Pirates 8 Tigers 4

There’s an old saying in baseball, ‘if you can’t pitch, you can’t win’, and right now, the Tigers can’t pitch.  I spent the first two months complaining, rightly so, about the offense, and now the pitching staff can’t hold opposing teams to under five runs a game.  Guess what, Toronto comes to town tomorrow.  It isn’t going to get any easier.

A reliable source and friend of this blog, Nebraska, has passed along an unsubstantiated rumor. He heard that the Tigers are going to send Nick “The Quick” Castellanos, Alex “A Squared Money” Avila, and a third player to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Cueto.  If the trade happens, Nebraska’s sources are usually pretty good, I’m not sure what the purpose is.  I’m not going to cry about losing Nick the Quick or A Squared Money, but what do the Tigers need with a rental like Cueto?  Is the front office delusional? Do they really think this team can compete?  I don’t.

McFly, is anybody home?

Tigers 8 White Sox 6

The Tigers bats, Miggy’s especially, came to life and put up eight runs.  Thanks to Phil Coke, they needed seven of them to get past the White Sox 8-6.

JV was pretty good.  He pitched seven complete.  He allowed two earned runs on eight hits.  He struck out seven and walked two.

The Good:

  • The Tigers offense came to life.
  • Miggy was 3-5 with three RBIs.
  • Alex Avila was 3-4 and didn’t strike out.
  • The Tigers didn’t make an error.

The Bad:

  • JV needed 119 pitches to get through seven innings and his eight hits allowed are a little high.
  • The bullpen gave up four runs.

The Ugly:

  • The White Sox took Phil Coke behind the woodshed and beat him into a conniption.  He lasted 2/3 of an inning and gave up three earned runs, two on a two run shot by Adam Dunn.  This is really ugly considering Dunn in a lefty.

In the end, a win is a win, and I’m glad to have this one.  I hope Miggy is back to being Miggy.

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

 

 

 

Tigers Avoid Sweep – Beat Sox 6-4

The Mighty Miggy and Joaquin Benoit bailed the Tigers out and helped to avoid a three game sweep to end the 10 game road trip.

This game looked ugly, early.  Rick Porcello required 37 pitches to get out of the first inning and when he did, the Tigers were down 3-0.

Ricky settled down after the first.  He put up zeroes for the next 5 innings and was able to go 6 complete.  He allowed 3 earned runs, walked 1 and struck out 4.  What is kind of troubling however, is that he surrendered 11 hits and didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning.  In fact, no Tiger pitcher recorded a 1-2-3 inning today.

With the Tigers trailing 3-0 in the 3rd, The Mighty Miggy got the Tigers even with a 3 run bomb with Austin Jackson and Bryan Holaday scoring in front of him.

The Tigers got 3 more runs in the 6th to take a 6-3 lead.  With one out, Victor singled then went to 3rd on a Matt Tuiasosopo single.  This was a very encouraging sign because it actually looked like Victor was running well.  Victor scored when Omar Infante singled breaking the tie and giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.  I was hoping for a big clutch hit from someone else in the lineup, to break the game open, but it never came.  The next two runs were scored on a Conor Gillaspie throwing error on a ground ball off the bat of Austin Jacskon.  I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but a clutch hit would have been better than a throwing error.  However, with the way things have been going lately, I’ll take it.

In the bottom of the 7th, it looked like Jose Iggy Iglesias chose the wrong time to make his first fielding error as a Tiger.  With two out, Jeff Keppinger, hit a routine ground ball to short that Iggy booted.  Drew Smyly then walked Conor Gillaspie.  When Dayan Viciedo was announced as a pinch hitter for Tyler Flowers.  Jim Leyland countered by bringing in the Amazing Al and I thought the flood gates were about to open.  But, to my and the Tigers’ delight, Alburquerque got Viciedo to fly out and end the threat.

Jose Veras is beginning to scare me.  He came out to pitch the 9th and with one out gave up a run on two walks and a single.  This basically forced Leyland into bringing in Benoit for a 5 out save.  Benoit got Dunn and Garcia on strikes to end the inning and the threat and eventually got the save.

This win wasn’t pretty but it was needed.  It would have been a real downer to end the road trip at 5-5, especially with a sweep at the hands of the White Sox.

The Tigers are back home tomorrow for a 5 game series with the Royals.

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

UGLY! Tigers Fall To Sale, White Sox 6-2.

What started out looking pretty good turned really ugly, really fast.

The Tigers got on the board in the first with a Miggy solo shot.  Brayan Pena put the Tigers up 2-0 after two with an RBI double, but the Tigers would score no more tonight.

Chris Sale pitched a complete game.  He allowed two earned, walked 0 and struck out 6 on 109 pitches.

Doug Fister started out well but seemed to fall apart in the 4th inning.  With 1 out Gordon Beckham singled.  Fister got Alexei Ramirez to pop out but then walked Adam Dunn and the wheels began to fall off. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third.  A walk to Konerko loaded the bases and another wild pitch scored Beckham and the White Sox were on the board.  Fister got ex-Tiger Avisail Garcia to end the inning but Fister could never really recover.

Fister came out for the 5th, gave up three more runs, and the Sox never looked back,  In Fister’s defense, he ran in to some bad luck.  With one out and runners on first and second, Gordon Beckham hit a ground ball back to Fister, which at first was looking like an inning ending double play, but the ball went off of Fister’s leg past Infante and into right field and the Sox were rolling.

The Tigers had chances to score, they touched Sale for 9 hits but couldn’t get the big knock when they needed it.  A big part of the Tigers’ offensive struggles were that Jacskon and Hunter were a combined 0-8, which meant Miggy was always hitting with nobody on base.

The Tigers left 16 men on base tonight, Omar Infante, back in the lineup, for the first time in over a month was 0-4 with 6 LOB.

I’m starting to worry a little bit.  Since the streak ended, the Tigers have lost 3 of 4 to bad teams, the Yankees and the White Sox.  Everything that seemed to be going so well suddenly isn’t.  Fister was not good tonight.  He wasn’t horrible but he had trouble with the strike zone and didn’t put in a quality start.  Even more concerning is Al Alburquerque out of the pen.  The Amazing Al has been more of an abomination lately.  Tonight, for example, he pitched one inning, gave up 5 hits and 2 earned runs.  I don’t think he’s an option out of the pen anymore, he’s a nightmare.  And, where is the clutch hitting?  We could have used a big hit from Infante, but I’ll cut him some slack, since this was his first game back.

On the bright side, Iggy is really flashing leather.  He made an unbelievable play in the 6th. Josh Phegley hit a chopper that got over Fister’s head and looked like a sure infield hit.  But on came Iggy, who dove, barehanded the ball, and threw to first with both feet off of the ground to get Phegley at first.  Iggy also chipped in offensively with an infield single.

Bruce Rondon looked pretty good.  He came on in the 8th to clean up the Amazing Al’s mess.  With runners at second and third and nobody out Rondon surrendered a Texas Leaguer that got over the drawn in infield and a sacrifice fly but got Gordon Beckham to ground into an inning ending double play.  This was not a bad outing for Rondon considering what he inherited.

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

Tigers Complete Perfect Homestand, Sweep White Sox 3-2.

Behind 7 and 2/3 strong innings from Rick Porcello, the Tigers beat the White Sox 3-2, swept the series and finished the current home-stand 8-0.  And, they needed the win, as the Indians keep rolling.

Ricky allowed only one run, a home run to Adam Dunn, on 8 hits.  He struck out 4 and walked 1 while throwing 93 pitches.

The Tigers were leading 2-1 going into the top of the 9th.  Smyly came on to relieve Porcello with 2 out in the eighth and struck Adam Dunn out to end the inning.  In what can only be called an interesting move, Jim Leyland sent Smyly out for the 9th.  The first batter he faced in the 9th was right handed, power hitter, Paul Konerko.  Konerko hit Smyly’s second pitch, a 91 mph hour fast ball into the seats to tie the game.

The Tigers were unable to score in the bottom of the 9th so on they played into extra innings.

In the bottom of the 12th inning Miggy came in to pinch hit for Ramon Santiago and lead off with a single. Tui pinch-ran for Miggy and Jackson sacrificed Tui over to second with one out.  Torii Hunter stepped to the plate and delivered a single which scored Tui, ended the game, and gave the Tigers a perfect home-stand.

What was interesting about Leyland’s decision to leave Smyly in for the 9th, is that I thought this was the situation the Tigers got Veras for.  Benoit was unavailable today, so I wrongly assumed that Veras would be used to close the game.  Instead he left Smyly in to face the right handed hitting Konerko?  To make things more confusing, Veras was immediately brought in to replace Smyly and retired the next three White Sox in order.  I guess my question is, why not bring Veras in to start the 9th especially with a righty leading off?

Anyway, Veras pitched scoreless 9th and 10th innings and Bruce Rondon was money as he pitched the 11th and 12th allowing only 1 hit, striking out 3 and the big number, he walked 0, and got the win.

Two things really impressed me.  The first was Miggy’s ability to step to the plate after not playing for almost 5 games and deliver a lead-off single.  The second, was Bruce Rondon’s pitching.  For a guy who had problems finding the strike zone, he had nice command today.

A big series with the Indians starts tomorrow.  Perhaps the Tigers can break their will with a series win?  We’ll see.

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

Porcello, Perez Lead Tigers Past White Sox

Ricky Porcello pitched 7 scoreless innings and Hernan Perez had two hits including a triple to pace the Tigers to a 6-2 win tonight in Chicago.

After the first inning, Ricky looked strong.  He recorded 9 ground ball outs, walked 3 and struck out 1.

I was a little worried in the first as I thought Porcello was getting squeezed on the inside corner to lefties and the outside corner to righties.  In the bottom of the first with two out, Alex Rios singled and stole second.  Then it looked like Ricky struck out Adam Dunn but didn’t get the call and Dunn went to first base.  The same corner gave Porcello problems when Konerko was at the plate.  Konerko walked to load the bases.  At this point Porcello could have come unglued but held it together and got Jeff Keppinger to ground out 5-3.

From then on, Porcello really didn’t face anymore trouble.  He left the game after 7 innings and 93 pitches.  Keep in mind that he threw 25 pitches in the first inning.

Al Alburquerque came on in the 8th and retired the Sox 1-2-3.  Leyland sent him back for the 9th and he walked the first two batters he faced.  This brought Benoit into the game who gave up a two run double to Konerko but retired Keppinger, Gillaspie and Viciedo to end the game.

A few things have me scratching my head.

  1. Tuiasosopo started and was replaced by Dirks again. I heard Leyland in an interview say he was trying to protect Tui from getting “eaten up” by a tough right handed pitcher.  But what about Dirks?  He’s not exaclty tearing the cover off of the ball.
  2. If Benoit is the closer, why is he being brought in when the score is 6-0?  The only thing I can think of is that Leyland wants him to get used to pitching the 9th.
  3. Jackson and Fielder are struggling.  If those two don’t hit, the Tigers can be in a lot of trouble.
  4. What is going on with Alex Avila?  I had hope after his 3 hit game a few nights ago and he did have two walks today but his other at bats were horrible.  He got caught looking both times and seemed like he didn’t have a clue on what was going on.
  5. It looks Alburquerque is a one inning pitcher.  When he came out for the ninth he couldn’t find the strike zone and this seems to be his MO.
  6. The Tigers need Miggy back.

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