For a while it looked like the Tigers would lose their 3rd straight at home.  In fact, after Hunter, Cabrera and Fielder went in order in the bottom of the 8th, a third straight loss looked all but certain.  BUT, in the bottom of the 9th Victor Martinez lead off with a walk and up walked Jhonny Peralta.

With the count 1 and 2 Peralta sent an Andrew Bailey slider over the fence in left field giving the Tigers a 4-3 walk-off win, their first of the season.  In a post game interview Peralta said he was looking for the slider.  He got it.  He didn’t miss it.  The Tigers won.

Here are some thoughts:

Cabrera went 1 for 4 with 3 strikeouts.  It seems to me, that after being walked so much the last few weeks, Miggy has expanded his strike zone and perhaps trying just a little to hard.  He’s struggling just a bit; I guess as much as a .359 hitter can be “struggling”.

Torii Hunter had a much needed clutch hit to drive in two and tie the game in the bottom of the 5th.  The Tigers have needed a clutch hit recently, Hunter got it.

Jose Alvarez had another strong, spot start filling in for Sanchez.  He faced the American League’s best offense, went 5 innings, giving up two earned, striking out three and walking two.

The bullpen looked pretty good too, with the exception of Phil Coke.  Luke Putkonen pitched a strong, scoreless, inning and a third and Drew Smyly was brilliant again cleaning up Phil Coke’s mess.

Coke struck out Ellsbury to end the seventh but came out in the 8th and couldn’t find the strike zone.  He walked Victorino and Pedroia on eight pitches.  David Ortiz singled, driving in Victorino, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.

Drew Smyly replaced Coke and was lights out. With no outs, Pedroia on second and Ortiz on first, Smyly struck out Napoli and got Gomes to pop out to third.  After hitting Lavarnway to load the bases, Smyly got Middlebrooks to fly out to Torii Hunter in right, ending the inning, limiting the damage to one run, and essentially setting up Peralta’s heroics in the bottom of the 9th.

The more I see of Smyly the more I agree with Nebraskaknows, Smyly could be the answer to the closer problem.

The Tigers have started this four game series with the Sox on the right track.  Let’s hope it ends better than the Baltimore series.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural


What started out as a promising home stand, with a 5-2 win on Monday, quickly turned into a nightmare.  The Tigers were blown out this afternoon 13-3 losing another series to the Orioles.

There wasn’t much to be happy about today.  Rick Porcello gave up six runs in six innings, on the surface, a terrible outing.  However, when we look at the over all body of work, he only had one bad inning, and it was horrible, the 4th.  He gave up all six of the runs charged to him in the 4th.  He came out for the 5th and 6th and put up zeroes.

After giving up a two run and a three run homer, Porcello seemed to settle down.  After the 6th he had only thrown 93 pitches.  I was hoping he’d come out for the 7th but Downs came in instead.

The bullpen that looked so strong the previous two games was an abomination.  Downs pitched 1/3 of an inning and gave up two earned.  Valverde pitched the 9th and gave up 4 earned.

In between Downs and Valverde, Evan Reed pitched an inning and two thirds giving up one earned run and striking out 3.  If there was a bright spot in this disaster, I think Reed looked pretty good.

Besides the pitching, the offense and defense weren’t much better.  After scoring 5 runs in the first game on Monday, the Tigers scored a total of 5 in the last two games against a very mediocre Oriole starting staff.

Matt Tuiasosopo came up with a big pinch hit double scoring two in the bottom of the 6th, cutting the Oriole lead to 6-3, but effectively killed his own rally when he got thrown out trying to take third on a ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Infante.

The bullpen gave the runs back, and then some, in the top of the seventh with the help of the defense.  With runners on second and third and one out, Adam Jones hit a soft line drive to second baseman Omar Infante.  The runners left on contact.  Infante dropped the ball, the runner on third scored, and everybody else was safe as well.  What could have been a rally killing double play extended the inning and by the time the top of the 7th was over, the O’s were up 9-3.

To be fair, MLB dot com says that it was a ground ball off of the bat of Adam Jones, but from where I was sitting, lower box behind the Tiger dugout, it looked like a soft liner that Infante dropped.  In any event, the inning and game was a disaster!

On a side note, I’m pretty sure Valverde won’t be on the roster in the morning.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Orioles Chase JV after 5

Justin Verlander lasted only five innings tonight and gave up five earned runs as the Orioles evened the series beating the Tigers 5-2.

The bullpen came in and shut down the Orioles and gave the Tigers a chance to come back, and they had their chances, but couldn’t come up with a clutch hit.

After starting the game 2 for 2 Cabrera came up with two on and two out in the bottom of the 5th and grounded out.

In the bottom of the 7th the Tigers got a break.  After three consecutive hits from Infante, Pena, and Jackson cut the O’s lead to 5-2, Torii Hunter hit a ground ball to third baseman Manny Machado.  Machado appeared to tag Pena then threw to second to double up Jackson.  However, the umpire called Pena safe at third, I’m not sure why, but that break brought Cabrera up with runners on first and third and only one out.  Cabrera then fouled out to first baseman Chris Davis and Fielder followed with a pop out to Machado.

The Tigers had another chance in the bottom of the 9th.  With one out, Jackson walked and Hunter singled.  Cabrera stepped to the plate and grounded into a game ending double play.

Today’s game was a reversal of a normal Tiger game.  JV had a terrible start, the offense got no clutch hits and had few good at bats but the bullpen was solid pitching 4 scoreless innings.

I’m not sure what is wrong with JV but he needs to make some adjustments and fast.  It doesn’t seem like anybody fears him anymore.  His ERA is up to 3.72 which isn’t bad for a normal pitcher but horrible for JV.

Victor Martinez continues to struggle at the plate.  He is something like 5 for his last 33.  His average is down to .228 and he’s hit with little power.

I was willing to give Martinez some time to get his stroke back but this is nearing the end of June.

From what I see, the Tigers might have more to worry about then their closer.  They need more production from Martinez and JV needs to get his act together.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Start Homestand With Win Over the O’s

The Tigers downed the Orioles 5-1 tonight at Comerica Park.  Besides the win, there was a lot I liked about the game.

First, the Tigers scored early and added on runs but the thing I really liked the most was Jim Leyland’s use of the bullpen.  After 6 strong innings from Scherzer, Leyland brought in Smyly for the seventh.  Smyly got the O’s in order on 9 or 10 pitches.  I was elated when Leyland sent Smyly out for the 8th and speechless when he let him pitch the 9th.  I thought for sure Leyland was going to replace Smyly after the 7th.

Scherzer moved his record to 10-0, the first time since 1909 that a Tiger pitcher has started a season this well.

On a different note, I’m very concerned that the Tigers are going to trade Rick Porcello sometime this year for a closer.  I hope I’m wrong and here are my reasons:

1) I have to admit it, like Avila, I’ve liked Porcello since they brought him up

2) I really think that Rickey is going to turn into a top of the rotation pitcher and would like to see him reach that potential in a Tiger uniform

3) I hate giving up prospects and/or paying closers a lot of money.  This thinking is probably influenced by my reading of Money Ball.  Billy Beane says he can always find a closer and he has the track record to prove it.

I guess I don’t have an answer for the closer problem but I’d hate to see another trade like the John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander trade.  It is true Alexander was great down the stretch in 1987 but the Tigers didn’t win the World Series and Smoltz became a hall of famer.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Another Gem By Rickey

Rick Porcello turned in another quality start going 7 innings, striking out 5, walking none, and allowing no runs as the Tigers downed the Twins 4-0.

Fielder again showed his dislike for teams walking Cabrera in front of him as he got the Tigers on the board in the 6th.  After a walk to Cabrera put runners on first and second.  Fielder promptly lined a double, the first of three consecutive Tiger doubles, to score Jackson and Cabrera.

Alex Avila continues to struggle mightily at the plate.  He went 0-3, striking out twice and dropping is average to .166.

Porcello threw 94 pitches through 7 and lowered his ERA to 4.37.  I would have liked to see him come out for the 8th but it appears that only JV is allowed to go much more than 100 pitches.

Valverde pitched a scoreless 9th rebounding a bit from his blown save in KC.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Lose Game / Series in KC

The Tigers wasted a JV-like performance from JV who pitched 7 strong innings striking out 8 and allow no runs.  However, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.  Lorenzo Cain hit a two run homer off of Valverde with two outs in the ninth to tie the game and give JV a no decision.

More importantly, the Tigers lost the game and the series.

Although it is easy to blame Valverde for giving up another long ball, and he does deserve blame, the vaunted Tiger offense could manage only 7 runs in the 3 games in KC.  Not exactly a great return on investment.

On the bright side, Bryan Pena continues to make the most of his opportunities.  He got 2 more hits this afternoon and raised his average up to .299.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers, Valverde Hang on in KC

The Tigers scratched out a run in the 8th and Valverde pitched around a 9th inning lead off single and stolen base to move Max Scherzer’s record to 9-0.

Donny Kelly got the the scoring started in the 2nd on a line drive to left that scored Victor Martinez.

The 8 and 9 hitters in the lineup has six of the Tigers’ 11 hits. Infante had 3, Kelly had 2 and Garcia had 1.

Alex Avila went 0-3, striking out twice and walking once moving his batting average down to .169.

I’m not sure how long the Tigers can keep throwing him out there.  He is almost an automatic out.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Waste Another Fister Gem

Doug Fister pitched 8 innings, giving up three earned runs, and came away with his 4th loss of the season.  The Tigers could only get him two runs on a 3rd inning Miguel Cabrera two run homer.  That’s all the scoring the Tigers could muster.
In his last 3 starts the Tigers have scored only 2 runs.

Alex Avila continues to struggle at the plate going 0-3 with a walk.  How long can the Tigers let him hit under .200?  After tonight, his average is at .172.  I’m not sure the Tigers are doing Avila any favors by letting him go up there and struggle so mightily.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural


Tigers Beat Indians 6-4; Another Good Outing for Rickey

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

The Tigers beat the Indians 6-4 on Saturday with Rick Porcello pitching 6 strong innings giving up 2 runs but only 1 earned.

Porcello was solid but I was a little concerned early because a lot of his outs were in the air.  As a sinker ball pitcher it seemed like he was missing up but getting fly ball outs.

It doesn’t like Prince Fielder, aka PF Money, likes it when a pitcher walks Miggy in front of him.  In the 2nd inning Carrasco walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases.  Fielder stepped to the plate and delivered a bases clearing double.

Papa Grande came in to close the game out and as usual, it wasn’t easy.  But to be fair, Santana hit a Texas Leaguer that dropped between Infante and Hunter.  It was a cheap hit but nothing is ever easy when Papa comes into the game.  Valverde walked Gomes but struck out Rayburn and Aviles to end the game.

I’m very concerned about Alex Avila.  I have been a huge fan of his since he came into the league but I’m not sure there is a place on any roster for a guy that hits under .200.  If he doesn’t get on a little roll in the next week or so, I’m wondering if sending him down to Toledo for a few weeks to work on his stroke might not be a good idea.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Win 7-5; JV OK

JV was OK in his start tonight against the Cleveland Indians.  In what is becoming a pattern, he gave up 3 earned in 7 innings.  The rough inning was the 5th when the Indians got two infield hits and a Texas Leaguer to load the basis.

The first run was driven in on a hard single to left by Michael Bourn on an 0-2 pitch.  I really have to question the pitch selection.  From the third base side it looked like a 96 MPH fastball that obviously caught too much of the plate.  I guess I’m not sure why he threw Bourn an 0-2 fastball.

The damage could have been limited to 2 runs but a fly ball off the bat of Jason Kipnis went off the heal of Torii Hunter’s glove in right scoring two runs.  I thought Hunter should have been given an error on the play but what do I know.  JV got Swisher and Brantley to fly out to end the inning.

This is just an observation or suggestion.  I don’t understand why JV and other Tiger pitchers allow batters to hang over the plate and foul two strike pitches off. It is absolutely maddening.  It drives the pitch count up and gives the hitter the advantage.  Why not throw inside and move them off of the plate especially with less than a 3 ball count?  For example, in the 6th Mark Reynolds worked Verlander for a 9 pitch at bat.  Reynolds fouled off 3 pitches with the count full and eventually lined a single.  Even with a full count, after Reynolds fouled off the second pitch, JV should have buzzed him hard inside.  I’m not saying to hurt the guy but I would argue that lighting up his ribs with a 90 MPH fast ball would have moved him and the rest of the Indians off of the plate and he would have been no worse off.  Reynolds would still be on first but I bet he wouldn’t be leaning over the plate fouling off pitches the next time at bat.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural