If you’ve read last night’s game recap (and judging from the numbers, you haven’t), you know that the Tigers will face Scott Kazmir in tonight’s game with the Angels. What you probably don’t know is that the Tigers have historically fared pretty well when facing Kazmir, yet this current crop of Tigers hasn’t had much success.
Over his career, Kazmir has faced the Tigers eight times and has a 2-4 record in those games. He has walked 26 batters in 40.1 career innings while fanning 40. He has also been prone to give up the long ball, having yielded seven dingers to the Tigers in his career, the most versus any non-AL East opponent, where his pitched up until the end of last season.
But what should that tell us about tonight? Maybe nothing as this group of Tigers has not had the same success that former Tigers had when they were there.
Tonight’s lineups have not yet been released, but you could guess what the Tigers’ order will look like. Below you will find my projected lineup with career numbers against the Angels hurler.
- CF Austin Jackson- has not faced Kazmir
- LF Johnny Damon- 6/36 2b 3b 5 RBI 6 BB 7 K .167/.273/.250
- RF Magglio Ordonez- 1/11 3 BB 3 K .091/.286/.091
- 1B Miguel Cabrera- 3/11 2b 3b HR 4 RBI BB 3 K .273/.333/.818
- DH Carlos Guillen- 0/7 BB 4 K .000/.125/.000
- 3B Brandon Inge- 3/14 2 2b 3b 2 RBI 2 BB 4 K .214/.313/.500
- C Gerald Laird- 1/12 2b 3 K .083/.083/.167
- 2B Scott Sizemore- has not faced Kazmir
- SS Ramon Santiago- 2/3 2 HR 2 RBI .667/.667/2.667
Anything stand out there? C’mon I even made it all bold for you.
Now, it’s not a given that Santiago will start tonight, but I’m betting Jim Leyland has these numbers, too. In case you’re wondering, Adam Everett has also never faced Kazmir, so there wouldn’t necessarily be an advantage to using both Everett and Santiago in tonight’s lineup, thereby giving Sizemore the night off. Given the Tigers lack of extra-base power lately, it would be wise to keep Sizemore in the lineup as he is a significantly bigger threat at the plate than Everett anyway.
Perhaps you’d like to see Damon get the evening off, or Guillen due to their history with Kazmir? Ryan Raburn doesn’t figure to be much help as he is just 1 for 7 career versus the southpaw.
Regardless of who is in the lineup however, the Tigers need to show a bit more patience tonight than they have so far this year. True, the way opposing pitchers have been peppering the strike zone so far works against that strategy, but Kazmir has never been a control artist.
He has a good fastball and a great slider when it’s on, but he will walk you if you can lay off pitches out of the zone. Of course that’s true of any pitcher, but especially when dealing with a guy who depends on undisciplined hitters chasing his slider.
Best bet for Detroit tonight is to get him out of the game early and feast on the soft underbelly of the Angels middle relief. Easier said than done, but we’ll see.
On the other side, no Angel has more than three career plate appearances against Rick Porcello, tonight’s starter for the Tigers.
When dealing with samples that small, it’s difficult to put much stock into them. For what it’s worth, look out for Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera tonight. Abreu has reached twice in three trips with a double and a walk, while Rivera has doubled and homered in two at bats.