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

A’s Dust Tigers – The Misery Continues

tonight’s game marked the first time in 56 games that the Tigers have had three consecutive starts of less than 6 innings.  It’s was a good run but now it’s just plain ugly!

It was Doug Fister’s turn to take a dump tonight.  He lasted only 5 innings and looked like he was throwing batting practice to the A’s.

If Fister was bad, the pen was worse.  It didn’t matter who Leyland threw out there, they got shelled.  Check out these lines:

Fister, 5 innings, 13 hits, 7 earned, 0 walks, 2 strike outs.

Alvarez, 2 and 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 5 earned, 0 walks, 1 strike out.  Alvarez is trying to get Phil Coke called up.  He’s been brutal since his call up.

Smyly, didn’t get anybody out.  He pitched 0 innings, 2 hits, 2 earned, 0 Walks.

Finally, Bonderman came on pitched an inning and 2/3, allowed 1 hit, no runs, and struck out 2.

Bonderman and Avila are my players of the game.  Bonderman was the only pitcher that could get anybody out and Alex Avila went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs.  As I go to sleep tonight he has his batting average at .201, just over the Mendoza line.

Don’t look now but at the start of play tonight the Tigers lead over the Tribe was only 3 games.  And the Indians and Braves are tied at 2.  What this means is that all of the equity the Tigers gained from their 12 game win streak has been wiped out.  The Indians will come in town this weekend with a chance to tie the Tigers for the division lead.

Is this 2009?

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

Tigers 6 Mets 1

The Tigers beat the Mets tonight, 6-1, a Citifield.

With the game tied 1-1, the Tigers exploded for four runs in the second for a 5-1 lead.  As usual, Doug Fister, put up zeroes and shut the Mets out, with help from his friends in the pen.

The big blast in the second inning, came off the bat of the Mighty Miggy.  With two on and two out Miggy took the first pitch from Daisuke Matsuzaka and sent it over the left field wall for his 41st of the season.  Torii Hunter hit a solo shot in the first to get the Tigers started and AJax, Austin Jackson, capped off the scoring with a solo home run in the 7th.

This was the first start for Daisuke Matsuzaka in the big leagues in over a year and other than the second inning, I thought he pitched pretty well.  He gave the Mets 5 innings, allowed 5 earned runs on 6 hits.  He struck out 4 and walked 1.  If he could have avoided the long ball, his line would look a lot better.  If I were a Mets fan, I would be fairly happy with what Daisuke gave them.

For the Tigers, Fister, was aces.  But I think the important thing today was the pitching of Drew Smyly.  Smyly relieved Fister with one out in the 7th and inherited runners on 1st and 2nd.  Smyly got Eric Young Jr. on strikes and got Daniel Murphy to fly out to right to end the threat.  This was big because I thought Smyly struggled, just a bit, in his last few outings but looked impressive today.

Victor Martinez started at catcher tonight for the first time in two years or so and looked pretty good.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but Victor didn’t look broken down at all.  He actually looks like he’s feeling pretty well.  In fact, in the first inning, on the play that the Mets scored their only run, Victor made a nice play at the plate.  Don Kelly made a great throw from left field, and Victor received the ball well and did a good job of blocking the plate.  Although, the runner was safe, it was a solid play on both ends by DK and Victor and not one I would expect from an ailing catcher.

The Tigers got some bad news regarding Alex Avila today.  Apparently, he’s been playing in Toledo and has complained of headaches.  Concussions are tricky things and I hope this doesn’t linger.  That being said, I think Alex has looked broken down and beaten up since the end of the 2011 season and I think his declining offensive production is directly related to his ailing body.  While I hope his concussion problems get solved I think an extended period of rest would the be best for his career in the long term.  I think Alex is so beaten up that it will take more than a few months for him to recover.  If Victor feels ok, perhaps the Tigers should consider making Pena the starter, let Martinez spell him once a week or so, and just let Alex rest.  While I like Alex and wish nothing but the best for him, I think a six months to a year off would do the trick for him.  He needs to get healthy not only for the Tigers long term, but for himself.

Scherzer v Harvey tomorrow afternoon.

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

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

Tigers Lose 3 In a Row – Fall to White Sox 4-3 In 11 Innings

The Tigers lost their 3rd consecutive game and 4th of their last 5 by falling in extra innings to the White Sox.

Max Scherzer started, went 6 complete, allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, struck out 6 and walked 3.  Much like Fister yesterday, Scherzer was cruising through the first 3 innings but needed 36 pitches to get out of the 4th.  The White Sox scored 3 runs in the 4th with the damage coming on a 2 RBI triple from ex-Tiger Avisail Garcia.  Garcia then scored on an Infante throwing error.  The Sox led 3-1 after the 4th.

The Tigers had plenty of chances to score but just couldn’t get the hit to break the game open. On the bright side, they did battle back from a 3-1 deficit with single runs in the 6th and 8th to send the game into extra innings.

Miggy was 0-5 today but hit 3 rockets, one to short and 2 right back up the middle, but had nothing to show for it.  Also, Andy Dirks came into the game to replace Tui.  Readers of this blog know that I’ve been hard on Dirksy and while he was 0-3, I thought he had 3 good at bats.

In Dirks’ first at bat he hit the ball hard but it was right at the left fielder.  His next at bat, he got himself into a 3-1 count and looked like he just missed a fastball.  His final at bat, I thought was his most impressive.  He fell behind 0-2 but worked the count full before flying out to Garcia in right.  He had no hits but sometimes when a player is struggling and puts together good at bats, it is a sign that he is coming out of his funk.  Let’s hope so.

Another encouraging sign is that it looks like Jose Iglesias and Omar Infante are a very good double play combination.  Strong defense up the middle is always a recipe for success.

Basically, this series in Chicago has been a disaster.  Let’s hope they can salvage one with Ricky on the hill tomorrow afternoon.

FYI:  The Royals lost tonight but the Indians won.

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

UGLY! Tigers Fall To Sale, White Sox 6-2.

What started out looking pretty good turned really ugly, really fast.

The Tigers got on the board in the first with a Miggy solo shot.  Brayan Pena put the Tigers up 2-0 after two with an RBI double, but the Tigers would score no more tonight.

Chris Sale pitched a complete game.  He allowed two earned, walked 0 and struck out 6 on 109 pitches.

Doug Fister started out well but seemed to fall apart in the 4th inning.  With 1 out Gordon Beckham singled.  Fister got Alexei Ramirez to pop out but then walked Adam Dunn and the wheels began to fall off. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third.  A walk to Konerko loaded the bases and another wild pitch scored Beckham and the White Sox were on the board.  Fister got ex-Tiger Avisail Garcia to end the inning but Fister could never really recover.

Fister came out for the 5th, gave up three more runs, and the Sox never looked back,  In Fister’s defense, he ran in to some bad luck.  With one out and runners on first and second, Gordon Beckham hit a ground ball back to Fister, which at first was looking like an inning ending double play, but the ball went off of Fister’s leg past Infante and into right field and the Sox were rolling.

The Tigers had chances to score, they touched Sale for 9 hits but couldn’t get the big knock when they needed it.  A big part of the Tigers’ offensive struggles were that Jacskon and Hunter were a combined 0-8, which meant Miggy was always hitting with nobody on base.

The Tigers left 16 men on base tonight, Omar Infante, back in the lineup, for the first time in over a month was 0-4 with 6 LOB.

I’m starting to worry a little bit.  Since the streak ended, the Tigers have lost 3 of 4 to bad teams, the Yankees and the White Sox.  Everything that seemed to be going so well suddenly isn’t.  Fister was not good tonight.  He wasn’t horrible but he had trouble with the strike zone and didn’t put in a quality start.  Even more concerning is Al Alburquerque out of the pen.  The Amazing Al has been more of an abomination lately.  Tonight, for example, he pitched one inning, gave up 5 hits and 2 earned runs.  I don’t think he’s an option out of the pen anymore, he’s a nightmare.  And, where is the clutch hitting?  We could have used a big hit from Infante, but I’ll cut him some slack, since this was his first game back.

On the bright side, Iggy is really flashing leather.  He made an unbelievable play in the 6th. Josh Phegley hit a chopper that got over Fister’s head and looked like a sure infield hit.  But on came Iggy, who dove, barehanded the ball, and threw to first with both feet off of the ground to get Phegley at first.  Iggy also chipped in offensively with an infield single.

Bruce Rondon looked pretty good.  He came on in the 8th to clean up the Amazing Al’s mess.  With runners at second and third and nobody out Rondon surrendered a Texas Leaguer that got over the drawn in infield and a sacrifice fly but got Gordon Beckham to ground into an inning ending double play.  This was not a bad outing for Rondon considering what he inherited.

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

10 IN A ROW!

The Tigers opened up a 5 game lead on the Indians in the American League Central courtesy of their 5-1 victory over Cleveland tonight.

The Tigers needed a big game from Justin Verlander, and the former MVP and CY Young winner didn’t disappoint.  He pitched 8 complete innings, allowing 1 earned run on 4 hits.  He struck out 7 and walked none.  JV delivered!

It wasn’t looking good early, offensively, the Tigers let Justin Masterson off the hook in the second.  They loaded the bases with nobody out but Masterson struck out Alex Avila and Jose Iglesias and got Santiago to ground to second to end the inning without surrendering a run.

Entering the 5th inning, the Tigers trailed 1-0, but then the bats exploded.  Miguel Cabrera doubled in the go ahead run, his 100th RBI of the season.  Prince followed with a ground out moving Cabrera to third.  Masterson hit Victor to put runners at first and third with 2 out.  Then DK, Don Kelly, stepped to the plate and on the third pitch he saw delivered a three run homer giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead which was more than enough for JV.

Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 9th and the Tigers recorded their 10th consecutive win.

DK, Don Kelly, had a day.  He was 3-4 with the three-run homer in the 5th and was also flashin leather.  He robbed Lonnie Chisenhall of extra bases with a fine running catch in the bottom of the 8th.  The time truly has come for DK.

With Fister and Scherzer pitching the final two games in Cleveland the Tigers might be able to sweep and leave Ohio with a 7 game lead.

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

Fister, Tigers Keep Rolling! Win 6th Straight At Home!

Behind a fantastic performance by Doug Fister, the Tigers beat the White Sox 2-1 tonight at Comerica Park to win their 6th straight on the current home-stand.

Fister was dealing.  He pitched 8 complete, allowed only 1 earned run on 7 hits.  He struck out 2 and walked none on only 88 pitches.

Benoit came in and closed the game out pitching a scoreless 9th.

The offense was led by Prince Fielder, Jose Iglesias, who played 3rd for the ailing Miguel Cabrera, and Austin Jackson.

In the Tigers’ half of the fourth, Prince Fielder led off with a double and moved to 3rd on a Victor Martinez fly out.  Jhonny Peralta followed Martinez with a fly ball but it wasn’t deep enough to score Fielder.  That brought Iglesias to the plate with two out and Fielder at third.  In his first game as a Tiger, Iglesias delivered a line drive, base hit, to right that gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 5th Austin Jackson hit a solo shot to give Tigers a 2-0 lead and Fister and Benoit made it stand up.

The key moment in the game came in the top of the 8th.  With the Tigers leading 2-1, Dayan Viciedo led off with a single.  Jordan Danks came in to pinch-run.  Gordon Beckham came to the plate and with a 3-1 count hit a ground ball just to the right of second.  However, the hit and run was on so Santiago was moving toward second on the pitch.  This was a fortunate break for the Tigers because instead of a single up the middle, Santiago was able to field the grounder, step on second and fire to first for a double play.

I really hope Miggy gets well soon.  I’m not sure how long the Tigers can keep rolling without him.  Also, it is a small sample but the rumors look true regarding newly acquired Jose Iglesias.  He looks very smooth in the field.  His demeanor reminds me of the Orioles Manny Machado.  I’m not sure how much he’s going to hit, but it looks like he can flash leather.

The Tigers picked up a game on the Tribe who got pounded in Miami 10-0.

Scherzer goes for his 16th win tomorrow night.

“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, Fister Salvage Game in KC

Doug Fister pitched 6 strong innings and the Tigers avoided a sweep at the hands for the Royals with a 4-1 on Sunday.

Fister allowed 1 run on one hit, a home run to Miguel Tejada in the bottom of the second.  He struck out five and walked one in his 6 innings of work.

Miggy started the scoring for the Tigers in the first inning with his 31st homer of the year, a solo shot, to give Fister and the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

The bullpen was excellent, again, with Smyly, Rondon, and Benoit each pitching an inning to close out the game.  These three are looking very good coming out of the pen.  I might be able to make a case for Smyly as the team MVP at this point in the season.

Offensively, Fielder, Martinez, Peralta, and Dirks had two hits apiece.

Another encouraging sign was that the Tigers were able to add on runs late, scoring 1 in the 7th and 1 in the 9th to extend the lead and give the bullpen a little bit of a cushion.

Don’t look now but Benoit might be the missing, closer piece, as he recorded his 9th save.

On a side note: I know he hit a homer today and he is still batting .360 but something looks, not right, about Miggy.  I’m not sure if he’s just expanding the strike zone too much or his back in bothering him more than anybody knows.  I hope I’m wrong, I just have a weird feeling.  That being said, he did make a really nice play at third on Tejada in the bottom of the 4th.  Like I said, perhaps I’m wrong.  I hope I’m wrong.

The Tigers are off to Chicago tomorrow with Scherzer on the hill.

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