Tigers 9 White Sox 1

The Tigers ended their 3 game skid with a 9-1 victory over the White Sox tonight at US Cellular field in Chicago.

The story of this game was Rick Porcello.  Ricky pitched the first complete game of his career,  He allowed one earned run, seven hits, walked one, and struck out 5.  He really looked good tonight and the Tigers needed it.

The offense put up 9 runs but you’ll forgive me if I don’t get too excited.  Five of the nine runs scored were unearned.  The White Sox defense aided the Tigers offense with four errors, three of them by third baseman Conor Gillaspie.

Prince and Alex Avila each had 4 hits tonight but Miggy was 0-5 and something just doesn’t look right with him.

The Indians lost tonight so the Tigers’ lead is back up to 5.5.

Let’s see what the offense does tomorrow with Anibal Sanchez on the mound in the rubber game of the series.

On a another note, I heard that Jhonny Peralta will rejoin the team for the last week of the season.  From what I can make out of Dombrowski’s comments, he is definitely not coming back to play shortstop.  John Keating said on the pre-game that Peralta was fielding fly balls.  Does this mean that the Tigers plan to put Peralta in left?  That’s the only thing I can think of and if he hits, it might not be a bad idea.  I think the Tigers have run out of corner outfield experiments.  I don’t think Dirks, Tui, or Castellanos are legitimate options for an everyday left fielder.  I guess I’m not sure Peralta is either but how much worse can he be?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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

Pitching, Defense, and Solo Homers…

not quite the formula advocated by the late Earl Weaver, but it is a formula that powered the Tigers to their 7th straight win, and Max Scherzer to his 16th win of the season.

Scherzer improved his record to 16-1 tonight as he blanked the White Sox 3-0 at Comerica Park.  Scherzer pitched 7 and 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting the Sox to 3 hits.  He struck out 6 and walked 3 on 107 pitches.

Jose Veras got the last out in the 8th and Joaquin Benoit recorded his 12th save by pitching a scoreless 9th

The offense was supplied by solo home runs from Torii Hunter, Jose Iglesias, and Jhonny Peralta.

Iglesias played third again tonight for the ailing Miguel Cabrera and looked excellent.  His fielding looks like it comes naturally and his hitting, to this point, is better than advertised.  We still need Miggy back, although the Tigers are 7-1 without him in the lineup.  The rumor is that he won’t play tomorrow either but will suit up for the Indians series.

Despite the torrid pace the Tigers are on, 7 in a row and 10 out of the last 11, they can’t distance the Indians.  The Indians won again tonight and remain only 3 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central.  And, don’t look now but the Royals are only 7.5 back.

On a different note, today was Mexican heritage tonight at Comerica Park.  Before the game, the Tigers honored former pitcher, Juan Berenguer.  Much like retiring Willie Horton’s number to be politically correct, it seems like the Tigers were in dire need of a Mexican player to honor, and they must have pulled Berenguer’s name out of a hat, or more precisely, a BIG hat.  This whole ceremony was asinine.  Berenguer pitched parts of 4 seasons for the Tigers, hardly a track record that would warrant a ceremony.  In any case that’s my take on it.

The Tigers go for the sweep and a perfect home stand tomorrow afternoon with Ricky on the hill.

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

Tiger Dust Nationals! Sweep Two Game Series 11-1!

The Tigers but a beating on Nationals, southpaw, Gio Gonzalez, this afternoon at Comerica Park.  They touched Gio, who may be joining Jhonny Peralta in the detention room,  up for 10 earned runs on 11 hits.

Justin Verlander got the win improving his record to 11-8 and lowering his era to 3.88.  JV pitched 6 innings, gave up 4 hits, and one earned run.  The lone Nationals run came in the 1st inning.  I wish I could say that after a rough first inning, JV was lights out the rest of the way, but I’d be lying.  Sometimes a pitcher’s final line looks worse than it actually was. Today, IMHO, JV’s line looks better than it was.  He seemed to be in trouble all game and had a hard time finding the strike zone as evidenced by his 5 walks to go along with his 5 strikeouts.  Velander’s velocity looks ok but he doesn’t seem to be able to command any pitch, including the fast ball.  He was behind the Nationals hitters all day and threw 103 pitches in his 6 innings of work.

I don’t pretend to know what happened to JV but I’m not optimistic about him getting right before the end of the season.  I think the best the Tigers can hope for is what we saw this afternoon, 6 decent innings, making him the 4th or 5th man in the rotation.  Hopefully, he can get fixed in the off-season and return to form next year. It is hard for me to believe that he’s on the downside of his career.  I really hope I’m correct.

Alex Avila, has raised his batting average to .200 courtesy of a 2 for 3 day.  He hit a 2 run homer in the 2nd off of Gonzalez, walked and struck out in the 4th, and singled in the 7th.  Slowly, but seemingly surely, Alex seems to be coming out of his 1.5 year slump.  Again, I hope I’m right, I’ve always liked A Squared Money and hate to see him struggle so terribly.

Torii Hunter has a great day and was a triple short of the cycle.

Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson need to pick things up. Both are hitting in the .260s.  Right now, it isn’t hurting too badly because everybody else is hitting, but the Tigers are going to need them if they hope to end this 29 year World Series drought.

Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup and I’m worried he might be more hurt than the Tigers are letting on.

The White Sox are in town this weekend.

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

Tigers Beat Strasburg, Nationals 5-1

Aided by Alex Avila’s first career grand slam in the bottom of the 6th inning, the Tigers beat the Washington Nationals 5-1.

This was a pitchers dual until the 6th when Prince Fielder took an off speed pitch the other way to single with one out.  Martinez followed with a double and Peralta walked to load the bases.  After Dirks struck out, A Squared Money, aka Alex Avila, took a 96 mph, Starsburg, fastball out to right field giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.

Avila finished the night 1-4 and has his batting average up to .195.

Andy Dirks had two hits including a double in the 4th that drove in the Tigers first run tying the game at 1.

What I was most impressed with today was the defense of Miguel Cabrera.  He made two outstanding plays.  The first, came in the 1st inning with Bryce Harper at 3rd after a lead off triple.  Anthony Rendon hit a ground ball to third that Miggy snagged, keeping Harper at third, and getting Rendon at first.  The second, Flashin Leather play by Miggy, came in the 5th when he robbed Wilson Ramos of a double.  When Miggy first came to the Tigers, his play at 3rd was not good.  However, I thought he turned himself into a good first baseman and since he moved back to third his glove is underrated.  Miggy is a complete player, not just a slugger.  The only downside to Miggy’s leather flashin is that he appeared to aggravate something after his play on Ramos and came out of the game in the top of the 8th.  Let’s hope its nothing serious.

Anibal Sanchez pitched 7 solid innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and got the win, improving his record to 9-7.

JV goes tomorrow against Gio Gonzalez.  JV needs a good outing.  Game time is 1:05 pm.

Update:  I forgot to mention, newly acquired, Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 8th and Joaquin Benoit pitched the 9th.  Again, Leyland brought Benoit in, his supposed closer, in a non-save situation.  Perhaps he wanted to get Benoit the work?  He hadn’t pitched since the first game in the Philly series.  I don’t know but I’m not sure I get it.

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

SWEEP!

The Tigers beat the Phillies 12-4 today sweeping the weekend series.

This was one of the strangest games I’ve witnessed.  The Tigers fell behind early and it looked like they weren’t going to score many runs.  They failed to score after loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the third.

What made this game strange?

  • With the bases loaded, two out and Miguel Cabrera at bat, home plate umpire Chad Fairchild, ejected Miggy from the game for arguing balls and strikes.
  • Matt Tuiasosopo replaced Miggy, inherited his two strike count, and got caught looking to end the inning.
  • In the bottom of the 6th and the scored tied at 3, the Tigers scored 8 runs, all unearned, on two hits, and three Phillies errors.

For me the key to the big inning, and the game, was Victor Martinez’s at bat in the bottom of the 6th.  This was one of the better at bats I’ve seen from a Tiger all year.  With three runs already across and two out, Victor worked a walk, driving in the fourth run of the inning with an 11 pitch at bat.  He fouled off 5 pitches with two strikes.  This allowed Jhonny Peralta to step to the plate and hit a grand slam that broke the game wide open and effectively put it out of reach.

Ramon Santiago had 3 hits including two bunt singles.  Prince Fielder is concerning me a little.  He was 0 for 5 with 11 runners left on base and his batting average is down to .261.  This could become a real problem if it continues.

The Nationals are in town Tuesday.

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

Tigers Dust Phillies! Scherzer 15-1!

The Phillies are down and Tigers had no problem kicking them tonight at Comerica Park.

With Hunter and Cabrera back in the lineup, the Tigers jumped on Cliff Lee’s replacement, Raul Valdes, by putting up a 8 runs in the first two innings.

Miggy started the onslaught with a solo shot, his 32nd, with two out, in the bottom of the first. Fielder, Martinez and Peralta followed with singles and Mat Tuiasosopo capped of the 5 run inning with a 3 run homer, his 7th of the year.

Max Scherzer pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 7 and improves his record to 15-1.

It might be too early to tell but Alex Avila shows signs of getting right.  He had two more hits today and brought his batting average up to .193.  Let’s hope .200 and above are right around the corner.  Alex has struggled mightily and I’d like to see him come out of it.  He showed so much promise early, it would be nice if he could return to his 2011, regular season form.

There was really nothing to complain about tonight, which is odd coming from me, but the Tigers seemed to click on all levels.

Let’s get Infante healthy and keep this wagon rolling.

“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

JHONNY PERALTA!

For a while it looked like the Tigers would lose their 3rd straight at home.  In fact, after Hunter, Cabrera and Fielder went in order in the bottom of the 8th, a third straight loss looked all but certain.  BUT, in the bottom of the 9th Victor Martinez lead off with a walk and up walked Jhonny Peralta.

With the count 1 and 2 Peralta sent an Andrew Bailey slider over the fence in left field giving the Tigers a 4-3 walk-off win, their first of the season.  In a post game interview Peralta said he was looking for the slider.  He got it.  He didn’t miss it.  The Tigers won.

Here are some thoughts:

Cabrera went 1 for 4 with 3 strikeouts.  It seems to me, that after being walked so much the last few weeks, Miggy has expanded his strike zone and perhaps trying just a little to hard.  He’s struggling just a bit; I guess as much as a .359 hitter can be “struggling”.

Torii Hunter had a much needed clutch hit to drive in two and tie the game in the bottom of the 5th.  The Tigers have needed a clutch hit recently, Hunter got it.

Jose Alvarez had another strong, spot start filling in for Sanchez.  He faced the American League’s best offense, went 5 innings, giving up two earned, striking out three and walking two.

The bullpen looked pretty good too, with the exception of Phil Coke.  Luke Putkonen pitched a strong, scoreless, inning and a third and Drew Smyly was brilliant again cleaning up Phil Coke’s mess.

Coke struck out Ellsbury to end the seventh but came out in the 8th and couldn’t find the strike zone.  He walked Victorino and Pedroia on eight pitches.  David Ortiz singled, driving in Victorino, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.

Drew Smyly replaced Coke and was lights out. With no outs, Pedroia on second and Ortiz on first, Smyly struck out Napoli and got Gomes to pop out to third.  After hitting Lavarnway to load the bases, Smyly got Middlebrooks to fly out to Torii Hunter in right, ending the inning, limiting the damage to one run, and essentially setting up Peralta’s heroics in the bottom of the 9th.

The more I see of Smyly the more I agree with Nebraskaknows, Smyly could be the answer to the closer problem.

The Tigers have started this four game series with the Sox on the right track.  Let’s hope it ends better than the Baltimore series.

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

Jhonny Peralta Named in PED Scandal

Tigers shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, who is hitting .338 with 6 HRs and 26 RBIs,  is one of the 20 players named in the Biogenesis scandal.

This is not good news for the Tigers.  If Peralta gets suspended, the Tigers will need a shortstop along with a closer.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/9301536/major-league-baseball-suspend-20-players-including-alex-rodriguez-ryan-braun-part-miami-investigation