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

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

Tigers Shanghai Rangers Early…

The Tigers scored 7 runs in the first two innings tonight, beat the Rangers, and took the first game of the last series before the 2013 All-Star break.

Doug Fister pitched fairly well, but struggled at times with his control.  He pitched 6 innings, gave up 2 earned, struck out 5, walked two, and threw 106 pitches.

The bullpen looked good, especially Bruce Rondon, who recorded 4 outs on 10 pitches including 2 Ks.

If I can complain or worry about anything, which you know I can, it is that the Tigers didn’t do much offensively after the 2nd inning.  In fact, Joseph Ortiz replaced Russ Grimm and allowed only 1 hit, a Prince Fielder, infield single, in 3 and two thirds.

What made the lack of add on runs troubling is that the Rangers had chances to come back and make a game of it.

In the 4th inning with two runs already in, the Rangers had the bases loaded with two out and were one swing of the bat away from making a game of it, but Fister got David Murphy to strike out to end the threat.  Also, in the 9th, the Rangers had two on with two out but Benoit was able to strike out Nelson Cruz to end the game.

Another thing that vexes me is the this Tui/Dirks platoon.  Why does Dirks come in for Tui late in games when right handers are brought in but not the other way around.  Dirks was 0-4 tonight and didn’t have a decent at-bat or swing the entire night.  With the way Tui has been swinging the bat, and the way Dirks hasn’t, I thought it would be nice to bring Tui in when Ortiz, a lefty, replaced Grimm. It seems like this platoon thing is mostly a one way street and I don’t get it.

Back at it tomorrow.  A series win would be nice.

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

Today’s Game Sucked…

that’s the only way I can describe it.  It was lack luster from beginning to end.  Perhaps it was just one of those days.

The really shitty part is that the Tigers lost 2 out of 3 to the White Sox, at home, and see their lead over the Indians fall to 2.5 games.  This series is almost as bad as getting swept by the Angels a few weeks ago.

Victor continued his torrid pace, Miggy hit a homer and so did Tui.  Which begs the question, why can’t Tui play the whole game.  Does he always have to bring Dirks in late?  For what purpose?  Dirks isn’t hitting and the last time I checked nobody is going to mistake him for Willie Mays in the outfield.  Let Tui play the whole game.

The killer, obviously, was the grand slam Sanchez allowed to Josh Phegley in the 6th.  The Tigers did have their chances to come back but just couldn’t do it today.  Oh well, it is hard to complain about the offense lately.  They can’t be expected to score 7 every game. (Or can they 🙂 )

On the bright side, Victor had another 3 hits today raising his average to .260.

Also, what is the story with Evan Reed?  He made another throwing error today.  Going from memory alone, I believe he has made 3 or 4 errors in his short time in the big leagues.

The Rangers come to town tomorrow.  The Tigers need a good start from Fister.

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

Big Win! Nice Road Trip!

With their 4-2 win tonight over the Indians the Tigers ended a nice road trip that started dismally.

After losing 3 of the first four games on this trip, on the heels of a three game home sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Tigers won 6 of the last 7 to end the longest road trip of the season with a 7-4 record.

Max Scherzer went 7 strong innings, allowing only 2 earned runs, but got a no decision.

The game was tied at 2 going into the 10th.  The Indians were 5-0 in extra inning games, while the Tigers were 2-9.

Even with the recent success, I wasn’t optimistic about ending the Indians’ extra inning winning streak, but I was wrong,  With two out in the 10th, and Cabrera and Fielder on, Victor Martinez hit his second double of the game, driving in 2 and giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.  Benoit made the runs hold up in the bottom of the 10th and Tigers came away with 7 wins on the 11 game road trip.

Although there wasn’t a lot of offense, the fact that the Tigers scored late to win, is a good sign as their late inning struggles have been well documented.

Since I was ready to run Victor Martinez out of town a week or so ago, he’s made me eat my words.  He has come alive with a 10 game hitting streak and upped his average to .245.  Perhaps, the Tigers do have a five hitter?

A few other notes:

1) TCH got is 20th save tonight.

2) I think a case can be made for Smyly to make the all star team.

3) I’m voting for Benoit.  He’s never made an ASG so I’d like to help get him to one.

4) The White Sox are in town tomorrow with JV on the hill.  Let’s hope we see the JV that pitched in Toronto.

5) I wish JL had left Tuiasosopo in instead of bringing in Dirks late in the game.

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

NIGHTMARE!!!

What started out as a promising home stand, with a 5-2 win on Monday, quickly turned into a nightmare.  The Tigers were blown out this afternoon 13-3 losing another series to the Orioles.

There wasn’t much to be happy about today.  Rick Porcello gave up six runs in six innings, on the surface, a terrible outing.  However, when we look at the over all body of work, he only had one bad inning, and it was horrible, the 4th.  He gave up all six of the runs charged to him in the 4th.  He came out for the 5th and 6th and put up zeroes.

After giving up a two run and a three run homer, Porcello seemed to settle down.  After the 6th he had only thrown 93 pitches.  I was hoping he’d come out for the 7th but Downs came in instead.

The bullpen that looked so strong the previous two games was an abomination.  Downs pitched 1/3 of an inning and gave up two earned.  Valverde pitched the 9th and gave up 4 earned.

In between Downs and Valverde, Evan Reed pitched an inning and two thirds giving up one earned run and striking out 3.  If there was a bright spot in this disaster, I think Reed looked pretty good.

Besides the pitching, the offense and defense weren’t much better.  After scoring 5 runs in the first game on Monday, the Tigers scored a total of 5 in the last two games against a very mediocre Oriole starting staff.

Matt Tuiasosopo came up with a big pinch hit double scoring two in the bottom of the 6th, cutting the Oriole lead to 6-3, but effectively killed his own rally when he got thrown out trying to take third on a ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Infante.

The bullpen gave the runs back, and then some, in the top of the seventh with the help of the defense.  With runners on second and third and one out, Adam Jones hit a soft line drive to second baseman Omar Infante.  The runners left on contact.  Infante dropped the ball, the runner on third scored, and everybody else was safe as well.  What could have been a rally killing double play extended the inning and by the time the top of the 7th was over, the O’s were up 9-3.

To be fair, MLB dot com says that it was a ground ball off of the bat of Adam Jones, but from where I was sitting, lower box behind the Tiger dugout, it looked like a soft liner that Infante dropped.  In any event, the inning and game was a disaster!

On a side note, I’m pretty sure Valverde won’t be on the roster in the morning.

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