Monthly Archives: April, 2013

How Was The Game? (April 30, 2013)

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A blast.

Tigers 6, Twins 1

Sorry for the pun, but the Tigers won with more homeruns. It was Cabrera, then Avila, then Price. And Hunter had a regular RBI in there too. They hammered Vance Worley across 4.2 innings and sent him to the showers in line for a loss. Verlander had a rocky 2nd inning, but limited the damage to one run and ended the night with 8 K’s, 1 walk, and 5 hits across 7 innings. His velocity was up from earlier in the month and his thumb didn’t seem to bother him. He capped off his best April to date with his 3rd win of the season (3-2, 39.2 IP, 1.83 ERA, 2.08 FIP, 1.6 WAR) and you can come back tomorrow at 12:30pm to see just how much better he performed this April than he had in the past. This win made it 5 in a row for the Tigers and 6 of their last 7 to move to 15-10 on the season with a chance to sweep the Twins behind Anibal Sanchez (3-1, 33.2 IP, 10.96 K/9, 1.34 ERA, 1.36 FIP, 1.7 WAR) tomorrow at 1pm. It’s possible we may see some strikeouts.

The Moment: Prince puts it out of reach with a line drive homerun in the 5th.

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MLB Power Rankings May 2013

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Before the season began, I provided you with how I thought the season would play out in standings form and in power rankings form (30-21, 20-11, 10-1). Each week, I’ve updated the standings projection based on the games from the previous week, but I have yet to address how that changes the way I see the teams within leaguewide rankings. Today, and at the beginning of every month, that’s what you’ll get. What follows are my MLB Power Rankings for May 2013.

The idea is simple. I ranked the teams at the beginning of the season based on how well I thought they would perform over the entire season. I am doing the same thing here, but I just have new information to include based on a months worth of games and injuries. You’ll notice a couple teams have big jumps, but most are very close to where they started because I don’t believe in dramatically altering my opinions one sixth of the way through the season.

30. Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: 29)

The Marlins are really terrible and will now miss at least a couple weeks of Stanton, and possibly more. It’s a toss up to decide which of the bottom two teams is the worst, but the Marlins are a bad team going in the wrong direction and the Astros are a bad team going in the right direction.

29. Houston Astros (30)

Would you believe the Astros are slightly above average offensively so far? It’s true, they have a wRC+ of 102, which can hardly make up for their  5.33 ERA, 5.17 FIP, and 29th best -0.7 pitchers’ WAR. This isn’t a good team, but they have had their moments and, I’m starting to think, won’t totally embarrass themselves this year. Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to lose a lot, but I think they’ll be good enough at the plate to avoid 110 losses.

28. Chicago Cubs (25)

The Cubs are an average pitching staff (3.82 FIP) with a terrible offense (85 wRC+), which is pretty much exactly what I expected from them this season. They have fallen on this list only because the teams I had behind them have slighlty exceeded my expectations.

27. Minnesota Twins (27)

The Twins are a respectable 11-11, but they have 5th worst offense (89 wRC+) and worst defense (-16.0 UZR) in the league. Their pitching has carried this far with a 3.41 FIP and 3.3 WAR, but that doesn’t seem sustainable to me over the long run. Their pitching is probably a touch better than I expected, but it isn’t good enough to overcome the offensive deficiencies.

26. San Diego Padres (22)

I was a bit bullish on the Padres going into the season, but their below average offense and league worst -1.4 pitchers’ WAR doesn’t have me feeling great about that pick. They missed Headley for a couple weeks, but there just isn’t enough on this roster to keep them from sliding 4 spots.

25. Colorado Rockies (28)

A three spot bump for the Rockies might not seem like enough to you given their 16-10 record and first place standing in the NL West, but just couldn’t bring myself to think they’re any better than this. The offense has been a league best so far (116 wRC+) which isn’t a giant shock, but I’m not buying the 7th place pitchers’ WAR (3.3). The staff will regress and the offense won’t lead the league for the whole season. It’s important to note that they have played a total of 3 games against teams above #14 on the present list and went 1-2 in those games. The Rockies have 16 wins, but most are against average or below average clubs. They aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, but they aren’t good.

24. Seattle Mariners (24)

The Mariners just plain below average. The offense (94 wRC+) and pitching (4.10 FIP) aren’t awful, but they aren’t good at anything. Felix Hernandez is a great pitcher, but there isn’t much else on this team that screams more than 78 wins.

23. Cleveland Indians (26)

My original rankings had the Indians 26th, but they came out prior to the Bourn signing, so they realistically should have gotten a bump already. As expected, the offense has been the bright spot (113 wRC+), but the pitching is not so good (4.48 FIP, 0.8 WAR). This is pretty much exactly what we expected from the Tribe.

22. Chicago White Sox (16)

No team fell more in the rankings than the White Sox, but that shouldn’t surprise me. They’re a fickle team to predict. I didn’t want to underestimate them after they overperformed last season, but it doesn’t look like they’re due to match that  performance. Only the Marlins have been worse at the plate (76 wRC+) and the pitching (3.81 FIP, 3.5 WAR) can’t really do much more to help. They’re 10-14, which is by no means a deep grave, but if they don’t start hitting, it’s not going to get easier.

21. Kansas City Royals (23)

The Royals are a respectable 13-10 on the young season, which is enough to bump them up two slots in the rankings. I was outspoken this offseason about my lack of enthusiasm for their rotation overall, not because it didn’t help, but because it didn’t help as much as people thought it would help. Their offense, which could have used some attention, is 22nd in the league with 92 wRC+ and the pitching is only 11th best with 2.9 WAR and a 3.65 FIP. The bullpen is great and the rotation is fine, but they need more offense if they’re going to actually contend.

20. New York Mets (18)

The Mets have a perfectly average 100 wRC+ and a perfectly dreadful 0.7 pitchers’ WAR. They have the incredible Matt Harvey, but the rest of the rotation has been very bad. I think that will even out, but I’m not nearly as sure as I was when the season started.

19. Milwaukee Brewers (19)

The Crew are 13th in wRC+ and 24th in pitcher WAR, which lands them somewhere in between at 19th on the list. They’ve been a streaky 13-11 so far and have what I think is an average type team. They could really use one more mid-level bat and one really good arm.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (13)

I’m not worried about Halladay, who looks like he’s getting back on track, but Hamels hasn’t been that good either. They rely on the big three arms and they haven’t gotten enough from them to offset the 25th best offense in the game (90 wRC+). They’ll be a decent team, but their talent falls off a lot after their top few players.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (21)

The Pirates are doing it again. Good first half, collapse in August. Well I’m not sure about the last part yet. But they’re 20th in wRC+ (93) and 27th in pitchers’ WAR (0.6). They deserve some credit for their 15-11 record, but I just can’t see them keeping it up if they don’t play better.

16. Baltimore Orioles (17)

The O’s are on a mission to show us last year wasn’t a fluke, and they’re doing a decent job at it with a 15-11 record. Their 102 wRC+ is 8th best in baseball but the staff is 20th at 1.7 WAR (4.49 FIP). I’m certainly comfortable with them as a relevant team for most of the season, but it’s hard for me to buy into them as a really good team.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (15)

Arizona made weird choices this offseason, but I won’t rehash them. They have the 23rd best offense in the league (91 wRC+), but the staff is 5th best with a 3.4 pitchers’ WAR. 15-11 so far this year is good, but they need to hit more if they’re going to move up the list. Don’t worry though, a couple teams ahead of them are falling fast.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (11)

So losing Greinke for two months was a freak thing, but losing like every other pitcher didn’t make it any easier. They’re 19th best in wRC+ (94) for all their spending and they’re 16th in pitchers’ WAR with 2.1. They’re playing like a very average team despite high expectations. I was skeptical, and so far that looks right.

13. Los Angels Angels (9)

I gave it to the Angels this offseason for spending money on Hamilton when they needed pitching in bad way and that looks like a smart call. Hamilton has been terrible and the pitching staff is 28th in baseball with a -0.3 WAR and 4.64 FIP. They have some good bats, but they got worse this offseason and it could get worse before it gets better.

12. Toronto Blue Jays (8)

I doubted the Blue Jays as division favorites and they’ve struggled early. Their 88 wRC+ is 27th best in the league and the staff is only ranked 17th in pitchers’ WAR. The Reyes injury hurts, but they need more from the star pitchers if they’re going to contend. They’re 9.5 games back on April 30th, so this too could get worse before it gets better.

11. Boston Red Sox (20)

The Sox have made a meteoric rise on the charts thanks to great pitching from their top two. I was worried about Lester and Buchholz’s ability to return to form, but they have done so in a big way. The Sox are 4th in wRC+ and 3rd in pitchers’ WAR and have jumped out to a 18-7 record. I don’t think they’re quite as good as their record shows, but they are better than I thought going into the season. If they look like this for another month, they’ll crack the top ten no problem.

10. New York Yankees (12)

I ranked the Yanks 12th before all the injuries, but somehow, they’re still doing it. They have the 7th best offense and 10th best pitching despite running out a lineup that doesn’t look anything like a Yankee lineup should. Heck, they’ve made it this far without their stars and those guys will slowly come back throughout the year. I just can’t justify keeping them out of the top ten for now.

9. Oakland Athletics (14)

Oakland hits. A 113 wRC+ makes them 2nd in the game and their staff has done good work at 2.6 WAR which is 12th in the league. They’re well managed and they play to their strengths, but the record also reflects the underlying numbers as they are 15-12 through 27 games.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (10)

I was really surprised to see the Cards only have a 90 wRC+, but Wainwright is carrying the staff to 9th in the league at 3.2 WAR. I like the offense to regress upward and the staff is for real in my book. They’re only a half game back of first and Dave Cameron at Fangraphs recently wrote a piece regarding their well-timed hits that produce more wins than the underlying numbers might suspect. I’m not sure if it’s predictive, but I think this is going to be a good offense.

7. San Francisco Giants (7)

14th in offense and 21st in pitching. That doesn’t scream 7th best team, but they’ve been consistently good for years and guys like Cain are underperforming, so I’m just going to stay the course with this one until I see some more data. The Giants are the Giants.

6. Cincinnati Reds (6)

They have the 16th best offense and 8th best staff, but I love their depth in the rotation and some of their offensive players are elite guys. Choo has been great and Votto is the best in the game. If Zack Cozart wasn’t hitting second, they might even score more often! The Reds are a very complete team.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (3)

They’re an average offense (100 wRC+), but the defense (10.6 UZR) has been great as usual. The staff has been surprisingly middling at 1.9 WAR and 3.89 FIP, but they have a good staff and I’m sticking with them. I’m not keeping them in the top 3, but this is one of the best teams in the league.

4. Texas Rangers (5)

Average offense so far, 2nd best staff. I told you so. The Rangers did not get worse this offseason. They are good.

3. Washington Nationals (1)

The Nats were my pick at the beginning of the season, but they haven’t quite looked as good as I thought. I still have them third, but the 93 wRC+ is a little worrisome and the pitching is 15th in WAR so far. They’re underperforming, so question, but 30 games of not meeting expectations is enough for me to drop them two spots.

2. Detroit Tigers (2)

The Tigers are 14-10 so far, which isn’t eye poppingly good, but they’ve lost a couple extra inning games too, so it looks a little off. They’re 6th in baseball with a 106 wRC+ and are far and above the best pitching staff with a 2.66 FIP and 6.3 WAR. Tigers fans will probably even tell you they’re underperforming too, so this could get even better.

1. Atlanta Braves (4)

Honestly, I don’t think the Braves are the best team. 5th best offense and 13th best pitching. But it’s working and it’s working without Jayson Heyward. It’s working with a lot of guys not playing up to career norms. They’re 16-9 and just got swept by the Tigers, but for now they get the top spot because of what they can be if they play up to their potential after they have already jumped out to a great start.

What do you think? How would your list look different?

The Morning Edition (April 30, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • The Reds and Latos edge the Cards and Wainwright 2-1
  • Ryan Raburn’s 4 hits and 2 HR power a strong Ubaldo past the Royals 9-0
  • Braves slip past the Nats 3-2 thanks to a Simmons sac fly
  • Marlins and Mets play deep into the night as Harvey goes 5.1 and allows 1 run and Stanton leaves with an injury

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Halladay looks to stay hot against the Tribe (7p Eastern)
  • Lester and Morrow face off in Toronto (7p Eastern)
  • Gio and Hudson duel in Atlanta (7p Eastern)
  • Yu Darvish gets the White Sox (8p Eastern)
  • Shields faces Cobb and his old team in KC (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How do you choose what to watch tomorrow? (Verlander at 7p too!)

Matt Harvey limited the Marlins to 1 run in 5.1 innings with 7 K’s on Monday, but it took him 121 pitches in his least efficient outing to date. Yes, we’re disappointed in a 1 run performance. Thanks for setting that bar, Harvey. Carl Crawford is also having a solid start to his first season with the Dodgers after I said he’d be a platoon player by the Dog Days. He’s got 4 homers and 4 steals in 102 PA (at 12:07am on April 30) to go with his .311/.392/.522 line and 1.4 WAR. I’m not ready to say he’s back to being the Crawford who reigned in Tampa, but he’s certainly better than I expected him to be this year. And don’t look now, but even after tonight’s loss to the Reds, Adam Wainwright has vaulted above 2 WAR in April (2.1) and guys who provide that kind of value in April, usually have big years. I predicted he’d be a top 5 NL starter this year, but if I could do it all over again, he’d be in my top 3.

 

How Was The Game? (April 29, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Tigers’ baseball.

Tigers 4, Twins 3

The formula for Tigers’ victories this year is relatively simple: strike the other team out and hit for power. That’s just happens to be what they did on Monday against the Twins. Scherzer provided 7.1 innings of 3 run baseball and struck out 10 while allowing 6 hits and no walks to improve to 3-0 on the season (13.21 K/9, 4.02 ERA, 1.66 FIP, 1.4 WAR). Dirks homered in the 3rd and Prince matched him with a 3 run shot of his own in the 6th to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead that would hold up for good. The ‘pen backed Scherzer with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief from Smyly (who by the way, is killing it so far this season: 10.06 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 1.59 ERA, 1.47 FIP, 0.6 WAR in 17 innings) and Benoit. They played to their strengths and won their 4th straight game and 5th in their last 6 tries to improve to 14-10 on the season. They’ll try to take the series tomorrow behind the seemingly forgotten ace, Justin Verlander (2-2, 32.1 IP, 1.95 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 1.2 WAR).

The Moment: Prince homers into the visiting bullpen to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead in the 6th.

The Morning Edition (April 29, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Kershaw tosses 8 innings, 12 K’s, and no walks as Crawford homers twice to push the Dodgers over the Crew
  • Stanton homers twice as the Marlins beat the Cubs
  • Price wins his first of the year, but gets into it with the home plate umpire about the umpires use of language

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Matt Harvey gets the Marlins, many strikeouts possible (7p Eastern)
  • Strasburg takes the hill as the Nats and Braves begin a series in Atlanta (7p Eastern)
  • Wainwright faces Latos in an NL Central clash (8p Eastern)
  • Cain and Kennedy battle in the desert (9p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How will Wainwright counter Kershaw’s excellent Sunday?

I don’t think you can judge a team’s future performance based on how they play in April, but the games in April count in the standings and you don’t want to get too far behind. The Angels are allowing it to happen again. They enter the final two days of April ahead of only 3 teams in the win column: Cleveland, Miami, and Houston. They’re already 6.5 games back on April 29th. I didn’t think they’d win the West to begin with, but man, you can’t afford to give Texas and Oakland that type of early lead. Maybe if they had spent money on starting pitching this offseason instead of Josh Hamilton, who is hitting .219./.267/.323 so far. They’ll play better, but I don’t think they’re good enough to overcome this deficit and the inherent talent deficit they face.

How Was The Game? (April 28, 2013)

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Awesome.

Tigers 8, Braves 3

The Tigers took the field Sunday knowing they had already taken the series against the Braves, but didn’t leave their brooms at home. Doug Fister got the strikeout working early and often and finished with 8 K’s in 7 innings, while allowing 3 runs, all of which came in one awkward inning. The bats delivered for Fister as Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera both smacked 3 run homeruns in the 3rd and 7th inning, respectively. Infante also provided a solo homerun and Martinez added a sac fly to round out the score. Alburquerque pitched a scoreless 8th, but put the first two men on in the 9th and Valverde was called on to get the final three outs in the 9th. The Tigers have now won three straight and four of their last five, sending them to 13-10 on the season as they welcome the Twins in for three starting tomorrow behind Max Scherzer (2-0, 24 IP, 4.53 ERA, 1.54 FIP, 1.1 WAR).

The Moment: Jackson slams a three run bomb to left center in the 3rd.

The Morning Edition (April 28, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Giancarlo Stanton hits his first HR of the season, but the Fish fall to the Cubs 3-2
  • Westbrook throws 6 scoreless innings, but the bullpen gives it away to the Pirates
  • Harper homers as the Nats back Dan Haren in a 6-3 win over the Reds
  • Matt Moore strikes out 9 in 6 innings as the Rays been the White Sox 10-4

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Dickey tries to find Cy Young form in the Bronx (1p Eastern)
  • Hamels and Niese hook up in a battle of NL East lefties (1p Eastern)
  • Shelby Miller tries to keep the rookie magic alive against the Bucs (2p Eastern)
  • Clayton Kershaw faces the Padres (4p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Is Stanton’s big homerun enough to silence the worriers? (Mostly fantasy owners, because the Marlins don’t really have fans anymore)

As I write this, the two highest position players on the WAR leaderboard are Justin Upton and Shin Shoo Choo. I’ve written about both in this space previously, but the point I’d like to make today is that both were traded this offseason and both trades involved the Arizona Diamondbacks. Obviously, we know the Dbacks dealt Upton to the Braves in a package deal that saw Martin Prado as the key return. They also played a role in the Choo deal, as they sent Bauer to Cleveland and got Gregorious from the Reds (via Choo). I’m not sure how long it would take me to verify this, but I can’t imagine that the two best players in the league in a given season had ever been involved in trades made by the same team during the previous winter. Now this doesn’t mean the Dbacks won’t make the playoffs, but I would have to imagine they would have a better shot if they have Upton and/or Choo right now. I mean, Parra is a very good outfielder, but he only has a spot in the lineup because of injuries to Eaton, Ross, and Kubel so far. The Diamondbacks might not understand outfielders.

The Nine Best Aprils of the Last 10 Years

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With April 2013 winding down and players such as Adam Wainwright and Justin Upton producing at very high levels, I thought it might be fun to revisit some of the best Aprils in recent memory. A few notes to start. First, March numbers are included for the few years that included 1-2 games in March because it’s simply too difficult to separate out that data and let’s face it, it’s pretty much the same thing. Second, I’ve determined these ranks by Wins Above Replacement (WAR) because it’s the easiest way to boil players down to one number who play different positions during different seasons. One shouldn’t treat this as a precise measure, but it’s the best we can do without inundating ourselves with information. Third, I haven’t included 2013 because it isn’t over yet and this is meant for you to compare this year’s performers with those performances past. For the years 2003-2012, The Nine Best Aprils follow.

9. Ryan Braun, 2011 (2.0 WAR)

Braun opened his MVP campaign in style with 26 games in April 2011. He hit 10 HR and posted a .367/.457/.724 line, good for a .496 wOBA and 220 wRC+. He would wind up hitting 33 HR over the course of the season with a 173 wRC+ and 7.3 WAR.

8. Alex Rodriguez, 2007 (2.1 WAR)

A-Rod, too, won the MVP in 2007 after a great April. He hit 14 HR and hit .355/.415/.882 to go with his .521 wOBA and 226 wRC+ during the first month and ended the year with 54 HR, a wRC+ of 175 and 9.6 WAR.

7. Alex Rodriguez, 2003 (2.1 WAR)

No this isn’t a typo and yes, Alex Rodriguez posted two separate 2.1 WAR in April in two separate MVP seasons in the last ten seasons. In this particular season, he hit 9 HR and posted a .355/.444/.673 slash line which produced a .472 wOBA and 188 wRC+. His season totals for 2003 were also impressive, with 47 HR, a .298/.396/.600 line, a 151 wRC+, and 9.1 WAR.

6. Matt Kemp, 2012 (2.2 WAR)

Just last year, Matt Kemp turned in an elite opening month by hitting 12 HR and delivering a .417/.490/.893 slash line to go with his .566 wOBA and 270 wRC+. Unfortunately for Kemp, injuries would shorten his season to 106 games and while he hit 23 HR and posted a .303/.367/.538 line, it would only be good for 3.2 WAR due to limited playing time.

5. Brian Roberts, 2005 (2.3 WAR)

Once upon a time, Roberts played an entire month of baseball without getting hurt. In April 2005, he hit 8 HR and stole 10 bases while posting a .379/.459/.726 line and a .496 wOBA and 214 wRC+. Roberts played well the rest of the season, and hit 18 HR and stole 27 bases to go with 140 wRC+ and a 9.4 UZR, but his 6.6 WAR wouldn’t be good enough to get him the MVP award that others on this list had coming.

4. Jose Bautista, 2011 (2.3 WAR)

2011 wouldn’t be an MVP year for Joey Bats, but his 9 HR in April and .366/.532/.780 line, wOBA of .541, and wRC+ of 249 would be good enough to put him on the path to a third place finish behind Justin Verlander and Jacoby Ellsbury. Bautista would finish the year with 43 HR, 182 wRC+, and 7.8 WAR. Nothing at which to sneeze.

3. Albert Pujols, 2006 (2.4 WAR)

Pujols delivered a superb April in 2006 enroute to a World Series win and 2nd place MVP finish. He hit 14 HR and .346/.509/.914 with a .548 wOBA and 240 wRC+. He’d finish the year with 8.2 WAR, 49 HR and a wRC+ of 174, but the voters wouldn’t ignore Ryan Howard’s 58 bombs.

2. Chase Utley, 2008 (2.5 WAR)

Howard’s teammate comes next on the list as Chase Utley posted great April 2008. His 11 HR, .360/.430/.766 line look awesome night to his .491 wOBA and 202 wRC+. He’d finish with 33 HR, 134 wRC+, and a 19.5 UZR, good for 8.0 WAR, but Pujols (who had a nice April 2008) beat him out for MVP. That doesn’t bother me much, as Pujols had a slightly better season. What does bother me, however, is that Utley somehow finished 14th despite having the second highest WAR.

1. Barry Bonds, 2004 (2.8 WAR)

Well you knew this was coming. 2004 would be Bonds’ final MVP season and he (and maybe some chemicals) certainly earned it. In April he hit 10 HR and posted an insane .472/.696/1.132 line to go with an otherworldly .673 wOBA and 322 wRC+. No one else is even the same conversation. He would conclude that season with 43 HR and a 233 wRC+ and 11.6 WAR.

It’s probably worth noting that the only one on this list who didn’t have a fantastic season was Matt Kemp, who simply got hurt. So if you have a 2.0 WAR type April, you’re probably in line for an awesome season. You have a great shot at an MVP award, too. Mr. Upton and Mr. Wainwright, things look good.

How Was The Game? (April 27, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

A nice bounce back for Porcello.

Tigers 7, Braves 4

The Tigers came into today’s game on a high note thanks to a 10-0 win on Friday, but the starting pitcher, Rick Porcello was coming off his worst performance by results of his career. The Tigers would provide him with 7 runs thanks in part to homeruns by Peralta and Infante and Porcello wouldn’t need more. His only issue came in the 3rd inning when he allowed 3 runs, but none of the balls were hit hard and three batters reached via infield groundballs. His only real mistake was a bases loaded walk to Dan Uggla. Aside from the 3rd inning, Porcello allowed just one hit over his 6.1 innings of work while striking out 5 and using his changeup more effectively than I can ever remember. Smyly finished the 7th with two strikeouts and Benoit got three outs in the 8th despite allowing a Justin Upton homerun. Leyland called for Valverde in the 9th for his second appearance of the season and he retired the Braves in order. With the win, the Tigers improve to 12-10 on the season and set themselves up to go for a sweep of the Braves on Sunday night behind Doug Fister (27 IP, 3-0, 2.00 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 0.5 WAR).

The Moment: Infante delivers a 2-out homer in the 4th to put the Tigers ahead for good.

The Morning Edition (April 27, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Normally we don’t talk Tigers here, but check out Anibal Sanchez striking out 17 Braves in a 10-0 win
  • Jordan Zimmermann twirls a CGSO against the Reds in a 1-0 win (91 pitches, 1 hit)
  • Kyle Kendrick also delivers a CGSO in a 4-0 win over the Mets
  • Rizzo delivers 2 homeruns in a 4-3 win over the Fish

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Lefties face off in New York as Sabathia and Happ duel (4p Eastern)
  • Under-the-radar standouts, Burnett and Garcia, battle in St. Louis (4p Eastern)
  • Must-see Matt Moore faces the White Sox (7p Eastern)
  • Felix Hernandez takes the hill (9p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Which great performance was your favorite, Sanchez, Zimmermann, or Kendrick?

Friday was a fun night if you like pitching. You can read about Anibal Sanchez’s 17 strikeout night here, but Zimmermann and Kendrick delivered excellent performances as well. Sorry, Kendrick, but yours was the least interesting. Sanchez went 8 and struckout 17 and Zimmermann went 9 and only needed 91 pitches. Textbook examples of two kinds of domination. Sanchez overpowered and went with strikeouts and Zimmermann just induced easy out after easy out. If you have the time, go watch the highlights and enjoy. Man, great pitching is fun. Sorry to Rizzo, Encarnacion, and Beltran, but multi-homer games don’t measure up.

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