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

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

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