Mighty Miggy!

The Mighty Miggy hit his 39th home run, a solo shot, in the bottom of the 9th to give the Tigers a 6-5 win and even this 5 game series with the Royals.

Despite leaving 9 men on base, the Tigers offense was able to bail the pitching staff out tonight.  The pitching wasn’t horrible but it is not what Tigers fans have come to expect.

Doug Fister lasted 6 and 1/3.  He surrendered 3 earned.  Fister walked 2, struck out 6 and gave up 10 hits.

The top of the 4th inning featured one of the strangest plays I’ve ever seen. With Chris Getz on first base and nobody out, Fister threw a pitch that Alcides Escobar foul tipped behind home plate.  Home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled it a wild pitch.  While Brayan Pena was waiting for the umpire to hand him a new ball, Chris Getz ran all the way to 3rd base.  If it wasn’t for Doug Fister, realizing what had happened, and retrieving the ball, Getz would have scored.  As it turned out, Getz ended up scoring when Escobar doubled to tie the game at three.

Jim Leyland and Brayan Pena, furious at the call, were both thrown out of the game.  Replays showed that the call was blown.  It was clearly a foul tipped ball.

Withe score tied at 4 in the bottom of the 7th, Prince Fielder homered to give the Tigers the lead back 5-4 but the bull pen couldn’t hold it.  Jose Veras allowed the tying run in the top of the 8th and the stage was set for Miggy’s heroics.

Royals reliever Aaron Crow came in to pitch the 9th with Miggy leading off.  Crow fell behind Miggy 3-1 and I was sure he was just going to put him on.  And in fact, he may have been trying to.  The 3-1 pitch looked to be about 6 inches off of the plate away, but Miggy expanded the strike zone and did what he does.  He hit a bullet over the right field fence giving the Tigers a much needed win.

The running game is becoming a big problem for the Tigers.  They can’t stop anybody from running and this deficiency is compounded when the pitching staff gives up walks.  They need to find a way to address this but I’m not sure they have the tools to do so.  Neither Pena, Holaday nor Avila have been very effective at throwing this year.  I hope this doesn’t come back to bite the Tigers in a crucial situation, like a playoff or World Series game.

On the flip side of the coin, the Tigers did a bit of running themselves tonight.  They scored their third run in the bottom of the second on a suicide squeeze.  With Infante on 3rd and one out, Iggy, laid down a bunt that not only scored Infante but gave Iglesias another infield hit.

With a win tomorrow, the Tigers can win the five game series 3-2.

Update, Cleveland Indian’s second baseman, Jason Kipnis, tweeted this today, “Dear Miggy… You’re making the rest of us look bad.. Knock it off! – MLB Hitters”.  Hat Tip to Sark for showing me the Kipnis tweet. I have retweeted the Kipnis tweet and it can be seen on the right side of this page.

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

GOOD OLE DIRKSY!

After struggling mightily this season, especially on the last road trip, Andy Dirks started in left field tonight and batted lead-off, while Jim Leyland rested Austin Jackson.  Dirksy paid dividends right away.  He led off the bottom of the 1st with a single and ended up going 4-4 with 2 singles and 2 doubles.

I’ve been hard on Dirksy this year but I thought he had some good at bats Tuesday in Chicago and was on the verge of coming out of his funk.  Today was a good start.  Hopefully, he can keep rolling and the Tigers won’t have to worry about what to do in left field anymore.

Prince Fielder, almost on queue, hit a two run homer in the bottom of the first and that was more than enough for the Tigers pitching staff tonight.

After a very rough first inning, Anibal Sanchez, gave the Tigers 7 1/3,  allowing only a first inning run.  He struck out 5 and walked one.  What makes this start more impressive is that Sanchez needed 30 pitches to get out of the 1st inning.  It looked like it was going to be a short night, but he composed himself, and pitched into the 8th while throwing 115 pitches.

What’s even more interesting, in regard to Anibal’s start, was that Jim Leyland allowed him to throw 115 pitches, which is usually reserved for only Justin Verlander.

Bruce Rondon relieved Sanchez with one out in the 8th and continues to impress.  He recorded the last two outs.  I was hoping he’d come out for the 9th to preserve Benoit for the rest of the series.  But it was not to be.  Benoit came on in the 9th and recorded his 16th save.

Jarrod Dyson flashed some serious leather in the bottom of the 8th.  Victor Martinez led off the inning by hitting a laser to right-center.  Off of the bat, it looked like a sure double and perhaps even a triple, but Dyson kept gaining ground and made a beautiful running catch.

Here are a few random notes:

  1. It was nice to see Prince hit a home run. I’m not sure exactly how long since his last one, but it seemed like a month or so.
  2. I’m more than a little concerned at the way teams run at will on the Tigers.  It seems to be a combination of the pitchers falling asleep and the catchers not throwing well.  Right now, it hasn’t bitten them to much, but in close games it could be huge.
  3. I’m also concerned about the way the Tigers run the bases.  Dirks and Hunter both made blunders, on the same play, in the bottom of the third tonight.  Dirksy led off with a double.  Hunter followed with a ground ball back to the pitcher.  Dirks got a little too anxious and got caught between second and third.  To make matters worse, Hunter got caught between first and second.  It was very strange double play.  Right now the running game doesn’t look like a big deal, but it could really come back to haunt the Tigers in an important game.
  4. Jose Iglesisas and Omar Infante turn double plays like they’ve been together for years.  As long as Iglesias can hit just a little, his acquisition should turn out to be fantastic.
  5. I hope Dirksy is on a roll and this isn’t just a one game reprieve.
  6. Brayan Pena is raking.  He had two more hits tonight and is batting .313.  That’s a lot more than I expected.
  7. After a rocky start to his big league career, Bruce Rondon looks fantastic.  He has lowered his ERA to 3.68.

There were a few omens that proved prescient for the night Dirksy had.  First, is this sign from a guy in a Tiger striped suit, right behind the Tiger dugout.

Andy Dirks The Andy Man
The Andy Man Can

Second, as Dirks was stepping to the plate to lead off the game for the Tigers, my Dad said Dirksy is going to hit a bullet to right field.  He was correct.  Actually, the older I get, the smarter my Dad becomes.  🙂

The Tigers could use a “JV” performance tomorrow in game one.  It would be nice to take the first two of this 5 game series with TBD slated for game two.

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

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 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

Phister Was Phantastic…

Behind 8 phabulous innings from Doug Fister, the Tigers took game one of the weekend series with the Phillies, 2-1.

Fister allowed only 3 hits, struck out 6, walked 1, allowed only 1 unearned run, and lowered his ERA to 3.67 tonight at Comerica Park.

The Tigers had a patchwork lineup today, with Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Omar infante all out with injuries.  There wasn’t much hitting to speak of, the Tigers only managed 6 hits off of Philly pitching.  All the damage was done in the 5th inning when Hernan Perez walked with one out.  Ramon Santiago followed with a double putting runners at second and third.  Alex Avila then drove in both Perez and Santiago when he pounded a double into the gap in left center giving Fister a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Joaquin Benoit came on in the 9th to earn his 10th save of the season. allowing only a lead off single to Jimmy Rollins.

The Tigers and Phillies are back at it tomorrow night when Scherzer goes for his 15th win of the season.

I’m getting very concerned about Infante’s injury.  If he can’t come back, that gives the Tigers a hole at second and left field.  I know it is a small sample but I don’t think Hernan Perez is an everyday second baseman, at least not yet.  He made an error tonight that led to Philly’s only run.  I guess the bigger concern is if Miggy is out for a while and Fielder doesn’t hit, this could get ugly, soon.

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

Tigers Win 4th In Row on Road

Courtesy of their 6-2 victory this evening over the Chicago White Sox, the Tigers have now won four in a row on the road and assured themselves of winning this four game series in Chicago, regardless of what Verlander does tomorrow.

Anibal Sanchez pitched 6 complete allowing six hits, 0 runs, walking 1 and striking out 5.  The offense was powered by a Prince Fielder 3 run shot, solo home runs by Jackson and Hunter, and would you believe it, an RBI single from Alex Avila

As Avila walked to the batter’s box for his third at bat, I was thinking of how bad he’s been struggling.  I haven’t researched the numbers but he seems to get caught looking an awful lot.  And when he does, he walks away with a blank look that seems to be saying, ‘I don’t have a clue’.  Fortunately, he singled and drove in the 6th run.

The last few games I’ve been impressed with Hernan Perez.  He had two more hits tonight and was robbed of a third on a great play by White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie.  If he keeps this up, the Tigers might have a hard time sending him down when Infante gets back and keeping Santiago on the bench.

I was also impressed with Bruce Rondon.  Even though he gave up a run on two hits I thought he showed some composure.  The single that drove in the run was a bloop hit off the end of the bat.  Instead of getting flustered, Rondon got the next batter to ground into an inning ending double play.

Benoit was brought in, again, tonight to get the final two outs in a non-save situation.  I didn’t get it yesterday.  I still don’t get it today.  Is he the closer or not?  As Sark commented yesterday, he probably won’t be available should he be needed tomorrow.

On a different note, the White Sox look horrible.  They look a lot worse than they did a few weeks ago when they took 2 out of 3 at Comerica Park.  I’m wondering if they have quit on Robin Ventura.  Let’s hope we see more of the same tomorrow.

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

The Tiger Ship is Taking On Water…

and sinking fast.  The Tigers got dusted this afternoon in Toronto, 8-3.  Last year’s NL Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey pitched 7 strong, striking out 4 and walking 1.

The Tigers got no starting pitching from Jose Alvarez who lasted only 3 innings, allowing 5 runs, 4 of them earned.

The offense looked like they were going to try to make a game of it, scoring 2 in the top of the 4th, to cut the Jays’ lead to 5-2.  But Luke Putkonen came in to relieve Alvarez in the bottom of the 4th and killed any chances the Tigers thought they might have when he gave up a three run homer to Mark DeRosa to extend the Toronto lead to 8-2.

If there were any bright spots, Omar Infante went 4 for 4 and drove in 2 of the 3 Tiger runs.

And what do you know, the Tigers finally scored a run after the 6th inning.  They got one in the top of the 9th.  Granted, it didn’t mean much but I’m grasping at straws here.

The Tigers have lost 6 of 7 and are no longer in first place, and frankly, unless something changes, I don’t expect them to be there when the season is over.

Commentors, Sark and Nebraskaknows, made excellent points in regard to yesterday’s game post.  You can’t fire or trade all of the players, so it might time for Jim Lelyland to go.  Something has to be done to shake this team up.  While I’ve been a supporter of JL’s, I’m beginning to think he has run his course.  On his way out, he can take Jeff Jones and Lloyd McClendon with him.

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