Cardinals 2 Tigers 1

A sweep would have been nice but I’ll take 2 out of 3, on the road, against the Cardinals, any time.  Although there wasn’t much offense to speak of Yoenis Cespedes flashed some leather.  He made a nice running catch in the second.  In the seventh, the made a good, one hop, throw to the plate to cut down Jhonny Peralta to keep the game tied.  On the back end of the throw, James McCann made an excellent pick and tag.  After the play I couldn’t help wondering if Avila would have made the play.  Speaking of A Squared Money, does he still have a job?

Am I the only one that found John Kruk and Curt Schilling’s incessant Miggy worshipping too much to take?  It was making his at-bats hard to watch.  JMC is probably the best right handed hitter I’ve ever seen but enough already.  They were acting like fifteen year old girls, in the 80’s, at a Rick Springfield concert.  Hmmm, I’m showing my age.

Tigers 1 Red Sox 0

Nebraskaknows hit it right on the head when he said he “feels like a thief in the night” after the Tigers 1-0 win in game 1 of the 2013 American League Championship Series.

The Tigers pitching staff was fabulous again tonight.  As a staff they allowed only one hit and no runs.  It would be hard to ask much more from a pitching staff.

The Tigers offense strove for an unprecedented level of ineptitude.  The Boston pitchers were good but the Tigers offense was an abomination.  They managed only 1 run on 9 hits.

Without an extra base hit it takes the Tigers 4 hits in an inning to score a single run. The likely hood of that scenario playing out is not very good and this pathetic excuse for an offense is living proof.

Miguel Cabrera hit a ball in the corner tonight.  It bounced around, the outfielder bobbled it and still Cabrera could only get to first base.

Austin Jackson is on the verge of becoming un-playable.  He is doing absolutely nothing.  He did have a single tonight but struck out 2 more times.  In six postseason games this year he is hitting .200 with 15 strikeouts.  The Tigers may not have another center fielder but Austin needs to be moved out of the lead off spot. No matter how much I like him he has become an embarrassment at the plate.

In the top of the 9th he had a chance to make up for some of his struggles by doing something useful at the plate.  Iggy lead off with a single.  The Tigers needed Jackson to move him over.  AJax tried twice to bunt him over but couldn’t get the job done.  He ended up striking out.  What made matters worse was the Torii Hunter followed Jackson with a double to left field moving Iggy to third.

At this point all the Tigers needed was a fly ball to push across a second run and give Benoit some breathing room.  Unfortunately, as a result of substitutions, Don Kelly was now hitting in Cabrera’s spot.  DK struck out on 3 pitches.

I thought Leyland managed masterfully in the last game against Oakland.  But today’s moves leave me almost in shock.  With a one run lead Leyland had Cabrera and Peralta on the bench for the remainder of the game.  He got away with it today but for me these types of moves are asking for trouble.

Back at it tomorrow.

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

Tigers 3 A’s 0

The Tigers are moving on to the ALCS starting in Boston on Saturday night.

The game five win over the A’s was delivered by Justin Verlander who was the JV vintage 2011/2012.

He was, to steal another line, this time from The Game, By Neil Strauss, “smokin balls!”.  He was almost un-hittable.  He pitched 8 complete, threw 111 pitches, struck out 10 and walked one.  In fact, he had a perfect game before walking Reddick in the 6th, and a no hitter that was broken up by a Cespedes single in the 7th.

Miggy provided most of the offense with a two run shot in fourth.

At first I was livid that Jim Leyland didn’t send JV out for the 9th.  But in a post game interview Verlander said that he told Leyland he was running on fumes.

In came Benoit for the 9th.  After getting the first two hitters, Joaquin put the tying runners on base, but got Seth Smith to hit a fly ball to Hunter to end the game.

Benoit seems to be continuing the tradition set by previous Tigers’ closers, Todd Jones and Jose Valverde, he makes it interesting but gets the job done most of the time.  Joaquin scares me but I hope he can get it done.

I could bitch about the offense like I always do but there’s nothing more to say.  They had plenty of chances to blow this game wide open but couldn’t get the big hit.  Not much new here.

That being said, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta deserve credit for their offense.  Martinez hit .450 and Peralta .417.  Nobody else in the lineup is close to .300.

Austin Jacskon has become a problem at the worst time.  He has been HORRIBLE to put it mildly.  He struck out 3 more times today.  I think that makes 12 times this series.  It’s hard to generate offense when your lead hitter isn’t even making contact.  But at this point, I’m not sure if there is anything to do except hope.

I’m hoping for the best in Boston but I’m done with predictions.  I’m just enjoying (sort of) the ride.  I hope it ends with a World Series Championship!

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

Tigers 8 A’s 6

Finally, the bats came to life and bailed out the pitching staff which, for the second straight game, was less than stellar.

Doug Fister put in a quality start but I thought it was going to take something spectacular to win this game.

The offense continued its ineptitude through four innings.  However, in the bottom of the 5th and trailing 3-0, the Tigers bats showed signs of life and tied it up on a three run homer from Jhonny Peralta.

After the 5th, the Tigers bats did something they haven’t done in a long time, score in another inning.  In fact the Tigers continued to score with two in the 7tth and three more in the 8th,.  And they needed them.

Max Scherzer relieved Fister in the 7th and got the win.  Max has to get a lot of credit for pitching out of a bases loaded, no out, jam in the 8th to preserve a one run Tiger lead but the jam was his own making.  He walked the lead-off man in the 8th, a no-no in any situation, but even a bigger problem late in an elimination game.

Peralta and Martinez each had big home runs but the biggest hits came from Austin Jackson and Omar Infante.

Jackson, who is in one of the worst funks I’ve ever seen big league hitter in, came through with a single in the 7th to drive in a run and give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.  Prior to his single, Jackson had struck out three more times making it 9 Ks in his last 10 at bats.  Jackson didn’t hit a rocket but it was a much needed hit both personally and for the Tigers as a team.

The Tigers scored their 6th run on a wild pitch in the 8th then Omar delivered a two run double extending the Tigers lead to 8-4.

Joaquin Benoit came in to pitch the 9th and didn’t have his A game.  He made it interesting.  He allowed two runs and stranded the tying runs on base.

I’m a little worried about Joaquin.

I know Miggy is hurt but I’m disappointed in his at bat to lead off the bottom of the 8th.  Miggy swung at a 3-0 pitch and grounded out to third.  I know he can’t run but I was hoping he’d take a pitch or two to see if he could get a free pass.  With the way the Tigers offense has been struggling they can use all of the base runners they can get.

There were a few substitutions that worried me.  In the bottom of the 7th Peralta doubled but was pinch run for by Andy Dirks.  In bottom of the 8th Victor singled and went to second when Andy Dirks walked.  Hernan Perez then pinch ran for Victor.  At this point the Tigers were only up 5-4 and with the substitutions, their two hottest hitters would not bat again if the game went to extra innings.

The moves ended up working out OK.  Perez scored the 6th run on a wild pitch and it is doubtful if Victor would have scored in that situation.

In any case, everything worked out today and game five is Thursday with JV on the mound.  I’m done with predictions, I’ll just have to wait and see.

It’s still “F*** or walk”.

I’m hoping for the best.

“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

Marlins 3 Tigers 2

This series in Miami is like spring training and although you always want to win, the most important thing is evaluating your talent.

The Tigers would have needed a sweep of the Marlins and have Oakland lose 2 of 3 to the Mariners in order to get home field advantage.  That didn’t happen.  The Tigers will start in Oakland next Friday.

It looks like Ricky is going to the bullpen for the post season and he looked pretty good in relief of Jose Alvarez in the third.  He pitched an inning and a third allowing two hits, one a wounded quail, and no earned runs.  Ricky is going to be fine however the Tigers use him.

Luke Putkonen, who I’m expecting to be on the post season roster, looked good as well.

Jhonny Peralta was 1-4 and looked pretty good in left field.  After one game it is hard to tell but remember, Delmon Young was the ALCS MVP last season and nobody would mistake him for Gary Pettis.

Like Dick Allen said, when asked how to play good defense, “Swing the bat!”.

Hmmm, I’m wondering if Tui will be on the playoff roster?  I’m sure Dirks will be.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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