A’s 1 Tigers 0

The A’s tied the series tonight courtesy of a 1-0 win handing the Tigers their 13th shutout of the season.

There was nothing new to see here.  The Tigers got tremendous pitching and no offense.

I was listening to the post game show on the radio and Dan Dickerson said that the Tigers have scored in only 5 of their last 54 innings going back to the last week of the season.

Miguel Cabrera has carried this team for years.  Now he’s hurt and there is nobody there to pick him up.

Austin Jackson was embarrassing. He went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts.  He took fast balls down the middle and then swung at every other piece of garbage Sonny Gray threw to him.

Torii Hunter was 0-4 with 2 Ks.

Prince Fielder was 0-4.

In fact, the Tigers only managed 4 hits.  Cabrera had one, DK had 2 and Iggy had the other one.

Speaking of DK, he got the start in left tonight.  I wonder if Puppet Master, Jim Leyland, read last night’s game post. 🙂

The pitching left nothing to complain about.  The only thing I might have done differently would have been to bring Ricky in after the lead off hit by Cespedes in the 9th.  But really, how can I complain about a game where the pitching staff surrendered 1 run and lost.  Everything can be second guessed.

Monday is a 1:00 pm start at Comerica Park.  The Tigers will need a big start from Sanchez.  What’s new?

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

Tigers 3 A’s 2

Whew!

Behind excellent pitching and just enough offense the Tigers took the first game of the series in Oakland.

The Tigers scored three runs in the first but couldn’t add on the rest of the way.  This was not really a surprise.  This is the same thing we’ve seen all year.

Scherzer, Smyly and Benoit were outstanding and combined to strike out 16 Oakland batters.

Readers of this blog know I’ve been hard on Dirks this year and I’m going to continue.  The Tigers are still not getting anything substantial out of his bat and his fielding is terrible at best. I know, there is supposed to be some metric that tells us Dirksy is a wonderful fielder but the numbers don’t correspond to the visual.

In the bottom of the second Yoenis Cespedes hit a hard shot to left field that ended up as a one out triple.  I understand the ball was hard hit but it looked like Dirksy didn’t take a very good route to the ball.  It would have been a nice play.  It is a play I would expect a good left fielder to make.

There was another play in the 5th or 6th inning where Dirks ran for a ball in foul territory.  The ball looked like it hit the palm of his glove and he ended up dropping it.

Luckily, Max was able to pitch around these two plays and the pen was able to hold on for the win but I think Leyland and the Tigers really need to evaluate what they are getting from left field both offensively and defensively.  I’m not even saying put Peralta in but perhaps it’s time to put DK in left.  Let him play solid defense and take what you can from his bat.  What are you really losing playing DK over Dirksy?

In the 6th the Tigers had a chance to add on.  With one out, Martinez on second and Avila on first, Omar Infante singled sharply to right field.  Tom “The Windmill” Brookens sent Victor home and he was nailed at the plate for the second out of the inning.  At first, I was screaming about another horrible send from The Windmill, but on further review, I think it was the right thing to do.  The Tigers had just gotten three hits and Dirks was up next.  At this point, you can’t expect anything from Good Ole Dirksy.

I’ve been screaming all year about the offense but nothing is going to change.  The formula the Tigers used tonight to win will have to be the recipe going forward.  But at least if they could tighten up the left field defense, it might increase their chances.

JV goes tomorrow.  Your guess is a good as mine regarding what to expect.

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

Marlins 2 Tigers 1

I could talk about Joaquin Benoit blowing his second save in less than a week.  I could talk about Evan Reed pitching himself off of the post season roster.  Instead, I’m laying this loss right at the feet of the offense.

This offense is embarrassing.  No team can pitch well enough to win with an offense like this.  I know, I know, they didn’t play their A lineup the entire game.  This isn’t a one game thing.  This is a two season thing and frankly the lines between the A, B and C lineup are blurred beyond recognition.

This is maddening.

With the offensive explosion today the Tigers have scored 11 runs in the last five games.

Tonight they scored only one run on nine hits.

I don’t have much more to say.  I’m speechless.  If there is any bright spot it is that Peralta got two hits tonight and looks like he might be able to pull this left field trick off.  At this point, however, I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

I have to mention Don Kelly Flashin Leather tonight.  He made a nice running catch in right for the second out in the bottom of the ninth.

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

Tigers 4 Twins 2

Whew!  Fister and the pen got it done reducing the Tigers’ magic number to 1.

The Tigers always seem to make it interesting.

Despite scoring 4 runs the offense was pathetic again.  They scored all their runs in the 4th inning but missed several chances to blow this game wide open and take some pressure off the pitching staff.  The biggest blown opportunity was in the second inning when the Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out and couldn’t push across a single run.

Cabrera left 4 runners on base and took an 0-4.  Fielder was 1-4 and left 3 on base.  Matt Tuiasosopo and Alex Avila each took ohfers and stranded 3 runners a piece.  The bright spot on offense was Austin Jackson.  AJax has been struggling but went 3-5 and drove in the winning runs with a two run big-bingo to put the Tigers up 4-1.

Fister was good, the bullpen was better.  Fistet pitched 6.1, allowed 8 hits, one run, struck out 7 and walked one.

Smyly and The Amazing Al got the final two outs in the 7th stranding Twins at first and second.

Conspicuously, Bruce Rondon was called upon to pitch the 8th and was very impressive striking out the side.  Hmmm does anybody else find it interesting that Veras was brought in to pitch the 8th?  Maybe the Puppet Master isn’t getting the warm and fuzzies from Veras either.

The Tigers are getting nothing offensively from left field.  If they can clinch tomorrow perhaps they should start Jhonny Peralta all three game is left in Miami and see what they’ve got.  Offensively, it is hard to imagine doing any worse than the platoon of Dirks, Tui, and DK.  (Hat Tip Rossie for this suggestion).

I’ll say this one more time, WTF is up with this offense?

Scherzer goes for number 21 and the division tomorrow.

Get it done!

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

Keep Dirks For His Glove?

Nebraksa knows turned me onto this article at DetNews dot come by Kurt Mensching, Tigers have the left fielders they need, if they’re used correctly.

For the first few paragraphs, I was agreeing with what Mensching had to say.  I don’t think Nick Castellanos is the answer to the vacancy in left field.  He’s not pounding AAA pitching, he’s only batting .278.  I think that at this point, the best the Tigers can do is platoon and hope Dirks’ bat perks up.  If it doesn’t, try Don Kelly.  If that doesn’t work, hoping and praying won’t hurt.

The second half of the article, Don’t Forget About Defense, is where I lost any interest in the story.

What should keep Dirks in the lineup is his glove. That’s a far cry from what we’ve come to expect of past Tigers left fielders.

The advanced metrics have painted a nice picture of his game. Those stats take into consideration a number of factors, such as where and how hard a ball is hit as well as the unique configuration of each stadium. Baseball Information Solutions has people watch and “score” every defensive play, then formulas are applied to the results to compare players.

This season, Dirks has been worth eight runs more than an average left fielder according to the Defensive Runs Saved stat. For his career, he has been worth 18 runs.

Using Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games, Dirks again shines. He has been about 17 runs better than an average left fielder this year per that stat. For his career, he has been worth about five runs per 150 games by UZR.

I am a believer in Money Ball statistics and I’m sure there is an advance metric that makes Andy Dirks look like Willie Mays but I also know statistics and metrics can be manipulated to say anything.  In fact, there is an entire book written called, How To Lie With Statistics.  I’m not saying this “advance metric” is a Mensching fabrication, I’m just saying that empirical evidence doesn’t seem to corroborate the metric.

Dirks, at best has been an abomination in left field.  I’m thankful when he makes the routine play.  Anything more than routine, he won’t come close to.  I remind readers again of his embarrassing performance on the last trip to Chicago.

Look, here’s the bottom line, I know the Tigers don’t have a left fielder.  I think platooning and hoping is the only option for the Tigers right now.  That being said, running Dirks out there every night because Jim Leyland suffers from Dirksburger Syndrome is not the proper way to platoon.  Use Tui against lefties, but don’t let him sit around so long that he gets K’d by Ryan Rayburn.  Put Dirksy in against righties but don’t let him struggle for a month before pulling him out.

One more thing, NEVER PULL MIGUEL CABREREA OUT OF A CLOSE GAME UNLESS HE’S INJURED.

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

Tigers Thrash Yankees 9-3…

even series at 1.

The Tigers beat up on Yankee pitching early and often.  The 1-2-3 hitters were on fire but the big hit came off the bat of Don Kelly in the top of the 5th.  After a Victor Martinez double, Kelly came to the plate with runners at second and third with two out and delivered a 2 RBI single making it 6-0.

Miggy, Ajax, and Hunter each hit home runs today.  Hunter’s 3 run shot in the 6th, effectively put the game out of reach.

Anibal Sanchez pitched well.  He went 7 complete, allowed 2 earned, struck out 8, and walked only 1.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, Yankee Brett Gardner, went in to second base high and hard on Jose Iglesias to brake up a double play.  He was successful.  Iglesias threw the ball wide and Ichiro was safe at 1st.  This may be considered an acceptable, hard, baseball play, but after what happened to Omar Infante in Toronto, I think the Tigers should have responded and sent the Yankees, Gardner and the rest of the league a message.  In his next at bat, Gardner should have gotten a 95 mph fastball in the ribs but it didn’t happen.  Perhaps tomorrow? Perhaps next year?

As far as I’m concerned, the Tigers have two scores to settle.  The first is with the Toronto Blue Jays and Colby Rasmus.  That little jerk should be given chin music in his next 3 at bats against the Tigers and his in his 4th at bat his ribs need to be light up with a Rondon 103 mph fastball.  As for Gardner, one in the ribs should suffice, Verlander perhaps tomorrow?

Jose Iglesias and Victor Martinez flashed leather today.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Iggy made a nice diving stop on a ball hit sharply, off the bat of Austin Romine, between short and 3rd and Victor made a nice scoop at 1st to complete the play and end the inning.  Iggy also had two hits raising his average to .323.  Not too bad for a guy the Tigers got for his glove.

Tiger manager Jim Leyland had a slight reprieve from his Dirksburger Syndrome.  Andy Dirks was replaced in left field by Don DK Kelly.  Kelly was 2-4 with 3 RBIs.  What’s even more surprising is that Dirksy didn’t even come in as a defensive replacement late in the game.

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

The Streak Ends At 12…

as the Tigers fell to the Yankees tonight, 4-3, in 10 innings.

Rick Porcello started the game and only lasted 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits.  He struck out six and walked 2.  Ricky didn’t pitch poorly but I knew he was in trouble from the very first batter.  The umpire, Will Little, was not calling the inside pitch to left handers a strike.  Brett Gardner led off the game with a walk and the replay showed that Ricky had struck him out twice but couldn’t get the inside strike called.  In fact, the Yankees first 5 hits were all from left handers and all to left or left center.  The only hard hit ball was Robinson Cano’s double that drove in 2 runs in the third.

In fact, this was one of the worst umpired games I’ve seen in a long time at home plate.  I couldn’t tell what was a strike and neither could anybody else.  Most of the time replays show that umpires get the calls right but not tonight.  I’m not sure what Little was looking at.

That being said, the Tigers had plenty of chances to score but the offense basically consisted of Autsin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera.  Jackson was 4-6 and Miggy was 2-5 and drove in all three Tigers runs.  The big hit was Miggy’s two run bomb in the 9th inning off of Mariano Rivera to send the game into extra innings.  It looked like the Tigers might go ahead in the 9th.  After Miggy’s homer, Fielder followed with a double.  The Yankees then walked Martinez putting runners at first and second with 2 out.  Andy Dirks stepped to the plate and completed his 0-5 night by grounding out to 2nd base.  Between Torii Hunter and Andy Dirks, they left 15 men on base.  Hunter stranded 8 while Dirksies chipped in with 7.

Ichiro Suzuki, Torii Hunter and Jose Iglesias all flashed leather tonight.  Ichiro was first when he made a nice running grab in right field, crashing into the wall and robbing Miggy of extra bases in the 3rd.  Torii Hunter made a fine sliding catch in foul territory on a ball hit by Alfonso Soriano to end the 7th and Jose Iglesias, smooth as silk, started a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the 8th to bail Bruce Rondon out of a jam and keep the Tigers within striking distance.

With the run the Tigers have been on it is hard to complain.  Hopefully, they can regroup and start another streak tomorrow afternoon.

Looking at the big picture, the most important thing is that Jimmy Leyland got Andy Dirks a start and kept him in for the whole game.

Here’s a thought, Don Kelly was brought in to pinch hit for Jose Iglesias to lead off the 9th.  I know there’s no way of knowing Miggy would tie the score but perhaps it would have been a good idea to keep your best defensive player in the game in a tight game on the road.  It might have been a better idea to have Kelly pinch hit for Dirksy to lead off the top of the 8th.  Kelly could then have played left field instead of shortstop.  But, I guess at that point, Dirksy was only 0-3 with only 5 left on base.  But, what do I know.

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

The Time Has Come For DK

As we are approaching the mid-way point of the 2013 season, it should be apparent that all is not well in Tiger Town.

Right now, the Tigers are 42-35 with a 3 game lead on the Cleveland Indians but something needs to be done with the Tigers if the this 29 year World Series drought is going to end.

The Tigers are getting no production from the 5th spot in their lineup.  I wanted to give Victor the benefit of the doubt but we are running out of time.  In addition to hitting a paltry .228, his on base percentage is .286.  This is ridiculous.

If there is no appetite for a trade or a trade to be made, the Tigers need to try something new, something unconventional.  I don’t want to tinker with the slots Peralta and Infante are hitting in, because if something is not broken, don’t fix it.   But the 5 slot is broken and must be fixed.

I offer you my solution, Don Kelly, DK.  I know what you are thinking, DK?  He’s not an everyday player, he doesn’t have the power.  These things may be true but is he going to do any worse?  In only 92 at bats DK is hitting .228 the same as Martinez.  DK’s OPB is .333 compared to Victor’s .286.  DK is slugging .380 to Victor’s .337.  And what is even more important, DK busts his ass down the line where VMART acts like he’s skipping through a flower bed.

Some may say, VMART can’t run, he’s knees are shot.  I say, I can tolerate that if you’re hitting over .250 with power but not when you’re hitting .228 and slugging .337.  The Tiger’s need to find a different way, a new alternative, to the conventional thinking of the last 29 years.  DK might not be a classic 5 hitter, and he might not even work out, but at this point Victor is not working out either and the Tigers just finished a 10 game home stand 4-6.

To add insult to injury the Tigers just got swept, in the 6 game season series, by an Angels team that BLOWS.  This is the same Angels team that got swept in a four game series, at home, by the Houston Astros.  And to really rub salt in the wound, game two was decided by a two run homer by that sawed off, little, jerk, Erick Aybar after a visit to the mound by pitching coach Jeff Jones.

And here’s some advice for Jeff Jones, next time you get a good idea, like the one you had before the Aybar at bat, sit back down and chew on tin foil, you Dummy!

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