannabee or use-to-be to reincarnate. I don’t see that working either.
Coke has to become a left specialist. Downs (remember him?) needs to assume Coke’s present role (whatever the heck that is), Smyly needs to be tried as closer and leave Benoit where he is most effective. All the job protection rhetoric by JL about closer mentality and fluff like that needs to be scrapped. Who knows what Smyly is capable of? I know he can strike guys out, I know he can hold runners on, I know he can get a DP ball and I know he has done everything ever asked of him quite well. Plus the guy was throwing 95 today! Big deal, Tejada had a hit off him. I think Tejada has done that a few time in his career.
And if this doesn’t work for JL then give Rondon another whirl. All the talk about wildness at Toledo is not entirely accurate. There are innings where he come in and throws only 1 or 2 balls the whole inning. Yes the walks are still there. But probably not the gopher balls.

Did not see the game, just read the play by play on my iPhone. Why would Smyly start the ninth? Leyland must go!

to face the lefty, sir.

Yes,but the clean slate for Valverde?

i agree sending jVV in there with a man on first and no outs is a bad situation. however Drew is murder on lefties and I’m sure everyone would trust jVV with 2 outs more than with 3 outs, right? With that said I am curious, would you have left Drew out there after he gave up the leadoff hit?

Since his IR% is better , yes, But if Valverde was going in, I use him from the beginning.

Better now than late. Those fly-balls to the warning track with the cold weather were the early warnings. Nothing unexpected.
This team looked like running away with the division …three days ago

Let me throw some names out there: Casey Janssen from toronto, Jose Veras from Houston, Jim Henderson from milwaukee and Kevin Gregg from Chicago (cubs).
All closers on teams that are pretty much already out of it.

Crain for Chicago and Janssen. both FA this coming offseason. Gregg was available and the Tigers ignored him and he is closer by default.

see? there are options out there!

I would like to know why do you bunt from 2b to 3b your faster runner? in the first inning.

1st & 3rd 1 out in the 5th……… runs.
1st & 2nd no out in the 8th……no runs.

“Valverde has allowed 5 HRs this season, 4 of them on splitters. He allowed 3 HRs all last year, when he was throwing almost all fastballs.”

It is pretty clear (finally) to media and manager that VV can’t be counted on. But in the chaos that defines our bullpen, let’s not forget about Phil Coke. Valverde will be sacrificed. Heads (demanded by fans) won’t roll and Phil will escape the wrath that is being entirely focused on VV. The evidence is pretty conclusive that Phil Coke is a one trick pony. You just have to read the stats.

In all my ranting, It didn’t dawn on me that those 5 HR’s have come in the last five or six innings. I don’t mean to dog the man, but his time has come. My favorite ballplayer of all time, Willie Mays, embarrassed himself at the end of his career. Jose has run out of steam. I thank him for his past contributions, but he has hurt this team badly.

going into today’s game, since may 31 Jose’s slash line was .391/.417/.913/1.330. He’d blown 1 save in 3 opps with 9 hits, 6ER, 1BB, 5K and 4HR… 4.2 innings!!! To his credit the BABIP over that span was .357. He isn’t effective either – 104 pitches and only 11% were swings-and-misses. 66% of his pitches were for strikes, for what it is worth.
then today happened.

the slugging percentage is crazy high

The team’s body language today told the story. Valverde has lost the team’s confidence and any further use would be detrimental. These are good guys who won’t say complain verbally but it was right in front of our eyes. Like I said earlier, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen these guys flat out quit. That was the most stunning thing. Ballplayers are human too.
Mr. Dave will make some move, but my total confidence in him has been shaken some.
I still think Smyly is worth a try. Benoit has the personna I like in a closer; a guy who trots in, does his job quietly and walks off as if the issue was never in doubt. I realize he’s probably more comfortable in the 8th inning, but that may not be an option.
It’s never dull, I’ll say that.

Last year, when he was falling., Cabrera yelled at him during a game. By now, probably, the full rotation must be willing to leave him at the nearest gas station.
Anyway, the skipper does not believe in chemistry.

Does anyone know why Phil Coke started the tenth inning??

you could make an argument that beniot should have come in. Reed is too green for the situation and Putkonen and Downs are you other options.
Jim could have made a better case for putting coke in there if Tejada and Escobar weren’t RIGHTIES (the first 2 batters in the 10th).
Jim’s bullpen management is atrocious.

Dombrowski created this problem. Leyland has been unable to manage it. Illitch may have to fix it.

There were so much that was bad yesterday…………yet we still almost won if t weren’t for the most glaring failure of the pen and I include them all while fairly or unfairly Jose will get most of it because his was the most glaring. Smyly and Coke didn’t do their jobs either.
8 men were left on base. Garcia, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez each left 2. Peralta, 2E and Santigao left 1 each. And you gotta give Shields and whoever else was pitching some credit, but it was there for the asking yesterday and there was no reason this team should be limited to 7 runs over three games. They are pitiful on the road and turn into a different team at the plate. I don’t get it.???
Dombrowski made some critical errors in putting together this pen. Albuquerque became unreliable, Dotel is MIA, Villareal sometimes good…sometimes unreliable now competently unreliable. Coke who became the hero of the playoffs stepping into the closers role is now again back to someone who is a strictly lefty specialist.
Shows how unreliable pens are. Heck look at Fernando Rodney and Kimbrel unhittable last year…Rodney’s blown a million saves ths year and Kimbrel 3. Who knew Grilli would be the supreme closer so far this year. Goes to show you how are someone like Mariano Rivera is. I don’t begin to know what the answer, Benoit I guess even though he said he didn’t like it. Smyly I suppose is an option, however his whip, era and baa have gone up each month this year June whip of 1.41 and opponents batting average of .286, so it might be worth a try, but too me it’s also a crap shoot. Give Rondon a try? I don’t know.

Smyly,Babip last 2 games: 444. Last four: 375. Last 9 games. 282. He was way unlucky last 4 games .Less SO increased the chance for sure

Smyly did not want to leave the mound. You know how they say the eyes are the windows of the soul? I saw his and he did not want to give up the ball.

Am so very glad I did not see the game and the meltdown yesterday. We need to seriously tee off in the next game and get some bad mojo off of our shoulders. To be positive, what a great game by Justin – hope he is starting to silence the questions about his performance.

And I am sad about Coke – I really like the guy and just wish he could capture what he had late last year, he is making it impossible for me to defend him anymore. Still like the guy, love his personality but can’t be trusted at this time.

And, who would have thought Al Al would lose his control this year after the great year he had in ’12. No one expected that. Villareal seemed like he had something going for him, too, Instead, they’ve both regressed. Dotel could still pitch last year, not like he used to 5 years ago, but still pretty decent. That’s 3 Tigers we counted on .

Timing: MLB announced that Dodgers and Dbacks will begin their season Down Under next year

a thrilla in manila? philopeans….austrailia…..same thing!

Ok, after reading all the comments, how did Symly NOT do his job? He was brought in for the 9th to face a lefty and the guy got a hit, correct? Nice one about the eyes, Kathy. Did we win the division last year because of the manager or did the White Sox choke? Greg, how can you take a guy seriously that has half of a goat beard orange?

hey smyly pitched the 8th too!

In Leyland’s mind, Smyly was in there to face the lefties and that’s all. He allowed a single to PHer Tejada, got a DP and retired Gordon. Drew was lifted after LHer Hosmer singled, but I think Valverde was coming in for Butler anyway. Can’t really say if Drew did his job since Valverde allowed Smyly’s runner to score. For all we know, Smyly could have gotten another DP, or blown the game himself. It’s not really an issue, and there’s no point in doling out individual blame after each loss. The big issue in my mind was Valverde demoralizing the team. There are blown saves, and then there are disasters.

That should be Perez and Butler.

One thing for fairly certain is that there has to be a designated closer. Just as relievers supposedly need to know their roles, Jim Leyland has to have his ducks in a row in order to manage a game. He’s not going to suddenly turn into Joe Maddon. Jim needs the buttons in neat rows so he knows which ones to push.
So, the only viable option I see RIGHT NOW is Benoit. I don’t put any credence in an off hand comment he made once about not wanting to be a closer. Jim will have to bite the bullet and mix and match the 8th. It seems our starters are able to go 7 most nights.
One thing that should be shot down is Porcello as a closer. He’d make a good one maybe but, just like a starter needing to be stretched out, a reliever needs to be “stretched in” so he can pitch 2 or 3 days in a row.
To me, it’s Benoit beginning tomorrow night. The only option on short notice.

How is June going for us?? We are 7-4. That’s good. How’s the bullpen?? Well, the last seven days Valvede has three saves and Benoit has one, too. Well, that sounds fine. But you see man our problem is between two of the saves Valverde finished a game and gave up TWO homers and then yesterday he had two outs in the ninth and gave up a game tying homer while throwing his world famous splitter. Blew another save. So you are telling me your closer pitched FIVE times in the past seven days?? Yes he did. How many pitches did he throw?? Ninety-four. Wow that’s a lot super fan you better tell your manager to ease up a little.

Three in a row, two off, then two in a row. Is that unusual for a closer?

no but the number of pitches is getting high, yea?

Yes, it is. Does it happen?? Sure. For us, it is very rare. Think about it. We had five opportunities in a week of games. We had a solid week of close games and won five. In most of our close games we either never get a lead or lose the lead before we get to the ninth inning. What really gnaws at me was the fact that Valverde pitched the night of the TWO homer meltdown at all. Leyland just has expanded his role so much. When does Jose pitch again?? Non save next time?? Probably. We need to pound the Twins this weekend!!!!

see lots and lots of analysis on the subject – and yours is fresh and has lots of merit.
Patrick Kennedy at BYB makes a strong case that poopoo grande’s SPLITTER is just getting whacked — lost some velocity on it at the very least. Maybe poopoo needs to fix that splitter — because to me, he is pitching better in many ways than 2011 and 2012, but his splitter is going YARD. Fix the splitter – find a closer?
With that said while trying to fix the splitter you’re gunna have to use Beniot or Drew — or maybe Rondon. I saw Rondon because i want Beniot to pitch the 8th – what is a closer worth if your 8th inning guy grande’s the bed half the time?

Well, that’s the formula again, setup and closer. I thought they could mix and match the 8th. Get some actual use out of Coke on lefties. Bring up Rondon. Use Smyly for an inning. Downs as the other LOOGY. I mean, when there’s a big construction zone, I don’t continue to stubbornly drive through it. I find another way.

fine fine….lets see if JL can handle not having an 8th inning guy role. we already know he can’t do it without a closer. so i guess lets try it.

Well let’s hope the problem is addressed and not candy-coated.
Quotes like this don’t sound like something a manager of the year would say: “He got two quick outs and two strikes, and he hung a split-finger and the kid hit it out of the ballpark,” Leyland said. “He left it up out over the plate. It was a high split, and it didn’t split too good and the kid hit it.” DUH
As for Valverde: “I think no closer wants to blow a save, but that’s a part of the game,” Valverde said. “The closer has two things: Save the game or lose the game. That’s what happened.”. Perhaps the mentality shouldn’t be so laissez faire?
There has been renewed talk of ‘closer by committee’. Forget it. I suppose the idea could work but today’s game is not inclined to it and certainly JL is not. He has a difficult enough time managing a bullpen when he has definitive roles for his 7th, 8th and 9th inning guys. Can you imagine the mess he would make out of a committee approach?
I agree about Benoit. He is the one thing in the bullpen working now. Even though he is the most sensible solution the stability of him handling the setup role does not need to be tampered with.
Get a closer. Try Rondon. If that doesn’t work (and give him half chance eh Jim), then Smyly. If that doesn’t work then you damn well better be prepared to look at a proven closer in the market with a huge salary. And you will have to give up a starter to get him. I don’t like that idea at all but that’s what you are looking at here.
Most of all, don’t insult the Tiger faithful with giving Valverde another SVO and don’t try to to make Pepsi out of Coke.

i agree with everything you just said!

The number of home runs JVV has given up is my main concern and you cannot go into the second half with a 75% ratio closer. He has always allowed a lot of base runners and survived due to not giving up homers. He always made us nervous, but before his playoff and this season woes, I usually felt like he would be successful. Now, you need the third out before I am not worried.

Same here, Mark. I don’t expect 1-2-3 innings because the hitters are giving their best ABs in these situations. Todd Jones, Valverde, I always figured they’d sneak out of it. Can’t give up those homers, though. Sudden death.

Too much here to quote, so here’s the link. Must read. Leyland at his worst.

must read. enjoyed every minute of it. don’t disagree particularly either.

That last sentence says it all. Can Jim manage in the present?

Have been said , not here, that Benoit cant be the closer because then you with no setup. I guess trading for a setup would be easier than trading for a closer..

Your probably right…..regarding the article Rich posted….rant I’d say so. The one thing that I would say about the author of that article and the mentioning of Grilli and not wanting to come back is tat Jason Grilli was booed out of town here, because he was losing games for us. So much that if that author remembers his home stats stunk yet his road stats were good and Leyland got to the point were he could only pitch him on the road. Look at hike now 6 or 7 years or whatever it’s been he’s great. Just goes to show how volatile relievers can be.
It’s truly a a brain fryer.

Tigers are hitters are to blame as well
June, 13, 2013
JUN 13
By David Schoenfield |
One more quick note on the Tigers and their bullpen. After Jose Valverde blew the save in the ninth yesterday and then Phil Coke got the loss in the 10th, the Tigers have now lost four games they led heading into the ninth inning.

That is a high total for this early in the season; the average team lost 3.7 such games last year. Heck, even the Braves with arguably the game’s best closer in Craig Kimbrel have lost three such games and the best-record-in-baseball Cardinals have dropped two so far. What’s really hurt the Tigers, however, is their 2-7 record in extra innings.

Again, blame the bullpen, right?

Well, sort of. The bullpen hasn’t been great in extra innings, allowing 11 runs in 21 innings for a 4.71 ERA. But the hitters have been even worse — they’ve scored just five runs while hitting .198. Tigers relievers have allowed five home runs in extra innings but Tigers hitters have hit none. Miguel Cabrera has been at his worst in the tightest situations — he’s 1-for-8 with two walks in extra innings and 5-for-37 (.135, all singles) in “late and close” situations. Prince Fielder is 9-for-41 (.220) in late and close situations and 1-for-10 in extra innings.

Valverde isn’t a good closer and the Tigers’ bullpen is mediocre. But it’s still a team game. The Tigers have been a great team for the first eight innings of games, not so great after, and that’s the key reason they’ve underperformed their Pythagorean record (projected win total based on runs scored and allowed) by four wins so far.

David Schoenfield | email
SweetSpot blogger
Senior writer of SweetSpot baseball blog
Former deputy editor of Page 2
Been with since 1995
Tags:Detroit Tigers, Prince Fielder, Jose Valverde, Miguel Cabrera

very interesting!!

This may be so far out of the box that it can not be done but follow me here. We have been very proactive at getting help to get better. In the past year we have added a second batting coach, hired a base running guru, hired a lefty to throw BP, and even shuffled our coaching staff. Is it possible that we could get the man that taught Valverde this splitter or some coach that was a close mentor to come in for a day. up to a week to be a consultant?? Maybe this person could spot the problem. Probably not ethical if he is still with another MLB team. By now we certainly have looked at tape from 2010 when he had a great splitter.

spot a dead arm? Papa can’t pitch. Period. And he sure can’t pitch 2 days in a row. 3 years ago he could, but not now. He’s no t a closer anymore. I wish they’d cut him. Experiment over.

it is his sinker that is hurting. it is established that his fastball is OK. what worries me tho is that the velocity is down on it and his been declining 86.4 (2010), 85.9, 84.5 and now 83.4. Is it a grip thing or an arm velocity thing? 95.2 (2010), 93.8, 93.8, 91.8 in 2013…..i’d say it might be an arm velocity thing, right? I know they are going to try to fix him – but who knows.

jose’s splitters x-movement went from -3.0 in 2010, -3.0, -2.3, to now -1.6…….so maybe it can be fixed!

When are the Tigers going to dump Valverde? He’s a lead weight! If Leyland doesn’t see it, cut him to too!

Not Ultimately Leylands decision to cut Valverde……that’s Dombrowskis decision, although I think Leyland would be consulted.

“Royals have AL’s best ERA at 3.45. Have allowed 3 runs or less in 11 straight games.
Staff ERA in June is 1.62.”
Are they that good or the Tigers not that good?
Those 11 games included: Houston , Twins, Tigers

It has appeared to me that Jeff Jones is very very good at spotting things on video and applying them with positive results. If he can’t fix Valverde, who can? I think the Potato is just done. The Tigers seem to be the last to recognize these things.

I’m not ignoring the hitting issue, but the bullpen issue is more pressing at this moment.

The offense? They need Jackson back.
They need VMart to find the empty spots.
They need consistency from Fielder.
They need to rest Avila to get the most of him when he plays.
Dirks back at the 6th spot could get back the real Dirks.
Play 2 E more

Good points. Avila is being ruined IMO. His confidence is shaking. The offensive issue is affecting his defense. He now has lost his ability to throw runners out. It will eventually affect his game-calling which is the major excuse for keeping him.
In fairness to him they should send him down. Our pitchers do not NEED Alex Avila. They might prefer him and like him but they don’t NEED him. It is time to realistically look at what HE needs. He needs AAA pitching to restore his confidence.
He has a pretty swing and he has a good eye. Is that not worth fixing?

Is this a portent of things to come?

“As a GM, you’re always talking to other GMs … that’s kind of your responsibility,” Dombrowski said. “But in our situation, talks don’t really get serious until the trade deadline.”

According to Dombrowski, the Tigers’ players should feel secure. He said there are no immediate plans to trade for a reliever to replace Jose Valverde, who has given up seven runs, including five home runs, in his last 5 1/3 innings.

“Papa Grande has had a rough 10 days, but he was solid before then,” Dombrowski said. “His velocity is still good. Yesterday, his fastball was up to 94, 95.

“People always talk about getting a dominant closer. There are very few dominant closers out there. You can exchange a lot of closers and get the same ups and downs with each one.”


Earth calling David Dombrowski. Please pick up the phone David.

to be fair that’s exactly what he would say if he was about to trade for a suitable closer (jennings, papelbon)

jennings = Janssen, my bad

off topic.
i turn 29 at midnight. sad to say i didn’t get to experience the 1984 WS chapionship –but nice to be conceived during such a good season.

Hey i was born in 84 as well. Happy birthday to ya. I am also very proud of the fact that i was born the last year the tigers won it all.

🙂 and i thought i was much younger than everyone else

Hey, happy birthday!!!!! Just think you only have about twenty hours to wait for the game!!

Sometimes after a loss you can’t wait for the next game – but after last game i am not as anxious as usual:/

On a happier note bonderman had another awesome start wednesday. Even better this time. 8 innings 3 hits 0 runs 2 walks 5 strikeouts on only 89 pitches. Its a shame cuz wilhemsen cost him the win by giving up 5 runs while only getting 1 out. Seattle only scored 1 run. They should of let bondo finish the game. I mean like i said only 89 pitches.

84!? JV is pissed at 104~

spending the day going through jVV stats, splits, DATA: and so far the best one i’ve seen is this: in 44 pitches, the percentage of splitters batters have made contact with inside the strike zone is 100%.

in 2013 (if that was not clear)

No wonder VV has been reluctant to throw his splitter. It can be awesome and sometimes it can just hang there. VV needs an effective second pitch to go with his still decent fastball. He’s not too old to adjust. Heck, Grilli is 36 and he really only started to come on at 34.

His splitter has not been great since his first year with the Tigers. In 2010, he was not a cardiac reliever. During his perfect save season he did it by locating his fastball and throwing very few splitters that is the year he became a cardiac reliever. The talk that season was where is the splitter, but he was successful in save chances, so nobody worried too much about it. Also, there has been talk since 2011 when he was not throwing it much that the pitch is hard on the arm. JVV’s fastball does not have the same movement and if he does not bury the splitter, it gets hit hard. He has to command and bury the splitter. He does not command the fastball now, so even if he buries the split, hitters are not going to chase. I think he is done as a reliable closer and he has rarly been a good reliever in non save situations.

Actually, VV’s fastball is still okay and can still touch 96. It is usually not overpowering, but he hasn’t been walking many hitters and only 1 HR has been hit off it this year. In the past, VV got by without an effective secondary pitch. As I indicated, he needs one now because he can no longer rely on the fastball alone. The point is he needs to adjust.

well to be fair, his velocity on it HAS dropped steadily over the past 4 years (95.7 avg in 2009, 95.2, 93.8, 93.3, 92.7 this year)….but he still gets it up when he needs it (i.e. 94-96) —-
But why can he not rely on the 4 seamer alone anymore? I think i might have a suggestion: batters have “put him in their books” price would say. Grande was in the NL before DET and closers aren’t seen by batters very often – takes a long time to learn their stuff. Time has come in many ways!
Jose’s conditions of his contract are based on games he finishes. He has what, 16? It’s like a half million every level – so the ORG might save some money here.

Outstanding information birthday man!!. Could you post the same data for his regular fastball?? No data for FS in 09. Did he junk it?? What did he throw?? Has he thrown that get me over slider any???

in the “x” direction: -7.6 (I am assuming a unit of distance) in 2010, -7.0, -5.8 (2012), -6.7 this year.
in the “z” direction: 7.8 (2010), 7.5, 7.2, 6.2 (this year)
no sightings of a slider but there is something he threw 2x with about -11.1 x_direction movement, and 6.7 z_direction movement. it’s a papa special.

Birthday Boy…Offhand, I recall VV finishing out Cleveland by throwing strike-out splitters to Raburn and Aviles. I verified my recollection through Gameday. I’m not sure how that info jives with FanGraphs.

fangraphs is based off of pitchFX, so does it jive with pitchFX is the question. the answer is yes and the other is that they were both splitters outside of the zone…particularly with aviles.
take a look

That raises a few issues. For instance, when VV throws the splitter in the zone does that mean he has hung it and it then becomes very hittable? And, when VV is outside the zone and getting favorable resluts does it mean he buried it and/or it moves so well it is giving hitters lots of trouble?

Birthday Boy…Regarding the fastball, scouts used to grade a 94 fastball as outstanding. VV sits at around 93 and can stll touch 96. 91-93 was graded as very good. It has been a bit since I was more hands-on with the game so those standards could be a liitle different now, but I would guess not by much if any.

Also, I am curious about JV and his velocity. Do you have any year-to-year statistical info about him like you provided for VV?

fangraphs really puts pitchfx to good use: you can look at all you want!

Generally with most pitchers it is about command, movement and control. Higher velocity can certainly help cover up a location issue, but if you continue to place 98 in the wrong place you are going to pay for it. Look at Max’s fastball command and the fact that it is greatly improved in the last year. That is the reason he is having a great season and his improvement last year is why I stated at the first of the season that he was my preseason pick to win the Cy Young. Justin’s command of the fastball was spotty and causing him problems. When command is off, it is harder to get hitters to chase the off speed pitches.

Bottom line for me is VV has decent velocity with his heater, as DD noted recently, and he is not walking everyone .His issue is hanging his secondary pitch and getting bombed as a result. VV needs to adjust in someway to become more consistent with the splitter like he was when he K’d Raburn and Aviles consecutively. DD knows that and that is why he previously stipulated VV needed to throw it to return to the Tigers .

What I read is that Valverde was good up until 10 days ago. Doesn’t that mean his arm is tired? Just like the end of last year and our GM can’t recognize it? We have many young players and a bright future. Who will be the next manager?

Let’s move on. It’s pretty clear we need to.

To me, this is the topic of current import to Tiger fans. I’ve recently read alot about it on this blog and read/heard about it on different media sites as well. So, I’ll comment as I wish and you can move on to wherever or whatever you wish. It’s not like you don’t beat the drum to the same tune over and over again.

Evan, thanks again. Duh, I figured out the set up in fans graph and researched it. Very good data!! Terrible drop off in velocity after his first year in Detroit. He went nuts using the splitter that first year here. But now is now. The fastball has been very effective this year. What were the counts when the splitters were hit?? Any pattern?? No rocket science here. He has to throw the splitter out of the zone to be effective. Can he do it?? It’s really a shame because four bad pitches out of forty-two attempted have everyone upset. Seven Ks, zero walks, BUT four homers.
That will get you. Baseball is always about adjustment. What’s next?? Sure would like to see if those bad boys on the other teams can hit his fastball better than .167.

I think you are onto something about “splitter usage” and arm speed/strength. Major drop off in velocity there after he used the splitter so much.

Does Minnesota have a retractable roof on that field of theirs? If not, it is going to be a toss up whether this game is played tonight. This afternoon the chances get stronger and stronger for rain – it’s about 35% at 8pm and then it sky rockets after that (e.g. 56% chance at 9pm it’ll be raining, 67% chance at 11pm)

Now bare with me here. This is just an off the wall idea. Why dont they try finding a different pitch to go with that fastball. U hear of these pitchers reviving their career by adding a cutter or something. I mean look at mariana riviera. He added a cutter and he ended up being the best closer in the game. Scrap the splitter and see if theirs another pitch we can get him to throw. He only needs 1 other pitch to offset the fastball. Im sure someone within the organization could teach him a pitch that might be easier to throw than the splitter.

Richard, why are you so personally offended?. No need to. My point here is not directed to anyone on the BLOG it is a general comment on my feeling about Valverde. That he is finished. And that management must move on to find something.

just eat that 2M? i feel like you could get some inning out of papa – especially if you fix the splitter or add a cutter/slider/changeup…

Oops! Thanx for the clarification. I now understand your point

I see what you’re saying Evan but there is a pretty good possibility there isn’t anything left. And another very important issue here is the overall psyche of the team. Is it fair to expect them to play behind this guy?
Also, nothing changes the fact that he is completely unable to hold runners on base, and unless you are a totally dominant pitcher that with a K ratio of 1.5/inning, then you run the risk of a critical run being able to cross the plate in the last inning of a ball game.
The way it is with VV is a hit, stolen base, a grounder to 2nd and a sac’fly scenario is a distinct possibility.
This guy PROVED he was finished last year. NOBODY in MLB was remotely interested in taking a whirl with him. We all know why we got him back. He was cheap and Dombrowski had to make a desperate CYA move when his ridiculous expectation for Rondon failed to materialize.

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