Still Perfect But…

not pretty.

The weakness preventing the Tigers from winning a World Series in the last five years has been the bullpen.  After last season, I didn’t think the pen could get any worse, and with Joe Nathan’s early absence I was optimistic. I was wrong.

My biggest issue with David Price last year was that he rarely, if ever, but together two consecutive solid starts.  It was generally one superb outing followed by garbage.  I’m reserving judgement because today’s start was skewed by his own throwing error that allowed three unearned runs. Seriously, what is the issue with Tigers pitchers throwing to bases? That being said, Price only lasted five and two thirds.  That’s a problem because, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, the pen is a Carnival of Asses and the Soria experiment might need to be over.  I know we are only five games in but his leash is as short as Nathan’s.  At least Shit Bird Nathan had the decency to go on the DL.

The offense is SMOKIN BALLS!  Getting two runs off of Kluber was impressive but continuing to come back after losing the lead or having the lead shortened was even more so.  In fact, even though they struck out 10 times against him they were able chase Kluber after 6.2. Hey, I just thought of something, the Indians pen is worse than the Tigers.

One more thing, I’ve had it with Ausmus’s stupid late game substitutions.  This is an asinine habit he picked up from Jim Leyland or Gene Lamont or both.  Look we know you went to Dartmouth but you are making things more complicated than they need to be, and you don’t have Ryan Rayburn and Clete Thomas, defensive specialists, sitting on the bench. Remember Occam’s Razor.  More to the point, knock off the college boy antics jackass.

I’ll take 5-0.

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Brad Ausmus is New Tigers Manager

CBS Sports dot com is reporting that Brad Ausmus will replace Jim Leyland as the Tigers manager.

The Tigers will name former big league catcher Brad Ausmus their new manager, reports Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610. He will travel to Detroit on Sunday to finalize a contract.

Ausmus, 44, has never managed or coached at the big league level. He served as the manager for Team Israel in the qualifying rounds of the World Baseball Classic this spring. Ausmus has worked in the Padres’ front office as a special assistant since 2010.

Despite the lack of managerial experience, Ausmus is widely regarded for his baseball acumen and leadership skills. He has been considered a future manager since his playing days and recently interviewed for the Cubs’ vacant managerial seat.

Ausmus played 18 years in the majors, including three with the Tigers (1996, 1999-2000). He was a defense-first catcher who won three Gold Gloves (2001-02, 2006) and made one All-Star Team (1999).

I was hoping the Tigers would hire former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.  But it doesn’t seem like he was even being considered.  That being said, based on who the Tigers were interviewing, I’m glad they chose Ausmus.

Catchers seem to make good managers.

Let’s hope Ausmus can help end the 30 year World Series drought.

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

TIgers 7 Red Sox 3

The Puppet Master pulled the right strings tonight.  In an unconventional, but much needed move, Jim Leyland shook up the lineup in hopes of waking up this pathetic offense.

It worked.  At least for today.

Leyland moved the first 7 batters up a spot and put the struggling Austin Jackson in the 8th slot.  The revamped lineup scored 7 runs.

Importantly, Austin Jackson seemed comfortable hitting down in the lineup.  He was on base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks.

The only Tiger not to reach base tonight was Prince Fielder.

Victor Martinez continues to rake with two more hits tonight and Alex Avila, although he didn’t get a hit, walked twice and got hit by a pitch.

It was nice to see Iggy chip in today with a hit, an RBI, and flashin serious leather.

Fister pitched well.  He went 6 complete, allowed 1 run on 8 hits, struck out 7 and walked only 1.  He turned it over to the pen, they got the job done, and the Tigers evened the 2013 ALCS at 2 games apiece.

Even with a 7 run lead, after Sunday’s disaster, the bull pen makes me nervous.

The one move I have to take exception with is bringing Benoit in for the 9th.  Smyly retired the last two outs in 7th and got the Red Sox 1-2-3 in the 8th.  He was, in a phrase, ‘”smokin balls”.  I was hoping he’d come out for the 9th.  But Jim Leyland didn’t agree with me.

Apparently, Jimmy was trying to give Benoit a chance to regain his confidence by bringing him in with a 5 run lead.  In my humble opinion, this is not the time to worry about a player’s confidence, it’s time to win ball games.  That being said, it worked out and the series is even.  Kudos in Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

I’d like to extend a Happy Flashin Leather birthday to regular reader Al, who shares a Birthday with former Tiger Juan Gonzalez and FOX broadcaster, Tim McCarver.

Sanchez against Lester tomorrow.

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

Offensive inconsistency nagging at Leyland

Perhaps I’m not the only one bothered by this offense?

“We have to score runs, fellas. It’s as simple as that,” he interjected. “We keep talking about the pitching and the bullpen and everything, but we’re not scoring runs. We have to score runs. We’ve had some blowouts once in a while when our numbers go up. We need to score runs, plain and simple. I’ll make it that simple for you. We need to get on the board with some runs.”

Entering play Tuesday, the Tigers led the Majors with a .285 batting average, 2,442 total bases and 163 go-ahead RBIs. They trailed only the Red Sox with 788 runs scored, 759 RBIs and a .787 OPS. However, Detroit also led baseball with 1,120 runners left on base, 45 more than the Red Sox, and 1,239 double plays grounded into.

Realistically, though, the Tigers’ offensive questions are better seen in the game-to-game numbers. Detroit and Boston are the only teams in baseball averaging five runs a game. The Tigers have scored double-digit runs in 18 of their 91 wins entering Tuesday, though just twice in September. However, they’ve also been shut out 11 times, three times in September. They’ve been held to one run in nine other games, three of those in September; one of them was a 1-0 win over the White Sox in Chicago.

keep reading here from MLB dot com.

“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

Sark’s Comment from June 30th, 2013

When Sark wrote this comment on June 30th, I was hoping it wouldn’t play out.

I’m having second thoughts.

Here’s what he said:

I agree they have become as unwatchable as ever. The 2003 team was more interesting simply because they were terrible, but we knew that going in. This team is supposed to be the best since 27 Yankees, or so we’ve been sold. There are so many holes in this team its hard to figure which to fill first. They simply can’t perform in the clutch. I would love to see a statistic that evaluates how many runners reach first base and then touch home plate. Can’t be a very good ratio on this team.

I can see them out of first place at the all-star break, though that will be the case much sooner on this road trip. Hate to say it but they’re going to need a change of manager to put a spark into this team. Things are getting too stale and the players are becoming a reflection of the manager. You know – ‘it’s a long season and the talent will win out’. Dangerous attitude to have when there are hungry teams in the chase.

Here‘s a link to the original post, “Just About Unwatchable”.

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

Tigers Dust Indians 10-5

The Tigers starting pitching today was better than it has been all week.  Anibal Sanchez lasted 6 and 2/3 surrendering only 3 runs.

Omar Infante had a day, he hit two homers and drove in 5 runs.  He hit a three run shot in the second and a two run shot in the 6th.

The impressive inning for Sanchez was the fifth.  With the Tigers up 4-1, the Indians put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Sanchez was able to get Lonnie Chisenhall to pop out.  He struck out Ian Gomes, gave up an RBI single to Michael Bourne, then struck Nick Swisher out to end the inning.  Sanchez was able to avoid a big inning and keep the Tigers in the lead surrendering only 1 run.

I wasn’t at the game, so I couldn’t see, but was Dirks or Hunter hustling to backup Ajax when he ran into the wall and hurt himself in the top of the 8th?  It looked like it took Dirks a long time to get the ball.

It was also in was nice to see the Tigers come back and put runs on the board in the bottom of the 8th after the Indians cut the Tigers lead to 6-5.

Lead by Austin Jackson’s 2 run triple, the Tigers put up four more runs in the bottom of the 8th to extend the lead to 10-5.

Iggy continues to impress, this time with his offense.  In the bottom of the 8th after Jacskon’s two run triple, Jim Leyland put the squeeze play on with Iggy at the plate.  The first pitch Iggy saw was a fast ball over his head but he found a way to get the bunt down allowing Jackson to score on the play.

Also, kind of under the radar, Brayan Pena has had a really nice season at the plate.  He was 2-4 tonight and his hitting .313 on the season.  This is huge considering the Tigers have gotten relatively little in the way of offense from the often injured Alex Avila.

Jose Veras didn’t look good.  He gave up three hits, two earned runs, and several hard hit balls in his one inning of work.

Verlander gets the call tomorrow as the Tigers go for the sweep.  I don’t know what to expect but I’ll hope for the best.  I’ll take 7 innings with 3 earned runs or less.

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