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Thoughts on game 163- Tigers played their hearts out

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Given the play that Laird made to take an offline throw from Raburn and lunge to tag the runner to complete the double play at the plate to end the 11th, I don't begrudge the choice not to pinch-hit for Laird in the 12th. Not because Laird deserved to hit as a reward, but in a game where one run makes the difference between going to New York and going home, there's no guarantee that a situation won't come up in which Laird's defense saves the game yet again. Because just using season stats, there was a 63% chance Avila would not get on base versus a 69% chance for Laird not getting on base. Probably not enough of a difference to make the move and punt on defense in the bottom of the inning.

Exactly. And while Avila does show promise, he's a rookie that had less than 100 plate appearances, right? I think having a catcher that may present more defense and present more of a commanding presence for the pitching staff means something in a game like that. That said, could've you made an argument to pinch hit for Laird? Sure. But sports fans love to make every decision seem like a flat out 100 percent right or wrong call. In reality, every decision is stuck somewhere in that 45-55% range with various options making a ton of sense.

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Okay, my nerves were shot last night, but now that I've slept on it....

In addition to everything else that's been discussed elsewhere ad nauseum, something I've yet to read enough of is this Marsh guy umping at homeplate. I gave up trying to figure out his strike zone sometime in the middle of the game; it was the oddest strike zone I've seen all season! I'm sure it's not 100% accurate, but TBS's techno-gimmick clearly showed many of his strikes outside the area of the plate while a few of his balls were clearly inside the zone. I know, I know, but at least he was consistent throughout the game, right? -- WRONG! The hitters were so flummoxed by the strike zone that they didn't know what to think; Polanco and the Twins' Cabrera were good examples. I'm guessing it's a reason why Laird swung at ball four with the bases loaded and two outs -- when in doubt, swing.

In all honesty, I thought Casilla was safe at the plate on Raburn's throw in the 10th -- BREAK TIGERS. Inge was definitely hit by the pitch with the bases loaded in the 12th -- BREAK TWINS.

Now, enough about the umping. I won't rehash everything, but this was definitely a game for the ages! I'm second-guessing putting Rodney out there for his fourth inning of work; in fact, I was kinda shocked. We had Bonderman and perhaps even Verlander available to pitch an inning or two. Didn't know the status of Seay, but apparently he was still hurting. Throwing the rookie Perry out there with his on-again/off-again control would have tempted fate in this game. I was somewhat surprised when Porcello was pulled since he still had stuff; I'm also guessing he had yet to reach 100 pitches.

This game will live in the memories of Tigers fans for at least a generation!

Edited by Moldyoldie

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I'm surprised that people think this was a great game. There was really one good element: Porcello's pitching. Other than that, it was a poorly played, poorly pitched game with tons of dumb mistakes on both teams.

Rob

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I'm surprised that people think this was a great game. There was really one good element: Porcello's pitching. Other than that, it was a poorly played, poorly pitched game with tons of dumb mistakes on both teams.

Rob

Completely agreed. Porcello showed that he's got "it" as a big game pitcher. Everything else was a disaster.

This game will live in the memories of Tigers fans for at least a generation!

I'm already trying to purge it out of my memory.

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I dont think Ive ever seen a more hard-fought game played with such grit. And Im being serious. The Tigers and Twins played unbelievable baseball....but after watching the performance, and I hate to say this as it sounds like a cop-out...the Twins truly are the luckiest team in baseball.

The only Tiger Im really upset with this game is Leyland. Taking Porcello out too early, putting Miner in (who looked as scared as a kid in a haunted house), and then leaving Rodney in to go 4 innings? WTF? And Im never one to criticize Leyland. The Tigers played thier heart out and did not let the crowd intimidate them (except maybe when Laird struck out on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, a pitch everyone knew would be a ball and he still swung). Minnesota pitchers were sweating bullets in their home park.

But this game falls on the umpiring. The homeplate umpire was just awful. He made terrible strike/ball calls all game for BOTH teams, but two HUGE playes affected the Tigers, 1 costing them the game.

Polanco up with 1st and 3rd no outs, is called out on a "strike" that is a foot inside. Then Maggs drills a line drive that turns into an inning ending dp.

But the 12th inning is the clincher....bases loaded, 1 out, Inge is hit by pitch, run should score. Umpire says no. Replay shows he was CLEARLY hit by the pitch. Unbelievable. 10 minutes later, game over. Now Im not talking about what the Tigers woulda, shoulda, coulda done. Im not talking about choking (which is being defined by many as a .530 team, the Tigers, playing .560 ball the last month of the season, while another .530 team, the Twins, plays .800 ball their last month of the season). Im talking about THIS GAME ONLY. Tigers played their hearts out, and they lost, not even by an expected Metrodump bounce or ball lost in the lights...but by a bad call. Who knows what would have ensued from their...but there is NO WAY to go around the fact that it should have been bases loaded, 1 out, 6-5 Tigers lead in the top of the 12th. NO WAY to go around it. But it was not meant to be. Shame, as I really thought the Tigers could give the Yankees a run for their money. I have not a doubt in my mind they will steamroll the Twins.

All in all though, a helluva season for a team predicted to finish last. Until Spring 2010 when they WILL be back....GO TIGERS! (and a mini go-yankees, for this week only).

Tigers did play there hearts out. Even though the Tigers beat themself in that game. Many scoring chances, many plays that could have been made. After they left the bases loaded and stranded them all, I kept saying they deserve to lose this game.

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As a fan of baseball, I think this was an awesome game. As a fan of the Tigers, I think it was heartbreaking.

Here's my big thought from this game-- those TBS announcers SUCKED. All game long they were just spouting out stupidity. The one that killed me most came in the bottom of the ninth inning, "So, is this possibly going to be the last regular season ninth inning in Metrodome history?"

Really?!?

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I'm surprised that people think this was a great game. There was really one good element: Porcello's pitching. Other than that, it was a poorly played, poorly pitched game with tons of dumb mistakes on both teams.

Rob

No doubt, it was hardly an artistic success, it certainly wasn't Toscanini conducting Beethoven's Ninth, but it was the most heart-pounding, nerve-wracking, edge-of-your-seat emotional roller coaster ride that any baseball fan would want to experience.

It was like the difference between a multi-take studio recording and a spontaneously realized live performance -- appealing more to the emotions than one's sense of baseball intellect...YOWZA! The chances for second-guessing the managers' moves and player decisions were manifold.

Here's my big thought from this game-- those TBS announcers SUCKED. All game long they were just spouting out stupidity. The one that killed me most came in the bottom of the ninth inning, "So, is this possibly going to be the last regular season ninth inning in Metrodome history?"

Really?!?

They also weren't up to speed on Maggs being pulled for Thomas in RF. Twice, and even on the graphic, they said/showed Maggs coming to bat when he was actually long gone from the game.

Edited by Moldyoldie

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In addition to everything else that's been discussed elsewhere ad nauseum, something I've yet to read enough of is this Marsh guy umping at homeplate. I gave up trying to figure out his strike zone sometime in the middle of the game; it was the oddest strike zone I've seen all season! I'm sure it's not 100% accurate, but TBS's techno-gimmick clearly showed many of his strikes outside the area of the plate while a few of his balls were clearly inside the zone. I know, I know, but at least he was consistent throughout the game, right? -- WRONG! The hitters were so flummoxed by the strike zone that they didn't know what to think; Polanco and the Twins' Cabrera were good examples. I'm guessing it's a reason why Laird swung at ball four with the bases loaded and two outs -- when in doubt, swing.

I can tell you, as a guy who still plays hardball, that when you have 3-2 on you, you need to be super sure that the pitch is going to be outside of the zone to let it go. You simply cannot take a called third with bases loaded, two outs, and game tied in the top of an extra inning. You look to protect. I think that's what Laird did, because it was not a strong swing. It was a protect swing on a sharp breaking ball. And the difference between a good hitter and a bad hitter is that a good hitter knows that pitch is a ball, and a bad hitter is not sure, so he swings. And Laird is a bad hitter. That's not his fault. That's just the way he is.

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I could understand if Alex Avila was a terrible catcher. But he's pretty good himself. He throws out his share of baserunners. There was NO EXCUSE for leaving Laird in to hit during those last two at bats.

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I know it's not easy, but Inge should have been able to hit a flyball before Laird even gets to the plate. I know he's being cut some slack because of the non-call hit by pitch, but he really choked in that AB.

I'm not blaming Inge for the loss, there is plenty of blame to go around, all the way from DD on down.

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I could understand if Alex Avila was a terrible catcher. But he's pretty good himself. He throws out his share of baserunners. There was NO EXCUSE for leaving Laird in to hit during those last two at bats.

What do you base this on? Is it gut feel, or actual statistics?

2009 Detroit Tigers Fielding Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com

Reviewing this, Laird's defensive performance looks superior to that of Avila. Do you disagree, and if so, on what basis?

Edited by chasfh

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If Inge's bad knees really made him hit about .180 for the second half of the season....he should've seen some time on the DL back in July or August. IMO, he got homerun happy and tried to hit one everytime at bat. Even though he got that double last night, Inge, Everett, and Laird couldn't hit their way out of a wet paper sack. The Tigers need more than a .220 average out of those three positions next year.

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What's especially disappointing is if the Tigers had won, the game would have been remembered by Tiger fans as one of the most memorabl games in franchise history. Burying the Metrodome, a 20-year old kid showing maturity beyond his years into the 6th inning, Cabrera coming back from the weekend of controversy to hit a HR and double, Magglio who everybody wanted released tying the game in the 8th, throwing out the potential winning run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, Don Kelly scoring the go-ahead run and what looked might be the winning run 2 weeks after losing the ball in the lights, etc.

Great post. The storyline seemed so perfect, and yet, all the while, the tug of inevitable Metro-doom was at our shoulder.

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If Inge's bad knees really made him hit about .180 for the second half of the season....he should've seen some time on the DL back in July or August. IMO, he got homerun happy and tried to hit one everytime at bat. Even though he got that double last night, Inge, Everett, and Laird couldn't hit their way out of a wet paper sack. The Tigers need more than a .220 average out of those three positions next year.

Inge was playing with a 75% tear of the patellar tendon in his knee. Are you saying he wasn't really as injured as the training staff said he was and his second half performance was really because he tries to hit homeruns every at bat, or that the injury shouldn't have affected him as much?

FWIW, Inge seemed pretty resistant to the idea of going on the DL during a division race. It's possible he was asked and he flat out said no, or said he could play through it and they went with that.

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I could understand if Alex Avila was a terrible catcher. But he's pretty good himself. He throws out his share of baserunners. There was NO EXCUSE for leaving Laird in to hit during those last two at bats.

I wish this was true..but it's not, it's every reason why, he didn't play at all down the stretch. His offense had also deterioted significanlty. But his defense, game management and throwing skills were not developed enough to be trusted on a daily basis in a pennant race.

But Alex is a a video junkie and a tireless worker..the experience of these last 7 weeks will be a huge catalyst to his development.

Edited by sportz4life

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I know it's not easy, but Inge should have been able to hit a flyball before Laird even gets to the plate. I know he's being cut some slack because of the non-call hit by pitch, but he really choked in that AB.

I'm not blaming Inge for the loss, there is plenty of blame to go around, all the way from DD on down.

I couldn't believe Polanco striking out with men on first and third and no outs. To me, that was the key to the game, right there. And I think it was his second K of the game at the time. He had a pretty bad game.

There's very few other Tigers I would want at the plate in that situation. He usually at least makes contact.

Leaving Miner in was a huge mistake, IMO, too. Lyon should have worked the 7th inning. Especially after the Twins got a base runner.

Oh well, bummer we lost, but I had a feeling this wasn't our year. Too many holes in the line-up to get good, run scoring rallies going, all year long.

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I could understand if Alex Avila was a terrible catcher. But he's pretty good himself. He throws out his share of baserunners. There was NO EXCUSE for leaving Laird in to hit during those last two at bats.

There is a drastic difference between Laird and Avila defensively. Laird should win the Gold Glove and Avila would probably grade out below average if he was up here the whole season.

With all that said, I don't expect it to stay that way. I expect Avila to eventually be a plus offensive and defensive player at the catcher position. I'm really excited about his potential.

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EDIT:

But a collapse is a collapse. If they played with the kind of swagger and desperation earlier then we wouldn't even be here. Those last four games of the 162 was a collapse.

I disagree. They really didn't play any differently the last four games than they did the rest of the season. They had far worse four-game stetches during the season. And then the Twins needed umpiring help to win game 163 at home. No collpase.

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That was awesome the way Cabrera showed up in those first two at-bats. I think he was definitely a man on a mission, but another big hit later in the game would've been even cooler!

I wish Leyland would've given Porcello the chance to get out of that inning. I think he could've done it, but that could be the Tiger Optimist in me. If Porcello wasn't a rookie, then maybe JL lets him go for it.

Miner was useless. He's had some decent moments at times this season, but I really hope I never ever see him pitch for the Detroit Tigers again.

Great to see a home run from Magglio, especially considering the kind of season it was for him. That would be nice if he can regain even just a smidgen of his power in 2010. I think, however, that he's going to be just a pretty expensive singles hitter.

I think the Tigers definitely fought their asses off to try to win the game. I loved that slide of Santiago's to beat out the bunt. Kudos to Raburn on the throwout at the plate. That was a nice chunk of redemption for him.

I would've liked to see Avila pinch hit for Avila in the end, but Chas made a good point somewhere around post #24. Still, maybe AA could've poked one into the outfield. Go back and look at the inning by inning recap somewhere. Look how many times Laird was the last hitter up in an inning. Scary.

I wish I could understand why Leyland went so long with Rodney. How long has it been since he's had an outing that lasted that long? Maybe in the early days of his career? Yeah, he got a 1-2-3 in the inning, but Leyland had to know he was pressing his luck sending Rodney out for one more. Yeah, Perry can be a bit erratic at times, but maybe he could've blown the Twins away.

The Inge non-HBP was obviously big, but that really didn't bother me that much. I always thought it was kinda cheap when a guy has been able to take first because the jersey was grazed. To me, getting hit is getting hit.

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I disagree. They really didn't play any differently the last four games than they did the rest of the season. They had far worse four-game stetches during the season. And then the Twins needed umpiring help to win game 163 at home. No collpase.

I agree....all this talk about what game the Tigers REALLY should have won to prevent a game 163. The Twins had THE worst game of the season in all of MLB, when they had a 10-0 lead...IN THE 7th...AGAINST THE INDIANS...and lost.

It was a season of exceeded expectations with a horrible inning, but the umpiring screwjob of game 163 was undeniable.

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What's especially disappointing is if the Tigers had won, the game would have been remembered by Tiger fans as one of the most memorabl games in franchise history. Burying the Metrodome, a 20-year old kid showing maturity beyond his years into the 6th inning, Cabrera coming back from the weekend of controversy to hit a HR and double, Magglio who everybody wanted released tying the game in the 8th, throwing out the potential winning run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, Don Kelly scoring the go-ahead run and what looked might be the winning run 2 weeks after losing the ball in the lights, etc.

I agree with that except...

Tiger337 has pointed out (paraphrase) this was the Tigers that we have come to expect but not accept. Game could have been won several times, was not. Rayburn lost a ball someting that has happened so often, but it seems (almost) a surprise every time it happened over the years.

The Big Cats played as they have all season, The twins played better.

It would have been nice to put the humperdome to bed with a win, but it is what it was.

what disappoints me about this game, that I loved, the next game looming for the winner was the yankers on Wednesday. A Team that in typical win and all cost fashion, scheduled the next day --- when both teams had used their players to the limit down the stretch and ultimately in that last game. I was thinking that Rodney was going a long ways, but in a way was saving some of the bullpen for a potential post-season game

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Alright, this seems like the right place to put this and I'm not making a new thread. I found this post I made at the end of the '08 season and thought it was kind of funny in the "Huh, weird" sense:

Detroit Tigers 2008 post-mortem

I think the 2006 team spoiled me, because I want to say that I'm not used to the feeling of not having October baseball to look forward to but that's a lie. Not having October baseball is something you're used to if you're a long-time Tigers fan. The fact that the Tigers aren't going to be playing for the pennant and possibly the World Series is eating me up a little, but thankfully not as badly as last season. Somebody posted this somewhere and it made me go 'hrm':

Chicago White Sox:

2005 - 99-63 record, won World Series

2006 - 90-72, did not make the post-season

2007 - 72-90, did not make the post-season

2008 - 88-74, tied for first place with Minnesota Twins

Detroit Tigers:

2006 - 95-67, went to World Series

2007 - 88-74, did not make post-season

2008 - 74-88, did not make post-season

2009 - ???

I detect a pattern here. Maybe. Okay, it's probably just a huge coincidence. Whatever, I'm calling 2009 as the Tigers' year.

And then they ended up tied for first place with the Minnesota Twins after 162 just like Chicago in '08.

What did the Chicago White Sox do in '09? Nothing? Oh, okay then. Anyway. Carry on.

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