I know that with the Tigers eliminated and their season over, article topics may be hard to come by for these men that are used to covering the team every day. No more upcoming games, no more quotes to dissect, and no more lineup speculation. Your Party Host, too, has had little to say or write about the past few days since the team was eliminated and our World Series dreams were crushed by a superior Rangers team.
But Lowe’s latest piece suggests that the ALCS might have turned out differently if Texas had more right-handed starters, which would have let Don Kelly play more.
The article after the jump…with my responses.
In the days and weeks before the American League Championship Series,
When the Tigers were playing pitching-starved non-contenders Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland, and Kansas City…
Don Kelly had attained a groove that for a hitter comes perhaps once a season. He was "on everything" -- few if any pitches were fooling him, and he was hitting many balls hard.
In September, Kelly hit .321. Nice, especially for him, despite the small sample size of 53 at bats, but not earth-shattering. And in those 53 at bats against the worst pitching the AL has to offer, he had exactly 7 extra base hits (3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers). Again, good for Don Kelly, but he wasn’t exactly Miguel Cabrera at the plate, as your words seem to suggest. He wasn't even Asdrubal Cabrera. Maybe Melky.
Kelly, a part-time player,
But NUMBER ONE in the hearts of Detroit sportswriters due to him leading the team in:
2. Politeness to sportswriters
started Games 4 and 5 in the first-round series. After Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson robbed him of the game-breaking shot in Game 4,
What everyone and their brother has seemingly forgotten/overlooked about that play was that it was a routine line drive hit RIGHT AT where Granderson was playing. Curtis initially came in on the ball and had to regroup on it, making it look like a much harder play than it actually was. So Kelly can thank Grandy for initially screwing up for all the publicity he’s gotten for his “almost” extra base that game. The only thing close to “robbery” on that play was CJ almost robbing the Yankees of a routine out.
Kelly opened the scoring in the decisive Game 5 with a first-inning home run.
I remember. My phone nearly exploded from all the texts I got mocking me, as if one home run erased over 600 at bats of suck from happening before it. Gotta love the dreaded “sun shining on a dog’s ass” play that happens three times or so a year.
Although he was unquestionably hot, Kelly had only nine at-bats in the six-game ALCS.
And he got two hits for a .222 average. Thank goodness he didn’t play more.
Texas left-handers started five of the six games, and the left-handed-hitting Kelly never started against a left-hander this season. He was 4-for-21 against them in the regular season.
For a .190 average. Sounds about right.
Kelly's only start in the Texas series came against right-hander Colby Lewis in Game 3. In the other four games against Texas that were close, Kelly entered in the fifth inning or later.
Newsflash: Don Kelly is a UTILITY PLAYER. He gets in the game to play late-inning defense. John Lowe did not get this memo.
Could Kelly have made a difference if the Rangers had more right-handed starters?
No. No. A thousand times, FUCK and NO.
Don Kelly has had 626 professional plate appearances in the major leagues in the regular season over four years. In that time, he has a line of .240/.285/.381 (Avg/OBP/Slg). His OPS+ is 74 over that time (100 is an average big leaguer). Even if you only look at him against right-handed pitching, he's only a .246/.292/380 hitter. You don’t have to be a saber nerd to know that Don Kelly is not a good hitting baseball player. He’s a utility guy, nothing more, and will remain that way for the rest of his career.
Even in 2011, his (by far) best MLB season, he hit .245/.291/.381 (all career highs) with an OPS+ of 83. That is awful. But Kelly’s not there for his bat, despite where Jim Leyland bats his special little buddy. Kelly’s a super utility guy there to play defense and give the starters a day off.
To suggest that he could have been the offensive difference against a playoff team like Texas IF they had more right-handers is so beyond ludicrous that I had to double check that I hadn’t accidently stumbled onto a mentally handicapped 8 year old’s submission to Bleacher Report. Fuck you with a nightstick, John Lowe.
In the ALCS, Kelly went 1-for-4 off left-handed relievers (2-for-9 overall). The hit off the left-hander almost drove in the tie-breaking run from first base. He ripped a ninth-inning double off hard-throwing Michael Gonzalez in the top of the ninth inning of Game 2.
Seriously, has anyone reading this ever seen a lifetime .240 hitting bench player get more positive press than Don Kelly? Who does Jhonny Peralta or Joaquin Benoit have to blow to get a third of this coverage? Why can’t they get more of these glowing pieces from the Detroit media?
/examines numbers 1 through 3 in criteria listed earlier
Oh. Go on, Mr. Lowe.
Kelly's hit into the corner caromed directly to rightfielder Nelson Cruz. He hit it hard, but third-base coach Gene Lamont wisely stopped Ramon Santiago at third, especially given Miguel Cabrera was on deck.
Yeah, that ended well. Thanks for the reminder.
Kelly hit a lot of balls hard toward the end. In September, he batted .321 with three of his seven homers and 12 of his 28 RBIs.
Those three homers came off of Brad Bergesen of the Orioles, Kelvin Herrera of the Royals, and Trevor Cahill of the A’s. Not exactly playoff stud quality. But please continue with your idiotic verbal blowjob of DK…
None of those Texas left-handers beat the Tigers in the playoffs. But they might have helped win a game or two because they kept Kelly out of the lineup.
Yes, Texas was shaking in their boots over the idea of Don Kelly batting against them. Friends, I’ve read a lot of stupid things over the years. And I’ve spent more time poking fun of these absurd sports articles than I care to admit.
But that last sentence is so stupid, so illogical, and so insulting to the intelligence to anyone that has ever watched a baseball game for more than three minutes that I am fighting every urge in my body to drive to Detroit and beat John Lowe to death with a claw hammer.
Don Kelly is a very nice man. And he’s a capable utility player. But he is not, and never will be, a difference maker on offense over an entire playoff series.
I’ve never had a problem with Lowe’s work, to my recollection, before this. I’ve always considered him pretty harmless. But this kind of absurd nonsense makes me think he should be out on the street fighting seagulls and the Eat ‘Em Up Tigers guy for discarded French fries, rather than being a Tiger sportswriter for the largest newspaper in Detroit.