All-Star Game Notes and Non Sequiturs

Sometimes I want to rail on Major League Baseball¬†about the lameness of so many things it does — the vapid celebrity softball game, the interminable Home Run Derby, the “this-time-it-counts” angle on the All-Star Game — but then I realize it’s probably me just getting old.

  • The Tigers’ collection of All Stars is the largest since 1985 when the club sent six players to the Metrodome for the game managed by Sparky Anderson. Here’s a look at the largest classes of Tigers All Stars since 1984 and the team’s record that season:

1984 (104-58)
Willie Hernandez
Chet Lemon
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

1985 (84-77)
Willie Hernandez
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Dan Petry
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

2007 (88-74)
Carlos Guillen
Magglio Ordonez
Placido Polanco
Ivan Rodriguez
Justin Verlander

2009 (86-77)
Curtis Granderson
Brandon Inge
Edwin Jackson
Justin Verlander

Clearly, the better the Tigers were, the more players they sent to the All-Star Game. For a long time though, the Tigers were a team that had little to offer the American League manager. From 1996 through 2003, Detroit sent a single player to the game. In some cases the pickings were particularly slim (see 2002).

1996 (53-109)
Travis Fryman

1997 (79-83)
Justin Thompson

1998 (65-97)
Damion Easley

1999 (69-92)
Brad Ausmus

2000 (79-83)
Todd Jones

2001 (66-96)
Tony Clark

2002 (55-106)
Robert Fick

2003 (43-119)
Dmitri Young

Ugly, no?

  • I still think it’s remarkable that Alex Avila¬†is the starting catcher in tonight’s game. Whoda thunk it, especially after a dreadful Opening Day series against the Yankees when Avila looked about as lost as a player can look. I guess that’s why, as Rod Allen says, you play the games. Jason Beck has a nice piece recapping the Tigers’ All Stars’ respective experiences in Phoenix.
  • The water is so far past being under the bridge, but isn’t it still a bit weird to see Curtis Granderson starting in the All-Star Game … as a Yankee?
  • Six years ago today in the Home Run Derby at Comerica Park, Bobby Abreu destroyed the records for a single round, the championship round and the grand total for all three rounds of the derby by hitting 41 homers into every part of yard. The Phillies outfielder went deep 24 times in the first round, tacks on six more in the second round and finishes with 11 more in the championship round.
  • Looking ahead to the pitching matchups for this weekend’s series against the White Sox:

Friday | 7:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.15 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (6-9, 4.59 ERA)

Saturday | 4:10 p.m. FOX/1270 & 97.1
Max Scherzer (10-4, 4.69 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-7, 4.30 ERA)

Sunday | 1:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Brad Penny (6-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83 ERA)

Finally, on this date in 1979 the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of twi-night doubleheader against the Tigers when more tha5,000 fans refuse to leave the field during Disco Demolition Night. I wrote about it on the 30th anniversary.

One Of Those Nights

Livan Hernandez had command of his pitches and the Tigers on this night. Magglio Ordonez hit a long home run in the second, and the team loaded the based with nobody out in the same inning, but then Ivan Rodriguez hit a short fly ball to right on which Miguel Cabrera did not attempt to score from third base. Jacque Jones then hit into an inning ending double play. Hernandez was able to hold off all Tiger threats for the rest of his seven-inning stint.

The Twins were able to get to Armando Galarraga for four runs on six hits which was enough to hand him his first loss of the season. Galarraga also gave up a bases loaded walk with nobody out and a RBI double play ground out which accounted for two of those runs. Aquilino Lopez came on in the seventh and got the first out of the inning, but then surrendered four runs on six hits before giving way to Denny Bautista who got the Tigers out of the inning.

I thought the tough night was over, but in the eighth, the Twins were able to get three more runs off Bautista. He allowed a walk, a wild pitch, and a single to score one run which was followed by a passed ball by Brandon Inge. The Twins then got the other two runs in the inning on a double to deep right field and an infield single to first. This was followed by another infield single to first before Francisco Cruceta came on to strike out Mike Lamb to end the inning.

A lot of the Twins 16 hits in this game were legitimate, but they also got a few strategically placed balls that the Tigers just could not field. This was just a game that happens to even the very best teams on occasion.

We’ll just chalk this one up as one of those.