Archive for September, 2006

Wednesday: 09.13.2006

Liriano Pulled Early From Start.

I’m not posting this as an “in-your-face” sort of thing against the Twins, but Francisco Liriano was pulled in the middle of the 3rd inning during his first start since going on the disabled list. No word yet on the severity or what the root cause of the departure is, but Liriano seems to have hurt his shoulder on a pitch in the dirt. While it is good news for the Tigers, I never cheer an injury for anyone, especially when I particularly like a player as I do Liriano.

Sunday: 09.10.2006

Tigers Declawed Once Again

After getting shutdown by Boof Bonser in a 2-1 loss last night, the Tigers put themselves squarely behind the 8-ball. And when push came to shove, they were destroyed 12-1 as Johan Santana struck out 11 and allowed just two hits in six and a third innings of work. The skid has turned into an all out failure to execute over the past six weeks. This team has gone from home field advantage and the #1 seed to what will be a dogfight for a playoff spot, let alone a division title. I am more upset than angry because I am genuinely worried about the fate of this team. A pathetic display at the plate in all of August has been followed by a poorer showing in September. The team is toting a .242/.296/.406 batting line through Sunday’s debacle in Minnesota. A complete and utter lack of plate patience remains the key to their failures.

Leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson has 13 strikeouts in September to run his tally up to 152 for the season! Earlier in the season, I compared his lofty strikeouts to that of another Central Division leadoff hitter, Grady Sizemore. Even Sizemore only struckout 132 times last year and his other numbers were significantly better. At this point, he belongs nowhere near the top of the lineup. There is simply too little time left in the season to wait for him to take a damn pitch.

The team gets two days off this week and the first couldn’t come soon enough. A two-game set against Texas is sandwiched in between the time off before capping off the week with a three-game set against Baltimore. Nothing less than four of five is acceptable as this point. Thankfully the Chicago White Sox have struggled almost as much as the Tigers during the last 10 games posting a 4-6 record against Detroit’s 3-7. The two teams start a season-changing series eight days from now in the Windy City.

In the past two days, I’ve watched the Tigers drop two huge games to the Twins, my Longhorns fall at home to the Ohio State Buckeyes (I witnessed that live) and then my Detroit Lions come up short in a chance to start the season off with a bang against the Super Bowl runners-up as they lost 9-6 to Seattle. Meanwhile, in those same two days, I received autographs from Jim Leyland via my sister who met him in a Detroit casino last weekend and former Tigers outfielder Gary Pettis, who I watched coach first base for the Nashville Sounds on Friday night against the Round Rock Express. Today, my girlfriend went to game five of the series to cheer on her hometown Sounds (they lost though) and got him to sign something for me. I know, she’s wonderful!

I will post pictures of both autographs this week.

Saturday: 09.9.2006

I’m Not At Gameday

For those of you that don’t know, I live in Austin, TX. I’m not at College Gameday because I was just too tired this morning. The reason I point out that I’m not there is because I’ve received three different calls asking if I was the guy with the Detroit Tigers flag that is being featured prominently in the background over Lee Corso’s shoulder. If I was attending, make no mistake that I’d be standing next to that guy. I will be at the game tonight.

Friday: 09.1.2006

Good Riddance, August!!

Months like that happen. They do. But that doesn’t make them any easier to swallow. Why did the team go 13-16 in August? One number: .310. That was the team’s August on-base percentage, or not on-base percentage as it were. Only Seattle (.308) and Toronto (.304) were worse, which is why they finished 11-17 and 12-17 August records, respectively. It is very difficult to win games if you cannot effectively get on base. The team’s inability to draw walks has been well-chronicled and it was on full display in August with just 63 free passes drawn, baseball’s second-lowest total (Seattle, 59).

The inflated earned run averages of the rotation led many to believe that the pitching was the downfall in the team’s worst month all season, but the strength of the bullpen kept the team ERA at a very respectable 3.75 for the month (7th-best in baseball). However, Kenny Rogers was the only starter to post an earned run average below 4.61. He was excellent in five starts going 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Youngsters Zach Miner and Justin Verlander each struggled mightily throughout August. Miner’s woes combined with Mike Maroth‘s scheduled comeback could keep the rookie in the bullpen for the rest of the season. This is from a Monday article in the Free Press:

Leyland said Maroth will be activated and put in the bullpen Friday, the day rosters expand to 40 and the disabled list becomes largely unnecessary. It’s unclear when Maroth’s elbow will be sound enough for him to pitch in relief, let alone start.

More information with regards to the rotation from today’s edition:

Upcoming rotation: Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander are switching spots so that opponents can’t get locked in on the power pitching of Bonderman and Verlander in back-to-back games. Rogers will go tonight against the Angels and Verlander on Saturday . . . Leyland is leaning toward having Wil Ledezma start on three days rest against the Angels on Sunday night. … Ledezma replaced Zach Miner in the rotation Wednesday. Nate Robertson originally was scheduled to work Sunday. But then his start Tuesday night in New York was pushed back a day by a rainout. So Robertson’s next start will be Monday.

The sooner Placido Polanco returns, which could be as soon as two weeks according to Mack Avenue Tigers, the sooner I can quit vomiting every time I see the name Neifi Perez in a Detroit Tigers lineup.

Here is a look at the September competition and the records of each opponent:

Team Games W L Win Pct.
Los Angeles 3 70 64 0.522
Seattle 3 63 70 0.474
Minnesota 4 77 55 0.583
Texas 2 69 66 0.511
Baltimore 4 60 73 0.451
Chicago 3 78 55 0.586
Kansas City 5 49 86 0.363
Toronto 3 69 65 0.515
Off Days 3      
Total 27 535 534 0.500

Though we enter the twilight of summer, the heat ramps up beginning today for the team. The pennant race is in full effect. Seven massive games against the Twins and White Sox could decide the playoff fate of all three teams. One plus side to an otherwise formidable schedule: five of the last eight games are against the hapless Kansas City Royals.