Tigers 7 White Sox 6

WOW!  Do I feel like an ass for leaving this game in the top of the 9th.

For the first 8.5 innings, I saw exactly what I expected.  After scoring 12 runs last night and facing who I believe to be the best pitcher in the American League, Chris Sale, the Tigers offense did next to nothing.

Chris Sale was dealing.  Except for Miggy, who had two hits against him, the rest of the lineup was completely and thoroughly dominated.

On the Tigers side of the ledger, Fredrick Alfred Porcello was fantastic.  For 6 and 2/3, Ricky was almost as good as Chris Sale.  Almost as good.  This was a match-up between an Ace and an Ace in waiting.  Ricky allowed only 6 hits and 2 runs while walked nobody and striking out 9.

I’m not sure what has gotten into him but Ricky has been getting a lot of swings and misses lately.  He struck out 10 in his previous start and 9 more today.  If Ricky and Iggy can stay healthy, Porcello will make a bid to win 20 games next year with an ERA well under 4, perhaps 3.50.

Tui was flashin leather tonight.   Jose Veras came in to relieve Ricky.  With two outs and the left handed hitting, White Sox catcher, Bryan Anderson at the plate.  The defense was shaded towards right.  Anderson hit a wounded quail to shallow left field and Tui made a fabulous diving catch to end the inning and save a run.

What can I say about Good Ole Dirksy?  He pinch hit for Tui in the bottom of the 9th with two on and nobody out and delivered a 3 run shot to pull the Tigers to within one run, 6-5.  Good for Andy.  It would be great if got to his 2012 form in time for the playoffs.

After Dirksy’s blast Infante walked bringing Santiago to the plate.  Ramon bunted Infante over to second.  I’m not sure how I feel about this play.  Generally, I don’t like bunting a guy from first to second.  In this case I didn’t particularly care for giving the White Sox pitcher an out when he was having trouble finding the plate.  Couple that with the Tigers’ bats perking up and nobody out and my initial reaction to the sacrifice was revulsion.  Looking back on it, however, it was the bottom of the 9th.  The Tigers were trailing by only a single run and it did get the tying run into scoring position.  It worked out this time but I’m still not sure if I would do it again should the occasion arise in the future.

Other than his inability to run, Miggy looked like his old self at the plate today.  He touched Sale for two hard hit singles and singled in the Tigers’ first run in the 9th.  He left the game with groin tightness and is listed as day to day.  It might be time to give him a day off.

Austin Jackson is struggling.  He was 0-5 with a walk tonight.  He had two hits last night, going 2-6, but he was 0-5 in the final game against the Mariners.  That makes him 2-16 in the last three games.  He needs to get on base so Miggy and Prince have a chance to drive in some runs.  That being said, AJax is a streaky hitter so hopefully he’ll go on a hot streak in time for the postseason.

The Amazing Al pitched well tonight.  He pitched two scoreless innings, the 11th and 12th, and got the win.  He allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out two.

Paul Konerko flashed some leather tonight as well.  He made a game saving, temporarily at least, backhanded pick in the 12th, on a throw in the dirt from third baseman Conor Gillaspie

The magic number is 2.

Sanchez is on the mound tomorrow.

It would be nice if the Astros could help the Tigers out tomorrow but I’m not counting on it.

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

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 1 White Sox 0

Anibal Sanchez continues to make his case for this year’s AL Cy Young award.  He improved his record to 14-7 and lowered his league leading ERA to 2.50.  Anibal was masterful tonight in spite of an asinine strike zone from home plate umpire Larry Hanover.

Even with a strike zone that nobody could figure out, Sanchez managed to pitch 7 and 1/3 without allowing any runs.  He gave up only 5 hits, walked 4 and struck out 10.

A few weeks ago I thought Max Scherzer had the Cy Young locked up but Anibal is right on his heels along with Yu Darvish of the Rangers and Chris Sale of the White Sox.

The offense was pathetic tonight which is pretty much what I expected.  After scoring 9 runs last night. the Tigers managed only 1 run on 10 hits.  They were 1 for 11 with men in scoring position.

I’m not sure what the issue is but Miguel Cabrera doesn’t not look good at all.  I’m not sure if he just needs to get his timing back or if his injuries are plaguing him much more than we are lead to believe.  However, if continues hitting the way he did on this road trip, the Tigers are in trouble.

Veras, Smyly and Benoit were aces coming out of the bull pen to preserve the 1-0 win for Sanchez.

Nick Castellanos was 1-4 tonight.  I thought his most impressive at bat came in the first inning.  After falling behind 1-2 he worked the count back to even.  He then fouled off three pitches then took ball three to move the count to full.  He ended up striking out but he did make Jose Quintana throw him 9 pitches.

The Tigers lead in the central is back up to 6.5 games courtesy of the Indians loss to the Royals earlier in the day.

This was a nice win.  After losing the opening game, and third in a row, they managed to win the final two and take the series.

The Royals come to Comerica Park this weekend.  Friday’s game features Justin Verlander against Bruce Chen.  Let’s hope it goes better than the last time these two faced each other.

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

White Sox 5 Tigers 1

This game started out bad and kept getting worse.

For the second time this season Miguel Cabrera got thrown out of a game during an at bat.  In the first inning, home plate umpire, Brian Gorman, ruled that Cabrera swung at a pitch that ultimately hit him.  Cabrera asked for the appeal to first but Gorman refused.  Replay showed that Cabrera probably didn’t go around.  However, Miggy needs to keep his F***ING mouth shut.  There is nothing he can say that is going to change the call so shut up and finish the at bat.

Miggy does not get star treatment.  I don’t remember seeing a game where I thought he got a borderline call because of his past accomplishments.  I can’t say for sure why but maybe shutting his trap would help.  Instead he gets kicked out of the game in the first inning and the Tigers have Ramon Santiago batting third for the rest of the game against arguably, the best pitcher in the American League, Chris Sale.

Speaking of pitching, Max Scherzer has had a great year.  He may even win the Cy Young award but he is not a staff ace.  A staff ace can be counted on to stop the bleeding.  They prevent long losing streaks and they pick the team up when they are slumping.  The Tigers are slumping and this is the second time in a month that the Tigers needed Max to be a stopper and twice he has come up with horrible performances.

The Tigers don’t have an ace.  They have a good staff but with Verlander not pitching well they don’t have a stopper.  Right now if you asked me who I would want to pitch a one game playoff, I wouldn’t have an answer.

Nice offense.  The vaunted Tiger offense put up one run today.  That makes six runs scored in the last three games.  The part that is so frustrating is that it never looks like the Tigers offense makes adjustments during a game.  As has often been discussed here, opposing teams seem to have better at bats against Tigers pitching in the 4th and 5th innings, or the second time through the order.  Most of the time this year, the Tigers’ staff has been able to readjust, but the Tigers offense never seems to try anything different.  They go up there time after time with the same approach and just hope that it works.  That’s one of the reasons their offense is so streaky.

I’m sure this isn’t the case but the only person on the team with any spark, that looks like they give shit, is Jose Iglesias.  You don’t want a team to be too uptight but this team looks too loose.  On that note, I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’ve have had just about enough of Torii Hunter’s clowning antics in right field.  I like when players have fun but this is your profession, act like a professional.

It is looking more and more like wheels on this bandwagon are falling off.  The Tigers lead has been cut to 4.5 games courtesy of the Indians victory over the Royals.

Does anybody want to change their vote in yesterday’s poll?

“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

Scherzer Goes to 14-1. Tigers Beat Sale, White Sox 7-3.

Max Scherzer improved his record to 14-1 tonight as the Tigers beat Chris Sale and the White Sox 7-3.

There was a lot to like about tonight’s game, not the least of which, is that the Tigers beat White Sox ace, and arguably the best pitcher in the American League this year, Chris Sale.

True, the Tigers were helped by three White Sox errors but good teams make other teams pay for giving them extra outs.  Additionally, the Tigers who had a hard time scoring after the sixth inning before the break, scored one in the seventh and three in the ninth to seal the deal.

Both pitchers pitched well. Scherzer went 8 innings, allowed four hits and two earned runs while striking out 5 and walking none.

Sale pitched 8 innings as well, he allowed 4 runs but only 2 of them were earned.  He struck out 11 and walked 3.

The Tigers bullpen was pretty good tonight as well. Phil Coke came on to start the ninth and got Alejandro De Aza to ground out to second base.  That was the only batter he’d face as Jim Leyland brought in Bruce Rondon to relieve Coke with one out.

Rondon got Alexei Ramirez to ground to short for the second out but then had a hiccup.  He allowed a double to Alex Rios.  Rios took third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk.  But Rondon struck out Adam Dunn to end the game and give the Tigers the first game of the series.

Victor Martinez continued his torrid pace with 4 more hits and 3 RBIs raising his batting average to .270.

Torii Hunter had two hits including a solo shot off of Sale in the 7th.

The big concern is the health of Miguel Cabrera.  As I wrote yesterday, something seemed amiss with the reigning AL MVP, and apparently there is.  It looks like he has a back/hip injury.  Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.

On another note, I like the way Leyland is using Phil Coke.  It looks like he’s just using him for 1 or 2 hitters to hopefully get his rhythm and confidence back. Let’s hope the recent success continues.

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

AL Wins ASG 3-0. Home Field for Tigers?

The American League will have home field advantage in the 2013 World Series courtesy of their 3-0 win in the All Star Game.

The game was dominated by pitching.  Max Scherzer pitched the first inning and shut the National League down 1-2-3, striking out Cincinnati’s Joey Votto to end the first.

The AL pitchers shut out the NL only allowing three hits.

Miggy scored the game’s first run when he led off the top of the 4th with a double and scored on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly.

Notes:

  1. Leyland had Mariano Rivera pitch the bottom of the 8th to make sure he got into the game.  The thinking was that if another pitcher came in a gave up the lead, and the AL failed to tie it or go ahead in the top of the 9th, Rivera would not be able to pitch the bottom of the 9th.
  2. Prince Fielder legged out a lead off triple in the top of the 9th but failed to score even though Nelson Cruz followed him with a ground out to second base.  It didn’t appear that the infield was playing in so I can’t figure out why Fielder didn’t attempt to score.
  3. Jhonny Peralta singled in his only at bat in the 8th
  4. Chicago White Sox’s pitcher, who could be the best pitcher in the American League, pitched the 2nd and 3rd and got the win.
  5. Yankee’s reliever Mariano Rivera was name the ASG MVP.
  6. Miguel Cabrera batted three times, was 1-3, and was replaced by Manny Machado in the bottom of the 6th.

Hopefully the Tigers can parlay this win and take advantage of home field in the World Series.  It would be the first Tigers championship in 29 years.

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