Case closed between Tigers, O’s?

The case of Bud Norris, Torii Hunter and Paul Nauert is now closed, if it wasn’t already. The history between Justin Verlander and Nelson Cruz might well go on.

Perhaps it was fitting that soon after an MLB spokesperson said the investigation was closed on Monday’s bench-clearing incident between Norris and Hunter, Justin Verlander seemingly provided on-field closure in Wednesday’s Tigers-O’s series finale with a fastball behind Cruz.

It drew warnings for both dugouts from home plate umpire John Tumpane, and what we’ll call a bodily adjustment from Cruz. It also provided a spark for the Orioles.

“I don’t know if it was on purpose or not. Only he knows that,” Cruz said. “I think that got me going, woke me up.”

Said O’s manager Buck Showalter: “I think he helped us make an adjustment, kind of got everybody on a different intensity level after he threw at Nelson.”

The score, at least, supported the notion. It was a 5-0 game when Verlander threw the fourth-inning wayward pitch. It was 6-5 by the time Verlander finished off the fifth.

The fact that Cruz produced two big hits during the rally didn’t go against the idea at all. On the next pitch after the inside fastball, it took a diving stop up the middle from Danny Worth to make sure Cruz’s single didn’t drive in a run. An inning later, he got under a curveball that was headed for the dirt and sent it out for a three-run homer.

“We knew it was going to come at some point this series,” O’s catcher Steve Clevenger said. “It is what it is. And it kind of fired us up and woke us up a bit.”

Verlander, not surprisingly, denied there was any purpose to the pitch.

“It just slipped,” Verlander said.

Manager Brad Ausmus, who suggested two days earlier the situation was over, supported the notion.

“As skilled as pitchers are at this level, balls get away from pitchers,” Ausmus said. “It’s as simple as that, just like I’m sure the ball got away from Bud Norris [on Monday].”

It’s a little more complicated than that between Verlander and Cruz. It was Cruz who tormented the Tigers during the 2011 ALCS with one big hit after another, including a blast off a 100 mph fastball from Verlander in Game 5 at Comerica Park. Cruz supposedly celebrated the shot a bit much.

“I didn’t see it,” Verlander said at the time. “I don’t know if he’s giving himself props or maybe me props. I don’t know. But I heard that they maybe said I was staring him down in the dugout. I didn’t see anything. I had no problem.”

The home run was Cruz’s third against Verlander in his career, including postseason play. The only active player with more than three (not counting Alex Rodriguez at this point) is Verlander’s teammate, Victor Martinez.

Since the O’s and Tigers are done for the regular season schedule, the only chance they could meet again would be in postseason play. Maybe if the O’s fall out of the race and trade Cruz, Verlander and Detroit could meet him again in the regular season.


usually I say “yea right” but I believe that they are telling the truth: it was an accident. Verlander would at least throw into his ribs, not at his head. even if it is bigger due to the roids.

Since the org has oft given former players a shot, why not sign Kyle Farnsworth? He DID “spear” that royals player during a scrum in 2003. We could get him cheap and he hasn’t been terrible this year. It is my feelings everyday AL will be on the everyday DL if he keeps up this load….and then you’ll want another arm.

Sorry ,but no way. He had a second chance when traded for IRod and that was already too much

Farnsworst with Detroit ,6.75

yea but career AL FIP is 3.84 with 3.3 BB/9 and a K/9 of 8.7. i will admit he is geting tore UP this year by LHB

Everybody in the pen is better than Farnsworth. Why do you always want The Tigers to pickup useless, washed up players?

I agree that he isn’t really any good….albeit he’s better than some other x-tigers they’ve given a shot in the recent past. With that said, he certainly wouldn’t be the worst pitcher the tigers send to the mound this year. For example,
Everyday AL: 1.30WHIP
Verlander: 1.33WHIP
Joba: 1.40WHIP
Farnsworth 1.41WHIP
Phil Coke’s 1.96WHIP
Cool Hand Luke 3.00WHIP
Ortega 3.00WHIP

(numbers this year)

You can put up all the numbers you want but the fact is there’s no way that Farnsworth is better than anybody in our current pen, a pen that has been doing very well if anybody notices.

Our Tigers have a 24-12 record which puts us in first place in the AL Central. Long ways to go yet as we have not quite gotten to that magical 40th game. Our manager has had some fun with the batting orders and most of them have worked as our team leads the league in hitting . The man has filled out 36 lineups and never put Jackson at leadoff!!! Our starting pitchers have done stellar work with an 18-8 record. That means the bullpen has a record of 6-4. Not bad. The bullpen also has 12 saves in 16 save opportunites. Just one AL team with better numbers, the Red Sox. Remember that in two of our blown saves we actually WON the game. Teammates picking up teammates. That’s just the way the 2014 Tigers have played so far. Our relievers are about third in “holds” in the AL so our setup guys are doing okay most of the time. Is everything rosy in the bullpen?? Of course, not. It never is. Chamberlain has thrown over 20 pitches three times in the past ten days. Not a good sign. The total pitch count for AlAl so far this season is slightly too high. Four days in a row for him did not help this issue. To correct these two situations what do we need?? We really need to have Phil Coke step up and get a batter or two out in the eighth inning from time to time. Go Tigers!!!!

Good assessment.

i was agreeable until the next to last statement. Coke needs to exorcise his pitching demons in the mopup role for now, not high leverage situations. He might work his way back into those situations, but now is not the time.

Thanks, Rich. Nothing wrong with the BP through 5/14. Now how do they do the next 16 days???. We will see both Texas and Oakland before 6/1. On Sunday, my main concern will be addressed. Come on Anibal!!!! Go Tigers!!

I watched Oakland over the weekend against the Nats. Same old A’s; you can beat ’em but it’s like herding cats. As we well know.

Where is Putkonen?? Not listed on the Toledo roster.

He is expected to replace Ray. Once Aníbal is back, Miller will be gone

He was ,or is, on rehabilitation assignment. He is eligible to be activated today

What about keeping Miller and sending JD Mart to Toledo to get steady ABs???. OF injury is still more of a concern and we have eight in the bullpen.

You find a good cat herder, you don’t let ‘um get away.

Corey Knebel pitches 7th for @MudHens … K, K, 1B, PO. 18 pitches, 13 strikes. FB 94-95 mph, good curve. #Tigers #OnTheRoadToDetroit?

He threw 31 pitches over two innings with 4Ks and BB besides the hit.

Knebel making pretty rapid progress—-keep an eye on Kevin Whelan too. Tigs got him back after trading him 8 years ago. (in the Sheffield deal)!!! He’s doing well.

Better if true. You never throw behind the batter. He would be going back and hit harder. That adds offense to the insult.Mejias to Everett to DY
Retaliation must be done the next inning, premeditation and taking the score in account show lack of bravery.
“If they hit one of mine, I will hit two of them” more or less, Don Drysdale

More on the Tigers’ baserunning and how it translates into offense
Sent with At Bat
Fangraphs has Tigers 12nd and 14th in MLB in baserunning

Thanks for reading. Fangraphs has the Tigers ranked in a different spot for Baserunning Runs than Baseball Prospectus. Not sure if there are different formulas for it like WAR or not.

Just have to smile when I look at the team fielding stats and see how well our pitchers and catchers are competing against the basestealers. The pitchers, of course, are simply paying attention to the runners and throwing over to first base more. Meanwhile, the catchers have gone from dead last in throwing out runners to second in the league. We also are much improved in limiting wild pitches and passed balls. Again it’s pitchers and catchers working together. Double plays?? We have converted more than we have in the past. Tip of the cap to Kinzler, Romine, and Worth. Also, wonder how many DPs have involved our catchers. Go Tigers!!!!!

How about a shout out to Ausmus and his staff? Perhaps a correlation with the improved catching anything to do with a young manager who played double digit years in the Bigs as a cather?

2.5 inches of rain here in 12 hours. Boston may get some of that, although it should start to break up today.

The forecast here in Boston calls for a downpour overnight and Saturday morning, but it isn’t forecast to roll in until late tonight. We’ll see. I’m getting some extra running in around Boston this morning.

And Boston is a great place to do that! Do you cross the bridge to Bunker Hill?

Sac Fly??? We lead the AL with 19. Sac bunt?? We are next to last with four. Only the As have fewer. The As and us have the most wins. Not sure if it means anything but we will play them soon. Personally I like bunts that score runs. We have two of those and we won both of those games. Go Tigers!!!!

Do you think JV has lost his fastball (the really good one, I mean) permanently or is he still recovering from the core surgery? As much trouble as it used to get him into by overthrowing it–he is the type of pitcher that does need it to make everything else effective.

I think it’s the surgery. Lacking the fastball, he uses more secondary pitches and the walks go up. My opinion anyway.

Not sure how much this enters in to the new JV but he has become a nibbler and the umps don’t give him the close calls on 3-2 pitches. Just trust your stuff.

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