Archive for April, 2004

Around the Horn

Since the 1984 Tigers are off today, let’s take a look at what others are writing about….

Billfer over at the Detroit Tigers Weblog takes a look at the latest Tigers trade, among other things.

For the Stat Heads, Hardball Times has compiled some pretty advanced hitting and pitching statistics.

John Perricone takes on Skip Bayless in a well written column on Barry Bonds and how baseball has evolved over the past 10 years.

And also, be sure to check some of the new links I’ve added. Some great writing out there.

Angels Crush Tigers, Robertson

So much for Comerica Park being a pitchers park. The winner in all three games of this series scored at least ten runs. And it’s the eighth time a team has scored 10 or more at Comerica (Tigers have three of those eight).

Nate Robertson was chased out early in this one, and Nate’s season numbers now look like what everyone expected him to have. He lasted 3 1/3, but he gave up eight earned runs.

Alex Sanchez went hitless, ending his 11 game hitting streak. He still hasn’t garnered a walk, striking out 15 times.

With the loss, the Tigers drop to 12-10. They’re 8-10 since their 4-0 start, which is probably more in line with what people thought they’d do. But they have a struggling Mariners team coming into town, so hopefully they can put together another winning series.

I also want to congratulate Barry Bonds who, with his homer this afternoon, gives Barry and Father Bobby a combined 1,000 career homeruns. Barry went 2 for 2 today, and is hitting a mind boggling .490. Things will get really interesting if he’s flirting with .400 later in the year. He’s also creeping up on George Herman Ruth’s 714. Not only is it a joy to watch one of the greatest players ever lace them up, but I also have a little monetary interest in this, because each record he breaks means a bump in the value of his baseball cards.

Tigerblog’s New Clothes

Hopefully everyone likes the new look, and that things are a little better organized. If you have any comments, be sure to let me know. Just some intial notes:

1) Up at the top you’ll find some quicker links to some the different areas of the site. Along with that, there’s a link heading over to John Perricone’s Only Baseball Matter’s Baseball and Steroids section. This is probably the biggest story of the year, and I’ve sort of shyed away from it (more out of ignorance), so be sure to head on over there and check things out.

2) On the right, there’s a section of links entitled Grousehouse links. These are sites my webmaster, Jay, at Grousehouse Media, handles. I’m not trying to build an All Baseball (not that what they’re doing is bad, I’m just not quite in that league), but I wanted to recognize what I’d consider brother sites.

I already mentioned John’s site, which most of you are aware of. The other site is going to be started by a friend of mine. Basically he’s a transplant at an early age, and had always been a Reds fan. He’s also been relentless in getting me to commit to doing a 1975 Reds Diary for him next year. I’m sure he’ll make me let you know when his site is active.

I’ve also added a bunch of links, and organized them by team. I didn’t put too much thought into this, but I wanted to find a blog for each team. If you’re not listed, it doesn’t mean I like someone else’s blog more than yours, it just means I haven’t ran across it yet.

And there are still a few bugs, so bear with me. If something isn’t working, let me know that as well.

Now, the Tigers. They smoked the Angels yesterday, sending Bartolo Colon home early yesterday. The final was 10-2. Mike Maroth went seven and threw a nice game. Higginson and Sanchez each had three hits, and Carlos Guillen reached base in all five of his plate appearances, scoring three runs.

And with that, the Tigers guarantee themselves a winning April. They’ve also gone the entire season without a three-game losing streak. Mike Maroth earned his third win of the season. He didn’t win his third game last year until June 30.

Petry Throws Gem, Tigers Improve to 18-2

April 29, 1984 Tigers 6, Indians 1 (18-2)

Dan Petry had a no-hitter broken up in the eighth inning and Kirk Gibson drove in three runs to lead the Tigers to their eighteenth victory of the season. When it was all over, Dan Petry went eight inning, giving up only the one hit, two walks, and he struck out seven. Kirk Gibson went 3 for 4, and drove in a run with each hit.

Alan Trammell was put into the game in the seventh inning and doubled in his only at bat. The base hit extended his hitting streak to seventeen games. The last game he didn’t get a hit was the 3rd game of the season.

And with April 30th being an exhibition game, the Tigers finished the month of April 18-2, a franchise record for the best April by a Tiger’s team.

Morris Goes the Distance, Improves to 5-0

April 28, 1984 Tigers 6, Indians 2 (17-2)

In Sparky Anderson’s book on the 1984 season, “Bless You Boys,” he mentions that he sent Jack Morris home in the 13th inning of the previous night’s game, and that move may have made the difference in this one, as he basically shutdown a tired Indians team. He only gave up three hits and three walks in nine innings, and the three runs the Tigers scored in the first two innings were all the Tigers would need in this one.

Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker hit homers. Trammell knocked in two with a double and stole his seventh base of the season. Detroit was also effecient in this one, garnering ten hits and two walks, while only stranding four baserunners.

Angels Too Much For Detroit, Beat Tigers 10-4

Ten runs on fifteen hits was the final line, as the Angels took the Tigers pitching staff to task. Three different Tiger pitchers (Cornejo, Yan and Levine) all gave up three earned runs in this one, as the Angels take the series opener.

The bright spot was, once again Brandon Inge. He made the game close by hitting his second grand slam of the season in the seventh to make it a 5-4 game, but five Angel runs in the eighth put this one out of reach. Equally impressive was Brandon getting three outfield assists in his first start in right field.

Mike Maroth squares off against Bartolo Colon tomorrow evening. Hopefully the Tigers will be able to break out of this mini-slump. They still need to win one more this month to make it a winning April.

And just a little teaser. Coming soon, Tigerblog 3.0. Jay, the webguy at Grousehouse Media, is working on a site revision that hopefully everyone will find a little more visually appealing and easier to navigate.

Tigers Drop Series Opener to Indians in 19 Innings

April 27, 1984 Indians 8, Tigers 4 19 Innings (16-2)

It took nearly six hours for this game to play it’s course, but the Tigers seven game winning streak came to an end as they burned the midnight oil in a 19 inning affair.

After the Indians batted in the top half of the second inning, the score was even at 3-3. Seven innings later, the game still stood at 3-3. Both the Indians and the Tigers scored a run in the 10th, and then it wasn’t until the Indians scored 4 unearned runs in the nineteenth inning that this one was put to bed (literally).

Another stand out performance by Aurilio Lopez, as he threw 4 2/3 shutout innings to follow up his 2 2/3 perfect innings the day before. He kept the Tigers in the game, but Glenn Abbot, who had shut the Indians down for four innings by himself, committed two errors in the nineteenth which helped the Indians score four runs to give the Indians the lead for good.

In all, the Tigers would commit four errors, leading to six unearned runs. The Tigers only had one extra basehit, a double by Whitaker, despite having 66 official at bats. And possibly the oddest line of the night was Andre Thorton, the Indians DH, who went 0 for 9.


April 26, 1984 Tigers 7, Rangers 5 (16-1)

Neither starter was effective in this one. Future Tiger Frank Tanana gave up six runs in less then four innings, and Dave Rozema was just marginally better as he gave up five runs in 4 1/3. Once the starters were pulled, things really calmed down, as only the Tigers scored one run in the final four innings of this one. Doug Bair pitched two shutout innings to notch his second relief win of the year, and Aurlio Lopez threw 2 2/3 perfect innings to garner his second save.

Whitaker, Trammell, Herndon, and Lemon all had multi-hit games, and Lance Parrish homered in his third consecutive game, boosting his season total to five.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-1 on the season, and had a six game lead in the AL East. Everyone points to their 35-5 start, which is simply an incredible start, but it’s only after you go back and see what they actually did throughout those first couple of months can you appreciate what this team accomplished.

Westbrook Two Hits Tigers, Indians Avoid Sweep

Jake Westbrook hadn’t pitched since his seven perfect relief innings back on Monday, but he pretty much started off right where he left off, and dominated the Tigers this afternoon. When it was all said and done, Westbrook would go the distance, giving up only two hits, three walks and two runs. Carlos Pena put the Tigers on the board with solo homer in the second, and later drove in Rondell White with a sac. fly.

Jody Gerut, the Tiger killer, came up with another homerun against Tiger’s pitching. The day the Indians trade this guy out of the division will be a happy day for Tiger’s fans.

Both the Twins and the White Sox won today, so once again, the Tigers will slip into third place, a game and a half behind the division leading Twins.

The Tigers get a day off tomorrow, and will square off in a series against the Angels, before facing the strugling Mariners in a three game series next weekend.

Robertson and White Lead Tigers to Victory

What a great day to be a sports fan yesterday. You had the NFL draft, the Pistons and Wings playoff games, and a Tiger game.

Oh, and I was cooped up at the Masonic Temple and missed most of it. I caught the Lion’s first pick, then the third period of the Wings game, all on the radio. But I guess I’d rather have them all win when I’m not watching as opposed to losing when I am.

But, the Tigers won in grand fashion yesterday. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, Rondell White hit a three run blast, his fifth homerun of the season, to win the game. The Tigers improve to 11-7, and sit a half game behind the Twins. One more win this month will guarantee the Tigers a winning record in April.

Nate Robertson may have had his toughest outing of the season, as he pitched five innings, giving up four hits, four walks, and two runs. He did strikeout six to keep up his torrid pace, and now has 30 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings, once again putting him one strikeout behind Curt Schilling for the AL lead. The difference is, Curt’s needed 28 innings to do it.

Four different relievers shut the Indians out the rest of the way, as Urbina picked up his first win of the season.

Jason Johnson hopes to turn things around, and help the Tigers complete the sweep this afternoon. The Indians will put Jake Westbrook on the mound, the pitcher who three seven perfect innings in relief against the Tigers on Monday.

Oops, almost forgot to mention, Brandon Inge went 1 for 3, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Unfortunately, his batting average “dropped” to .410, so hopefully he’ll be able to turn things around today as well.

Dave Stewart Taken to Task by Tiger Again

April 25, 1984 Tigers 9, Rangers 4 (15-1)

Dave Stewart didn’t make it out of the first inning in the Tiger’s Home Opener, and he didn’t fair too much better in this one as the Tigers finally got to him in the seventh inning. By the end of the game, the Tigers scored nine runs on thirteen hits.

John Grubb, Howard Johnson, and Lance Parrish all hit homeruns in this one. In fact Lance Parrish hit his second three run shot in as many games. Milt Wilcox went six innings, and Willie Hernandez finished the game by pitching the final three innings, as he picked up his second save of the season.

Eleven Runs, Four Hits

That was the incredible line the Tigers accomplished in the sixth inning yesterday, as they crushed the Indians 17-3. It’s their 10th win of the year, and it’s still only April.

In all, the Tigers walked 10 times. Brandon Inge came within a double of hitting for the cycle, while extending his hitting streak to nine games. He also boosted his batting average to a mind boggling .417, and an OBP of .500. Pudge, Eric Munson, and Inge (who’s homerun was a grand slam) all had at least three RBIs and five Tigers scored at least twice (Munson scored four runs).

But it was that sixth inning, that looked more like a slo-pitch softball game on a windy day where the pitcher can’t quite control his stuff and get it over the plate, that turned this thing from a one run game to a blow out.

I should also mention, as watching the game, I was going to talk about how the little things help you win. In the fourth, with the Tigers down 3-2, Craig Monroe made a nice hustle play, tagging and advancing to second on a deep fly ball to center by Carlos Pena. He’d go on to score the tying run, but by the end of the game, this play would be lost in the excitement of the big inning.

Lost in the hitting barage, Jeremy Bonderman didn’t have his best stuff, walking a season high five batters in only five innings. But he hung in there, and lasted through five innings to pick up the win. Estaban Yan was just about perfect in the final four innings, picking up the save, and only giving up one hit and one walk the rest of the way.

May 22 was when the Tigers won their first game last year, so we’re almost a month ahead of schedule.

Tigers Sweep Doubleheader, Upend Twins

April 24, 1984 – Game 1 – Tigers 6, Twins 5 (13-1)

Jack Morris had his worst outing of the season so far, but managed to walk away with his fourth straight victory. He went the distance, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks. But as was typical of this magical season, it was just enough as the Tigers won in dramatic fashion.

The Tigers entered the bottom of the ninth down 5-3. Kirk Gibson led off the inning with a triple. John Grubb then reached base on a fielder’s choice (and would leave the game as Rusty Kuntz would run for him). Dave Bergman then drove in Gibson with an RBI single, cutting the lead to one rune.

Then, the wheels really came off the wagon as relief pitcher Ron Davis would put one in the dirt, allowing the tying run to score on a wild pitch, and moving Bergman over to second. Howard Johnson grounded out to third, and with one out, Chet Lemon was given the intentional pass. Lance Parrish then lined out to second base.

So with two outs, and runners on first and second, Lou Whitaker singled, and drove in Bergman to win the game. Tigers Win 6-5!!!

April 24, 1984 – Game 2 – Tigers 4, Twins 3 (13-1)

Lance Parrish hit a three run homer in the fifth inning, and Aurilio Lopez shut the Twins down in the final three innings in the back end of the double header. Starter Dan Petry was forced to leave the game with a sore shoulder in the third.

Glenn Abbott took over in the fourth and gave up two runs in the top half of the sixth, but Parrish answered in the next inning with his three run shot.

Aurilio Lopez got the three inning save, as he pitched three shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out three.

Santana Leads Twins to Victory

A three run home by Lew Ford off of starter Mike Maroth was the game winning blow this afternoon, as the Tigers dropped the series to the Twins. The Tigers got off to a good start, scoring runs in the third and fourth inning, but the three run blast by Ford put the Twins in the lead for good.

Mike Maroth threw a good game, but it just wasn’t enough. He did go seven innings, and once again, gave the pen some rest.

Brandon Inge caught today, and extended his hitting streak to eight games. He had a double, his first homerun of the season, and two walks. His batting average is now up to .375.

I also want to thank Page Two columnist Eric Neel’s kind words about my website in his weekly column On Baseball. I tried to find his email address to drop him a line and thank him, but I couldn’t track it down. Eric, if you wander back to the site, drop me a line.

And finally, I’m amazed how well covered the steroid issue is covered on John Perricone’s site, Only Baseball Matters. I tend to side with John on this, but whether you agree or not, it’s definitely some great reading so be sure to stop there and check it out.

Tigers Score Eleven, Beat Twins

The Tigers won a game at the Metrodome, a pretty rare event the last few years, and they almost let it slip away. The Tigers got off to a great start, giving Nate Cornejo a 9-0 lead, and then a 11-3, but he couldn’t pitch through the fifth to get the win. In another rough day, Nate threw 80 pitches, only 43 of which were for strikes. Eight hits and three walks in 4 1/3 aren’t great lines either.

But the bats got it done. Five different Tigers had multihit games, including Brandon Inge’s emergence as…. well, as a hitter, continuing his seven game hitting streak. He’s now boosted his average to .333. I-Rod went four for five. And all nine Tiger starters scored a run in this one. In all, they’d get fifteen hits off of four different pitchers.

Mike Maroth throws this afternoon for the Tigers, and he’s been, with Nate Robertson, one of the two consistent starters they’ve had. Hopefully they can keep things rolling.

And to draw some comparisons to last year, the Tigers have scored 92 runs so far this through 15 games. They didn’t score that many runs until their game on May 7. Their nine wins put them at their win total on May 14th, last year. You have to be happy with that kind of improvement.

Tigers Club White Sox, Finish Sweep

April 22, 1984 Tigers 9, White Sox 1 (12-1)

A Kirk Gibson first inning two run homerun was all the Tigers would end up needing in this, but they got a lot more. In total, the Tigers would score nine runs on eighteen hits. Five different Tigers had multi-hit games, including a 4 for 4 outing by Chet Lemon. Six different Tigers would score, and five different Tigers would drive in a runs. A good all around team effort.

Juan Berenguer was exceptional in his first start of the season. He pitched seven shutout innings, struck out seven, and only gave up two hits and a walk. He had a no-hitter going into the fifth, but gave up a single to Kalamazoo native Mike Squires. Mike would also make his pitching debut, and finale in this one, getting the final out in the eighth inning.

Twins Too Much For Tigers as They Lose 6-4

Jason Johnson had another bad outing, and this was one of my primary concerns when we picked him up. He was basically being touted as our best pitcher because of his experience, and as close as you can get to an ace for this team. In my mind, an ace is a pitcher who, when put out there is going to give your team a chance to win well more then a majority of the time. So far, Johnson has had the one good outing on opening day, with three subpar outings since. Hopefully he can turn things around.

The Tigers actually had the lead in this one for a couple of innings when they scored they scored two in the fifth on a Carlos Guillen single. But Jason Johnson would be responsible for all three runs in the sixth without even getting a guy out. Once again, the pen looks like they put up decent numbers, but Danny Patterson allowed two inherited runners to score.

And things only get tougher, as the Tigers now have to face Brad Radke and Johann Santana the next two days.

Rondell White did have another good game, hitting his fourth homer of the season. Brandon Inge of all people is on a six game hitting streak. And as a team, the Tigers are hitting .280 (before yesterdays game). And at a record of 8-6, I don’t think we can complain too much. The hard part is, we see flashes of what look like greatness, then regressions back to what we’re used to the last few years.

Tigers Roll Over White Sox on Whitaker’s Three Runs

April 21, 1984 Tigers 4, White Sox 1 (11-1)

It’s not too often where you have a player score three of the teams four runs in a game, but that’s exactly what Lou Whitaker did in this one. Lou led off the game with a solo homerun. In the third he’d draw a walk, and eventually score on a Darrell Evans ground out. And then in the seventh, he’d score on an Alan Trammell single. Lou knew how to get on base. Over his career, he walked almost as many times as he struck out, and was an excellent two strike hitter. He wasn’t your protypical lead off man because he didn’t steal a lot of bases, but he worked the count well, and managed to put together some nice seasons in the middle 1980s.

Dave Rozema really shut down the White Sox. He only went six innings, but he allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Doug Bair would come in to finish the game and get a three inning save.

And with that, the Tigers tied the mark for the best start of the season by an American League team. They stood at 11-1, and were already out to a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL East.

Tigers Crush Indians 10-4

This was definitely an odd one. Jeff D’Amico started the game, and gave up four runs without getting an out. There was a rain delay, and Jake Westbrook was brought out to relieve D’Amico, and was simply awesome, pitching seven perfect innings. Once Westbrook comes out, the Tigers go on to score six more runs in the final two innings.

The most obvious surprise of the season has to be the emergence of Nate Robertson. He did it again last night, throwing 6 2/3 and striking out eight. He didn’t get the win, but here’s what his numbers look like so far this year.

Nate Robertson – 17 2/3 IP, 11 Hits, 5 ER, 12 Walks, 24 strikeouts, 2.547 ERA, 1.301 WHIP.

The walks are definitely a concern, but Nate is currently the second in the AL in strikeouts, only one behind Curt Schilling.

Brandon Inge and Rondell White both had three rbis. Guillen, I-Rod, and White all scored twice.

Fernando Vina batted in the lead off spot with Alex Sanchez’s abscence. He didn’t make much of it, going 0 for 5, but I think this is a good move all the way around for the Tigers.

And the bad news is, once again, Bobby Higginson seems to have hurt his leg. I haven’t seen an official diagnosis, but lets hope we don’t have another hole in the outfield.

Tigers Win in the Ninth, Improve to 10-1

April 20, 1984 Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (10-1)

This time, the Tigers managed to get eleven hits, but they had a hard time making them count as they also left eleven men on base in this nail biter. The Tigers never had the lead in this one until the game ended, and Milt Wilcox, despite not getting the win, threw a great game to keep the Tigers in this one. Eight innings, eight hits, three walks, and only two runs.

The Tigers were down 2-1 going into the seventh when Larry Herndon drove in Barbero Garbey on a single. Then in the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, Lou Whitaker drew a lead off walk. Tram bunted him over to second. Dave Bergman grounded out, but moved Lou over to third, and then Lance Parrish drove in Whitaker on a two out walk off single.

A great game, and the fans were beginning to appreciate what the Tigers were doing, as they drew nearly 34,000, the most since opening day.

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