Tiger Dust Nationals! Sweep Two Game Series 11-1!

The Tigers but a beating on Nationals, southpaw, Gio Gonzalez, this afternoon at Comerica Park.  They touched Gio, who may be joining Jhonny Peralta in the detention room,  up for 10 earned runs on 11 hits.

Justin Verlander got the win improving his record to 11-8 and lowering his era to 3.88.  JV pitched 6 innings, gave up 4 hits, and one earned run.  The lone Nationals run came in the 1st inning.  I wish I could say that after a rough first inning, JV was lights out the rest of the way, but I’d be lying.  Sometimes a pitcher’s final line looks worse than it actually was. Today, IMHO, JV’s line looks better than it was.  He seemed to be in trouble all game and had a hard time finding the strike zone as evidenced by his 5 walks to go along with his 5 strikeouts.  Velander’s velocity looks ok but he doesn’t seem to be able to command any pitch, including the fast ball.  He was behind the Nationals hitters all day and threw 103 pitches in his 6 innings of work.

I don’t pretend to know what happened to JV but I’m not optimistic about him getting right before the end of the season.  I think the best the Tigers can hope for is what we saw this afternoon, 6 decent innings, making him the 4th or 5th man in the rotation.  Hopefully, he can get fixed in the off-season and return to form next year. It is hard for me to believe that he’s on the downside of his career.  I really hope I’m correct.

Alex Avila, has raised his batting average to .200 courtesy of a 2 for 3 day.  He hit a 2 run homer in the 2nd off of Gonzalez, walked and struck out in the 4th, and singled in the 7th.  Slowly, but seemingly surely, Alex seems to be coming out of his 1.5 year slump.  Again, I hope I’m right, I’ve always liked A Squared Money and hate to see him struggle so terribly.

Torii Hunter has a great day and was a triple short of the cycle.

Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson need to pick things up. Both are hitting in the .260s.  Right now, it isn’t hurting too badly because everybody else is hitting, but the Tigers are going to need them if they hope to end this 29 year World Series drought.

Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup and I’m worried he might be more hurt than the Tigers are letting on.

The White Sox are in town this weekend.

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

Tigers Beat Strasburg, Nationals 5-1

Aided by Alex Avila’s first career grand slam in the bottom of the 6th inning, the Tigers beat the Washington Nationals 5-1.

This was a pitchers dual until the 6th when Prince Fielder took an off speed pitch the other way to single with one out.  Martinez followed with a double and Peralta walked to load the bases.  After Dirks struck out, A Squared Money, aka Alex Avila, took a 96 mph, Starsburg, fastball out to right field giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.

Avila finished the night 1-4 and has his batting average up to .195.

Andy Dirks had two hits including a double in the 4th that drove in the Tigers first run tying the game at 1.

What I was most impressed with today was the defense of Miguel Cabrera.  He made two outstanding plays.  The first, came in the 1st inning with Bryce Harper at 3rd after a lead off triple.  Anthony Rendon hit a ground ball to third that Miggy snagged, keeping Harper at third, and getting Rendon at first.  The second, Flashin Leather play by Miggy, came in the 5th when he robbed Wilson Ramos of a double.  When Miggy first came to the Tigers, his play at 3rd was not good.  However, I thought he turned himself into a good first baseman and since he moved back to third his glove is underrated.  Miggy is a complete player, not just a slugger.  The only downside to Miggy’s leather flashin is that he appeared to aggravate something after his play on Ramos and came out of the game in the top of the 8th.  Let’s hope its nothing serious.

Anibal Sanchez pitched 7 solid innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and got the win, improving his record to 9-7.

JV goes tomorrow against Gio Gonzalez.  JV needs a good outing.  Game time is 1:05 pm.

Update:  I forgot to mention, newly acquired, Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 8th and Joaquin Benoit pitched the 9th.  Again, Leyland brought Benoit in, his supposed closer, in a non-save situation.  Perhaps he wanted to get Benoit the work?  He hadn’t pitched since the first game in the Philly series.  I don’t know but I’m not sure I get it.

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

Random Notes For Monday July, 29th 2013

I just finished watching Monday night baseball on ESPN.  Tonight’s game featured the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Arlington to play the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers ended up winning it in the bottom of the ninth with 2 solo homers to overcome a 3-2 Angels lead.  But that’s not what I’m writing about.  Former Indians manager Manny Acta was a guest announcer.  A. J. Pierzynski led off the inning with a solo shot to tie the game.  Nelson Cruz followed with a single.  This put the winning run at first with nobody out.

Rick Sutcliffe asked Manny, ‘are you bunting here’.  Manny Acta responded and said, I’m paraphrasing, that statistically, a runner a first with nobody out has a much better chance of scoring than a runner a second with one out.  This flies in the face of conventional wisdom and further makes the Money Ball case.  I had no idea.  I was always one of those idiots that subscribed to, ‘get em on, get em over, get em in.’

Sticking with Monday Night Baseball, I can’t stand Rick Sutcliffe as an announcer.  To me he is always pontificating and it’s very annoying.  Today he was bagging on the players accused of using PEDs and had a condescending, holier than thou tone to his voice.  Here is my two cents.  Baseball was willing to look the other way when the steroid boys were rescuing baseball after the 1994 strike.  Now that the game has recovered they want to crucify the same behavior they exploited when they needed it.  Further, I think PEDs should be legal.  I don’t think it is anybody’s business what another person puts in their body.  This is same way I feel about the phony war on drugs.  What MLB could do is put asterisks next to a person’s name and statistics when they test positive for something MLB doesn’t really want them to take.

For those of you in the Metro Detroit area, Rick Sutcliffe reminds me of Pat Caputo on 97.1 The Fan.  I don’t listen to The Fan anymore because every time I turn it on I’m subjected to Caputo’s whiny, ‘I know every thing’, ‘let’s talk about George Zimmerman because I have all the answers to life’s problems’, voice.  97.1 is supposed to be a sports station not the Caputo political show.

On another note, former Tiger Jacob Turner pitched 6 and 1/3 allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs, his ERA on the season is 2.65.

If a pitcher throws at least 6 innings and gives up 3 runs or less, it is considered a quality start.  But if you do the math, (3 x 9)/6, you get an ERA of 4.5.  That’s a little on the high side, isn’t it?

Atlanta Braves pitcher, Brandon Beachy, pitched for the first time in over a year as he got the start tonight against Colorado.  He only lasted 3 and 2/3.  He allowed 7 earned runs on 8 hits including two home runs.  He struck out 5 and walked 1.  It is an ugly line but it’s good see him back and hopefully, for the Braves, he can return to form.

The Tigers are back at it tomorrow.

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

Tigers Acquire Veras

The Tigers acquired Houston Astros closer, Jose Veras, for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.

I don’t really know much about either player.  The only thing I remember about Veras was the two-run homer he gave up to Alex Avila back in May.

Here‘s a little bit about Vasquez from the MLB article:

Vasquez, a big-money signing as a teenager out of Venezuela a few years ago, ranked fourth on MLB.com’s midseason list of Top 20 Tigers prospects released last week, just behind the top trio of Nick Castellanos, Bruce Rondon and Avisail Garcia. The Tigers had no interest in giving up any of their top three, the latter two of whom have filled needs in Detroit at different points this season. Vasquez, though thriving at low Class A West Michigan this season at the tender age of 19, is still a few years away.

Vasquez hit .281 with 16 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 39 RBIs with the Whitecaps as their everyday left fielder and primary leadoff man.

I guess I’m not sure how I feel about this trade.  On one hand I think that after being terrible through June, the bullpen has looked pretty good the last month, and even though Vasquez may be a few years away from the big leagues, the Tigers could use some solid corner outfielders, no offense to Tui.

On the other hand, if Veras helps end the 29 year World Series Championship drought, it is worth it.

Just for full disclosure, my track record on trades has not been very good.  For some reason, I just don’t like trades, even in my fantasy baseball leagues.  I was against the Granderson trade, mostly because he is my favorite, active, player.  And I hate to admit it, but I was against the Cabrera trade.  I thought both Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin were going to be superstars and I was worried about a National League slugger switching to the American League.  So, that shows how much I know.

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

SWEEP!

The Tigers beat the Phillies 12-4 today sweeping the weekend series.

This was one of the strangest games I’ve witnessed.  The Tigers fell behind early and it looked like they weren’t going to score many runs.  They failed to score after loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the third.

What made this game strange?

  • With the bases loaded, two out and Miguel Cabrera at bat, home plate umpire Chad Fairchild, ejected Miggy from the game for arguing balls and strikes.
  • Matt Tuiasosopo replaced Miggy, inherited his two strike count, and got caught looking to end the inning.
  • In the bottom of the 6th and the scored tied at 3, the Tigers scored 8 runs, all unearned, on two hits, and three Phillies errors.

For me the key to the big inning, and the game, was Victor Martinez’s at bat in the bottom of the 6th.  This was one of the better at bats I’ve seen from a Tiger all year.  With three runs already across and two out, Victor worked a walk, driving in the fourth run of the inning with an 11 pitch at bat.  He fouled off 5 pitches with two strikes.  This allowed Jhonny Peralta to step to the plate and hit a grand slam that broke the game wide open and effectively put it out of reach.

Ramon Santiago had 3 hits including two bunt singles.  Prince Fielder is concerning me a little.  He was 0 for 5 with 11 runners left on base and his batting average is down to .261.  This could become a real problem if it continues.

The Nationals are in town Tuesday.

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

Tigers Dust Phillies! Scherzer 15-1!

The Phillies are down and Tigers had no problem kicking them tonight at Comerica Park.

With Hunter and Cabrera back in the lineup, the Tigers jumped on Cliff Lee’s replacement, Raul Valdes, by putting up a 8 runs in the first two innings.

Miggy started the onslaught with a solo shot, his 32nd, with two out, in the bottom of the first. Fielder, Martinez and Peralta followed with singles and Mat Tuiasosopo capped of the 5 run inning with a 3 run homer, his 7th of the year.

Max Scherzer pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 7 and improves his record to 15-1.

It might be too early to tell but Alex Avila shows signs of getting right.  He had two more hits today and brought his batting average up to .193.  Let’s hope .200 and above are right around the corner.  Alex has struggled mightily and I’d like to see him come out of it.  He showed so much promise early, it would be nice if he could return to his 2011, regular season form.

There was really nothing to complain about tonight, which is odd coming from me, but the Tigers seemed to click on all levels.

Let’s get Infante healthy and keep this wagon rolling.

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

Phister Was Phantastic…

Behind 8 phabulous innings from Doug Fister, the Tigers took game one of the weekend series with the Phillies, 2-1.

Fister allowed only 3 hits, struck out 6, walked 1, allowed only 1 unearned run, and lowered his ERA to 3.67 tonight at Comerica Park.

The Tigers had a patchwork lineup today, with Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Omar infante all out with injuries.  There wasn’t much hitting to speak of, the Tigers only managed 6 hits off of Philly pitching.  All the damage was done in the 5th inning when Hernan Perez walked with one out.  Ramon Santiago followed with a double putting runners at second and third.  Alex Avila then drove in both Perez and Santiago when he pounded a double into the gap in left center giving Fister a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Joaquin Benoit came on in the 9th to earn his 10th save of the season. allowing only a lead off single to Jimmy Rollins.

The Tigers and Phillies are back at it tomorrow night when Scherzer goes for his 15th win of the season.

I’m getting very concerned about Infante’s injury.  If he can’t come back, that gives the Tigers a hole at second and left field.  I know it is a small sample but I don’t think Hernan Perez is an everyday second baseman, at least not yet.  He made an error tonight that led to Philly’s only run.  I guess the bigger concern is if Miggy is out for a while and Fielder doesn’t hit, this could get ugly, soon.

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