Game 6: Why Victor Martinez tried to steal 2nd

LA skyline 002

There were plenty of decisions and events that went into Tuesday’s Tigers loss, from Kenley Jansen’s move not to pitch around Miguel Cabrera to Brad Ausmus’ move to try to get a fourth out from Joba Chamberlain in the 10th inning, then turn to Phil Coke against two left-handed hitters, including one that was previous 3-for-6 against him and produced the walkoff double. Arguably the most interesting one, however, came on the basepaths.

Victor Martinez extended the game with his two-out, ninth-inning single off Jansen to score Ian Kinsler. Just three pitches later, however, he was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the rally with Austin Jackson left standing at the plate in a tie game and Jansen just shy of 20 pitches thrown.

The decision to go, Brad Ausmus said, came from Martinez and first-base coach Omar Vizquel working in tandem.

“Victor and Omar were in cahoots, just in terms of finding something they could take advantage of from the pitcher,” Ausmus said. “And it’s not really a bad play, because if he’s out, you’ve got [Austin] Jackson leading off the next inning.”

That’s an arrangement that has been in place since the season began, in an effort to utilize Vizquel’s read on pitchers.

“I’ve given Omar, if he sees something that he can take advantage of, he’s got the capability of talking to the runner, telling him what he sees,” Ausmus said. “It actually was a close play. And we all know Victor, he’s not known for his speed. If he ends up getting there, now with a single, it’s the winning run. …

“Omar does a really good job watching these pitchers, picking up on things they do when they throw over or they throw home. It was a good effort.”

To see a way to swipe a base off a closer certainly isn’t new. Remember, it’s how teams were able to turn a baserunner into a run off former Tigers closer Jose Valverde with sometimes only one base hit, making the most of their limited opportunities.

The Tigers have been aggressive trying to swipe bases so far, carrying over the mentality they built during Spring Training. Even so, Tuesday marked the first time Detroit had even attempted to steal a base in the late innings of a close game — seventh inning or later with either a one-run game, tie score, or the tying run at least on deck, according to baseball-reference.com.

Given the stuff Jansen was throwing — Ausmus and others said it’s the hardest they’ve seen him throw — it might have been worth the chance to get Martinez into position to score on just a Jackson single. In this case, given how hard Jansen was throwing to the plate, it didn’t work.

Play of the game: Hard not to go with Carl Crawford’s walkoff double here, especially given how sharply it sliced towards the left-field line and past left fielder Rajai Davis once it bounced. Davis was playing closer towards the gap, while Crawford ended up with an opposite-field game-winner.

“It had a little fade to it,” Davis said. “I guess it was hit solid. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to skip like that, that much.”

Biggest out: Though Victor Martinez still tied the game immediately after Jansen struck out Miguel Cabrera, logic says Cabrera had an opportunity to get much more than a single if he connected with any of Jansen’s fastballs. He didn’t, ending a day in which he went hitless without getting the ball out of the infield.

Strategy session: With three lefty relievers available, Ausmus used Ian Krol for the left-handed hitters in the top half of the Dodgers order in the eighth inning, then went to Phil Coke once the lineup reset in the 10th. Drew Smyly, Ausmus said, was ready to face Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Either if need be, but then stay in for potential long relief.

Line of the day: Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-4 with nothing hit out of the infield. It’s actually the second time he did that this year, having done the same against Kansas City’s Jason Vargas in the second game of the season.

Stat of the day: The Tigers and Dodgers combined to go 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base.

Print it: “We’ve stayed in touch since I played here. We’d often have dinner together or exchange barbs in texts. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in the game, and I consider him a good friend. Although, if he doesn’t get me tomorrow’s starting pitcher soon, I’m not going to consider him a good friend.” — Ausmus on Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

38 Comments

Send Coke and Chamberlain back to the minors!

Joba did the job. He was left too long

I still don’t get that steal attempt with Victor, nothing is set in stone that he scores from 2nd anyways on a single. I love the guy and love how great he handles first base when he gets so few chances to play in the field, but stealing at such a pivotal time? Granted if he is safe and AJ hits him in it is a genius call, but that sent me to bed. I lasted until that out then decided if they lost the game I would be too disappointed in getting any less than 5 hours of sleep and see them lose. Guys got to start hitting!

The steal attempt didn’t bother me. Thought it pretty gutsy. I shut if off when Phil came out,

The trend lives, unable to win the game before hitting the road or the first game of a series on the road

Time to release Coke. Maybe he cant find the way back to the East coast
Davis , it is not a good outfielder. He is not a regular.
Hunter already has the sun in his back
The OF is a problem.
Nix was mentioned here and dismissed because it is the same we have. Nix can play Defense unlike Hunter and Davis

5 MM for a part time player.
They have been reckless not aggressive in the basepaths

I just woke up. The nice side of being retire, you might say. I went to bed after the top of the 10th., knowing the dodgers would win. Would love to see the stats on extra inning wins/losses, especially on cross country road trips. We are a .333 club playing the dodgers. Problem is we’re going to be a .333 club against everybody, if we don’t get the kinks ironed out. Too many lineup variations create more confusion than help. Actually we’ll be in just about every game because of the pitching. Losing Prince did not hurt that much IMP; he’s off to an Avila like start with Texas.
The key has and always will be Miggy. We sink or swim with him. Let’s jhope the contract doesn’t leave us drowning in sorrow. Through it all, there were three things I liked about the game:
1. Romine working two walks from the 8 spot, one of them off of Haren. He is much smoother than AG at short, but I worry about the stick.
2. A clean gutsy performance from the Hut. The slider was working nicely, and his command was very good.
3. Even though Max was on the losing end, he still has very good command. His K/W ratio continues to improve with each start.
Hpoefully, the Old English D’s get their bats humming tonight. Absent AJAX, nothhing from the offense last night. Until later.
3.

Notice I can’t type any more.

I’d suggest that if offense is an isssue-take out Avila not Castellanos.
It’s not just Leyland anymore. There are management people that have to see that the Coke has lost its fizzle.
Right now the Coke formula for late innings has been figured out by the competition.
Pressure on the base paths, LHB, Coke pointing finger to the sky and an L in the loss column.
Enough is enough.

Bad news both Kinsler and Miguel had pretty bad numbers vs Beckett. Avila and Victor have good numbers, so we wont see Castellanos today

Best outing from Joba in a long time especially using his off-speed stuff. If he can pitch like that for just 1 inning, I wouldn’t try and get more until he has his total confidence back. I’m still mad about that last game in Detroit. Looked like everybody was in a big hurry to hit the road. That was a winnable game.
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I got so tired of listening to Dan and Jim saying “soft ground ball, to so & so, bouncing ball to so & so.” If the pitchers are going to continue to pitch off the base, I think I’d move closer to the plate.

The play on Victor at second was close enough to have a replay, so I didn’t mind taking that chance.
Joba was good but I would have skipped Coke and gone straight to Smyly to finish the game no matter how long it took.
Miggy is keeping his top hand on the bat throughout his swing for some reason. He’s not firing through the zone. This has been mentioned before here and other places.
I put a personal 10 inning limit on my viewing so I unfortunately saw the end.

I took the opportunity to listen to Vin Scully last night. Still as smooth as ever and tells some stories I’ve never heard but I noticed some erroneous facts. We all get old………

watched the game until hunter slammed into that wall – went to bed and had nightmares essentially. Woke up with the 2 y.o. at 6am and listened to the radio broadcast. Personally I would have put in Smyly for 2 IP. If you have 2 solid long men it seems like a good time to use one of them.

Drew is, and will probably continue to be, mis-used again this year.

Yeah, there is a lucky opportunity here early on to use Smyly from the pen and last night was a perfect time for it. Obviously it’s easier for us to drop Coke than it is for the organization and they’re still testing for some reason.
Unfortunately, Phil had his one moment in the sun during the 2012 ALCS. He was closing against a club stacked with LH hitters who were in a horrendous slump and reeling from the loss of their HOF leader. From that he was thought to be the closer for 2013. For a minute.
On the plus side, Chamberlain was throwing mid-90s with a wicked slider. I think Hallion missed a call and the leadoff man eventually walked to set up the winner.

Hallion was awful last night. Almost every other call was one which previously was a strike or a ball, but not “this time”.
I lost my internet in the 10th so I didn’t get a chance to “Curse the Coke” when he was brought in. When is the next magic date that DD can let him go and save salary?

It was before opening day. Now, full salary minus the minimum

DD should be watching Hanrahan when he showcases. I would not preclude Madsen either.

Madson is no longer on the radar. Not sure about Hanrahan. If he does throw a showcase, I’d expect the Tigers will have somebody there, whether it’s due diligence or something more than that.

The team has to play better. Individuals have to up their game. 6 games into the season and this highly rated starting rotation has ONE victory???
The hitters need to support the starters much better than that.

With a bullpen like this I check Toledo regularly. Yesterday: Hardy was hit hard, J. Miller closed the game out with 1K and Daniel Schlereth pitched (1ip) for the opposition.

Since I mentioned uncharacterstic errors in Vin Scully’s broadcast last night, I may as well post this link:
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140408/SPORTS0104/304080114
I agree that Vin seemed to have bad copy as he also appeared to have received notes that mixed up Victor and Avila. He had Victor as 26 years old (I wish!) and Alex as the switch hitter.
All that aside, those of you with the option can listen to the legendary Scully while still watching the Tigers. Mario and Rod, I’m sure you’ll pardon me for two games.

Not only the age thing(86), but Scully is the show. No one else around to fill the airwaves. A legend indeed.

Greg

Offense in my opinion will be a problem all year. When Miggy looks as pathetic at the plate as he has the last few games we might be in trouble.

My heart wants me to stay awake for tonight’s game, I am so happy to have baseball back, but the guys need to start hitting to keep my interest into the wee hours of the morning. Come on guys, put on your big boy batting gloves and go after these pitchers!

“To be perfectly honest with you” I’m somewhat concerned about Cabrera. He doesn’t look right up there.

Cabby looked overpowered by fastballs last night at one point (jim and dan said) – which they admitted they’d never seen before.
.
Our offense is going to be hurting with Martinez batting poorly, Miggy batting human and Alex not getting hits. Talking about getting hits, has Collin’s got one yet? If not perhaps one of the AAA OF who is hitting well could come up and replace him.

I don’t think Cabby has been walked recently, either. With Martinez struggling – opponents are just going after Vmart and giving Cabby dirt to hit. Thus bringing Cabby’s numbers down.

Well, that explains it because he has looked pretty bad.

Let’s see now we have won four out of six with three one run wins and two tight losses. The one blow out game was a win. We will be offensively challenged this year because we will not have Jhonny and Omar, who had great seasons last year.
Also, we don’t have the Prince, who did get 100 rbis last year. Hey B Pena was a positive for our offense last year. And Tui did great until the All-Star break The bullpen certainly needs to improve but that is a common theme in April and not just in Detroit. So far, Al Al has pitched in four games and missed a fifth chance because Phil could not get Crawford out?? Where’s Luke?? Is he injured?? In early April, it should be like ST and just keep running all those guys out there and see who can do it. No need to get excited until everyone in the BP has pitched at least five times. Three BP guys just made their first opening day roster. Two vets from other teams being added. Plus an inexperienced manager. We better give this a little more than a week and a day to shake out. Stay calm.

Avisail Garcia began to bat big last night. He dove today
to catch a fly and could be seriously injured

that hamilton fellow dove into 1st base last night and is out 7 wks now. what a dope!

1. Rajai Davis (R) LF
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B
4. Victor Martinez (S) C
5. Austin Jackson (R) CF
6. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B
7. Tyler Collins (L) RF
8. Alex Gonzalez (R) SS
9. Anibal Sanchez (R) P

victor catching – I told ya’ll!

Evan……………..they’ve planned to have Victor catch these games for months. :)

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