The “Don’t Ask Jim Leyland About His Lineups, He’s Done Explaining Them” Walkoff Wrap

sweaty

If you read my outlandish musings here at Walkoff Woodward, with any sort of regularity, you know that I often reference baseball as a funny game. That’s not funny as in, ha-ha-I’m-laughing-funny, that’s funny as in, whoa-that’s-so-weird-I-just-can’t-explain-what-I-saw-funny.

The first three games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been both parts ha-ha-I’m-laughing-funny (due to the Angels name) and whoa-that’s-so-weird-I-just-can’t-explain-what-I-saw-funny (due to one blowout loss, one blowout win, and one super tight dramatic game that the Tigers won).

What’s going to be interesting to see is what happens on Thursday, because it will literally change the dynamic of this four game series, with the result, no matter what it is. If the Angels and Tigers play a really close game and the Angels win, the series will have been a literal tie, but if the Angels win in blowout fashion they will undoubtedly have, at least, proven that they have a more dynamic offense, and if the Tigers win in blowout fashion or in a tight, intense dogfight, then they will obviously be superior. Oh man! The options are endless! The drama of this rivalry with these Southern California beach bums has been multiplied, tenfold because of this series!

Return tomorrow to see the epic conclusion!

With Brennan Boesch on second base and Gerald Laird on first base with no one out in the second inning, Danny Worth strolled (or walked, or ran, I can’t remember) to home plate with the score tied 1-1. In past experiences, Tigers fans would have witnessed Jim Leyland order Worth to sacrifice bunt. I cannot tell you how ridiculous this notion is, but it’s true. Jim Leyland tends to do this with runners on and no one out, and he really tends to do this with a batter as prolific as Danny Worth at the plate.

note that this use of prolific is sarcastic in nature

Well, what do you know! Surprise! Jim Leyland decided to have Danny Worth square off for the first two pitches of the at bat and Wilson, who was being given a free out decided he didn’t like giving them away and threw two balls so far outside they were unbuntable. (Is that a word? I’ll go with it). With the count 2-0, the but sign was dropped and Worth was allowed to swing away. Worth responded by singling to right field to load the bases. Note the lack of bunting there….with no one out. It’s almost like he shouldn’t even have attempted it in the first place!

Austin Jackson, who struggled in rare fashion, struck out swinging on three pitches, Ryan Raburn grounded a ball deep enough up the middle that the shortstop, Erick Aybar couldn’t make a play on it for the first run, and then Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second for the second run scoring out.

Had Worth bunted, which I note he did not, that would have been the third out and the Tigers would have walked away from that inning leading by one run.

Instead, Prince Fielder then lined a single to center field to plate two more runs and broke the game wide open at 5-1. Because the team did not waste an out with a bunt, the Tigers ended up with three more runs.

Production!

As for the rest of the game, I’ll make it quick because I have a few things to do like eat dinner and take a shower and go to sleep, that all sound much more enjoyable than spending another hour profiling the Tigers easy 48th victory of the season.

Doug Fister was simply spectacular. His second straight dominant performance he is making everyone involved with the tigers organization feel much better about the front end starting pitching stability.

Since the All-Star break – and even just before – Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young are both hitting the ball with authority. I’m quite sure no one really expected them to go the entire year without producing, but it certainly is nice to see them both start to get their acts together.

 

It’s obvious, but with both of them making pitchers pay, the tigers lineup looks a whole lot fuller, even with Prince Fielder hitting cleanup.

Ah, Fielder jokes

And finally, Jim Leyland, in his daily post-game interview laid it out very plainly regarding his lineups that he writes. “I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m just going to post the lineup and you can read it.”

For a full quote, Kurt over at Bless You Boys has got the down low on it so click here to read the three super long sentences.

From my perspective, I was tweeted at and emailed a few times about one particular player in the lineup:

Ryan Raburn, who batted second despite hitting .168 on the season coming into the game, was the player in question, and you know what, there really shouldn’t be any questions about it. Raburn historically hits lefties well and historically produces in the second half. If Leyland puts him in the two-hole in middle July against a lefty, then so what?

Raburn responded by going 1-for-3 with a walk, and RBI, and a run scored.

Tomorrow, the third leg of the Tigers front half of the starting rotation will toe the slab. Max Scherzer will face Jerome Williams in a Thursday afternoon matinee that I will have to remember to wake up for.

  • bowlnman1990

    Didn’t Worth square to bunt on the first 2 pitches, but pulled back because they were balls? Leyland then allowed him to swing away, expecting him to get a fastball. Thats really not that odd of a play.

    • Jack

      True, but Danny Worth is not known for his hitting. I was surprised to see him get a hit, weren’t you?

  • mudhen1954

    After reading this blog I’m not sure we both watched the same game last night. As the person below me noted, Worth squared to bunt on his 1st 2 pitches that were obviously balls inside and would have difficult to bunt. Then the bunt sign was taken off expecting that Danny would get a fastball, which he did and took the pitch to right for a hit. As most baseball people will tell you (pay attention now) if a major league player knows he is getting a fastball – especially the location of the one Wilson threw – the odds of getting a hit increase dramatically. And Rayburns bouncer up the middle would probably not been caught by most shortstops, and although Eybar made a nice play Worths hustle got him to second ahead of the throw. And I guess the “even with Prince Fielder hitting cleanup” is your failed attempt at humor, as he is 3rd in the AL in RBI’s. Hope you dont need to get a real job anytime in the future…

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