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    The 1968 jersey on the road.

    I second this. In my opinion, this is the greatest road uniform of all-time.

  1. None of the players passing along their wisdom seemed to realize that it was all completely arbitrary. No one came close to acknowledging, "You know, it's stupid and none of us know where it came from, and before we go fracturing some poor rookie's wrist because he looked too happy about going yard on a vet, we should really sit down and ask ourselves if the punishment fits the crime."

    It is called policing the game and it 'came from' the beginning. Just like hockey.

    Fracturing a wrist because a rook admired a HR too long does not fit the crime....how often does a rook have his wrist fractured compared to how many times he got stung in the back or the ribs or the butt?

    It would be one thing if there were consistency across baseball—if everybody followed the same rules, then there'd be some de facto weight behind them. Instead it's 30 different teams with 30 different unwritten rulebooks.

    They are all different teams with different personalities in the clubhouse and different skips at the helm. Why would we want them all to 'obey' the same unwritten rules? Baseball is not robotic...THANK GOD it is filled with individuals applying their own logic to games...THANK GOD.

    "That suit stuff is the kind of thing the Yankees do, not the Padres."

    Good.

    When I was with the Jays, everyone was quiet in the presence of Roy Halladay. You got out of his way, didn't talk to him during his routine, and kept any conversations with him short. He was one star that set the tone for the whole locker room. When he was around, the organization talked about how everyone should emulate his work ethic and how it made the clubhouse a place of business. When he left, everyone talked about how his personality made the clubhouse a dark and moody place, and players need to know balance to succeed.

    Roy Holladay? One of the best pitchers during that era? If not THE BEST...yeah let us NOT emulate that guy! LOL

    Let's say a young player shows up on a club. He's a cocky, talented, overly expressive player. He's on a team where the management doesn't want to rein in its players' exuberance, and he's surrounded by older players that don't care about how much showboating you do, as long as you do your job, all of them saying things like, "You can act however you want as long as you do your job. All that matters is winning."

    Now let's say that team goes up against a team where, when young players make it to the bigs, they're surrounded by veterans who think rookies should be seen and not heard, and if they step out of line, the older players are going to smack them back into it. Their chief tenet is, "You respect the game, you play it the right way, and until you've got three years in the show, you haven't done anything yet." What happens when that first team's young player admires his home run? Is it his fault if his opponents get pissed?

    Yeah...it is. If the kid is too stupid to realize who he is playing and wants to stare down a HR...fine go ahead. Be ready for that team to most likely throw at you. Grow up and accept responsibility for your actions. Just because I knew in my house it was cool to walk around with my under wear on doesn't mean I am spending the night at a friends walking around in my underwear...I knew that as a 5 year old.

    They'll perpetuate their received wisdom about what "playing the game the right way" entails, and on it will go, cycle after cycle, players learning to play the game correctly as first laid down by God knows who, with the nonbelievers being summarily shunned.

    They will perpetuate it if they were successful and still in the game. It 'worked' for them...they are still around. Why not give another player the same treatment? This is not torture...it is MILD hazing....again grow a pair and stop whining.

    If kids actually followed baseball's unwritten rules in everyday life, they'd end up in the principal's office or in juvie.

    And if they tried body checking other kids or tackling them or any other thing from a sport in everyday life they would be in trouble.....so would I as an adult. What the hell does that have to do with what adults do in the MLB?

    The Yasiel Puigs of the world are destroying America's pastime because they flip bats and jog with swagger?

    Man this guy is a whiner. No he did not say 'destroying the game' he said:

    bout how they're disrespecting the other team, and the game, and setting a horrible example for the youth.

    Nothing about destroying the game there. Assume it all you want, but that is not what he said.

    What a shabby, house-of-cards argument that can be demolished by anyone who remembers being a kid.

    90% of HIS arguments in this commentary are shabby...he is right about that at least.

    When I was young, looking for a role model, I liked guys like Ken Griffey Jr. I liked him because he was talented, but there were lots of talented players. What made him stand out to me was that he had the audacity to turn his hat backwards. He showed his personality. He had fun.

    I she really trying to compare Griffey with Puig somehow? Griffey was HIGHLY respected and respected the game...Puig SEEMS like a thug/punk. Both GREAT players (Puig still needs a few years IMO), but really? That is the comparison he is going with? A hat backwards=what Puig does pretty much on the daily? <LOL gif inserted to demonstrate the hillarity of this>

    laugh.gif

    So here's Greg Dobbs, saying that when a young gun hits a homer and looks entirely too happy about it, the logical and correct response, the one that shows our youth how to handle disappointment, is to physically harm the perpetrator or his teammate.

    Yeah pretty much. Suck it up Nancy.

    Yes, if you go to the parking lot to fight a guy for pimping a homer, that's a sign of a man who respects the game. Whoops, no, sorry, that's the sign of an idiot and a criminal.

    FINALLY the guy makes a good point. One that I agree with 100%. You DO NOT take the game outside the lines.

    The problem is the jump he is making with the unwritten rules and this. That is not one of the unwritten rules. He is trying to demonize one by comparing it to the other as the same. they are not. Ask ANY MLB player what they think about that and 99% will say 'noway you take it outside the lines' (well everyone except maybe Grant Balfour...the tool), but he is making another horrid comparison to try and bolster his point.

    How else can you rationalize breaking someone's wrist, hand, or skull with a beanball as an acceptable form of punishment? How else can you justify committing assault and battery as a learning tool?

    How many times is this dude going to try and compare a ball to the ribs/butt/back to breaking someones skull or beating them up in the parking lot? Because news flash dude, they are not the same. The payback will 95% of the time result in a sore rib/butt/back...NOT a concussion or a beating in the parking lot. Nice try though.

    Cubs catcher John Baker said baseball's frontier justice is OK because, unlike in other sports, you can't physically retaliate in-play. As if baseball would be a better sport, and a superior example to the youth it's ruining by its flagrant display of exuberance, if you could simply call time out and beat the **** out the player doing it.

    It sure as hell would get rid of the behaviors in a hurry...one way or the other. That I can assure you. I do not condone it or think it is right, but yeah it would end the histrionics REALLY quickly if the guy doing it knew he had to fight the other guy after doing it.

    After wishing he could take his frustrations out to the parking lot, Gomes likened baseball service time to ranks in the military, saying—and this highlights a real misunderstanding of how the military works—"the more you move up the ranks, the less the unwritten rules apply to you." As if a four-star general can unilaterally bomb a country he's not at war with, or rush in from left field to smash Yunel Escobar in the back during an argument that has nothing to do with him.

    ANOTHER failed analogy...JHC this guy will not stop. I think I am going to make it my mission to expose this phony.

    (Assuming he survives the barrage of behavior-adjusting fastballs sent at his head in the meantime.)

    And there he goes AGAIN! LOL This whole thing is comical. How many fastballs are thrown at guys heads in the MLB a year? An ENTIRE year? Hundreds of thousands of pitches thrown a year...how many get up near the head? How many of those are intentional? LOL

    But at no point did I think the proper response was to put another player's career or health in jeopardy because I made a mistake and the hitter did what he'd trained all his life to do.

    Annnnnd again. Career in jeopardy? From what? Broken pride at getting beaned in the ***?

    Awaiting the first TLDR comment.......come on...you KNOW you want to.

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    I can't wait to see the gif of Fielder's flop heard around the world. My wish for 2014-Fielder gone and replaced with possibly a descent rookie, and my second wish is to have a improved bullpen.

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    Thanks, I need a laugh right now.

  2. Hi Brian,

    I wish I could report that our nation has become a safer and saner place since that awful day in 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, now we are reeling from a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon which has resulted in the loss of life and limbs for many innocent victims of another senseless tragedy.

    On a much brighter note, I'm sure you are looking down on your beloved Detroit Tigers and eagerly awaiting to see how this 2013 season plays out. With a little luck, no major injuries to key performers and just a little help from the bullpen...this Tigers team may be poised to bring another World Series Championship to Detroit.

    May your spirit live on in all those you touched at Motown Sports!

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    Does anyone else think Keating is awful?

    He's no Ray Lane

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    Titus Tiger
    Latest Entry
    +1

    I agree 100% with this post.

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    It was another one of those classic second half tigers games today! Even though we lost 2 to 1 a lot can be learned from this game. Shal we go into detail on these things?

    1. Jim makes poor lineup decisions. Again. - It takes one poor decision by a manager to lose a game, and Jim probably lost todays game for us. With the bases loaded and 1 man out Ryan Raburn came trotting up to the plate and struckout to kill a perfect shot at going ahead in the game. Rather than playing Brennan Boesch today like any other Jim gave Raburn who obviouslys not peforming a start. Jim lost the game for us because had Boesch been in the game he probably would have at least hit a fly ball and scored the runner.

    2 The tigers offense isn't that great- Mario,Rod,analysts and Leyland can all feed you this B.S. that our offense is potent, but it isn't. We are failing to get guys in scoreing position home because we try to swing for the fences every time rather than just put the bat on the ball. Guys like Jackson should just be trying to make good contact and hit for average, but the organization hasn't fired that idiot Mcclendon yet and so Jackson keeps strikeing out like a fool rather than improveing and contributeing offensively. Don't buy what im saying about swinging for the fences? Just take a look at all the fly balls we have been hitting lately.

    3. The mediocrity of our team in general. I don't know what else to say.. Dumb moves like bringing Ruffin in with the bases loaded game one and batting Raburn in a critical game are killing us. Say what you want, but im not convinced we're a playoff caliber team.

  3. It's time, once again, for our traditional observance of this nation's independence! And of course that means Baseball! I doubt there's a more perfect way to celebrate on this day than with baseball, hot dogs, and fireworks after the game! That's about as American as you can get!! I look forward to this every summer, and today is no exception. Let's hope our Flying Tigers can defeat the Dunedin Blue Jays; after all it's USA vs Canada!!! :shocked: LOL! GO FLYING TIGERS

  4. mis·re·mem·ber   [mis-ri-mem-ber]

    –verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

    1. to remember incorrectly.

    2. to fail to remember; forget.

    IF YOU ARE A WORD AND YOU ARE IN THE DICTIONARY I WILL USE YOU, REGARDLESS OF LEGITIMACY.

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    I don't understand why Dombrowski doesn't just yell out "Dibs!". Then none of the other GM's could sign Dunn and the Tigers wouldn't get into a bidding war.

    HA

    HAHAHAHA

    HA HA

  5. orK2CAgop6s

    Our finale for our show last Saturday. Me on guitar. Technically, its two songs, but the segue makes it ten minutes total.

    Yeah, slapping the guitar at the end hurt and I don't think I'll be doing it again. :cheeky: I was wrapped up in the moment.

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    Shinma
    Latest Entry

    Yeah, I know.. you've heard it all before. Suh this, Suh that.

    Suh leads the team in tackles. Thats pretty hard to do as a DT.

    Suh sacked Vick so hard last week with one arm that the nearest ref assumed that there had to be a facemask involved. Nope. That was just Suh ripping him down.

    Its also very encouraging to see this like this coming from him... “It’s a passing league, so sacks mean more than stopping the run and I am definitely looking forward to getting a sack on Brett Favre. At the same time, I definitely want to get after Adrian Peterson. I know him personally, so I want to be able to talk some trash to him when I see him outside of the field."

  6. It has been awhile since I have had a chance to sit down and write something here. Life has a way of getting in the way when you least expect it.

    We are getting close to the college football season now, and everyone is starting to get in the spirit. Sometimes spirit means watching or making your favorite youtube hype video, or maybe you are more like me and just like to get into the blogs and forums and talk some football. I can't help but notice one overwhelming trend though. Michigan and Michigan State fans cannot seem to get along. It's natural, because it is a rivalry, however I enjoy talking to a well informed Michigan State fan about their team, their expectations for the season, and maybe throw in a little competitive banter favoring my Wolverines.

    There is one thing that bugs me though, and it doesn't really happen in this board too much, but happens a lot elsewhere. That is when a Michigan State fan calls a Michigan fan a Wal-Mart Wolvie. The basic premise of this attack is that, you never went to the school, you just picked up a Michigan jacket in Wal-Mart and became a fan, or your just a front runner who picked Michigan. They try to use this to diminish the arguments of Michigan fans.

    I have a problem with this because it is just too silly. I know there are tons of Michigan fans who do not have any connection what so ever to the University but who cares? We all pick who we like for our own reasons. For me it is simple.

    When I was a little kid I came down with a rare case of arthritis in children. It rendered me barley able to walk, and do things normal children did. My mom took me to all the local doctors and some local hospitals and nothing seemed to help. Finally, she ended making the long drive from our home in Harbor Beach, MI to the University of Michigan hospital. There, I was treated once a month and finally started to get better. Thanks to the University of Michigan and their continued help I was able to grow up a normal child, playing sports, running around with my friends and enjoying life. If I ever have knee problems again all I have to do is drop in to U of M and they will help me. This made me feel a connection to U of M at a young age that I carried on into my adult years. I never went to school at Michigan, instead I chose to join the Army after high school and serve my country. I gained a lot out of my experience in the Army and would never have been able to enlist had it not been for the University of Michigan. That Bond I feel to the school, just when I can easily take a stroll down the road still holds true today. I love Michigan for not only what it did for me, but what it does for others like me.

    I know everyone is not like me. Not everyone went to U of M hospital as a child, or went to school there. However, why is it that Spartan fans decide to use this attack? If we polled every single person that considers themselves an MSU fan how many to you think would have a personal connection the the University? I grew up with, and know many MSU fans who don't have any connection. So why is this "supposed to be insult" directed at Michigan fans?

    Do Michigan State fans know that the University of Michigan boast one of the worlds largest populations of living alumni at over 460,000 people? Would it not stand to reason that with that large of an alumni population, consistently in the top two in the Nation that Michigan would have a lot of fans? I am in no way trying to bash Michigan State fans or alumni, but it seems more likely to me that more Michigan fans have a connection the the University of Michigan than do to MSU.

    The truth is, every school in the nation has fans with no connection to the University, and just choose to be fans and that is fine. Why keep trying to throw this half thought out insult in the face of Michigan fans?

    By: Michael Lee

  7. With the 65th pick in the 2012 MotownSports.com Adopt-A-Tiger Draft Extravaganza, TigersFan81371 selects

    Tommy Collier

    Right-handed Starting Pitcher

    6242558308_d2c5c0e496.jpg

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    2011 Instructional League Photos by HueyTaxi

    Born: 12/3/89

    Birthplace: Houston, TX

    School: San Jacinto (TX) CC North

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 205

    Drafted by the Tigers in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft.

    Collier was recently revealed to be the 31st best prospect in the Tigers' organization, according to TigsTown.com. Here's the blurb from the announcement page (which is available as free content, not subscriber-only content):

    He came in at #40 on MotorCityBengals.com's Top 50 Prospects List. While digging up info, I also read that he does a good job of setting up hitters and has a pretty good pickoff move.

    Collier made his professional debut with the Connecticut Tigers of the (short season A) New York Penn League. You can see what each of his seven starts looked like right here. Only one of them could be described as bad. You can take a look at the overall season numbers right here. Yes, it's a small sample size, but the ERA (1.85), WHIP (.0974) and K/9 (8.1) all look nice. He only allowed one home run in 39 innings pitched.

    The youngster had himself quite a debut, throwing five shutout innings on July 25th against Williamsport. Unfortunately, the C-Tigers would end up losing the game 4-3, but Collier got some nice coverage from the local paper, the Norwich Bulletin.

    Collier enjoyed another exciting night on July 31st, when he faced Batavia, as noted by the Bulletin.

    It didn't take Collier long to establish himself as an important part of the C-Tigers' quest for the NYPL's Stedler Division title. He pitched the biggest game of his young career on August 26th, and the Bulletin was there to cover it.

    Hopefully that experience in such a key situation will serve Collier well in the future. Unfortunately, the C-Tigers fell short of their playoff goal. They finished the season tied for first with the Vermont Lake Monsters, but because the VLM won the tie-breaker (by winning six of the season's 10 head to head matchups), they advanced to the post-season while the C-Tigers went home.

    Collier could find himself in the West Michigan Whitecaps' 2012 rotation, which would be cool because that means I'd be able to watch him pitch in person when the 'Caps come to Midland to take on the Great Lakes Loons (if the rotation and schedule work out that way), or maybe during a summer roadtrip to Comstock Park.

  8. For the past few decades teams in the AL Central have dreaded having to venture into the Metrodome on roadtrips, but that comes with good reason. Being a Sox fan I know the horrors of that dome from watching loss after loss after loss over the last couple of seasons. I also have a somewhat fortune to live in Toledo and being able to get Tigers and Indians games. For have also seen those respective teams get short ended up there. A lot of people like to think the Twins do it all with luck, and lots of it, but in reality that is not the case at all. From Gardenhire's starting nine all the way to rookie ball the Twins teach their prospects how to use their element and play the way to win in the Metrodome. They tell them they won't make it to the MLB level without being able to bunt, sac fly, etc.

    A lot of fans (like myself) are glad the Twins are moving out to beautiful outdoor Target Field. No more turf, no more baggie, no more cheap hits, no more air condition blowing different ways depending on who's batting and much more. A lot of people also think the Twins franchise is headed too 90 and 100 loss seasons for years to come. As much joy as that would bring this sports fan, I sadly have to say that is not the case.

    The Twins will open 2010 with a core of Morneau, Span, Young, Cuddyer and Kubel and possibly Mauer and Crede. That is a great core to build around in my opinion. A better core than most teams can build around in both leagues. There is still work to be done this off seaon however. The Twins still have a bunch of players who are only on the team now because of their ability to play in the dome. Such players as Punto, Harris, Buscher and Tolbert. The Twins will have to get new players for the bench and regulars who can play on grass and survive. Next off the Twins will need to work on their rotation, I still find it suspect and unjudged. Bullpen wise they can probably hold with what they have.

    In conclusion I wouldn't peg the Twins as bottom feeders in 2010, but don't look for them to compete either.

  9. whitecapwendy
    Latest Entry

    The Whitecap's season is over, and I am in my annual state of mourning the end of the season. It is a serious condition I call BBGDS (baseball game deficiency syndrome). Right now it is a mild case because the Tigers are still playing and looking good to win the Central, but in another month or so, the symptoms will increase.

    The Whitecaps faced the Great Lakes Loons in the first round. They played the first game in Midland and the last two at home. The Dodgers wanted to give Midland a good year, so they stocked the team with prospects. I knew coming into the series that this would be a really tough series, but found out their one weakness was the ability to hit left handed pitching, so the goal was to give them a steady diet of left handed pitchers.

    On Wednesday night in Midland, left-handed Casey Crosby, who had not seen live game action since mid-August, was lifted from the DL to start the first game. He was humming along beautifully in the first inning, but his finger started giving him problems again. Casey struggled after the first inning, but that first inning showed the pitcher he will be when his finger adjusts to the new pitch. Brandon Douglas came through with two of the three hits on the evening for the Caps, and put us on the board with his 2 RBI hit in the ninth inning. It was not enough though and the Whitecaps lost 7-2

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    On Thursday night at home, lefty Adam Wilk started the game. They gave him a little bit of a leeway on his strict pitch count, and Adam (already an excellent pitcher) had his best outing of the season. he went 5.2 innings, giving up just 2 hits and struck out 8 (no walks and no runs).

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    Rob Waite came on in relief for the last 3.1 innings and gave up just 2 hits, no walks and had 1 strikeout.

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    Meanwhile the bats woke up and Billy Nowlin went 4-4 with 3 RBI and came in on a run.

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    Ronnie Bourquin went 1-2 with two walks and a run.

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    Whitecaps ended up winning 7-0.

    Friday night, Luke Putkonen took the mound and Dee Gordon of the Loons started off the game with an inside the park home run. Luke pitched an excellent game, going 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, two walks and striking out 6. He gave up two runs (one earned).

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    In spite of a 2-5 night for Brent Wyatt,

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    Billy Nowlin getting hit by a pitch for the 21st time (Brent Wyatt with 24), and the Whitecaps tying the game in the seventh inning, it was not enough to win the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Jordan Lennerton laid down a beautiful sac bunt to put runners on second and third with only one out.

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    It was about this time that I found myself surrounded by Whitecaps pitchers who were charting in the stands. They were prepared to run out on the field to celebrate winning the first round, but the Caps just could not get the winning run home. The Loons hit a lead off home run in the top of the 10, followed by three strike outs by Tyler Stohr, and the Whitecaps could not recover.

    It was a tough ending. So close but not to be.

    It was fun seeing some former Whitecaps around the ballpark over the two home games to cheer the team on. Mark Sorensen was there both nights. There was an appearance by Rudy Darrow and Duane Below on Thursday night.

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    I knew Rudy was coming, and with Mark and Duane both being Michigan residents, they didn't surprise me too much, but I was totally surprised to see my buddy from 2007 on hand, Gorkys Hernandez

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    So, another season has come to a close. I came away with a couple signed baseballs, a bat given to me by Brandon Douglas, and thousands of pictures and even more wonderful memories. May April please come quickly.

  10. It took TWO consecutive blocked field goals to beat a 1-AA team in Kinnick Stadium. Predictably, Iowa's out of the top 25 now. But I guess a win is a win and at least we avoid the Appalachain State trap.

    This is why you never, ever schedule a 1-AA (or FCS or whatever it is now) team. Its always much more important to them than it is to your team; there is no upside to beating them; and if you should lose you get mocked for years.

    Hopefully we can kick the crap out of Iowa State this week.

  11. Went to the playground with my grandboys last evening. They talked me into sliding down the slide, then proceeded to slide into me. Then it was game on. Before they go to slide down, I had to be sitting on the bottom so they could slide into me.

    When I stood up, Jackson - the 4 yr old who apparently has been watching a bit too much TV - says "Sit BooBoo Sit."

    What wisdom has your kid/grandkid spoken recently?

  12. With all of the talk centering around the Tigers turning down a deal for Roy Halladay, lets look at what our current staff ace has done this season...

    Last year, Verlander was the talk of Detroit. But, it was for all of the wrong reasons. He ended the season with a 4.84 ERA, 17 losses and the most walks issued in his 3 year career. He had gone from the No-hitter and All Star golden boy to the fans whipping boy. Of course, those who looked at his peripheral numbers (like his 4.18 FIP) would have noticed that his numbers did not defer much from the season he had in 2006 when he was the talk of baseball, and won rookie of the year. Alas, more was expected of Verlander last year and he failed to deliver.

    Flash forward to this season, though, and everything is turning up aces (pun intended). Verlander has the 4th best FIP in MLB at 2.71, the 2nd best K/9 ratio, 11th best K/BB, 10th best tRA, 7th best WPA, and his 5.1 WAR (maybe my favorite stat) is 4th best in the game. Basically, by nearly every advanced measure, Verlander has turned into a legit shutdown ace this season. He is without question one of the top 10 pitchers in the game and has been in the top 5 this season in the AL with the likes of Greinke, Halladay, Josh Beckett and Felix Hernandez.

    So, what has changed? Before this season, Verlander's career best FIP was 3.99 in 2007. That is generally reserved for good #2 starters (Edwin Jackson, for example, has a FIP of 3.89). Now, he has the 4th best FIP in the game. What caused such a resurgence? For one, Chuck Hernandez is gone. The days of trying to adjust Verlander's arm slot appears to be over and he seems to work well under new pitching coach, Rick Knapp. Knapp came to Detroit from the Minnesota Twins organization which prides itself on throwing strikes. That hardly seems like a revolutionary concept but considering that the Tigers had the 4th worst BB/9 ratio is MLB last year, then it became a much needed philosophy. At the time of the hire, it seemed like a perfect fit. Take a guy from an organization who rarely walks batters (lowest BB/9 ratio in MLB last year) and put him with flamethrowers who can strike out and walk the park. Then, with a little magic, the hope was that Knapp's influence would keep the K rates the same (or even better) and drastically cut down on the walks. If nothing else, the hire has been a match made in Heaven for Verlander. He has dropped his BB/9 ratio from 3.90 last season to 2.66 this season. Meanwhile, he has upped his K/9 ratio from 7.30 to 10.65. All told, his K/BB ratio has improved from 1.87 ( 64th last year among 88 qualified starters) to 4.00 this season.

    Ok, so he has struck out more and walked less. He also has not had a pitching coach attempt to change the mechanics or arm slot angle of that golden arm of his. Surely, that cannot be it. And, it isn't. Last season, Verlander threw his fastball at an average of 93.6 MPH. This season, he has wowed the ladies with a fastball that averages 95.5 MPH. That 2 MPH increase in velocity and improved movement and location has led to a fastball that has saved 17.8 runs this season, according to Fan Graphs. Of the qualified pitchers, Verlander's fastball has been the 4th best fastball in MLB this season. In comparison, last year, Verlander had a fastball that saved just 0.4 runs.

    Another change with Verlander has been the difference in his pitch selection compared to last season and his career norms. Verlander was always a plus curveball pitcher and it has been his second best pitch over his career. This year, he is throwing his curveball and fastball more than at any other point in his career. On the other hand, he is throwing his changeup just 8.5% of the time this season. That is a far cry from the changeup he elected to throw nearly 16 % of the time last season. In addition to that, Verlander is also throwing his slider now more than he ever has before. It is still nowhere near a plus pitch but the experimenting with a 4th pitch, an increased reliance on his deadly fastball and curveball and a reduced reliance on his changeup might be one of the telling points in his comeback season.

    Looking at the plate discipline stats for the batters that Verlander has faced, the improvement he has made this season is even more telling. For one, batters are swinging at 27.8% of pitches outside the stike zone. That is a 3% increase from last season. Also, batters are swining at his pitches inside the strike zone less so than they have at any other point in his career. Thus, the ensuing stats are not surprising. A batters O-Contact % against Verlander (percentage of times a batter makes contact with the ball when swinging at pitches thrown outside the strike zone) is down a full 10 % from last season. Batters are connecting on just 56% of those pitches. The opposing batters are also hitting pitches inside the strike zone less so then at any other point in Verlander's career. From Verlander's perspective, he is throwing 55.5 % of his pitches for strikes (just 50% last year), and his first strike % of 63.1 is a 5% increase of his total last year.

    In summary, Verlander is/has ...

    1. Striking more guys out

    2. Walking fewer batters

    3. Increased the velocity on his fastball by 2 MPH

    4. Improved the location, command and movement on his fastball

    5. Relied more heavily on his fastball and curveball while throwing half as many changeups

    6. Throwing more strikes within the zone that batters are not swinging at

    7. Inducing the most swing and misses of pitches outside of the strike zone of his career by a substantial margin.

    8. Not being coached by Chuck Hernandez

    9. Being guided by Rick Knapp

    10. Awesome

    All together, it accounts for the numbers that bear repeating: Verlander has the 4th best FIP in MLB at 2.71, the 2nd best K/9 ratio, 11th best K/BB, 10th best tRA, 7th best WPA, and the 4th best WAR. He has turned himself into maybe the rarest thing in baseball... a true, shutdown ace. Now, as fans, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the pleasure that is watching him pitch. The scary thing? He's only 26 and has another decade of terrorizing hitters left in him. Good luck, American League hitters.

  13. Sorry for borrowing a title to a very good blog, I just have a few thoughts of my own right now. I think the Tigers are at a critical stage of the season, where they must figure out if they should be legitimate contenders, or if they are pretenders. They have some pieces available in the farm system that I think would have more value to the Tigers as players, than they would garner in a trade. Take Scott Sizemore, for example. Generally he's not regarded as a top 100 type of prospect, but he can be a solid offensive 2nd basemen with some pop and great on base skills. Teams wouldn't line up for Alex Aliva like they would for Buster Posey, but despite not being thought about so highly, he's probably a similar type; although clearly not as polished with his receiving skills. The point is that the Tigers prospects are flying way under the radar right now, including such pitcher prospects as Zach Simons, Cody Satterwhite, Luis Marte, and Casey Fien. They don't have the big names that others do in other systems that get more hype, but this can also play to the Tigers advantage. They won't have to overpay for a free agent 2nd baseman when they have a better player available to them. They don't have to go out and get an offensive catcher, when they have Avila available. I hope the Tigers stand pat, because they could be a much better club in a couple of years.