Tigers Avoid Sweep – Beat Sox 6-4

The Mighty Miggy and Joaquin Benoit bailed the Tigers out and helped to avoid a three game sweep to end the 10 game road trip.

This game looked ugly, early.  Rick Porcello required 37 pitches to get out of the first inning and when he did, the Tigers were down 3-0.

Ricky settled down after the first.  He put up zeroes for the next 5 innings and was able to go 6 complete.  He allowed 3 earned runs, walked 1 and struck out 4.  What is kind of troubling however, is that he surrendered 11 hits and didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning.  In fact, no Tiger pitcher recorded a 1-2-3 inning today.

With the Tigers trailing 3-0 in the 3rd, The Mighty Miggy got the Tigers even with a 3 run bomb with Austin Jackson and Bryan Holaday scoring in front of him.

The Tigers got 3 more runs in the 6th to take a 6-3 lead.  With one out, Victor singled then went to 3rd on a Matt Tuiasosopo single.  This was a very encouraging sign because it actually looked like Victor was running well.  Victor scored when Omar Infante singled breaking the tie and giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.  I was hoping for a big clutch hit from someone else in the lineup, to break the game open, but it never came.  The next two runs were scored on a Conor Gillaspie throwing error on a ground ball off the bat of Austin Jacskon.  I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but a clutch hit would have been better than a throwing error.  However, with the way things have been going lately, I’ll take it.

In the bottom of the 7th, it looked like Jose Iggy Iglesias chose the wrong time to make his first fielding error as a Tiger.  With two out, Jeff Keppinger, hit a routine ground ball to short that Iggy booted.  Drew Smyly then walked Conor Gillaspie.  When Dayan Viciedo was announced as a pinch hitter for Tyler Flowers.  Jim Leyland countered by bringing in the Amazing Al and I thought the flood gates were about to open.  But, to my and the Tigers’ delight, Alburquerque got Viciedo to fly out and end the threat.

Jose Veras is beginning to scare me.  He came out to pitch the 9th and with one out gave up a run on two walks and a single.  This basically forced Leyland into bringing in Benoit for a 5 out save.  Benoit got Dunn and Garcia on strikes to end the inning and the threat and eventually got the save.

This win wasn’t pretty but it was needed.  It would have been a real downer to end the road trip at 5-5, especially with a sweep at the hands of the White Sox.

The Tigers are back home tomorrow for a 5 game series with the Royals.

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

Tigers Complete Perfect Homestand, Sweep White Sox 3-2.

Behind 7 and 2/3 strong innings from Rick Porcello, the Tigers beat the White Sox 3-2, swept the series and finished the current home-stand 8-0.  And, they needed the win, as the Indians keep rolling.

Ricky allowed only one run, a home run to Adam Dunn, on 8 hits.  He struck out 4 and walked 1 while throwing 93 pitches.

The Tigers were leading 2-1 going into the top of the 9th.  Smyly came on to relieve Porcello with 2 out in the eighth and struck Adam Dunn out to end the inning.  In what can only be called an interesting move, Jim Leyland sent Smyly out for the 9th.  The first batter he faced in the 9th was right handed, power hitter, Paul Konerko.  Konerko hit Smyly’s second pitch, a 91 mph hour fast ball into the seats to tie the game.

The Tigers were unable to score in the bottom of the 9th so on they played into extra innings.

In the bottom of the 12th inning Miggy came in to pinch hit for Ramon Santiago and lead off with a single. Tui pinch-ran for Miggy and Jackson sacrificed Tui over to second with one out.  Torii Hunter stepped to the plate and delivered a single which scored Tui, ended the game, and gave the Tigers a perfect home-stand.

What was interesting about Leyland’s decision to leave Smyly in for the 9th, is that I thought this was the situation the Tigers got Veras for.  Benoit was unavailable today, so I wrongly assumed that Veras would be used to close the game.  Instead he left Smyly in to face the right handed hitting Konerko?  To make things more confusing, Veras was immediately brought in to replace Smyly and retired the next three White Sox in order.  I guess my question is, why not bring Veras in to start the 9th especially with a righty leading off?

Anyway, Veras pitched scoreless 9th and 10th innings and Bruce Rondon was money as he pitched the 11th and 12th allowing only 1 hit, striking out 3 and the big number, he walked 0, and got the win.

Two things really impressed me.  The first was Miggy’s ability to step to the plate after not playing for almost 5 games and deliver a lead-off single.  The second, was Bruce Rondon’s pitching.  For a guy who had problems finding the strike zone, he had nice command today.

A big series with the Indians starts tomorrow.  Perhaps the Tigers can break their will with a series win?  We’ll see.

“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

Tigers Acquire Veras

The Tigers acquired Houston Astros closer, Jose Veras, for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.

I don’t really know much about either player.  The only thing I remember about Veras was the two-run homer he gave up to Alex Avila back in May.

Here‘s a little bit about Vasquez from the MLB article:

Vasquez, a big-money signing as a teenager out of Venezuela a few years ago, ranked fourth on MLB.com’s midseason list of Top 20 Tigers prospects released last week, just behind the top trio of Nick Castellanos, Bruce Rondon and Avisail Garcia. The Tigers had no interest in giving up any of their top three, the latter two of whom have filled needs in Detroit at different points this season. Vasquez, though thriving at low Class A West Michigan this season at the tender age of 19, is still a few years away.

Vasquez hit .281 with 16 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 39 RBIs with the Whitecaps as their everyday left fielder and primary leadoff man.

I guess I’m not sure how I feel about this trade.  On one hand I think that after being terrible through June, the bullpen has looked pretty good the last month, and even though Vasquez may be a few years away from the big leagues, the Tigers could use some solid corner outfielders, no offense to Tui.

On the other hand, if Veras helps end the 29 year World Series Championship drought, it is worth it.

Just for full disclosure, my track record on trades has not been very good.  For some reason, I just don’t like trades, even in my fantasy baseball leagues.  I was against the Granderson trade, mostly because he is my favorite, active, player.  And I hate to admit it, but I was against the Cabrera trade.  I thought both Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin were going to be superstars and I was worried about a National League slugger switching to the American League.  So, that shows how much I know.

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