White Sox 6 Tigers 3

After an emotional come from behind victory last night the Tigers fell to the White Sox today.  That coupled with another Indians victory over the Astros and the Tigers’ magic number remains at 2.

Anibal Sanchez didn’t have it today.  He surrendered 4 earned over 5 innings, striking out 6 while walking 2.

The Tigers made a bid to repeat last night’s 9th inning magic but fell short when Austin Jackson struck out swinging.

Jackson was hitless again today taking an 0-4 dropping his batting average to .269.

I didn’t see this one coming.  After last night’s heroics and Sanchez on the mound I really thought the Tigers would pull off the sweep.

In another interesting move, The Puppet Master had Brayan Pena pinch hit for Alex Avila to lead off the 9th.  Alex was 3-3 and has been swinging a hot bat.  In fact, his batting average is closing in on .230.  Not bad for a guy who was hitting in the .160s in June.  With left-hander Donnie Veal pitching I guess he was playing the left right match-up, and it did work out, Pena doubled, but it seemed like a questionable move to me at least.

Anyway, there’s not much more to say about this game other than Fielder’s home run the game was kind of a dud.

Hopefully the Tigers can get back on track in Minnesota tomorrow and clinch the division ASAP.

Verlander against Pelfrey in the opener.

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

John Lowe – Speed

Hat Tip to Nebraska for pointing this article out.

It appears John Lowe of the Freep dot com has come to the same conclusion readers of this blog have come to.  Namely, the biggest problem the Tigers have is their inability to throw out runners.

On a night when the Tigers set a team record for home runs allowed in a game with eight, the significant question that emerged nonetheless dealt not with power, but with speed:

If there is a Tigers-Red Sox playoff series next month, could the Tigers lose because of their inability to prevent stolen bases?

Ominously, that inability is what allowed the East-leading Red Sox to score the run that put them ahead to stay in a 20-4 thumping of the Central-leading Tigers on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Keep reading here.

The part of the Tigers’ inability to throw runners out that baffles me is that they don’t have ANYBODY that can shut down the running game.  Can all the blame go to the pitching staff?  Are they that bad at holding runners close?  It seems to me that the catchers have to start sharing the blame. Avila, Holaday, Pena, none of them can throw anybody out.

Perhaps speed defense should have been addressed at the trade deadline.

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

Tigers Lose 2-1. It’s up to Ricky Tomorrow.

Tonight’s game was a battle of aces that lived up to its billing.  Lester and Scherzer both pitched well with Lester and the Red Sox evening the series courtesy of their 2-1 victory.

Mike Napoli didn’t start tonight but he did pinch hit in the 8th inning against Luke Putkonen.  I would have loved for Luke to have drilled that shit bird but it wasn’t the time.  The score was 2-1 with runners on first and second and only 1 out.  It was more important to prevent the Sox from extending their lead than evening the score with Crapoli.

Speaking of Putkonen, he has been very impressive and may be pitching himself onto the post season roster.  He came in last Thursday and stopped the bleeding against Oakland which eventually allowed the Tigers to rally late and save the last game of the series.

Putkonen came in again today in a pressure situation.  Scherzer came out to pitch the 8th but didn’t retire either batter he faced.  He left the game with runners at first and second and nobody out.  Coke came in and got David Ortiz to fly out.  Putkonen then relieved Coke.  With runners at first and second and one out he gave up a single to Crapoli to load the bases.  He then got Jonny Gomes to pop out and Stephen Drew to ground out, both to Iggy, to end the inning.

What does all of this mean?

First, Putkonen and Coke are making cases for spots on the post season roster.

Second, the burden falls on Ricky tomorrow to win the rubber game and hold Crapoli accountable for his Dave Rozema karate kick on Iggy during Monday’s game.  It seems like these things fall on Porcello a lot.  As has been documented here at Flashin Leather, Ricky hit Youkilis in August of 2009, then beat him into a conniption when he rushed the mound.  Then earlier this year in Tampa Bay, after The Crooked Hat threw at Miggy’s head the night before, Ricky lit Zobrists’ rib cage up to defend the MVP the following game.

Third, and this is the most important take away from tonight’s game, Tommy “The Windmill” Brookens is the worst third base coach in baseball history.  He always manages to get the call exactly wrong.  Today, The Windmill got Brayan Pena thrown out at the plate in the second inning. With Pena on first and Infante on third, Iggy doubled, scoring Infante easily. Brookens, then, mistook the 5’9″ 230 lbs Pena for Rickey Henderson and sent him home.  Although the play was considerably closer than most of The Windmill’s sends, Pena was still out by 30 feet.

I love Tommy but not as the third base coach.  The Tigers need Geno back at 3rd.  Let Tommy move to first or to the bench.

It would be nice to come out of Boston with Napoli’s ribs bruised and a series win.

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

Tigers Dust Indians 10-5

The Tigers starting pitching today was better than it has been all week.  Anibal Sanchez lasted 6 and 2/3 surrendering only 3 runs.

Omar Infante had a day, he hit two homers and drove in 5 runs.  He hit a three run shot in the second and a two run shot in the 6th.

The impressive inning for Sanchez was the fifth.  With the Tigers up 4-1, the Indians put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Sanchez was able to get Lonnie Chisenhall to pop out.  He struck out Ian Gomes, gave up an RBI single to Michael Bourne, then struck Nick Swisher out to end the inning.  Sanchez was able to avoid a big inning and keep the Tigers in the lead surrendering only 1 run.

I wasn’t at the game, so I couldn’t see, but was Dirks or Hunter hustling to backup Ajax when he ran into the wall and hurt himself in the top of the 8th?  It looked like it took Dirks a long time to get the ball.

It was also in was nice to see the Tigers come back and put runs on the board in the bottom of the 8th after the Indians cut the Tigers lead to 6-5.

Lead by Austin Jackson’s 2 run triple, the Tigers put up four more runs in the bottom of the 8th to extend the lead to 10-5.

Iggy continues to impress, this time with his offense.  In the bottom of the 8th after Jacskon’s two run triple, Jim Leyland put the squeeze play on with Iggy at the plate.  The first pitch Iggy saw was a fast ball over his head but he found a way to get the bunt down allowing Jackson to score on the play.

Also, kind of under the radar, Brayan Pena has had a really nice season at the plate.  He was 2-4 tonight and his hitting .313 on the season.  This is huge considering the Tigers have gotten relatively little in the way of offense from the often injured Alex Avila.

Jose Veras didn’t look good.  He gave up three hits, two earned runs, and several hard hit balls in his one inning of work.

Verlander gets the call tomorrow as the Tigers go for the sweep.  I don’t know what to expect but I’ll hope for the best.  I’ll take 7 innings with 3 earned runs or less.

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

Tigers lose game and series to Twins

This was a disgusting loss.  The Tigers fell to the Twins 7-6 this afternoon at Comerica Park and dropped the series 2-1.  Since the their 12 game win streak ended , the Tigers have lost series to the Yankees, White Sox and Twins.

I wrote yesterday how shutting down the running game and using the running game on offense were issues for the Tigers.  But I can’t fall back on that today. The Tigers didn’t pitch well enough to win today.

Starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, lasted 7 innings but was just short of terrible. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs while walking 3 and striking out 6.  I don’t have the words for JV.  In one start he looks like he’s the JV of old, in the next he looks like he’s not going to get anybody out.  Today was the latter.

The Tigers were down 6-2 heading to the bottom of the 6th.  Bryan Holaday, for the second night in a row, sparked a Tigers rally.  With two out, Infate on third and Igelsias on 2nd, Holaday drove in Infante and turned the lineup over for Austin Jackson who tied the score with a 3 run shot.

The scored stayed tied at 6 into the top of the 8th when Bruce Rondon gave up the winning run on a walk and a Chris Hermann double.  It looked like Austin Jackson misjudged the ball off of Hermann’s bat but regardless, when you give up 6 runs, you can’t expect to win many games.

In the bottom of the 8th and the Tigers trailing 7-6, Jim Leyland pinch hit Brayan Pena for Matt Holaday.  Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this move, but Holaday was having a nice game.  He was 2-2 with a walk, 2 RBIs, and his first MLB home run.  I think he should have played the hot hand and let Holaday bat.

Off to NYC for a weekend series with the Mets.

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

Lethargic…

is the best way to describe the game tonight.  The Tigers looked flat and disinterested and I got that feeling the minute I walked into Comerica Park.

Rick Porcello was good for 3 innings but, for the second straight outing, fell apart in the 4th.

Ricky only lasted 4 and 1/3, striking out 6, walking 2, and allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits.

With one out in the 5th, Phil Coke relieved Porcello to pitch to lefty Justin Morneau and surrendered a two run double. That is the last batter Coke will face in a Tiger uniform for a while as he was sent to Toledo immediately after the game.  Jose Alvarez was called up to replace him.

I’m sorry to see Coke go but I can’t make excuses for him anymore.  After struggling this year he was basically used as a left handed specialist for the last few months but couldn’t get lefties out.  I guess the Tigers have just decided that they’ve seen enough and can’t afford to use a roster spot for a lefty that can’t get out lefties.

The offense didn’t look that good today, and they did their best to make Mike Pelfry and his 5.19 ERA look like a Cy Young contender.  Even the Mighy Miggy didn’t really have good at bats today.  He ended the night 1-5 and ended the game by striking out with the tying runs on base.  But the Tigers can’t count on him to bail the them out every game.

The at bats, as a team, got better in the late innings but they just couldn’t get the big hit to get them back in the game.

On the flip side, Prince had a homer and two RBIs tonight.  And Victor Martinez, Brayan Pena and Jose Iglesias each had two hits.

Let’s see if they can get back to winning tomorrow.  It would bad to lose this series to the Twins.

Update:  Here is a link to the Freep regarding Coke’s demotion.

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

Mighty Miggy!

The Mighty Miggy hit his 39th home run, a solo shot, in the bottom of the 9th to give the Tigers a 6-5 win and even this 5 game series with the Royals.

Despite leaving 9 men on base, the Tigers offense was able to bail the pitching staff out tonight.  The pitching wasn’t horrible but it is not what Tigers fans have come to expect.

Doug Fister lasted 6 and 1/3.  He surrendered 3 earned.  Fister walked 2, struck out 6 and gave up 10 hits.

The top of the 4th inning featured one of the strangest plays I’ve ever seen. With Chris Getz on first base and nobody out, Fister threw a pitch that Alcides Escobar foul tipped behind home plate.  Home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled it a wild pitch.  While Brayan Pena was waiting for the umpire to hand him a new ball, Chris Getz ran all the way to 3rd base.  If it wasn’t for Doug Fister, realizing what had happened, and retrieving the ball, Getz would have scored.  As it turned out, Getz ended up scoring when Escobar doubled to tie the game at three.

Jim Leyland and Brayan Pena, furious at the call, were both thrown out of the game.  Replays showed that the call was blown.  It was clearly a foul tipped ball.

Withe score tied at 4 in the bottom of the 7th, Prince Fielder homered to give the Tigers the lead back 5-4 but the bull pen couldn’t hold it.  Jose Veras allowed the tying run in the top of the 8th and the stage was set for Miggy’s heroics.

Royals reliever Aaron Crow came in to pitch the 9th with Miggy leading off.  Crow fell behind Miggy 3-1 and I was sure he was just going to put him on.  And in fact, he may have been trying to.  The 3-1 pitch looked to be about 6 inches off of the plate away, but Miggy expanded the strike zone and did what he does.  He hit a bullet over the right field fence giving the Tigers a much needed win.

The running game is becoming a big problem for the Tigers.  They can’t stop anybody from running and this deficiency is compounded when the pitching staff gives up walks.  They need to find a way to address this but I’m not sure they have the tools to do so.  Neither Pena, Holaday nor Avila have been very effective at throwing this year.  I hope this doesn’t come back to bite the Tigers in a crucial situation, like a playoff or World Series game.

On the flip side of the coin, the Tigers did a bit of running themselves tonight.  They scored their third run in the bottom of the second on a suicide squeeze.  With Infante on 3rd and one out, Iggy, laid down a bunt that not only scored Infante but gave Iglesias another infield hit.

With a win tomorrow, the Tigers can win the five game series 3-2.

Update, Cleveland Indian’s second baseman, Jason Kipnis, tweeted this today, “Dear Miggy… You’re making the rest of us look bad.. Knock it off! – MLB Hitters”.  Hat Tip to Sark for showing me the Kipnis tweet. I have retweeted the Kipnis tweet and it can be seen on the right side of this page.

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