Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank You Tigers For A Great Season!!

Now that the dust has settled and I've pulled my first out of the wall (some of you will understand), I wanted to reflect quickly on another great baseball season in Detroit.

At the beginning of the year many national writers thought Detroit would be a contender for the Central but few actually had them winning the division with either Chicago or Minnesota edging them out and Detroit falling in 2nd or 3rd place and I'm pretty sure not many had Detroit beating a team like the Yankees in the Divisional Series.

As we all know this wasn't the case and Detroit delivered what seemed to be a magical moment on a weekly basis from an Opening Day home win that I enjoyed with my newly born son, to JV's no-hitter, and then JV's streak of starts where he became must-see TV, to the winning streak in September, Miggy's dominance down the stretch, and finally to the Yankee's series. 

There were so many others memories like the comeback that spurred the streak against Chicago, VMart's RBI run when he came back from his injury, Turner getting the call, the emergence of Alex Avila, Fister, Delmon, Inge being sent down,  Verlander garnering heavy media support for the MVP, and so much more. 

In all honesty, Detroit over achieved this year and Texas was the better team as far as offense, depth, etc so we should all be excited that the Tigers made it as far as they did and brought us all along for the ride even if it didn't quite end the way we wanted it to.  It truly makes me happy to be a fan of this game and fanatic for this team.  Until next year (and please keep reading in the off season)...

Eat 'Em Tigers!!

-sK

Monday, October 10, 2011

Heeeeee's Back; Delmon Young to Replace Injured Magglio

It's been announced that the Tigers have added Delmon Young back to their postseason roster for Magglio Ordonez who fractured his ankle before game 1 (and still played on it) and is now done for the season and probably with the Tigers in general.

Jim Leyland has written up two line ups with Young in one batting third and playing left field and not in the other.  Leyland says he will be a game time decision.

The question now is what can Young truly contribute to the team if he was originally left off the roster.

UPDATE: It's been announced that Delmon will in fact hit 3rd and play left tonight.

Texas Two Step – Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers ALCS Matchup

I know I’m a game late and that I’ve missed a lot already from rain delays to a tight strike zone, to Verlander being pedestrian to Magglio out for the season, however there’s still time as the Tigers need to win 4 of the next 6 games and now the Tigers have announced that Delmon young will be replacing Magglio on the roster and will be in left field today. Saying that here’s how the team’s matchup…

Records
Texas: 96-66 on the season, 52-29 @ home, 44-37 on the road, finished the regular season 9-1
Detroit: 95-67 on the season, 45-36 on the road, 50-31 @ home, finished the regular season 7-3
Season Series: Tigers won 6-3

Team Stats – Hitting (all are team averages or totals)
Texas: Runs scored 855, batting average .283, OPS .800, 210 HR, 930 SO, 475 BB, 143 SB (76%) , 45 CS, .87 ground ball/fly ball ratio, 135 GDP
Detroit: Runs scored 787, batting average .277, OPS .773, 169 HR, 1143 SO, 521 BB, 49 SB, 20 CS (71%), .75 ground ball/fly ball ratio, 142 GDP

Team Stats – Pitching
Texas: Runs against 677, 3.79 ERA, 9 SHO, 94 QS, 461 BB, 1,179 SO, .244 batting average against, .307 OBP, .698 OPS, 19 BLSV, 170 HR, 35% CS, 1.24 wHIP, 2.56 K/BB, 7.36 K/9
Detroit: Runs against 711, 4.04 ERA, 14 SHO, 90 QS, 492 BB, 1,115 SO, .257 batting average against, .321 OBP, .717 OPS, 10 BLSV, 149 HR, 29% CS, 1.32 WHIP, 2.27 K/BB, 6.97 K/9

Summary: Texas has a devastating lineup with power in all but 1 spot and have 5 guys with 25 home runs or more which would most likely be 30 if it wasn’t for injuries to Hamilton and Cruz. The Tigers get a boost from Delmon Young returning to the lineup, but how good can he be if not healthy? Also, Miggy needs to show up; besides his home run against the Yankees he hasn’t done a whole lot when given the chance.

Although Texas lacks a big name like Verlander, the pitching staff is far deeper and the numbers show that in batting average against while striking out more and walking less the Detroit’s staff.

Head-to-Head Hitting (9 Games)
Texas vs. Detroit: Runs scored 37, .275 batting average, .723 OPS, 6 HR, 124 TB, 34 SO, 20 BB, 8 SB (80%), 2 CS,XBH 23
Detroit vs. Texas: Runs scored 45, .317 batting average, .854 OPS, 10 HR, 155 TB, 64 SO, 28 BB, 4 SB (80%), 1 CS, XBH 33

Head-to-Head Pitching
Texas vs. Detroit Hitters: 3-6, 4.96 ERA, 2 SV, 78 IP, 45 runs allowed, 28 BB, 64 SO, .317 batting average against, .369 OBP, .854 OPS, 10 HR, 155 TB, 1.65 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
Detroit vs. Texas Hitters: 6-3, 3.71 ERA, 2 SV, 80 IP, 37 runs allowed, 20 BB, 34 SO, .275 BAA, .326 OBP, .723 OPS, 6 HR, 124 TB, 1.32 WHIP, 3.8 K/9

Summary: Detroit dominated the series winning 2 of 3 game in each series, 2 of which we in Detroit and 1 in Texas. The last game played between the two was a Tigers home game on August 4th.

Probable Starters (Tigers down 1-0)
Monday/4:19 – Max Scherzer (15-9, 4.43 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95 ERA)
Tuesday/8:05 – Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.75 ERA)
Wednesday/4:19* - Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (11-13, 2.83 ERA)
Thursday/4:19* – TBD vs. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA)
Saturday/8:05* - TBD vs. TBD
Sunday/8:05* - TBD vs. TBD
*If necessary

Team Stats – Hitting (all are team averages or totals)
Texas @ Home: Runs scored 498, .296 batting Average, .860 OPS, 126 HR, 434 SO, 242 BB, 71 SB (79%), 19 CS, 61 GDP
Detroit Away: 374 runs scored, .267 batting average, .738 OPS, 75 HR, 632 SO, 276 BB, 17 SB (61%), 11 CS, 69 GDP

Detroit @ Home: 408 Runs scored, .287 batting average, .809 OPS, 93 HR, 511 SO, 245 BB, 32 SB (78%), 9 CS
Texas Away: 357 runs scored, .269 avg, .740 OPS, 84 HR, 496 SO, 233 BB, 72 SB (73%), 26 CS, 74 GDP

Team Stats – Pitching
Texas @ Home: 398 runs allowed, 4.37 ERA, 2 SHO, 233 BB, 572 SO, .256 BAA, .315 OBP, .738 OPS, 102 HR, 28% CS, 1.30 WHIP, 2.45 K/BB, 7.0 K/9
Detroit Away: 353 runs allowed, 4.06 ERA, 6 SHO, 267 BB, 590 SO, .252 BAA, .323 OBP, .722 OPS, 85 HR, 31% CS, 1.33 WHIP, 2.21 K/BB, 7.50 K/9
Detroit @ Home: 358 runs allowed, 4.03 ERA, 8 SHO, 225 BB, 525 SO, .261 BAA, .319 OBP, .713 OPS, 64 HR, 27% CS, 1.31 WHIP, 2.33 K/BB, 6.45 K/9
Texas Away: 279 runs allowed, 3.19 ERA, 5 SHO, 228 BB, 607 SO, 230 BAA, .297 OBP, .655 OPS, 68 HR, 32% CS, 1.18 WHIP, 2.66 K/BB, 7.8 K/9

Summary: As you’ve either heard by now or notice in these stats, Texas plays in a very hitter friendly park and the splits show it, however Texas has extremely solid pitching numbers on the road where the offense struggles. Detroit on the other hand is a very balanced home and away team thanks to a surge on the road the second half of the season.

-sK

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tigers Win, PHEW!! Rangers Next

More to come, but what a great game last night and again it's the unsung hero's like Don Kelly stepping up and Victor Martinez making the Yankees pay for pitching around Cabrera.  Fister bucked the trend and pitched his ass off against the Yankees and although Benoit was shaky after band aid-gate but he got the job done and the potato did what he's done so many times year and picked up the save.

Talk about stress, I can't handle much more of it so if the Tigers could add a blow out in to the next round I'd really appreciate as my blood pressure would as well.  How many of you threw out a curse word or two when Gardner was stealing and Jeter flew out to deep right??  I guess that's why you have to love the post season as every pitch counts.

I'll have more on the Rangers series but wanted to at least say I was wrong in my prediction and couldn't be happier about it.

-sK (aka pessimistic Tigers fanatic)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tigers/Yankees - Game 5 Matchups & Prediction

Well, we didn’t want to be placed in this spot but here we go, game 5, the Bronx!!

Before I get in to numbers of tonight’s game, I have to say I’m not very confident in the Tigers after A.J. Burnett shut them down in Detroit and made the offense look silly and Doug Fister is going to need to pitch the game of his career as the Yankees have some outstanding numbers against him historically (below). Here are a few more random thoughts before digging in to the meat of this post…

• Monday’s game was legendary from start to finish, starting with the pitching matchup, the lead changes and eventually Papa Grande closing things out after the stadium and all the viewers at home a heart attack. Will this came be remembered however if the Tigers lose tonight? I’m not sure it will.

• There is no doubt that Granderson’s misplay into a spectacular catch of Don Kelly’s ball in the first with the bases loaded in the first was the game changing play of game 4. It’s crazy to say that about something happening in the first inning but Burnett was on the ropes, at that point he had thrown more balls then strikes and is known as a mental case and if those runs score you could have seen him removed from the game very early. Instead, he gains confidence and no-hits the Tigers for something like 3 or 4 innings.

• As I stated on Facebook yesterday, I think Granderson’s play in this series has finally given me closure on his time as a Tiger and now have to dislike him as a Yankee.

Now that’s out of the way, here’s a look at how the teams match up with the opposing pitchers. Also, keep in mind, in a close game that all pitchers including CC and JV are available for tonight’s elimination game.

Doug Fister
2011 Regular Season vs. the Yankees
Fister faced the Yankees (in NY) back in July when he pitched for Seattle and lost 4-1, throwing 7 innings, allowing 7 hits, walking one and striking out 5. Three of the runs were earned with a solo home runs coming from Curtis Granderson. In that game Fister threw 108 pitches, 72 for strikes, 5 of which were swining, and 30 looking. Of balls put in play, 13 were ground balls, 9 were fly balls, and 5 were line drives.

Last Start Against the Yankees
Fister was forced in to an odd situation after the Friday night “rain delay” forcing the Tigers to place Doug in the game starting in the bottom of the 2nd where he looked dominant at times until the 6th inning. In the end Fister threw 4.2 innings of “relief” where he gave up 7 hits, 6 earned, walked 2, and struck out 6. Taking the loss, Fister threw 90 pitches, 61 for strikes, 6 were swinging, 24 looking. A ration that needs to change for tonight for him to successful is that of the 18 balls put in play, 8 were ground balls, 7 were fly balls, and 3 were line drives.

Career vs. the Yankees
From what I can tell, Fister has faced the Yankees three times including the two games mentioned above where current Yankees hitters have batted .310 off of him with Teixiera, Swisher, and Granderson taking him deep once each and a collective team OPS of .860. Here’s how tonight’s Yankees lineup (if nothing changes) does when facing Fister:

1. Jeter, 5-13/.385 avg/1 2b/2 RBI/3 K/.846 OPS
2. Granderson, 2-5/.400 avg/1 HR/1 RBI/1 BB/3 K/1.500 OPS
3. Cano, 3-8/.375 avg/2 2b/1 RBI/1 SO/1.000 OPS
4. Rodriguez, 1-7/.143/1 BB/2 K/.393
5. Teixeira, 4-11/.364/1 2b/1 3b/1 HR/4 RBI/1 K/1.273
6. Swisher, 2-9/.222/1 HR/2 K/.856 OPS
7. Posada, 3-8/.375/1 BB/2 K/.819
8. Martin, 1-3/.333/1 2b/1.000 OPS
9. Gardner, 2-7/.286/2 RBI/.571 OPS

After writing the above, my confidence has been lowered yet again, but it’s baseball and anything can happen.

Ivan Nova is a rookie, so his numbers are going to have a much smaller sample size.

Ivan Nova
2011 Regular Season vs. the Tigers
Did not face the Tigers. Hopefully the Tigers now seeing Nova on Saturday have a better attack plan against him tonight.
Career vs. the Yankees
The Tigers only time seeing Nova in his career was just this past Saturday where he picked up the victory at home after throwing 6.1 innings of 4 hit ball and allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 5, however he did walk 4. Of the 25 batters faced, Nova threw 101 pitches, 62 of which were strikes, 10 were swing and misses, and 16 looking. Of balls put in play by Detroit, 5 were ground balls, 11 were fly balls (opportunity!), and 5 were line drives.

Career vs. the Yankees
In Nova’s short career current Tigers hitters (includes multiple games from Young and Victor) have batted .219 with no extra base hits and .561 OPS. I’m not quite sure what Leyland has in store for tonight as you would think it may be the same lineup from Tuesday’s game with Detroit facing a righty but Betemit’s were pretty fugly. Here’s a look at how Nova faired against the Tigers hitters (Young and Victor have faced Nova twice)

1. Austin Jackson, 0-3/.000 avg/1 BB/1 K/.250 OPS
2a. Ramon Santiago, NPA
2b. Magglio Ordonez, 1-4/.250 avg/.500 OPS
3 Delmon Young, 2-6/.333/.667
4 Miguel Cabrera, 0-3/.000/1 BB/1 K/.250
5 Victor Martinez, 1-3/.333/3 BB/1 K/1.000
6a. Don Kelly, 0-1/.000/.000
6b or 7a. Alex Avila, 0-1/.000/1 BB/.500
7a or 8b. Jhonny Peralta, 1-3/.333/1 K/.667
8a. Ryan Raburn, 1-2/.500/1 K/1.000
9a. Brandon Inge, 0-2/.000/.000
9b. Wilson Betemit, 1-4/.250/.500
Although the numbers are poor for the Tigers against Nova, again it was just one game and by no means can any conclusions be drawn if Nova will be dominant once again.

I hate to predict this but I think the final score to tonight’s game will be 8-2 Yankees. Booooooo

-sK

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tiger Talk 10/5/11

You see, what had happened was...
  • Everyone is talking about Curtis Granderson's first inning catch.  A.J. Burnett was not pitching well at that walking the bases loaded (they had a pitcher warming up in the pen).  Why didn't Don Kelly exercise some patience and see a strike first before taking a swing?  He did hit the ball well, but if Granderson wouldn't have initially took a step or two in for that ball, it would have just been a routine, and not spectacular, catch he made there in center field.
  • Here is the box score from that game, if you wanted to look at such things.
  • With the series tied 2-2 the Tigers will move on to New York Thursday night at 8:37pm, Doug Fister vs. Ivan Nova
  • Alex Avila's injured knee a concern for game 5
  • The Bleacher Report offers their keys for the Tigers winning game 5
  • From @Dan_Dickerson: To advance to ALCS, #Tigers will have to beat Yankees in NY. Of the last 4 AL Div. Series that went 5G, the road team won Gm 5 three times.
  • Congrats to the Big Potato for winning the MLB's Reliever of the Year
  • Adrian Beltre hit 3 home runs to move Texas into the ALCS against Detroit or New York.
  • The Diamondbacks stay alive in their series with the Brewers.   

Tiger Talk 10/4/11

That was a big win.  Tigers take game 3 from the Yankees 5-4.  The scene at Comerica Park was electric.
  • Don Kelly's drag bunt was a thing of beauty in the 6th inning.  Turns out it was Jim Leyland's suggestion.
  • It would be just fine with me if Jesus Montero stays on the bench for the entire ALDS series against the Yankees. An explanation of why that is happening here.
  • In the other ALDS series, the Rangers get the best of David Price to take a 2-1 series lead over the Rays.  
  • If Fox hasn't given you enough reason's lately to set up a radio next to your TV (Joe Buck, Tim McCarver) add one more:  A.J. Pierzynski will be added to ALCS and World Series broadcasts as analyst.  The investigation continues on whether or not he'll actually be both an analyst and an on air therapist for ball players, making him the first baseball "analrapist".  (BTW: Arrested Development movie and 10 more episodes start shooting next summer).  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tiger Talk 10/3/11

We got the split.  That's how we beat the Yanks in 2006.  Justin Verlander tonight at home.
  • The split puts home field advantage on the Tiger's side, with the next two games taking place in Detroit. 
  • Max Scherzer came up big for the Tiges yesterday, pitching 6 innings of no-hit baseball and did not give up a run.
  • Magglio Ordonez went 3 for 3 in game two, and says he almost retired in the middle of the season.
  • Here is a good read on the inner-working of the Detroit-New York-Arizona 3 team trade, that ended up working out well for all teams (all in the playoffs this year).
  • Jose Valverde pulls a Rasheed Wallace and guarntee's a series win, albeit kind of tounge-in-cheek and media is blowing it out of proportion
  • The Bleacher Report gives 3 reasons why the Tigers will beat the Yankees.
  • The BR also calls Game 3 "a must win" for the Yankees

Random Thoughts from The First Two Tigers-Yankees Games

• Why even start that game on Friday, intermittent showers my ass…
• Heard quite a bit of conspiracy theories around MLB Friday’s start to help the Yankees out.
• In all reality, the “rain delay” on Friday actually hurt New York more than Detroit as C.C. was going to throw in games 1, 3, and 5 and now he’s able to start game 3, and may see a little relief in game 5.
• As much as I despise the Yankees, I love their tradition of the bleacher creatures clapping and chanting a player’s name at the beginning of a game until that player acknowledges them. One of the coolest things I’ve witnessed.
• Fister was dealing until he hit a wall, if you look at his numbers against the Yankees though; they have hit him pretty hard which could be a little scary for game 5, if we make it that far.
• Ivan Nova looks like he’s been in the post season for a while now.
• I understand Al Alburquerque is nasty and all but you can’t ignore the lefty vs. lefty match up against Cano Saturday night.
• I’ve seen balls that the Yankees hit in to the right field stands in both games that will fall helplessly in to Tigers gloves at Comerica
• Was it me or did the Tigers look really nervous in Game 1? The balk, Miggy’s non-throw to 2nd, Inge catching one in the (a-hem) bread basket.
• Scherzer pitcher an unbelievable game yesterday and although he lived dangerously with the walks, did a fine job getting out of a couple jams
• Does anyone else’s ears bleed when Ron Darling speaks? Oh and when did Magglio start hitting for opposite field power again (5 home runs on the year)? Someone else pointed out that apparently J-honny became a good junk ball hitter
• Was shocked to hear the stat that Derek Jeter has played almost an entire season in the post season with 149 games as of yesterday.
• Awesome that these d-bags were not afraid of jinxing Scherzer’s no-hitter. I wish Smoltzy would have bitch slapped some sense in to them.
• How off is the TBS strike zone tracker??
• I’m thankful that Austin Jackson made contact in his last at bat, otherwise I’d be worried that he’s swinging a bat with a hole in it.
• Have never seen so many hitters cry about the strike zone until I saw the Yankees yesterday
• That park is made for Granderson, oh my.
• I know we needed Benoit to shut things down but jeez he and the big potato have to be on the shelve for tonight’s game although that may not be a horrible thing with JV chucking.
• Anyone else as thrilled as I am everytime ARod weekly grounds out or pops up to the infield, oh and to get booed by Yankees fans, CLASSIC. Keep it classy Yanks fans.
• Tigers rotation now sets up Verlander, Porcello, Fister; whereas the Yankees set up Sabathia, Burnett, Nova.
• How many strike outs are we going to have with balls in the dirt?
• How about 49 save opportunities without a home run, whoops. Oh, and although it was unavoidable, Papa Grande’s ERA in a non-save situation…6+
• 162 games and 2 stolen bases, 2 playoff games and 1 stolen base by Cabby, and then he forced a balk.
• Does anyone think that Cabrera was out drinking with Freddy Garcia (who he was partying with when FG was with the White Sox on one of those infamous drunken nights)?
• Thank God for Miggy and VMart oh and Freddy Garcia being owned by Magglio

I'm spent...

-sK