Category Archives: Brandon Inge

the hardest goodbye yet

Well, that was fast.

I knew it would happen.  I knew it would happen this season.  I hate that it happened at the end of a completely disastrous homestand.  Because, look, we can all agree (even this supporter) that Inge has been terrible aside from the random extra base hit, but he’s been with the team since 2001.  He was part of the 2006 club.  I cannot imagine that losing a guy like this as a teammate after being SWEPT BY THE MARINERS and before you get on a plane to New York felt very good.  The only good thing I see in this as a fan is that Inge no longer has to endure the hail of boos that happens anytime he shows his face on the field.  It felt cruel and cheap and I was sick of hearing it.  He said he thought it was funny, but when they showed close-ups of his face during games, it was like looking at a different person.  I think he was miserable, and maybe this was the best thing for him.  Have fun with your kids, Brandon, and I hope someone picks you up.

Really, I’m just angry, and not for the reason you think.  I’m pissed because I’m sure there are fans who feel like they’ve won, like they booed hard enough, complained loudly enough, that the front office heard them and gave them what they wanted.  And that just isn’t true.  This was going to happen one way or another, and I hate that people feel giddy about it.  There’s nothing good about watching a guy try so hard but fail.  Nothing.  Inge leaving doesn’t fix this team.  Leyland wanted the guys to get angry.  Maybe this will help.

As I’ve said, I was a late fan.  Brandon Inge was the first player I called “My Tiger”.  I don’t know why I zeroed in on him, but I’ve always liked him, and I’ll keep wearing my Inge jersey until it falls apart.  I’ll miss seeing his goofy, ridiculous face on the team, and if he lands somewhere in another uniform, I’ll follow him, no matter how wrong it looks, just like I have with Granderson in pinstripes.

JV tries to kill us, Inge kills the internet, and this is only week 2

(This was written yesterday, FYI, so assume this was all yesterday morning after JV’s start.  I forgot to e-mail the post to myself from the work computer.  Oops.)

Why do I feel like this season has been at least a month long already? My heart should not be litterally pounding during the 10th game of the year. Insanity.

And speaking of insanity, this team (and the fans, actually) has rendered me incapable of coherent speech multiple times over already, so here’s a collection of disjointed thoughts for you.

– At some point during the third game against the White Sox, I had completely transformed into the “Y U No” guy and found myself screaming at the television:

TIGERS OFFENSE Y U NO HIT BASEBALLS?

BULLPEN Y U NO THROW STRIKES?

LEYLAND Y U NO KILL SCHLERETH?

PRINCE Y U INJURE OWN STARTER?

DELMON Y U NO LIKE RUNNING?

DUNN Y U HIT BASEBALL NOW?

FANS Y U NO LIKE OWN TEAM?

And so on. Thank God for Porcello and his rediscovered sinker. When you are reduced to meme-speak this early in the season, you know you’re in for a long summer.

– Boys, I know it is self-preservation, but you’re supposed to protect your pitcher. One of you couldn’t have stood still or knocked down that foul ball or something and kept it from hitting Wilk?

– I guess if you’re going to pass sinus infections and strep around the clubhouse, best to get it out of the way this early in the season. Maybe you don’t want to give it to your broadcaster who just went through chemo, though. Just a thought.

– The fan panic continues at a level that is so ridiculous that I can’t even read Twitter during games if things are going badly. Ryan Raburn should be burned at the stake! Miguel Cabrera is ruined! Jim Leyland should be fired because we lost a game/for leaving JV in/taking JV out/ever using his bullpen/using statistics to compose a line-up/breathing! After last night, it turns out I can’t even read Twitter during games when things are going WELL. I hopped on after Inge’s homerun of majesty last night to see if Samera was gloating (heh) and check the feeds of the few other Tigers fans I can stand to follow. According to a few of those folks, people have such a deep hatred for Brandon Inge that they were actually angry that he hit a home run. That broke a tie. And ended up being the difference in the game. And gave JV a chance at his first win.

… I don’t even know what to do with this information. If you hate a guy so much that you can’t tip your hat and say “huh, good job, I guess”, or even acknowledge that he might have changed the outcome of an entire game, I don’t want to know you. You might call yourself a fan of the team, but we have very different definitions of the word “fan”.

– Along that same line, should we really be upset that the bottom part of the order is stepping up to win games when the middle is so clearly slumping? I love you, Gerald Laird.

– I hate to get my hopes up, but I kind of want to marry this version of Austin Jackson. Never leave us Austin Jackson Who Hits Balls and Takes Walks!

– The MLB Tonight commentary during their live lookins during the 9th inning last night were hysterical. They were utterly convinced that Leyland had gone out to pull Justin during his mound visit and had been talked out of it. Having watched far many, many mound visits during Justin’s starts, my husband and I believed that, after his last start, Leyland was absolutely going to leave Justin in, even if he lost the lead. We never for a moment thought that mound visit was anything more than a “Look, you need one out, just get this done”. I even told my husband that it was all probably some sort of psychological thing for him after the last start and Leyland was letting him work through it. The reactions and expressions of pure relief and glee on Avila and Verlander’s faces after the final out confirmed this long before the quotes from MLB.com did. Do I agree with letting your star arm throw that many VERY FAST pitches in April? No, I do not. But I kind of get it, even if it almost KILLED ME DEAD.

– I hate the White Sox. I hate them in their stupid White Sox faces.

 

Ryan Raburn hates me: the search for a second baseman

For over two weeks, I’ve been intending to write a post about the second baseman situation.  My goal was to compose something intelligent sounding and objective with a lot of statistics, possibly in some sweet tables.  For those weeks, it became increasingly apparent that I was avoiding this post, especially taking into account the fact that I didn’t even have to work for one of those weeks.  Over said work-free week, I went to four spring training games and got a ridiculously painful sunburn instead.  I mean, it wasn’t like I was avoiding thinking about baseball.  I was just avoiding thinking about the drama unfolding at second base and Ryan Raburn’s personal crusade to make me miserable.

To be fair, Brandon Inge has been equally intent on making me tear my hair out, but as his has been a more . . . passive approach, I blame Ryan.

See, the whole reason I planned this post was to force myself to look at the situation objectively, because Brandon Inge has a way of making me incapable of objectivity.  Believe me, being a Tigers fan and loving Brandon Inge isn’t exactly an easy choice.  While I’m not alone in this, the faction that hates Inge does so with a passion that borders on irrational.  Let us consider last season, when reading the comments on any internet article about the team would lead you to believe that every loss was the direct result of Inge’s very presence on the team.  This leads the Inge defender to start overcompensating in their rebuttals, making them also seem completely deranged.  And when Inge goes through stretches like last season, you begin to wonder if he’s doing this to you on purpose, just to make you look stupid in front of the haters.

And so, I took to Baseball Reference and pulled some numbers on Inge, Raburn, and Santiago in an attempt to understand why Inge’s spectacular play at second base this spring doesn’t seem to be enough to compensate for his terrible hitting, even if it was okay enough every other year, and especially given the defense we’re sacrificing overall this season.  The Raburn haters have been out in full-force, too, remember, and neither he or Santiago have been a daily player at any point in their career.  Keep that in mind when we talk about career numbers below.

Inge, career:

AVG: .235
OPS: .692
OBP: .305
SLG: .388
WAR: 17.9 (2010- 2.4)
Fielding %: .976

And here are Inge’s best years:

AVG: .287 (2004)
OPS: .793 (2004)
OBP: .340 (2004)
SLG: .453 (2004)

Raburn, career:

AVG: .269
OPS: .779
OBP: .323
SLG: .456
WAR: 4.3 (2011- .8)
Fielding %: .958

Raburn’s best years:

AVG: .304 (2007)
OPS: .891 (2009)
OBP: .359 (2009)
SLG: .533 (2009)

And Santiago’s career:

AVG: .249
OPS: .658
OBP: .316
SLG: .342
WAR: 4.8 (2011- 1.3)
Fielding %: .978

Finally, Santiago’s best years:

AVG: .284 (2007)
OPS: .870 (2008)
OBP: .417 (2005) (only 8 games)
SLG: .460 (2008)

I bolded the best career number in each category, and . . . yeah.  This definitely works out in Raburn’s favor.  If you could guarantee that Inge would be at his best, you’re starting to get somewhere, but he still gets nudged out in many categories.  Santiago is solid, but the problem I found with a lot of his numbers was small sample size.  He just hasn’t had a lot of consistent playing time over the years.

This, of course, segues nicely into my current woes.  Raburn is having a monster spring.  When you pair that with his career numbers thus far, the choice actually looks pretty easy.  The trick is going to be getting Raburn to carry that into the Spring and not save all his hitting for August yet again.  Memories are short, and while Raburn looks like a sure thing now, how soon we forget that the same people calling for Inge’s head last May were also booing Raburn when he stepped to the plate.  I refuse to talk about intangibles because they make me twitchy, but all three of them seem like fantastic guys and I would hate to lose any of them from my clubhouse.

My feelings on the matter?  Raburn will be our opening second baseman, and to be honest, I think that was how it was going to be from the day Inge asked to try out at second.  The more people talk about Cabrera’s transition to third, the more it comes out that Cabrera was working with the coaches to start transitioning to the position even before Prince was signed.  Inge was allowed to try out at second because that’s the least they could do for someone who has been with the team for that long and they didn’t have anything better to do with him.  Raburn will start at second, Santiago will bounce between short and second as per usual, and Inge will play second or third base depending on the day and depending on the pitcher (against left handers).  Also, I firmly believe Inge will not finish the year with the Tigers.  He’s not ready to be a bench player and he’s shown that he can play multiple positions well.  Plus, the Tigers have said that they’re done with him without really saying it.  And, finally, he’ll be gone this season because I bought an Inge jersey this summer.  That pretty much sealed it, right there.

Inge and Leyland have a laugh

If you missed it, and I don’t blame you if you did because I’m probably the only insane person listening to pointless baseball games on the radio, Dan and Jim gave us a wonderful little story during today’s game broadcast.

Apparently, while the media was assembled in Leyland’s office for questions before the game, Inge came into his office and showed Leyland something his friend had sent him on his phone.  He was laughing, Leyland started laughing after he showed him, then Inge finally let the assembled crowd in on the joke.  It was a picture of Leyland and Cabrera laughing together with the caption “I just told Inge that he has a shot at playing second”.

Awwwwww.  And how great it is that Inge seems to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing, enough so that he can laugh about it with Leyland.  I’m working on a separate post about the second base fiasco, but I will mention how great it was to see Inge smack one out of the park (against the wind) right after Leyland repeated the whole “must hit or else” thing to the media.

Castellanos, Inge, and Cabrera

"Don't take it personally, Brandon. They told this kid he'd play third some day, and look how that turned out."