I almost started a game thread in the 7th inning, but I didn't want to jinx the Tigers' excellent late-inning surge. Now that the game is in the books, I am starting a bask/general MLB Open Thread with a clean conscience.
That said...whew! I was nervous heading into the 7th tied at 1, but the team really closed it out well. Romine's suicide squeeze was executed perfectly. Timely hitting from Davis. And man, he is such an asset on the basepaths. It's easy to miss Jackson on a day when Davis gets on base 3 times.
Verlander turned in his second outstanding outing in a row. That's just what we need, and he's (knock on wood) rounding into form at the perfect time. An easy ninth for Soria, which is also great to see. Seems like the bullpen has gotten the job done more often than not lately, but it's not often that they do it easily. If Soria can return to his early season form, he'll be a big asset in the playoffs.
Looking to the games tonight, KC and Cleveland start at 7:00. KC is going for the sweep, which would also be the knockout blow to the Tribe. Jason Vargas on the mound for the Royals, Trevor Bauer for Cleveland. I'll be pulling heavily for Cleveland.
Oakland is down 3-0 in the 3rd inning against LA right now. Coming into today, Detroit was a game up on Oakland (I know, as long as we beat KC, it doesn't matter where Oakland finishes, but...).
Eat 'em up Tigers!
In their ranking of 2014 classes, Collegiate Baseball newspaper puts Michigan's class #30 in the country. No other Big Ten teams appear in their top 40, making this the second-straight year that this newspaper has ranked Michigan's class tops in the conference (last year's class came in at #20). The Wolverines appear poised for a return to the top of the conference on the diamond.
Here's a quote from the mgoblue.com press release on this news:
"Coach (Nick) Schnabel, Coach (Sean) Kenny and our entire staff did another outstanding job putting together one of the nation's elite recruiting classes," head coach Erik Bakich said at the time of the recruiting class announcement. "This group of newcomers is extremely talented on the field as well as in the classroom and we are looking forward to helping them develop to their maximum potential as students, athletes and men."
For more details on the 2014 class, see this thread.
Meanwhile, Michigan's 2015 class is shaping up to be another strong one. I discovered recently that Michigan commit Troy Miller is ranked #275 in the nation by Perfect Game. Miller is a right-handed pitcher from Soquel, California, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 91 mph. If he doesn't end up getting drafted and sign next summer, he could be the highest-ranked player yet of the Bakich era at Michigan. For more info on Miller, see this thread; the most recent full rundown of the 2015 class can be found here.
I'm as forlorned as the lot of you, and I know it does little to help*, but the Tigers won today, extending their lead in the AL Central over KC. Actually looked like a great game with a controversial call going in the Tigers favor.
*it helps even less if you are from KC. I've got nothing for you but sympathy.
Well here we are in a pennant race, tonight's game is the most important start of the year for Verlander, let's hope that the previous 4 months of mediocrity were all in preparation for the next month and a half.
- Justin Verlander:
- 13-12, 190.2 IP and a ghastly 4.81 ERA
- FIP: 3.89
- K/9: 7.03 (lowest since his rookie season)
- BB/9: 3.07
- Jason Vargas:
- 11-9, 179.2 IP and a career low 3.41 ERA
- FIP: 3.74
- K/9: 6.31
BB/9: 1.90 (also a career low)
What's funny about some of these numbers is that Verlander and Vargas both hold a WAR of 2.7 this season so technically it's an even pitching matchup tonight.
This may be early, but I won't be back near a computer until first pitch so I figured anyone who's paying attention to baseball this late in the year ( which you should) would enjoy having a place to talk.
Now I know it's technically not OT season but sometimes these things are a bit too important to not discuss, plus there are more basbeball lovers than baseball haters here.
That said, Go Get 'Em Tigers!
Michigan baseball issued a release today on their 2014 recruiting class, which includes nine freshman and two junior college transfers. All except one of the juco transfers were reported here previously as commitments via Hello posts. Here's what the release has on Michael McNicholl (EDIT: his last name is misspelled in the press release—s/b two ls):
Michael McNichol - OF - Alta Loma, Calif./Barstow C.C.
Was named to the All-Foothill Conference first team his sophomore season at Barstow Community College in Barstow, Calif. ... Hit .340 for Barstow in 2014 with 29 RBI and 22 stolen bases ... Went to high school at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. ... Hit .424 and had a .486 on-base percentage as a senior at Los Osos.
In a reply, I'll post a chart with some more info on the nine freshmen, including some rankings data.
The Michigan coaching staff continues to successfully tap into the strong California baseball pipeline, picking up their third West Coast commit in the last couple of weeks. Joining the 2015 class today was Jonathan Engelmann, a 6-4, 195-lb. outfielder from Burlingame H.S. (near San Mateo). Like the previous two California commits, Troy Miller and Will Tribucher (as well another Michigan commit from the Chicago area, Charlie Donovan), Engelmann participated in the prestigious Area Code Games, held last week in Long Beach with about 240 invitees from around the country.
Perfect Game's profile page for Engelmann includes this scouting report on him from June:
Jonathan Engelmann is a 2015 OF/ with a 6-4 200 lb. frame from San Mateo, CA who attends Burlingame HS. Big strong well proportioned athletic build, lots of physical projection. 6.75 runner, outstanding base running instincts and aggression. High level defensive tools, covers ground with his speed, very strong and accurate on line throws, speed for centerfield, arm strength for right field. Right handed hitter, exaggerated inside approach, leaks his front side very early to get his hands through, tends to hit from under the ball, has hand speed and obvious strength but approach is holding him back, has the tools to improve with adjustments. High ceiling athlete if the bat comes around.
They gave him a grade of 9.5 (out of 10), meaning they see him as a potential top 10 round draft pick (possibly going in an early round) and/or as a highest- to elite-level college prospect. Under "colleges interested in" are Arizona State, UC–Santa Barbara, USC, and Washington—an impressive list.
Engelmann would seem to be an important addition to the 2015 class given the decommitment of Nick Plummer earlier this summer, who had been the only outfielder in the class.