Blogs > Out of Left Field

A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ESPN's 'Sports Science' breaks down Jose Iglesias' ridiculous throw vs. Yankees

ESPN's "Sports Science" show listened.

After Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias robbed New York Yankees' Brett Gardner of an infield hit with a spectacular play earlier this week, pitcher David Price gushed about it.

He also challenged "Sports Science" to break it down.

"Ridiculous. They don't understand how hard that is. Even if that ball is hit right at you, it's still a tough out with Gardner running," Price said. "To go into the six hole and throw the ball the way he did, that's just insane. I want to know how hard that is — I really hope 'Sports Science' does that. People don't get it. They don't understand the degree of difficulty on that play. It's cold, windy, wet — it's a joke."

They did do something on it.

You can watch the video breaking it down below:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brad Ausmus ejected arguing balk call in matinee vs. Yankees

DETROIT >> Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was ejected in the sixth inning of Thursday’s afternoon game against the Yankees, for arguing a balk call with third-base umpire Gerry Davis.

With Jacoby Ellsbury on third, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez appeared to step off the rubber during his delivery. The balk was not initially called until the Yankees dugout started yelling at home plate ump Phil Cuzzi.

After Davis called the balk, manager Brad Ausmus — along with Sanchez and catcher Alex Avila — went to argue the call with Davis. Ausmus was ejected on his way back to the dugout after the discussion.

It’s the fourth ejection of Ausmus’ career, and his first since last Aug. 10.

Tigers bolster spent bullpen, sending down Ian Krol, bringing up Alex Wilson

DETROIT >> Brad Ausmus’ biggest concern in the early innings — aside from why his ace, David Price, was struggling — was how to get through the rest of the game without blowout out his bullpen.

“Well, there was some concern early in the game: ‘Do we have enough pitching to get through it?’ Fortunately, we did,” the Tigers’ manager said after the game

“Unfortunately, you have days like that, where a pitcher might end up having to pitch longer than you’d want him to. Blaine Hardy wasn’t available after throwing 40-some pitches yesterday. If we had a fresh pen, maybe it would’ve been a different decision. I felt like we had to get through this game, and early on, it was touch and go.”

Ausmus thought the Tigers had enough to get through Thursday’s game, but apparently minds changed overnight, and the Tigers decided to add an arm. To that end, they recalled the contract of right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Toledo, and sent Ian Krol — who probably wouldn’t have been available Thursday, anyway — down to the Mud Hens.

Monday, April 20, 2015

VIDEO: Iglesias makes a dazzling play to rob Gardner of an infield hit

Jose Iglesias is a highlight reel unto himself. Seems like every night he turns in one play that makes you go "Oh, did he just do that?"

Monday night, against the Yankees, the Detroit Tigers' brilliant shortstop robbed New York's speedy Brett Gardner of an infield hit, ranging deep in the hole, then throwing across his body for the out.

"That’s a tough play, especially with Gardner running, because Garnder’s a legitimate speed guy, a Major League steal-type guy," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

"I know Iglesias was playing him in a little bit because of the speed, but to make that play, and get a runner like Gardner was pretty impressive. That’s probably the best play we’ve seen from him all season."

It certainly helped out starting pitcher Alfredo Simon, who'd already seen Gardner single and steal a base in the third inning.

"That was great. That helped me out a lot in that inning," Simon said. "Gardner's a really fast runner, and after that, who knows if he's going to steal the base, and after that, base hit. The team helped me out a lot defensively. That was good."

Below is the video of that play:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Twins broadcaster Bert Blyleven bashes Detroit, doubles down, then has to apologize

DETROIT — Hall of Famer and Minnesota Twins TV commentator Bert Blyleven attempted to be humorous during Thursday’s rain delay, tweeting out his (apparent) disdain for downtown Detroit.

His first tweet read: “If they are starting this game at 3:45, 22 minutes from new, EST! Don’t you think they have taken the tarp off?”

A short while later he tweeted: “Maybe they meant 4:45? It is the best I have seen downtown Detroit though! Thank you low clouds!”

After his mentions blew up in response, from livid Detroiters and Tigers fans, he responded by doubling down.

“Guess I ruffled some feathers with my last tweet about download (sic) Detroit! Guess all you that responded haven’t seen how ugly your downtown is.”

[UPDATE: The offending tweets were later deleted from Blyleven's account, replaced by an apologetic tweet, stating: "I apologize for my comments: the city of Detroit. It is an exciting time here led by the Ilitch family.]

Fox Sports North, his employer, and the Minnesota Twins later issued a joint statement condemning his conduct, and Blyleven issued an apology on the television broadcast.

The statement from Kevin Smith, senior director of corporate communications and broadcasting, reads:

“The Minnesota Twins and Fox Sports North were disappointed with Bert Blyleven’s comments on social media earlier today regarding the city of Detroit. His attempt at humor during the rain delay certainly missed the mark and in no way is reflective of the Twins and Fox Sports North’s collective respect for the city of Detroit and the Detroit Tigers organization.”

[UPDATE II: Michigan governor Rick Snyder even got involved in the squabble, sending his own response to Blyleven's comments, with a little visual dig (see below)]

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Torii Hunter hasn't been fined yet for Opening Day outburst, but expects one; 'It was worth it'

DETROIT — Torii Hunter hasn’t heard from the disciplinary arm of Major League Baseball yet for his vocal displeasure at Monday’s game-ending checked swing call against the Detroit Tigers, but he expects to.

“I haven’t heard anything. It doesn’t matter to me, though,” Hunter said Wednesday. “No, I haven’t. It wouldn’t matter though. I’m expecting it. I won’t be upset. It was worth it.”

There have been reports that MLB is considering fining Hunter for his comments to reporters after being rung up by home plate Joe West on a checked-swing call to end the season’s first game, saying “I think he had dinner reservations or a concert to play in.”

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a Fox Sports 1 interview on Tuesday, “As a general proposition, we don’t tolerate those kinds of remarks about our umpires.”

West took the comments in stride, when asked about the call by a pool reporter on Monday.

“I thought he swung, so I said he swung,” West said. “They’re all great players, and any time you get called out at the end of the game on something like that, they’re going to be upset, so I understand that.”

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day 2015 lineups for Tigers vs. Twins

The lineups for Opening Day, 2015.

First pitch is at 1:08 p.m.
Actor J.K. Simmons, a Michigan native, will throw out the first pitch, while the Four Tops will sing the national anthem.

The only curiosity in the lineup was going with Rajai Davis in center field, over offseason acquisition Anthony Gose.

"It was basically (that) Phil Hughes has reverse splits. Not only that, Rajai had a good year for us, so part of me is glad that it was reverse splits, and it gave me a chance to play Rajai on Opening Day," manager Brad Ausmus. "So it was a combination of factors. But it was mainly a matter of reverse splits."

In 2014, right-handed hitters have posted a batting average of .289 with an OPS of .733 against Hughes, the Twins' right-handed starter for Monday, lefties .249 with an OPS of .619.

Davis is 7-for-26 off Hughes in his career (.269), while Gose is 1-for-11 (.091).

Ausmus also flipped Nick Castellanos up a spot in the lineup for Monday, over Alex Avila in the No. 7 spot, reversing how he'd penciled them in near the end of spring training. Avila is 1-for-14 off Hughes in his career.

"That’ll change, pitcher to pitcher, game to game," Ausmus said.

Rajai Davis, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Jose Iglesias, SS

Pitcher: David Price, LHP


Danny Santana, SS
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Kennys Vargas, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Jordan Schafer, CF

Pitcher: Phil Hughes, RHP