Tag Archives: Miguel Cabrera

Phillies need a sweep as they set to meet Tigers in series finale

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Vince Velasquez takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon

The Philadelphia Phillies (53-48) will try to accomplish their goal when this quick two-game series began, putting the finishing touches on a sweep of the Detroit Tigers (30-66) with a win on Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Last night, the two teams battled through 16 long, arduous, frustrating innings before it finally ended with a 3-2 Phillies victory in the early morning hours of Wednesday.
The Phillies will also be attempting to move to six games over the .500 mark for the first time since a seven-game losing skid nearly knocked the rails off their season back in late June.
Following this game, the Phillies will have their second off-day of the week. It will be a travel day, with the club returning to Citizens Bank Park.
This weekend, the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves will roll into South Philly at the start of what will be a pivotal nine game home stand for the Phillies, one that will carry the club up to and through the July 31 trade deadline.


TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  2. Scott Kingery SS
  3. Rhys Hoskins DH
  4. J.T. Realmuto 1B
  5. Adam Haseley RF
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. Nick Williams LF
  8. Andrew Knapp C
  9. Roman Quinn CF

TIGERS

  1. JaCoby Jones CF
  2. Harold Castro LF
  3. Nicholas Castellanos RF
  4. Brandon Dixon 1B
  5. Jeimer Candelario 3B
  6. Christin Stewart DH
  7. Niko Goodrum SS
  8. Bobby Wilson C
  9. Gordon Beckham 2B
A day off for Bryce Harper, and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler gets Realmuto out from behind the plate, playing him at 1B for just the second time this season. Hoskins will appear at a position other than 1B for the first time this season, serving as the DH. He appeared four times as a DH a year ago, his only career Designated Hitter appearances. Kingery will appear in his 10th game at shortstop this season. He has played in 39 games in center field, 13 at third base, nine in left field, and just five at his natural position of second base.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Phillies – Vince Velasquez (27/RH): 2-5, 4.87 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, 61 hits over 61 IP across 21 games (11 starts) with a 70/24 K:BB
Tigers – Jordan Zimmermann (33/RH): 0-7, 7.51 ERA, 1.686 WHIP, 76 hits over 56.1 IP across 12 starts with a 40/19 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Realmuto leads all big-league catchers in hits, runs and doubles. Is 3rd in AVG, 5th in RBIs/OBP/OPS.
  • Hoskins is 2nd in OBP, 6th in OPS, 8th in HR, 9th in RBIs among all MLB first basemen.
  • Harper is 2nd in doubles, 4th in RBIs, 5th in OBP among all big-league right fielders. He is 4th in doubles among all MLB players.
  • Zimmermann has not faced the Phillies since September 25, 2015, when he was still a member of the Washington Nationals rotation. He has pitched in 44 games, 43 as a starter, in his career at Comerica Park, compiling a 14-22 record with a 6.26 ERA over 233 IP with 161 strikeouts. In six home starts this season, Zimmermann is 0-5 with an 8.16 ERA over 28.2 IP with 21 strikeouts.
  • Cabrera now has 2,765 career hits, four shy of Johnny Damon for 54th place all-time in MLB. He has 470 home runs, three shy of tying Carlos Delgado for 33rd all-time. His 1,672 RBIs are four short of Gary Sheffield for 26th all-time.
  • Castellanos drilled a pair of doubles in Tuesday night’s ball game, giving him 36 doubles, most in Major League Baseball this season.
  •  Beckham played in the 1,000th game of his MLB career in late April, becoming the 78th active player in the big-leagues to appear in 1,000 career games. This season marks his 11th in MLB, and he has played in 1,041 career games. He is nine hits shy of 800 for his big-league career.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Tigers need to be used as a doormat by the Phillies in quick two-game series

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Phillies hope there won’t be too much partying this week in Motown

The Philadelphia Phillies (52-48) have won five of their seven Interleague contests thus far in the 2019 MLB regular season.

The club will try to add to that winning record over the next two nights at Comerica Park as they take on the host Detroit Tigers (30-65) in Motown for a quick two-game set.
Back on April 30 and May 1, the Phillies and Tigers split another two-gamer. That one was held at Citizens Bank Park in what may have been a perfect microcosm of this 2019 Phillies season to date.
Four Detroit hurlers held the Phillies to just four hits as the Tigers won that opener by a 3-1 score. The very next night, the Phillies offense exploded for 15 hits in a 7-3 victory. It has been that kind of roller coaster year for a team that is now involved with a half-dozen other clubs in a chase for an NL Wildcard playoff berth.
The Tigers are not chasing anything, other than the top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Their record is the second-worst in all of Major League Baseball, just a few percentage points better than the Baltimore Orioles 31-68 mark.
The Tigers offensive attack and pitching staff both rank as next-to-last in baseball in key categories. Their hitters have produced just 3.65 runs per game. The pitchers have a combined .273 batting average against.
Frankly, this is a series that the Phillies need to sweep. The Tigers are down and out, already playing out the string with more than two months left on the schedule. However, as our look below at the starting pitchers who they will be throwing at the Phillies in this series shows, it won’t necessarily be an easy task.


DETROIT TIGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Nicholas Castellanos (27/RF): .284/.342/.480, 11 HR, 48 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs, 56 runs
JaCoby Jones (27/CF): .252/.317/.458, 20 HR, 27 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs, 31 runs, 6 steals
Brandon Dixon (27/1B): .255/.289/.476, 12 HR, 23 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 26 runs
Harold Castro (25/2B): .302/.315/.424, 2 HR, 10 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, 13 runs (42 games, 147 plate appearances)
Niko Goodrum (27/UT): .245/.318/.407, 9 HR, 31 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 49 runs
Jeimer Candelario (25/3B): .218/.306/.371, 7 HR, 20 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, 26 runs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Miguel Cabrera: The great Miggy has become somewhat a shell of his former MVP self as he ages with a losing ball club. Cabrera is slashing .283/.346/.373 with 18 extra-base hits and 37 RBIs. Basically, Cabrera can still hit, but he seems to have lost his power almost completely.
Cabrera has enjoyed a storied 17-year big-league career since debuting as a 20-year-old third baseman with the Florida (now Miami) Marlins back in June 2003. The young Miggy helped lead the Fish to their second World Series crown that year as a rookie, finishing fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Cabrera would go on to five consecutive NL All-Star Game appearances with the Marlins, winning a pair of Silver Slugger Awards at the hot corner and finishing 5th in NL MVP voting twice.
Then in December 2007, Cabrera was traded away to the Detroit Tigers along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis in exchange for a six-prospect package that included outfielder Cameron Maybin and pitcher Andrew Miller.
With Detroit, Cabrera would elevate his game to another level. He was an AL All-Star for seven consecutive seasons, and won five more Silver Sluggers. Cabrera was the American League Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons, edging out Mike Trout in both 2012 and 2013. In that 2012 campaign, Cabrera became the first AL triple crown winner in 45 years when he led the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average.
Now age 36, Cabrera still has four years and $124 million guaranteed on a contract that runs through the 2023 season.  It’s a deal that likely makes him untradeable. That is especially so now that he has been diagnosed with chronic knee issues that will limit him almost exclusively to the Designated Hitter position.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

TUESDAY – Matthew Boyd (28/LH): 6-8, 4.13 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 1.133 WHIP, 112 hits over 120 IP across 20 starts with a 160/24 K:BB. Boyd has become the subject of intense rumors as the trade deadline approaches. With three seasons of team control remaining, the southpaw would not come cheap. The Tigers would be looking for multiple young pieces to help in their rebuild. The Phillies have been seriously linked, and this appearance makes for an interesting showcase.
WEDNESDAY – Jordan Zimmermann (33/RH): 0-7, 7.51 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 1.686 WHIP, 76 hits over 56.1 IP across 12 starts with a 40/19 K:BB ratio. Zimmermann, who missed the bulk of the 2009-10 seasons while with the Washington Nationals after undergoing Tommy John surgery, had elbow pain earlier this year. That condition drove him to the IL, causing him to miss the entire month of May and much of June. Since returning he has not been good. Over his last three starts, the veteran has allowed 28 hits over just 11 innings with a 9/4 K:BB. His season results say that he won’t last long, won’t register many strikeouts, and is likely to be hit hard. He has faced the Phillies 16 times in his career, most of those with the Nationals, with a career 4.17 ERA and 1.316 WHIP in those outings. The Phillies have to hope that he doesn’t somehow turn back the clock to his 2013-14 NL All-Star past in this one.

THE SKIPPER

Ron Gardenhire: The 61-year-old is a native of Germany, born to a U.S. military family stationed at Butzbach in what was then West Germany back in October 1957. He became a 6th round choice of the New York Mets in the 1978 MLB Draft out of the University of Texas, and played for the Mets over parts of five seasons from 1981-85, spending 1982 as their starting shortstop.
After his retirement, ‘Gardy’ was hired as a manager in the minor league system of the Minnesota Twins, serving there from 1988-90. He then served for 11 years as the Twins third base coach, after which Gardenhire was given his first shot as a big-league skipper by Minnesota in 2002.
Over 13 seasons he guided Minnesota to a 1,068-1,039 record and six division championships. It was nearly seven, as his 2008 club lost a one-game playoff to the Chicago White Sox after the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first. His first 2002 team lost the ALCS to the Angels in five games.
In April of 2014, Gardenhire became the 60th skipper in big-league history to win 1,000 games, just the 10th to do it with one team. However, over his final four seasons the team deteriorated to big losing campaigns, finishing in last place three times and ending his tenure.
Gardenhire spent the 2017 season as bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and during the season also underwent prostate cancer surgery. After the season was over he was hired to guide the Tigers rebuilding program in October 2017.
Gardnehire’s son, Toby, was drafted by the Twins in 2005 and rose through their system to the Triple-A level. After his retirement as a player, Toby Gardenhire was given an opportunity at managing. He is now skipper of the Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels in the Minnesota farm system.

THE BALLPARK

Comerica Park: Opened in April 2000 to replace historic Tiger Stadium, the team’s previous home from its own 1912 opening, Comerica Park has a seating capacity of just over 41,000 fans. Tigers are everywhere you look. Not just talking about the players here. There are no fewer than nine statues of the animal spread around the ballpark, including a giant 15-foot tall cat at the main entrance and a pair of Tigers on the left field scoreboard whose eyes light up when a Detroit player cranks a home run.
In the left-center concourse, more statues are found in the Tigers Hall of Fame, including of legendary great players such as Ty CobbAl Kaline and Hank Greenberg.
Field dimensions are 345 and 330 feet down the left and right field lines respectively. It is a deep 420 feet out to dead-center field, 370 to left-center, and 365 to right-center field.
Nick Castellanos, a pending free agent who is a hot trade target as the deadline approaches, recently called the ballpark a “joke“:
This park is a joke,” Castellanos said, per the Detroit News. “It’s to the point where how are we going to be compared to the rest of the people in the league in terms of power numbers, OPS, slugging and all that stuff when we got a yard out here that’s 420 feet straight across center field? I mean, they can move in center and right-center field. There’s no reason I hit a ball 434 feet off (Nationals right-hander) Anibal Sanchez and it goes in the first row.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

TUESDAY: There is a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms at the 7:10 PM EDT first pitch, but this will not be a rainout, nor should there be any significant delays, if any at all. Winds will be almost non-existent, and temps will drop from the low-70’s into the upper-60’s during the game.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny for the 1:10 PM EDT scheduled first pitch and throughout the game. Winds will remain light, and temps will range from the mid-upper 70’s.
Detroit, Michigan forecast from The Weather Channel

Tigers hold off Phillies on frustrating night for the hosts

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Niko Goodrum’s homer powers Tigers past Phillies

The Detroit Tigers (13-14) came into Citizens Bank Park and escaped with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies (16-13) on what was an extremely frustrating Tuesday night for the hosts.

On a night when the Tigers starting pitcher kept handing them scoring chances, the Phillies just couldn’t make him pay.
The host Phillies broke through first by scoring in the bottom of the 1st inning. Andrew McCutchen led off with a base hit off the glove of Tigers second baseman Ronny Rogers. A wild pitch by Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull and a ground out by Bryce Harper move McCutchen to third base.
Then with two outs, Rhys Hoskins beat out an infield single to Rogers, scoring McCutchen. Rogers threw the ball away on the play, allowing Hoskins to reach second, but he was stranded there when Turnbull struck out J.T. Realmuto.
In the top of the 3rd inning the Tigers put up a crooked number, partially thanks to some shoddy defense. After Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez struck out Jeimer Candelario to start the inning, Nick Castellanos lifted a pop-up that second baseman Cesar Hernandez didn’t handle. Castellanos rolled to second base with a double on the play.
Miguel Cabrera cashed in when he followed that up with an RBI single. Niko Goodrum then drove his third home run of the season out to right field to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. It would ultimately prove to be the difference in this ball game.
Velasquez struggled with his command all night in what was by far his worst outing of the season. The right-hander would be pulled with two out in the 4th inning after throwing 99 pitches and walking three batters.
A parade of relievers would keep the Tigers off the board the rest of the way: Edubray RamosJuan NicasioSeranthony DominguezAdam Morgan and Hector Neris combined to allow just one hit and one walk over the final 5.1 innings. They gave the Phillies offense a chance to come back, but that offense continually failed.
For Morgan it was his 15th consecutive appearance without allowing a run to tie the Phillies franchise record. It has been done previously three other times: Ed Roebuck (1964), Rheal Cormier (2006) and J.C. Romero during the 2008 championship season. Should Morgan hold a team scoreless in his next outing the record would be his alone.
Turnbull would shut the Phillies down over six innings, allowing just three hits with two walks while striking out five batters. He was followed to the mound by relievers Victor Alcantara and Joe Jimenez, who kept it the lead at 3-1 into the 9th inning.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire brought in his top reliever, closer Shane Greene, for the bottom of the 9th inning. Greene came into the game as one of the top closers in the game this season with 11 saves and a 1.38 ERA over his first 13 games.
Realmuto greeted Greene with a base hit to start the frame. But the Detroit closer then struck out Williams, Hernandez and Franco to end the ball game. It was yet another frustrating night for a Phillies offense that began the year on fire, but has noticeably cooled off in recent weeks.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

  • Velasquez: 3.2 IP, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts. Threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
  • Turnbull: 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. Hit two, threw two wild pitches. Threw 94 pitches, 59 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: NIKO GOODRUM

Turnbull kept the Phillies off the board after the 1st inning and allowed just 3 hits over 6 innings. However, he also walked two, threw three wild pitches, and hit two batters. The Phillies just never made him pay for all of the base runners.
It was Goodrum’s home run that stood up and proved the difference in this one. He was 1-3 with a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs.

NEXT GAME

  • Wednesday May 1 at 7:05 pm vs the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park
  • This game is designated as the “Nurses Night Celebration
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

Book Review: "Ahead of the Curve" by Brian Kenny

 

There is no book that I have read in recent years that I can more highly recommend than Ahead of the Curve” by Brian Kenny.

Kenny is a 2003 Emmy Award winner who was named as the 2004 Media Personality of the Year by Sports Illustrated. He is now well-known by baseball fans as a studio host for the MLB Network. In addition, Kenny is respected as a boxing analyst and broadcaster.
A longtime ESPN anchor and analyst, Kenny left in 2011 for the television stint with the then two-year old MLB Network. He also hosts ‘The Brian Kenny” show weekdays on NBC Sports Radio.
With his new TV gig, Kenny also joined former player Harold Reynolds on the ‘MLB Now‘ program. The show is highlighted by Kenny espousing modern “Sabermetric” statistical analysis of America’s Pastime.
Those Sabermetric views make up the centerpiece of “Ahead of the Curve“, which comes with an “Inside the Baseball Revolution” sub-title.

JAMES AND SABR REVOLUTIONIZE THE GAME

Sabermetrics principles were introduced decades ago by stats guru and writer Bill James, a hero of Kenny’s. This study and analysis of baseball via a statistical approach draws its name from SABR, the Society for Baseball Research, which itself was founded in 1971.
Kenny writes in chapter four titled “The Epiphany” of his own introduction to James’ questioning of previously long-accepted baseball dogma:
“Reading James unrelenting questioning gave me a vivid illustration of scientific inquiry. Like most everyone else, I had somehow glazed over all of that in Chemistry and Biology. Apply it to baseball? Now it all made sense. And nothing would ever be the same. Other baseball writing, by comparison, would seem like a gossip column.”
But readers of this book review shouldn’t allow the idea of statistics to intimidate you. Any baseball fan with any level of education will easily understand and appreciate the vast majority of Kenny’s brilliant work.

KENNY MAKES STATS ANALYSIS ACCESSIBLE

That is the true genius of this book. Kenny explains things in layman’s terms. He highlights the explanations and arguments with famous baseball events and personalities. As a result, he makes statistical analysis accessible to the common fan.
In comparing Joe DiMaggio to Ted Williams, or Mike Trout to Miguel Cabrera, both of which Kenny does in the book, he supports all of his points. Furthermore, Kenny does so in a language that fans of the game will find both easy and enjoyable to follow.
In the book, Kenny explains some of his favorite principles, such as the “bullpenning” concept. This was an idea touched on in the 2016 World Series.
“If professional baseball were starting now, there’s no way we would use the current model. We would “bullpen” most days. It will take a certain amount of reconditioning, no doubt, but the benefits of doing this would be enormous. No more ‘starters’, no more ‘relievers’, no more ‘wins.’ Another useful habit from the nineteenth century will be broken, giving the first to get there a huge advantage.”

TRADITIONAL STATS UNDER SCRUTINY

Kenny also goes after a number of traditional baseball statistics and theories that he finds to be mostly hogwash. Things like the sacrifice bunt, ‘Errors’ tracking for fielders, the ‘Win’ and ‘Save’ statistics for pitchers, and ‘Batting Average’ as a primary tool to evaluate hitters all come under Kenny scrutiny.
In conclusion, if you haven’t yet read this book, what are you waiting for? The final judgment of my book review of “Ahead of the Curve” is that it is a must-read for every true baseball fan. Therefore, this is one of those rare books that will earn a lasting place in your personal baseball library.

2016 Winter Meetings: Detroit Tigers

There are few teams in as interesting a position as the Detroit Tigers find themselves in during this off-season. 
Al Avila, the EVP of Baseball Operations and the team’s GM has to decide whether to rebuild, or retool for another big 2017 run.
The Tigers were just short this past season, finishing at 86-75. That record left the club eight games in back of the division-winning Cleveland Indians. But Detroit was only 2.5 games off the AL Wildcard pace.
This is a club with most of its key performers already past age 30, a few well into those 30’s. The decision to be made is whether to cash in on those players while they still have real value, or add to that core and make another playoff push.
There are heavy rumors that Detroit is looking to slash payroll. The club has been big spenders and steady contenders for years. While they would like to keep contending while also getting rid of some big salaries, that usually proves a difficult tightrope to walk.

VERLANDER AND MIGGY

The biggest problem in making a move might not be the players themselves, but those salaries. Their two signature players, first baseman Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Verlander, could find themselves on the move if the right deal is presented.
Verlander will turn 34 years old as spring training gets underway. He is owed $84 million over the next three years, with a 2020 vesting option. That would require a top five Cy Young finish in his age 37 season, which is unlikely.
Cabrera will turn 34 just after the 2017 season gets underway. He has a $28 million salary for next season, and then another $184 million guaranteed over the following six years.
There are also a pair of vesting options with Miggy for 2024 and 2025 at $30 million each. Those are unlikely, as they would require him to finish among the top ten in MVP voting during his ages 41 and 42 seasons.

POSITION PLAYERS WHO COULD GO IN A FIRE SALE

Whether or not the Tigers can move either of their marquee veterans, they will likely listen on a number of similarly aging, high-salaried, but talented players.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler just won his first career Gold Glove Award at age 34. He is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his 11-year big league career as well.
Kinsler could be very attractive to another team. He will be entering the final guaranteed season of his contract at $11 million, with a $12 team option for 2018. So the dollars are reasonable, and the commitment is short-term only.
J.D. Martinez can play either corner outfield spot, and spends most of next season at age 29. He will then be a free agent. His salary is $11.75 million, but again, it’s only a one-year commitment for an acquiring club.
Left fielder Justin Upton also plays most of next season at age 29. He is owed another $110+ million guaranteed over the next five years, though he can opt out of the deal after the coming season.
Based on Upton’s recent seasons and the fact that he will be aging into his 30’s, it is probably a longshot that he takes the opt out. That is, unless he has a monster 2017 season.
DH Victor Martinez turns 39 years old just before Christmas. He is still owed a guaranteed $18 million for each of the next two seasons. Martinez has played just 15 games at first base over the last two seasons combined, so trade partners are surely limited to the American League.

TIGERS PITCHERS WHO COULD GO

Starting pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez will each turn 33 years old in January and February respectively. Each will become a free agent after next season.
Sanchez has a $16.8 million salary with a 2018 team option at the same level. Pelfrey is a far more attractive $8 million.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez is another arm who will be a free agent after the 2017 season. ‘KRod’ will turn 35 years old in January. The 15-year veteran was brought back for one more go-around at just $6 million.
Jordan Zimmermann just signed a big free agent deal with Detroit last off-season. But if the club decides on a full rebuild, he could be moved. He turns 31 years old in May, and is guaranteed another $92 million over the next four years.

DETROIT AS BUYERS?

Nothing would surprise me with Detroit, frankly. If the Tigers decide to buy, they could be in on someone like Chris Archer, for instance.
However, they could still try to move a couple of big salaries while also trying to swing that kind of deal. At the GM meetings a few weeks back, Avila addressed the Tigers situation.
I think there’s going to be interest in several of our players, I do,” said Avila per Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press“It’s just going to be a matter of where we go with those talks. But, yes, there is interest, and we expect there to be interest.”
One thing that appears certain is that Avila’s cell phone will be ringing off the hook down at National Harbor next week. In fact, it has probably already been ringing for weeks. Keep an eye on the Tigers this winter.