Tigers 12 Indians 5

The Tigers beat up on the White Sox and their pitching tonight and got Max Scherzer his 20th win of the season.

They jumped on White Sox starter, Dylan Axelrod, early and often.  The Tigers put 7 runs on him and got the bullpen for five more.

Scherzer put in a quality start going 6 complete, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs, while walking 1 and striking out 3.

The Puppet Master had Good Ole Dirksy in left field tonight and he paid dividends right away with a two run single in the first to give the Tigers an early two run lead.  Dirks would finish the game 3 for 4 raising his batting average to .261.

A few areas of mild concern are Miggy and Jose Alvarez.  Miggy was 1-5 tonight and left 6 runners on base.  Jose Alvarez pitched one inning and allowed 3 hits and two earned runs.  I say mild concern but I’m a little more than mildly concerned about Miggy.  I know he’s still hitting .346 but his batting average has been slowly dropping this month and he’s been struggling to drive in runs.  I hope it is just a little slump but I can’t help worrying about his nagging injuries.  It is going to be hard to make long playoff run with Miggy struggling to drive in runs.

The good news is that the Tigers won, Max got his 20th, and the magic number is down to 3.  Hopefully, they can clinch this weekend.

I hope the Tigers saved some runs for tomorrow because they’re going to need all they can get.  They’ll  face White Sox ace, and Cy Young contender, Chris Sale.

I’m looking for a big game from Ricky tomorrow.

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

Tigers 5 Mariners 4

Fister pitched well and got his 13th win of the season.  The four runs he surrendered is a tad high but three of the runs came on a homer off of the bat of the Ackley Kid.

Smyly got the last out in the 8th and Joaquin Benoit converted his 22nd save of the season to close out the game and give the a Tigers 3-1 series win.

Incidentally, Tigers starters struck out 10 Mariners in 3 of the 4 games this series.  The only one with less was Justin Verlander.  Is this telling the Tigers something?  I’m not sayin.  I’m just sayin.

Torii Hunter got the Tigers on the board in the first with a solo shot but Fielder and Martinez did most of the damage this afternoon, they were a combined 5 for 6 with 3 RBIs.

Victor Martinez caught today and I thought he looked great.  Oh, and his batting average is now .301.

In the 6th inning, the Puppet Master, Jim Leyland, went to work.  He had Good Ole Dirsky pinch hit for Tui.  Dirksy didn’t get a hit but he had a hell of an at bat.  He bounced out to second base on the second pitch he saw from Mariner reliever Tom Wilhelmson. Tui wasn’t doing much but isn’t there anybody else to pinch hit, like Charlie Marcuse?  Oh, wait, the Tigers fired the singing hot dog man a few weeks ago.

Good Ole Dirksy redeemed himself in the bottom of the 7th, with runners at first and third and one out, Dirksy had another grind em out at bat.  He struck out on four pitches.

Letting Good Ole Dirsky bat in the 7th, against a good left handed reliever, Charlie Furbush, is a clear indication that the Puppet Master is still struggling with Dirksburger Syndrome.

Austin Jackson had a rough day. He was 0-5 including grounding into a double play.

Iggy got hurt and left the game when he was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 6th.  Luckily, he’s only got a bruised hand.  When it happened it looked like it might be broken.

All in all this was a good win.  The Tigers’ magic number is 4.

The White Sox come to town tomorrow.

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

Ackley Kid…

Ok, I can’t help myself.  Ever since the Mariners got to town, every time I see or hear Dustin Ackley’s name, I can’t help chuckling to myself.

Robert Ackley is a character in my all time favorite book, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield, the main character, liked irritating Robert and did so by constantly addressing him as the Ackley Kid.  This nom de guerrre drove Ackley crazy.

As a result, Ackley Kid, has taken on an urban meaning that translates to tool. For example, instead of calling a person a tool, simply refer to him as an Ackley Kid and the meaning is pretty much the same.

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

Tigers 6 Mariners 2

After three typically, pathetic innings, the Tigers offense woke up and scored single runs in the 4th, 6th, and 7th, then blew the game open with three in the bottom of the 8th to give the Tigers their 6th win in 7 games.

Sanchez was good tonight and the bullpen was even better.  Anibal threw 125 pitches.  He lasted 6 and 1/3, allowed 2 earned runs, walked two and struck out 10.

The Amazing Al did an excellent job of clutch pitching.  Alburquerque relieved Sanchez with one out in the 7th, runners at second and third, and the game tied at 2.  He got Abraham Almonte to pop out to Jose Iglesias at short, who flashed some leather making a nice running catch in shallow left.  The Amazing Al then struck out Franklin Gutierrez to end the inning and keep the game tied.

In the top of the 8th it was Jose Alvarez’s turn to come up big.  Phil Coke started the 8th and got Kyle Seagar to ground out to first base.  Prince Fielder showed he can flash leather as he made a nice diving stop on the bullet hit off of Seagar’s bat.  Coke then got into some trouble.  He walked Raul Ibanez and got Justin Smoak to hit what looked like an inning ending double play ball to the left of second base.  Unfortunately, the sure handed Jose Iglesias couldn’t handle the ball and everyone was safe.  The last batter Coke would face was Michael Saunders who he walked to load the bases on five pitches.  So in comes Alvarez to relieve Coke.  Alvarez battled Mike Zunino in an 11 pitch at bat but finally got the Mariner catcher to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Phil Coke was booed as he left the field.  I hate to see anybody get booed but tonight I felt it was really unwarranted.  I can’t defend him for the walks he gave up.  Walks are enough to drive anybody mad but his defense really let him down.  If Iglesias makes the play on the ball hit by Justin Smoak, like I’m sure he’ll do 99 out of 100 times, Coke gets out of the inning having only faced three batters.  But I guess that’s just how this season has gone for Phil.  Very little has seemed to work for him this year.

Let’s talk about Alex A Squared Money Avila.  It looks like he is getting healthy and his game is starting to show it.  His batting average is up to .225, not bad considering it was down to about .168 as late as June.  What really impressed me today was his triple.  He hit a line drive to right leading off the 7th inning that made it all the way to the wall and left Avila standing on third.  He’s never been a speed demon but he was running about as well as I’ve ever seen him.  Alex also had two walks in this game.  His second base on balls came in the bottom of the 8th.  After falling behind Seattle reliever Carter Capps 0-2, he was able to work a walk and load the bases.  For the last few weeks, Alex has been looking like the Alex we saw in the 2011 regular season.  Let’s hope he stays healthy and continues playing this way.

JV is on the mound tomorrow.

Update: I forgot to include this in the original post, perhaps I was subconsciously blocking it out.  In what can only be described as the most bizarre move I’ve seen in baseball, Jim Leyland, pinch hit Andy Dirks for Jose Iglesias with the bases loaded in the 8th inning.  This move is insane on so many levels I’m not sure where to begin.  I guess lets start with Dirks Blows!  He’s having a terrible season.  Iglesias is hitting .315.  Dirks is hitting .257. Iglesias is the best defensive player on the team, something I thought was important to Leyland, especially in the late innings.  Andy Dirks plays left field like Charlie Marcuse, the now deposed singing, hot dog, vendor.  The only logical explanation for this asinine move is Dirksburger Syndrome.  After lying dormant in the bowels of the Tigers manager for a few weeks, it was bound to flair up again and did.

Oh, yea, true to form, Good Ole Dirksy struck out.

Hat Tip to Sark for reminding me of this abomination.

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

Tigers 9 White Sox 1

The Tigers ended their 3 game skid with a 9-1 victory over the White Sox tonight at US Cellular field in Chicago.

The story of this game was Rick Porcello.  Ricky pitched the first complete game of his career,  He allowed one earned run, seven hits, walked one, and struck out 5.  He really looked good tonight and the Tigers needed it.

The offense put up 9 runs but you’ll forgive me if I don’t get too excited.  Five of the nine runs scored were unearned.  The White Sox defense aided the Tigers offense with four errors, three of them by third baseman Conor Gillaspie.

Prince and Alex Avila each had 4 hits tonight but Miggy was 0-5 and something just doesn’t look right with him.

The Indians lost tonight so the Tigers’ lead is back up to 5.5.

Let’s see what the offense does tomorrow with Anibal Sanchez on the mound in the rubber game of the series.

On a another note, I heard that Jhonny Peralta will rejoin the team for the last week of the season.  From what I can make out of Dombrowski’s comments, he is definitely not coming back to play shortstop.  John Keating said on the pre-game that Peralta was fielding fly balls.  Does this mean that the Tigers plan to put Peralta in left?  That’s the only thing I can think of and if he hits, it might not be a bad idea.  I think the Tigers have run out of corner outfield experiments.  I don’t think Dirks, Tui, or Castellanos are legitimate options for an everyday left fielder.  I guess I’m not sure Peralta is either but how much worse can he be?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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

Tigers Dust Royals

Overshadowing the big news today, that the Tigers fired Charlie Marcuse, the Singing Hot Dog Vendor, the Tigers did the thrashing tonight as the they took out some frustration on the Royals’ pitching staff.  What makes this game impressive is that the Tigers put a beating on the the Royals’ ace, Big Game James Shields, who shut the Tigers out the last time he faced them at Comerica Park.

Andy Dirks had a nice night in front of his friends and family.  However, in the 3rd inning, with the bases loaded, nobody out, and the Tigers up 5-1, Dirksy got himself picked off of 3rd base.  When we look back at this game, this bone headed play isn’t that big of a deal, but it could have been and could be if it happens in the future.  In fact, after Dirks got picked off, the Tigers went out quietly and didn’t tack on any runs that inning.  It kind of felt like the momentum was changing.  Luckily, Emilio Bonifacio led off the the bottom of the third with a single and returned the favor by getting himself picked off of first.

The Tigers were able to pound their way around this miscue, today, but it was still a horrible play that could have been devastating in a different situation.

How in the sam hell do you get picked off of third with nobody out?  Are you just not paying attention?  Where are you going?  And further, what was The Windmill doing?

I don’t want to rain on Dirksy’s parade, but if I were Jim Leyland, he would have been yanked after that bout of cerebral cramping.

Anyway, I’ve been sick all week so I’m going to bed with the Tigers winning 15-1 in the top of the 8th.  Like my good friend Nebraska says, “if they blow it, I don’t want to be around to see it”.

Till tomorrow.

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

Tigers Lose Finale 4-0

I feel about as good after this lose as a Tiger fan could.  I would have loved to have swept the Tribe but the Tigers have beaten up on them pretty good this season.  It doesn’t hurt that bad to drop this one.

Why do I feel good?

First, JV looked good.  After a 35 pitch first inning when it looked like deja vu all over again, Justin regained some of his lost form.  JV allowed only 4 hits, no runs, walked 2, struck out 6, and threw 116 pitches. If we subtract the first inning, JV averaged just 13.5 pitches per inning over the final six he pitched.   Very encouraging.

Second, Alex A Squared Money Avila went three for three and raised hit average to .207.  This is huge considering he’s been below the Mendoza line for the majority of the season.  In fact, going into July, I believe he was hitting around .165.  Perhaps, Alex is getting healthy and his offense is showing it.  Whatever the case, I’ve always like Alex and I’m glad to see him above .200.

Third, Andy Dirks had two more hits and has raised his average to .257.  It looks like Dirksy might be getting a little bit of a stroke back which will bode well for the playoffs should the Tigers make it.

On the flip side of the coin, the Tigers did have 11 hits but failed to score a run.  This just highlights the way the team is built.  The Tigers have virtually no speed so unless they hit for extra base power they have a hard time scoring.

I’ve come up with a hypothesis.  I believe that a team should be able to score a run for every two hits they get.  So at the end of a game if a team puts up 10 hits they should have  5 runs.  Here’s my reasoning:

  • The lead off man singles.
  • The next batter singles.
  • The runner on first goes to third on the second hit.
  • The runner on third can now score on a ground out or a sac fly.
  • This is not an exact science but I feel like it is mostly accurate.

The problem with the Tigers is that they cannot go from first to third on a hit, they’re terrible at taking an extra base.  As a result, they have to play station to station.  That’s why we see games like today when they have 11 hits and no runs and other games when the have 4 hits and 6 runs.  The Tigers have to win using Earl Weaver’s formula, pitching, defense and three run homers.  They didn’t get the three run homers today so they lost.  But I’ll take 2 out of 3 against Cleveland any day.

Off to Boston.

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