White Sox 6 Tigers 3

After an emotional come from behind victory last night the Tigers fell to the White Sox today.  That coupled with another Indians victory over the Astros and the Tigers’ magic number remains at 2.

Anibal Sanchez didn’t have it today.  He surrendered 4 earned over 5 innings, striking out 6 while walking 2.

The Tigers made a bid to repeat last night’s 9th inning magic but fell short when Austin Jackson struck out swinging.

Jackson was hitless again today taking an 0-4 dropping his batting average to .269.

I didn’t see this one coming.  After last night’s heroics and Sanchez on the mound I really thought the Tigers would pull off the sweep.

In another interesting move, The Puppet Master had Brayan Pena pinch hit for Alex Avila to lead off the 9th.  Alex was 3-3 and has been swinging a hot bat.  In fact, his batting average is closing in on .230.  Not bad for a guy who was hitting in the .160s in June.  With left-hander Donnie Veal pitching I guess he was playing the left right match-up, and it did work out, Pena doubled, but it seemed like a questionable move to me at least.

Anyway, there’s not much more to say about this game other than Fielder’s home run the game was kind of a dud.

Hopefully the Tigers can get back on track in Minnesota tomorrow and clinch the division ASAP.

Verlander against Pelfrey in the opener.

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

Tigers 4 Mariners 2

Behind a nice pitching performance from Rick Porcello, the Tigers managed to squeak out just enough runs to beat the lowly Seattle Mariners tonight at Comerica Park.

Ricky picked up his 13th win of the season.  He pitched 6 solid innings allowing 1 earned run on five hits.  He struck out 10 and walked 2 on 105 pitches.

The offense was pretty much non existent until the 6th inning.  Up until that time they had scored only 1 run in the first inning on a wild pitch.  In fact, it looked like Mariners’ starter, Joe Saunders, might got the distance.  He began the bottom of the sixth having only thrown 72 pitches.  In the 6th the Tigers managed to score 2 runs on a walk and three singles.

Besides being frustrating to watch the Tigers offense isn’t doing the pitching any favors.  Every pitch becomes a pressure pitch when the offense isn’t giving you any run support.  As a fan, I can feel it.  Sometimes I feel like if the pitching surrenders 1 or 2 runs the game is lost.  This is a lot to ask from any staff and completely unacceptable considering what the Tigers have invested on offense.

To put it another way, is just impossible to think of a way this team can go the distance with this offense.

Miggy looks beaten up and I think the window to address the problem has closed.  He can’t run period and he can barely swing.  In the bottom of the sixth he was at second base with Martinez batting.  Victor hit a ground ball down the right field line which should have scored a bad runner easily.  Miggy did score but if the Seattle right fielder, Abraham Almonte, hadn’t bobbled the ball three times he definitely would have had a play on Cabrera at the plate.  In the bottom of the seventh, Miggy hit a ball to right field that that we’ve seen leave the yard all season long.  I can’t help but think that his injuries are stifling his power.  Unfortunately, the Tigers are backed into a corner.  I don’t know if they have enough time to sit him and hope he gets healthy, and has his timing, by the time the playoffs start.

This I do know, the Tigers can’t win with this offense.  It is simply too much to ask the pitchers to put up zeroes night in and night out.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  I hope I’m wrong.

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

Tigers 6 Royals 3

On a cold autumn night in Detroit the Tigers got Just enough.  They got just enough starting pitching.  Just enough offense.  Just enough relief pitching.

JV turned in a typical 2013 JV outing.  He went 6 and 2/3.  He allowed 9 hits, 3 earned runs and struck out 7 while throwing 111 pitches.

The inning that bothered me was the top of the 6th.  After the Tigers scored 3 runs to extend the lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the 5th, JV gave two back in the top half of the 6th.  I know it was a 5 run lead but the old JV made a habit of putting up zeroes after his team got him some runs.  That being said, It was a quality start and the Tigers will take it.

After continuing to make Bruce Chen look like Cliff Lee for 3 more innings, the Tigers finally got 2 in the 4th and 3 in the 5th to take a 6-1 lead.  Torii Hunter and Prince fielder each drove in 3 runs and provided the bulk of the Tigers offensive output tonight.  Prince increased his RBI total to 102.

Jose Veras is scaring me.  He pitched 1/3 of an inning.  Walked 1 and hit another batter.  Veras threw 11 total pitches and only 3 of them were strikes.  The Tigers can’t have guys coming out of the bullpen that can’t find the strike zone.  He’s officially on the list.

Billy Butler continues to own JV with 2 more hits against him tonight.  Verlander has to find a way to get him out or just start walking him.  This is getting ridiculous now.

Fister and Santana face off tomorrow.  Let’s hope the Tigers don’t continue the trend of winning the first game of a three game set then dropping the final two.

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

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

Royals 4 Tigers 3

It would have been nice to save some hits and runs from yesterday to use today but I guess that’s not the way it works.  After a 16 run, 26 hit attack last night the Tigers could manage only 3 runs on 5 hits tonight.  I know, you can’t expect 26 hits every game but I was hoping the Tigers’ offense would go on a roll similar to roll the Red Sox have been on since tagging the Tigers with 20 runs on Wednesday.

The Tigers had chances but couldn’t get a big hit from someone not named Miguel Cabrera.  With two out in the 5th and the bases loaded Miggy walked to drive in the tying run.  This brought Prince to the plate with a chance to do major two out damage but popped out to third to end the inning.

JV was disappointing again tonight.  Whatever his issues are I have lost all hope of getting them solved this season.  It has gotten hard to watch him pitch.  Even in games where his final line doesn’t look too bad it seems like every inning is a struggle.  His final line tonight was 7 innings, 8 hits, 4 earned, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk and 114 pitches thrown.  The 114 gives him an average of 16.3 pitches per inning.  Of his seven innings pitched he got the Royals 1-2-3 only twice, in the 2nd and 7th.  Maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled with Verlander’s last few seasons but something looks off with him.

One good takeaway from tonight’s game is that the Tigers finally threw out a base runner.  In the bottom of the first Brayan Pena threw out Emilio Bonifacio trying to steal second.  I believe this is the first base runner the Tigers have thrown out in the last 26 attempts not counting last night’s pick off.

The Tigers have Fister on the mound tomorrow against Tigers’ nemesis Bruce Chen.  The Tigers need a win tomorrow to win this three game series and tie the season series with the Royals.

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

If you can’t pitch, you can’t win…

said Peter Gammons on many occasions.  Well the last few games, the Tigers didn’t pitch and didn’t win.

The Tigers lost to the A’s for the second day and for the second straight day, the pitching was horrible.

I’m not sure what to make of JV, to say he sucked tonight, would be an understatement.  He needed 44 pitches to get out of the 1st inning and ended up throwing 104 pitches in 5 innings.  Infante’s error in the 5th didn’t help him much, but he doesn’t look anything like the pitcher of the last two years.   Verlander’s final line was 5 complete, 5 runs, 3 earned, 3 strikeouts and 3 walks.

If the playoffs started tomorrow, Verlander would be 4th or 5th on my starter depth chart.  I have no confidence when he toes the slab anymore and I’ve lost hope of him getting any better before next year.  Unfortunately, to make a run, this is the JV the Tigers have to expect.

Bruce Rondon relieved JV in the 6th and Seth Smith promptly deposited the second pitch he threw over the center field wall.

Mercifully, this game was called after 6 innings due to rain.  I couldn’t take anymore.

Prince had a walk and drove in his 89th and 90th runs of the year with a bases loaded single in the first.  Other than that, there wasn’t much to cheer about.

Back at it tomorrow.  The Tigers need two in a row to split.

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

A’s 8 Tigers 6

The bottom line is that the Tigers didn’t pitch well enough to win tonight.  Anibal Sanchez and the bull pen had a rough outing.

That being said, the Tigers had plenty of chances to even the score or take the lead.  They left the bases loaded in both the seventh and eight innings.

As the Tigers head down the stretch, Prince Fielder needs to start coming through or Cabrera will never get a chance to hit in crucial situations.  In the 7th inning, with two out, the A’s walked Miggy to load the bases preferring to pitch to Prince.  Fielder flew out deep to center field to end the inning.

Early in the season, Prince seemed to respond when a team walked Miggy to pitch to him, but he hasn’t lately.

On yesterday’s post, in the comments section, Sark asked, “Could you imagine this team with a good JV?”  I’d like to add to that, how good would the Tigers be if both JV and Fielder were performing?

I’m getting afraid that the team is counting too much on Miggy to get it done every night.  He just can’t come through in every situation, in every game.  That’s why it was so nice see Dirksy get the big hit in yesterday’s game.

Perhaps it’s time to move Fielder down to the 5 spot and Victor up to clean up?

The loss tonight makes the Tigers 1-3 in their last 4 home games.

Besides Fielder not coming through, it was disappointing to see the pitching give the lead back up twice, immediately after the Tigers came back to tie it.  But, really, we can’t complain too much about the pitching.

Torii Hunter left the bases loaded in the 8th when he struck out on 3 pitches.  Not the at bat the Tigers were looking for in that situation.

Coco Crisp was flashin leather tonight.  He robbed Tui of an extra base hit, thwarting a rally in the 8th, after Victor lead off with a solo homer.

Verlander is on the mound tomorrow and I’m not sure what to expect.  Just when I think he’s regaining his form, he goes out and takes a dump.

The Tigers need at least a split of this 4 game series with the A’s.

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

Tigers Win, Scherzer 19-1

Despite only scoring 3 runs on 15 hits the Tigers managed to beat Matt Harvey and the Mets 3-0.

Max Scherzer was cruising along and looked like he would go deep in the game but two at bats in the bottom of the 5th significantly shortened Max’s start.  Juan Lagares led off the inning and worked Max for a walk on 12 pitches.  John Buck followed and made Scherzer throw him 8 pitches before flying out to right field.  Max needed 35 pitches to get out of the 5th but kept the Mets off the board.

Scherzer’s final line was 6 innings, 3 hits, 11 strikeouts and 4 walks.  The 4 walks are a season high for Scherzer.  Max is only the third player in MLB history to start a season 19-1.  The last to do it was Roger Clemens in 1986.  Before Clemens, Rube Marquard, went 19-1 in 1912 for the New York Giants.

This game should have been a blow out but the Tigers lack of speed, coupled with their lack of extra base power today, kept the Mets in the game.  In the seventh, the Tigers looked like they would open the flood gates but failed to score on 4 consecutive singles. With one out, Infante and Cabrera singled, bringing Fielder up with runners on first and second.  Fielder delivered a single to left and Tom Brookens sent Infante home.  This was one of the worst sends by a third base coach I’ve ever seen.  Infante was out by 45 feet.  Tui then followed with another single to load the bases.  Torii Hunter, who didn’t start the game, came in to pinch hit for Andy Dirks, who was 3-3, and grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning and keep the score at 2-0.

The Tigers scored 2 runs off of Matt Harvey on 13 hits.  The 13 hits allowed are a career high for him.

The Tigers go for the sweep tomorrow with Rick Procello on the mound facing Dillon Gee.

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

Tigers Beat Twins 7-1 – Even Series

Behind 6 and 2/3 strong innings from Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers beat the Twins 7-1, at Comerica Park tonight.

This was a frustrating game to watch for 6 and half innings.  The Tigers offense seemed like it could do nothing against Twins’ starter Kevin Correia, despite having 6 hits entering the 7th inning.

The problem with the Tigers’ offense is their lack of speed.  Cabrera, Fielder, Martinez and Infante can’t run at all.  While none of these guys are burners, injuries have slowed them further.  Additionally, as a team, they steal very few bases and rarely take an extra base on singles, especially going first to third.  Given this lack of offensive speed, the Tigers have two ways of scoring.  First, and most difficult, is to play station to station and string together 3-4 base hits.  The second way is to hit home runs, and extra base hits in the outfield gaps.  When they aren’t getting the extra base power their offense fizzles and looks lethargic.  Today’s game was a case in point, for 6 innings, and there was no better example than Victor Martinez hitting a ball off the right field wall and settling for a single in the 4th.

On defense, the biggest problem the Tigers have is stopping, or slowing down, the running game.  I hate to sound like a broken record but every team the Tigers play runs on them at will.  In the top of the 7th, I thought the story of the game was going to be a 1-0 Tiger loss and a wasted quality start from Anibal.  With two out in the 7th, Sanchez walked the Twins’ number 9 hitter, Pedro Florimon.  Florimon promptly stole second and scored on a Brian Dozier single giving the Twins a 1-0 lead and chasing Sanchez.

Luckily, the Tigers’ offense exploded for 4 runs in the 7th and 3 in the 8th.  The big hit came in the 7th.  With two out, and nothing really to cheer about, Bryan Holaday extended the inning and turned the lineup over with a single.  Austin Jackson followed with another single and Torii Hunter doubled in Jackson and Holaday to open the flood gates and give the Tigers the lead.

An oddity in Today’s game was the pattern Sanchez fell in to.  In the first four innings, Sanchez retired the first two hitters easily.  However, with two outs he would give up base runners.  In fact, it wasn’t until the 5th inning that Anibal had his first 1-2-3 inning.  I’m not sure what this means, or if it means anything, it just struck me as a little odd.

Jose Iggy Iglesias continues to impress.  In addition to his stellar defense, he had two more hits tonight raising his average to .324, not too bad for a guy known for his glove.

Verlander pitches tomorrow afternoon.  This is a win the Tigers must have.  (It sounds like I say that a lot.)

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