Tigers 12 Mariners 5

If my memory serves me correctly, the only two places the Tigers play worse than Seattle are Anaheim and Yankee Stadium, so it was nice to start this road trip off with a win.

Alfredo Simon continues to be a mess. He allowed five runs in five and two thirds  Luckily, the bullpen showed up tonight with good performance from Blaine Hardy, Ian Krol and Bruce Rondon.

Everyone got in on the 12 run, 19 hit parade except Ian Kinsler who was an absolute abomination at the plate. He went 0-5 and hit into two double plays.

Don’t look now but Nick Castellanos has started to hit the last few games.  He had four hits tonight including a home run,

All-Star J.D. Martinez had three hits and raised his average to .290 with another homer and three more hits.  He is basically on Miggy like tear right now.  I hope he continues this pace.  With JMC on the shelf, the Tigers are going to need it.

Victor seems to finding his form again. At the risk of sending this offense into a tailspin with the my fingers and keyboard, this offense is firing on all cylinders, the only problem is the Tigers only have two starting pitchers.  After Price and Sanchez I’m not sure where they turn for the 3-5 starting slots.  I guess if they score 5+ runs a game they might be able to squeak by for a while.

Doesn’t it seem like this is 180 degrees opposite of the first two months of the season?

I’ll the take W any way they can get them.

Tigers 8 Blue Jays 6

How do you take an 8-0 lead and a no-hitter through 7.1 and turn it into a nail biter?  Turn it over to the Tigers bullpen.

With Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny designated for assignment earlier in the day, it was Alex Wilson’s and Bruce Rondon’s turn to pitch the eighth.  They performed slightly better than Joba did on Wednesday night against the Pirates.

Houston, we have a problem.  Did I mention Miggy is on the 15 day DL?

I really feel bad for Anibal.  He’s final line looks pedestrian after not allowing a Blue Jay hit for seven and a third. To add insult to injury, his no-no was broken up by a former teammate whose base hit in the eighth equaled his hit total with the Tigers all of last season.

I have to give BA credit for trying out a new lineup.  For one day it looked pretty good but now with Miggy hurt all bets are off.

Side note:  I heard Rod Allen on MLB radio yesterday.  It is no secret I really like Rod.  I’ve often said that the best part of the 2003 season was Rod Allen coming to the Tigers broadcast.  Anyway, he was asked who the Tigers MVP is.  He said that hands down it is Jose Miguel Cabrera.  He said J.D. should be an All-Star but everything runs through Miggy. I agree with him and that’s why I think this injury just about puts to rest any idea the Tigers had of competing for a playoff spot this season.

Tigers 6 Reds 0

Our old friend, Brennan “B Squared Money” Boesch, just keeps showing up and I’m not sure why. Not that have any ill will towards him, or anyone else for that matter, but I just can’t figure out why teams keep having a look at him.  Perhaps there is little risk and the price is right?  Granted, he did win the Pacific Coast League batting title last year but he looks like the same old B Squared Money to me.

When Boesch first came up, you’ll remember, he was on fire for two months, exactly 30 days longer than Chris “Red Pop” Sheldon.  In fact, B Squared Money, almost hit himself onto the all-star team. Unlike, Red Pop, who I knew was going to to cool off, I wasn’t sure about Boesch.  I didn’t like his lack of plate discipline but he was making a lot of hard contact.  I thought, he’s either a left handed Vladimir Guerrero or a left handed Red Pop.  He was the latter.  Did I mention he plays the outfield like I do?  (I’m fat, have a bad back, and haven’t played since 8th grade. )  I guess my question for major league organizations is, haven’t you seen enough?

Getting to the game, Anibal pitched a gem and Miggy and J.D. might be heating up. Now add to that, Victor, JV and Rondon coming back and perhaps I had started on the obit prematurely?  I’ve been told I have a tendency to fly off the handle?

Have I mentioned that I sat through about 50 home games in 2003?  Remember, the year they lost 119 games?

I’m not hating this team that much right now.  Funny, winning does that to me.

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

Tigers, Fister Shutout Red Sox in Fenway

First things first.  Add Mike Napoli to the Tigers’ hit list.  He has to answer for his karate kick on Iggy in the bottom of the second inning.  Maybe there wasn’t a good time for it today, but sometime in the next two games, his ribs need to be lit up.  Bruce Rondon perhaps?

The pitching was impressive.  Doug Fister and his pals in the pen shut out a good hitting ball club in a good hitter’s park.  This wasn’t shutting out the Astros at Comerica.  This was shutting out the Red Sox in Fenway.  This is very encouraging considering the beating the entire staff took at the hands of the A’s last week.

Fister threw 7 complete, allowed 4 hits, struck out 4 and walked 4.  The walks were high, especially for Fister, but I’m chalking that up to the horrendous job umpire Eric Cooper did behind the plate today.  To say Cooper was horrible is being kind.  He blew.  He had no idea what he was calling and neither did anybody else.

It has been a relatively small sample, but if there is a better shortstop in baseball than Iggy, I haven’t seen him.  Everyday, Jose Iglesias does something jaw dropping.  Today he helped turn 3 double plays.  The one that really stuck out was in the bottom of the 6th.  With Shane Victorino on first, the Sox put on the hit and run.  Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball to the right side of second base.  Iggy scooped up the ball, tagged Victorino and threw to first to complete the double play.  Fister and Porcello are going to love having Iggy behind them. Watch for both of their numbers to improve.

Oh yea, Iggy can hit a piece as well.  He was 1-3 today and hitting .319 on the season.

Kudos to Andy Dirks.  The Tigers had chances to score but couldn’t get the big hit.  That changed in the 7th when Dirksy tripled home Victor Martinez to break the scoreless tie in the top of the 7th.

Nice win.  The Tigers need another one tomorrow.  Napoli must answer for Iggy.

“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 Thrash Yankees 9-3…

even series at 1.

The Tigers beat up on Yankee pitching early and often.  The 1-2-3 hitters were on fire but the big hit came off the bat of Don Kelly in the top of the 5th.  After a Victor Martinez double, Kelly came to the plate with runners at second and third with two out and delivered a 2 RBI single making it 6-0.

Miggy, Ajax, and Hunter each hit home runs today.  Hunter’s 3 run shot in the 6th, effectively put the game out of reach.

Anibal Sanchez pitched well.  He went 7 complete, allowed 2 earned, struck out 8, and walked only 1.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, Yankee Brett Gardner, went in to second base high and hard on Jose Iglesias to brake up a double play.  He was successful.  Iglesias threw the ball wide and Ichiro was safe at 1st.  This may be considered an acceptable, hard, baseball play, but after what happened to Omar Infante in Toronto, I think the Tigers should have responded and sent the Yankees, Gardner and the rest of the league a message.  In his next at bat, Gardner should have gotten a 95 mph fastball in the ribs but it didn’t happen.  Perhaps tomorrow? Perhaps next year?

As far as I’m concerned, the Tigers have two scores to settle.  The first is with the Toronto Blue Jays and Colby Rasmus.  That little jerk should be given chin music in his next 3 at bats against the Tigers and his in his 4th at bat his ribs need to be light up with a Rondon 103 mph fastball.  As for Gardner, one in the ribs should suffice, Verlander perhaps tomorrow?

Jose Iglesias and Victor Martinez flashed leather today.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Iggy made a nice diving stop on a ball hit sharply, off the bat of Austin Romine, between short and 3rd and Victor made a nice scoop at 1st to complete the play and end the inning.  Iggy also had two hits raising his average to .323.  Not too bad for a guy the Tigers got for his glove.

Tiger manager Jim Leyland had a slight reprieve from his Dirksburger Syndrome.  Andy Dirks was replaced in left field by Don DK Kelly.  Kelly was 2-4 with 3 RBIs.  What’s even more surprising is that Dirksy didn’t even come in as a defensive replacement late in the game.

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

Tigers Top Tribe 6-5. Extend Win Streak to 11.

Courtesy of a clutch two run double from Prince Fielder in the 14th inning, the Tigers were able to overcome some questionable substitutions, and extend their winning streak to 11 games.

Tigers’ manager, Jim Leyland, seems to have what can only be called an asinine obsession with Andy Dirks.  No matter what, come hell or high water, Leyland has to figure out a way to get Dirks into the game.  Why?  Am I missing something?  Is Dirks some kind of defensive wizard or offensive juggernaut? Tonight, with the Tigers down 3-2, Leyland brought in Dirks to pinch hit for, arguably the best defensive player on the team, Jose Iglesias to lead off the 8th inning.  I understand that Iglesias hadn’t done much against Indians pitcher Danny Salazar but not too many other Tigers had either.  In fact, at that point, Salazar had struck out the best player in the game, Miguel Cabrera, 3 times.

If bringing Dirks in wasn’t strange enough, Leyland wasn’t done tinkering.  Unbelievably, after Cabrera hit a two-run shot to give the Tigers the lead 4-3 in the 8th, Leyland pulled Miggy out of the game for a defensive replacement.  Should Miguel Cabrera ever be taken out of a close game unless he’s injured?  As a result, Dirks went to left field, Don Kelly went to third, Santiago went to short and Hernan Perez, now hitting in Cabrera’s spot, went to second.  If the Tribe tied the game, Miguel Cabrera would not bat again.

The Tribe came back to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th.  Cabrera didn’t bat again.

Luckily the Tigers were able to pull this game out in extra innings, but WOW!  You’re in extra innings, against your closest division rival, and Miguel Cabrera was out of the game.

On the bright side, Bruce Rondon and Jeremy Bonderman were very impressive.  Rondon bailed out the usually lights out Drew Smyly, in the bottom of the 8th.  He inherited runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.  He blew Ryan Raburn away with a 103 MPH fastball,  He got Yan Gomes to ground out to shortstop, who for some reason was playing back.  The Tigers got the out at first but the tying run scored.  Rondon then got Mike Avilies to pop out to short to end the inning.  He would stay in and pitch a 1-2-3 9th.  This was a big pick-me-up for the usually solid Smyly.

Jeremy Bonderman was equally impressive in his first appearance as a Tiger since 2010.  Bonderman pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 3.  Bonderman looked like he did when he was the ace of the Tigers staff back in 2006.

In the top of the 10th, I saw two of the most horrible swings I’ve ever seen in 35 years of watching baseball.  Hernan Perez struck out on a pitch that was three feet outside.  The pitch was so bad it got by Indians’ catcher Yan Gomes and Perez was able to make it to first without a throw.  Next, Prince Fielder, struck out on a pitch that HIT HIM.  That’s right, he swung at the pitch, he missed it, and the ball hit him in the left thigh.

This was a very strange game.  I’m just glad the Tigers came out on top.

Update: I just heard Leyland in a post game interview.  He said the took Miggy out for defensive reasons.  He said Miggy wasn’t moving too well at 3rd so he moved Kelly to 3rd to solidify the defense.  So, remind me again, why you took Iglesias out?

“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 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