Friday, April 30, 2010

Tiger Haiku of The Week

From Zero to a Hero
Brandon Inge Came Through Against The Twins
Ian Matching Brandon Arm Tats

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sticking it to the Twins feels good

Boesch looks like he could be the goods. Sweet, lefty stroke and calm under pressure. This kid has some serious potential. Tigers making the Twins pay after a terrible call by lazy umpire. I only feel comfortable because Gardenhire is out of the game. I would feel even more comfortable if Leland got kicked out too. He could still make this interesting with some terrible substitutions.

OK, I need to give Inge some kudos - he's had two nice nights in a row. Way to go Brandon; Cooperstown awaits.

Smart baseball

Leading by one run, bases loaded, one out and Cabrera at the plate.

The Twins had one choice and that was to hit Cabrera. That's just smart baseball.

Even ESPN analysts love Inge

"The young man has so much courage. I look for him to earn his first Gold Glove and another All Star appearance now that he is healthy."

[NO QUESTION STEVE, HIS GAUDY .256 AVERAGE AND 11 RBI PUTS HIM RIGHT THERE WITH AROD AND LANGORIA AS THE LEAGUE'S MOST FEARED SLUGGING THIRD BAGGERS.]

"He had 20 errors last year but sometimes that is a deceiving stat."

[WHAT THE HELL IS SO DECEIVING ABOUT 20 ERRORS? HE THREW 20 BALLS OVER CABRERA'S HEAD. HOW DOES THAT RANK WITH COPPERFIELD MAKING THE GRAND CANYON DISAPPEAR?]

"I think that just shows that he tries so hard some times to make a play. I gotta tell you, that's the type of guy I want to play with."

[EXCEPT WHEN HE COMES UP WITH MEN IN SCORING POSITION PHILLIPS. DO SOME RESEARCH. NEXT, YOU'LL BE TALKING ABOUT BONDERMAN'S UNCANNY ABILITY TO START GAMES STRONG.]


I want Inge's publicist.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where are they now? Cecil Fielder

It was a busy week for Cecil Fielder as he toured the Midwest in an effort to promote his new book, Big Time. He started the weekend off at a celebrity softball game where big Cecil showed that old All Star form.


He demonstrated his athleticism as an opening act at the Miley Cyrus concert in Cleveland on Tuesday by sumo wrestling Sean Rogers.


Big Daddy worked up quite an appetite with all that travel and headed East finally to participate in some old fashioned R and R.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

WTFIUWRP?


I'm not a big believer in Sophomore slumps but Cooperstown might want to hold off on polishing Ricky's bust for a while. His ERA is approaching 10 and more concerning, he is not fooling anybody at the plate. His fastball is the only pitch he gets over on a consistent basis and his deadly slider has been soft at best. Through two innings today, Ricky has given up six runs on eight hits and will be lucky to survive through the fifth inning.

Our heralded 1-2 combo with Verlander has been lame at best this year which is all the more reason to be hopeful as you have to believe it's a matter of time before talents like this start to revert back to form.

Austin Jackson: Not Bad


This kid is quickly making me forget about Curtis Granderson, especially when he faces left handed pitchers. Jackson is batting .306 through 18 games including a 420 foot home run and double to start today's game against Texas. Granderson is hitting .259 for the Yankees.

Aside from his average, it's hard not to admire the way he plays the game. He laid down an outrageous bunt on Saturday. With a man on first, he dropped a bunt down the third base line that was so well placed that Gerald "Lard" could have run it out. The Texas catcher didn't bother with a throw. In the same game, he saved a run by running down a laser beam to center field, making an over the shoulder catch like a wide receiver running a deep post pattern. He brings five tools to the table and should only get better as he learns the nuances of the game. Through the first month of the season, this is looking like another notch in the belt for Dumbrowski.

Cabrera Trade Among All-Time Best



I want to take a break from Inge-bashing to talk about the greatest trade in the history of the organization. This is Cabrera's third season and it's safe to say he is working out OK. Here are Miggy's stats through the first eighteen games:

26/72 .361 AVG 22 RBI 9 2B 4 HR 11 BB

Great stats but the knock on Cabrera early last year was a weak HR to RBI ratio so let's take a look at how Miggy does with runners on base this year:

Runners On 15/40 .375 20 RBI (leads MLB)
RISP 12/23 .522
RISP w/ 2 outs 4/9 .444
*Cabrera has four plate appearances with bases loaded with 2 hits and one walk.

In short, if you have to throw strikes to Cabrera, he will hurt you. On three occasions this year, Cabrera has tied the score in the 9th inning while facing an opponent's closer. This is usually the one pitcher who is concerned with walking Miggy as they would rather Cabrera tie the score than bring the winning run to the plate. In these situations, they throw their best pitch for a strike and Cabrera's best is simply better. Cabrera is at his best in situations where stakes are highest and typically delivers as if a case of Krispy Kremes is on the line.

In 2009, Cabrera was a legitimate MVP candidate after batting .323 with 103 RBI and 34 home runs. This year is posed to be much better as Miggy is coming up with men on base at a much higher clip with AJack, Damon and Mags hitting over .300. Indeed, Miggy hit so many solo shots because Cgrand and Mags couldn't get on base and Placido had an off-year marred with injuries.

The big concern with this trade was whether the Tigers were trading away the future to get Cabrera. Miggy just turned 27 and has a minimum of eight productive seasons ahead of him. This compares with Cameron Maybin at 23 years old, not exactly a big difference. In three years after the trade, Maybin has a grand total of 21 RBI which is less than Cabrera's total through first 18 games of 2010. He is turning out to be a nice player but not he phenom that Cabrera was at his age (see WS ring and multiple All Start appearances prior to his arrival in Detroit).


Andrew Miller was also in this trade and the former first rounder was thought to be a future All Star. In two seasons, he is 9-15 with a 5.41 ERA in 34 starts. Miller is not on the active squad in 2010 compared with Dontrelle Willis who has been a disaster the past two years with an ERA over 9.00 but is finding a way to be productie in 2010 with three starts and a 4.24 ERA. Miller has dealt with multiple injuries in his tenure with Marlins and it is not outrageous to say that Dumbrowski saw it coming. Miller is 6'7", skinny and pitches with a violent, all-arm style that rarely translates to a long career. If Dontrelle can remain productive as 4th or 5th starter through the end of this year, the trade would make sense on the merits of pitchers alone.



Is Cabrera still immature? Absolutely. Does he eat too many gorditas at Taco Bell every night after the game? Probably. Did he get boozed up during our biggest series of the year last year? He may or may not have but I am pretty sure he hit a home run and double in his first two at-bats in play-in game with Twins, all with a wicked hangover and shiner from his old lady. I can deal with the intangibles that come with our husky cleanup hitter as long as he continues to rake at this pace.

Old timers may point to the Doyle Alexander trade which delivered the pennant in 1987 but the loss of Smoltz put us in a hole for two decades. They will point to Rocky Colavito and may have a point. Rocky won two MVP's with Tigers and his 1961 season may be the best ever by a Tiger (.290, 45 HR, 140 RBI). That being said, Cabrera has the talent to put those numbers up every year for a long time and this trade will turn out to be our most impactful.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Inge draws inspiration from Todd Jones



Former Tiger closer Todd Jones used to say "They pay me to get the last out" and he did it on a regular basis over a long period of time. Inge obviously looked to him for inspiration early in his career and still heeds that sage advice today.

After making the last out in the 3rd, 4th and 6th inning, Tiger fans responded by voting him 2nd for Player of the Game with 21% of the votes. I bet if they showed all of the results, we'd see Cecil Fielder still getting some votes from these blind idiots in the Motor City.


In other news, Eddie Bonine was very impressive in long relief tonight. He threw strikes and let his defense make plays. I'd like to see him take the Zach Miner role and give us some serious innings this year. I understand I may be running the risk of being premature, but Zumaya was much better than impressive tonight. His fastball was electric and he is looking a lot like the dominant rookie in 2006. His five strikeouts tonight were mainly of the swing and miss variety. Our bullpen has been rock solid all year, save that little setback in the bottom of the ninth last night.

Incredible Rally Ends with Inge

Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in 4th inning, scoring six runs and treating Ranger pitching like a rubber tee. Ranger owner Nolan Ryan finally broke a smile when he saw Inge finally step to the plate who ended the rally with a impotent fly to right field.

Great job Brandon, that should get some Player of the Game votes from dumb asses across the metro Detroit area.

*On a positive note, Cabrera is the best Tiger hitter since Ty Cobb.

Breaking Tiger News!

Holy shit! Brandon Inge just stranded Cabrera at 2nd base with a chance to tie the game. His limp pop fly to center field drew giggles from the crowd of 6,000 people at the Ballpark in Arlington. Inge is lucky that Cabrera is usually counting butterflies at 2nd base or he might actually be pissed at the twenty times he has been stranded there this season.

You suck Inge. I hope you quit.

Brandon Inge: Tiger Killer



As if watching the Tigers strand runners is not torture enough, FSD likes to poll for Player of the Game and shows you the results in the 7th inning every game. I can't remember a game where Brandon Inge didn't post in the Top 3. Is this a cruel joke or are Tiger fans this incompetent? Inge has reached and possibly eclipsed Dominic Raiola status in my official scorekeeping.

Supporters will say that he plays with "fire" and "heart". He also plays with an inability to deliver with men in scoring position, which has cost the Tigers 3-4 wins at least in 2010. Case in point, last night's loss to the lame-ass Rangers. Top of the 5th inning and Cabrera has just plated two more runs with bases loaded. Rookie Brennan Boesch loads the bases with a single which brings up Tiger Killer. As custom, he doesn't have the self-awareness to simply take pitches until he is called out or walks. No, he swings at the first pitch and hits a fungo ground ball to end the inning on a double play.

I am not simply bringing anecdotal evidence to the table. Here are Tiger Killer's stats through 17 games:

Bases Empty 7/28 .250
RISP 5/24 .208
RISP w/ 2 outs 1/10 .100
Bases Loaded 0/4 .000

This is not a new phenomenom. In 2009, Inge hit .170 with RISP and two outs over a full season. I am pleading with you Mr. Dumbrowski, get rid of this AAA third baseman. Notice that I am not asking Leland who clearly does not want the pictures to surface that Inge snapped off several years ago. I can think of no other reason for why Leland continuously pounds the table about "his warrior" who "plays with more heart than anyone". Heart? Miguel Cabrera looks like he could give a shit most nights but he drives in more runs than anyone. Heart and fire are over-rated when you can't hit a big league breaking ball.

My solution is simple. Move Cabrera back to 3rd base where the dropoff in defense is much less than you think. Let Carlos play 1B and give a legitimate chance to one of our young players in LF with Mags or Damon hitting out of DH spot every night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

That's a new one

With Guillen on 2nd and two outs, the Tigers come up with the clutch hit from Sizemore. On his way around 3rd base, he trips over the bag and pulls a hamstring. That's a new one even for the Tigers.

I'm adequately pissed off now and plan to lay in bed for two hours thinking about it. Maybe Ndonkeykong Suh can suit for a couple months each year. I bet he can hit a slider.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tigers meeting my expectations in Anaheim

The Tigers outhit the Angels 11-10 and lost. The night before, they outhit the Angels 9-4 and lost. This is a troubling pattern that started on April 11th when the Tigers had 18 hits but also left 19 RISP in a game they barely won 9-8 against Cleveland.

Detroit currently has the sixth highest batting average in MLB at .275 and the 2nd best in American League (behind Kansas City of all teams). They have the league leader in RBI in Cabrera who is hitting .364, our rookie leadoff hitter Jackson is hitting .328 and Magglio is starting strong at .316 (Side Note: Ex-Tigers Ivan Rodriguez and Placido Polanco are currently in the Top 10 in hitting). The Tigers also draw walks at an outstanding pace, trailing only the mighty Yankee lineup in on-base percentage. In spite of our ability to get on base, we are 21st in MLB in total RBI. In other words, we are not clutch and inept at manufacturing runs.

This falls on the coach. If your lineup can outhit the other lineup consistently, the manager needs to find a way to outscore the other team. As strong as our average is, we are not a powerful lineup and finish bottom half in power numbers. This predicates a manager who can set productive lineups and understands how to manufacture runs. They don't keep stats on this but I'm going on record as saying the Tigers lead the league in men stranded at 2nd base with no outs. In particular, Leland does very little to energize the bottom of our order with hit and run, bunts or steals. It is also alarming to see us start slow so often. Four of our wins came from Tigers beating up on weak bullpens and too many Top 3 pitchers shut us down. The Tigers need to come ready to play and jump on pitchers early before they have their best stuff just like opposing teams do to us.

It's not all on Leland (though I will put last year's collapse squarely on his ineptitude). Our pitching staff is 25th in opposing batting average and needs to improve, particularly Verlander and Ricky who have yet to overwhelm anybody. I think they will come around but it's worth noting that Minnesota is 22nd in opposing batting average and falls lower than Tigers in most batting statistics except RBI. I've long said that I would trade Cabrera and Verlander for Twins coach Ron Gardenhire and believe we would win more games the very next season.

That won't happen so I am forced to hope that our pitching reverts to form in a hurry, lest we spend the entire season watching from behind the vile Twins again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

10PM EST games are bullshit

Look, I am a huge Tiger fan. My mood is typically predicated on the result of the previous day's ballgame. I watch over 100 ball games every season and sat through the 9th inning dutifully for years of Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney circus acts. I live in D.C. and pay for two cable packages (Comcast and DirecTV) so I can watch the game on either T.V. depending on my wife's schedule.

But, I am too God damned old for 10PM starts. I work for a living but there is just no damn way I am watching my boy Dontrelle (formerly known as D-Train) throw 110 pitches in the first four innings. As much as I want to see "Easy" Eddie Bonine toss some long relief, I can't start watching something that I know won't end until after 1AM. I mean, I know there is a chance that Inge might come up in the 9th inning with two men on and another chance to ground into a double play. I think I will just take that chance and do my cussing in the morning when I check ESPN at 7AM.

It's 9:30 as I write this and I'm fighting just to finish up before I fall asleep as my wife watches Dancing with Stars. I should be watching Gerald "Lard" swinging and missing at a high fastball with Carlos stranded at 2nd base. I could be watching Raburn dropping another fly ball with two outs in the 8th inning or commenting on how I can't remember the last time we stranded this many men on base. Instead, I am going to bed irritated that the Tigers will have one more loss in the morning when I wake up.

That's what sucks about the West Coast. I think the Tigers hate the games as much as I do. They are listless out there every time. I don't care if it's Seattle, Anaheim or Oakland - I always go to bed with the terrible feeling that we're losing. Then I get to feeling guilty that my team is playing and I am not supporting them. I lay there in bed thinking about whether Miggy crushed another home run that I didn't witness or if Austin is still out-playing Grandy. Nothing worse than laying in bed until midnight and not sleeping while I could have been dozing off while Rod waxed on about Bondo's "wicked slide piece partner!".

Then again, I could get the West Coat Christmas present and wake up to our 8th win of the year and my day will be filled with sunshine and I might even stay up tomorrow night to get disappointed.