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