Archive for April, 2004

Tigers Streak Ends, Drops Game to Royals

April 19, 1984 Royals 5, Tigers 2 (9-1)

Despite what everyone in Detroit thought at the time, the Tigers couldn’t win them all, and they finally dropped their first game of the season to the Royals. A great pitching performance by rookie pitcher Bret Saberhagen, who earned his first career victory, was basically all the Royals needed as the Tigers could only manage seven hits and two runs.

The Tigers actually managed to get the lead early, as Lance Parrish drove in Lou Whitaker in the first inning. The Royals would get two in the third, one in the sixth, and then two insurance runs in the eigth to pretty much seal the game up. Kirk Gibson would hit a solo shot in the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as the Tigers finally put a notch in their loss column.

Indians Best Tigers, Bonderman

Everytime the Tigers lose, you wonder which team is the real Tigers. Is it the one who got off to a 4-0 start, and actually looked like they’d be respectable, or will the 2003 season creep back into this campaign like it appeared to do this afternoon.

The Indians aren’t a good team. And Jeremy Bonderman is supposed to be a future mainstay in the rotation, if not the Tigers ace. And the Indians simply shelled Jeremy in his 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three homeruns in three different innings (two of which were by Matt Lawton), and at one point, the Tigers were down 5-0 after five, then 8-3 after six. They made a little run at the end, but came up short, losing 9-7.

Throw in an Alex Sanchez pulled groin, and the Tigers now have a major hole to fill in centerfield. For now, Brandon Inge will roam the outfield, and with Andres Torres designated for assignment and not yet clearing waivers, he might play out there until Sanchez comes back.

Tomorrow, Nate Robertson tries to continue his impressive run, going up against Jeff D’Amico. Hopefully they’ll put another win under their belt before heading to Minnesota.

Tigers Need 10 Innings to Win Ninth Straight

April 18, 1984 – Detroit 4, Royals 3, 10 innings (9-0)

After a four day break because of Mother Nature, the Tigers started right where they left off, beating the Royals 4-3 for their franchise best ninth straight victory to start the season.

Jack Morris got off to a great start, but he gave up a 3-0 lead iin the eighth inning, giving up a three run homer to Jorge Orta. Morris would end up pitching nine innings, but would yield to Willie Hernandez in extra innings, who would eventually got on to get the win by pitching a perfect tenth inning.

With two outs and Tram on third, Larry Herndon would hit a grounder to the eight time gold glove winning second basemen of the Royals, Frank White. White bobbled the ball, allowing Herndon to reach base, and Tram to score the winning run.

Tigers Beat Indians Behind Mike Maroth’s Strong Outing

Just what the doctor ordered. Earlier I mentioned how the Tigers could use seven strong innings from Maroth to give the pen a break. Well, Mike did one better, going 7 1/3, giving up 10 hits, one walk, and only one run, all while striking out seven. Al Levine came in and finished the game, pitching the final 1 2/3, and shut the Indians down.

For some reason, 7-4 sounds so much better then 6-5, which would have been their record had they lost. Tomorrow Jeremy Bonderman takes the mound against another young pitcher, Cliff Lee. Jeremy is among the league leaders in strikeouts, so this should be a good game. 8-4 has a really nice ring to it.

This was a 1-0 game up until the sixth inning, when the Tigers put together a three run rally. Five different Tigers (Sanchez, I-Rod, White, Munson, and Inge) had multi-hit games. And Brandon Inge even made a nice play at third yesterday, so his value as a Shane Halter utility type remains intact. Throw in his current .333 batting average (5/15) and you’ve got a great option for Tram coming off the bench.

I thought the prime time Fox telecast of the Red Sox/Yankees game was great for the game. Here you have two of the best franchises around. It’s good for the game to showcase them. And the game was a pretty good on to watch.

Reality Check

It seemed so long ago since we started the season 4-0, yet it was only last week.

Last year, Jody Gerut had a pretty good rookie season. In 480 at bats, he hit .279/22/75. Not too shabby for a guy who essentially came out of nowhere. What’s telling are these numbers:

Against any team then the Tigers: 411 at bats, .277/15/48
Against the Tigers: 69 at bats, .290/7/27

That’s called dominating a team. And he got started in 2003 even better then he left off, as Jody Gerut went 5 for 5, with a homerun and three rbis in an Indians 10-3 rout of the Tigers last night.

Not too much to say about this one that’s good. I-Rod continue to hit well, and has his batting average up to .359. Craig Monroe continued to struggle throwing the ball, as he almost sent on into the stands behind the catcher on a throw to home plate. Nat Cornejo got shelled, giving up 14 hits in only five innings. Even Jamie Walker, the only Tiger pitcher to enter the game and not give up a run, struggled, giving up two hits and a walk in an inning.

And already, the Tigers pen, which wasn’t great to begin with, is being used quite a bit. Hopefully Maroth can go seven innings today to give them a break.

Ugueth Urbina made his Tiger debut last night, pitching the sixth inning. Hopefully we can say it was just rust, because he gave a run, two hits, and two walks in an inning. He did strike out two, so that’s encouraging.

A buddy of mine stopped by last night and we rolled a couple of games of Strat. I was getting pretty lucky with my rolls, and he was pretty unlucky. I haven’t bought the 2003 cards yet, so we were playing the 2002 Phillies against the Royals (I was the Royals). Paul Byrd gave up five runs in the first inning, and in the two games we played, Philly wasn’t able to score in either of the two games, so the Royals staff (Jeff Suppan started the second game) pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings. I came back to win the first game 8-5, then trounced him in the second 8-0. Fun stuff though. He also brought by MVP Baseball 2004, which is a pretty incredible game.

1984 Diary is back tomorrow. And hopefully we’ll have some good news to report on the Tigers.

Tigers Trounced By Jays

No other way to put it. And they lose their first series of the season. I guess if you’re going to have a bad day, it’s not a bad idea to have one when Roy Halladay is on top of his game. Had the pitchers done well, we would have still lost it.

And there’s two ways to look at their record. On the one hand, if you had told me they’d be 6-3 after nine games at the start of the season, I would have said it would be huge, and it is. On the down side, they’ve now lost 3 of 5. The one good thing about their recent streak is they’ve bounced back after every loss.

Nate Cornejo opens things up for the Tigers as they start a three game series at Jacobs Field. C.C. Sabathia will be throwing for the Indians, and he has a pretty good track record against the Indians, and he’s also been sharp in two starts this year. Hopefully the Tigers can get to him early, because the Indians pen has been, well, pretty bad.

I hope everyone had a good tax day. And here’s to hoping the Tigers can sweep the Indians.

And I’ll end this with what I thought was pretty funny. My buddy Jay, who’s responsible for the design of Tigerblog, thought that with the increase in people coming to the site, Tigerblog deserved it’s own merchandise. I don’t expect anyone to buy this stuff (except maybe as a joke), but you can check out the Tigerblog merchandise here.

Tigers Get Off To Early Start, Hold on Against Blue Jays

Among all of the stories involved in the Tigers 6-2 start, Nate Robertson has to be the most unusual. This is a guy who seemed destined to, if not AAA, a season of long relief as a second left handed reliever behind Jamie Walker. He had just a decent enough spring to secure the fifth starter spot. This is also a guy who I couldn’t give away in Diamond Mind league.

And boy has he taken advantage of it. After pitching six shutout innings of relief, he pitched a nice game yesterday, going five innings, giving up only three hits, and striking out seven. After a total of 10 scoreless innings to start the season, the Jays finally got to Nate and he gave up a two run Reed Johnson homerun.

And that’s just the pitching. I felt the Tigers had to come out strong in this game to put Tuesday’s bad game behind them. And they did just that, scoring four runs off of Ted Lilly in the first inning. Lilly calmed down, but those four runs ended up being enough, and the Tigers walked away with a 5-3 win.

And this afternoon, we have a rematch of the season opener, as Roy Halladay goes up against Jason Johnson.

I also saw how Fox is really playing up the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Friday night they’re having a special prime time national telecast of the game.

Tigers Drop, Then Throw Away, Game to Blue Jays

And I mean that literally.

I didn’t listen to the game, but from the play by play, Vina made errors in the seventh and eighth inning, both of which led to unearned runs that would tie the game up. Then in the ninth, Craig Monroe made a throwing error that led to two runs that put the game away. I hate to say it, but this is the Tigers team of old, and this was the kind of stuff they were doing in spring training. I have a feeling Tram is going to have a little talk with the boys after this one.

Jeremy Bonderman appeared to pitch well in his second straight start, giving up 3 runs, 4 hits and walk, in six innings. Seven strikeouts brings his season total to 15 in 13 1/3 innings. I think he’s grown up since last year. You can’t argue with a 15:3 strikeout to walk ratio.

But, you can’t complain too much about a 5-2 start. Hopefully they’ll bounce back and play a good game tomorrow evening. Nate Robertson makes his first start of the season against Ted Lilly.

Tigerblog had another record day today with regard to traffic. It’s great to see people taking an interest in the site, and I appreciate everyone’s kind words. Most of the traffic today came from a well written piece by Josh Levin on Baseball Blogs at’s Slate. You’ll see a lot of the regular names, and then, at the very bottom, I get a brief mention. Hopefully everyone who stopped by comes back as a regular reader.

I got my taxes done tonight. I know this is a family show, but I’m glad this shit is almost over. I was a little peeved that the Bush press conference pushed back “24” by an hour and a half.

Tigers Rain on Red Sox Opening Day, Beat Red Sox 13-9

April 13, 1984 – Tigers 13, Red Sox 9 (8-0)

Neither Milt Wilcox nor Boston starter Bruce Hurst would make it past the first inning in this slugfest. The Tigers started things off by scoring 8 runs in the top half of the first inning. Four Tigers would bat twice in the inning, and in a fashion, Lance Parrish was responsible for all three outs. He struck out in his first at bat, then grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Boston responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, chasing Wilcox out of the game. Doug Bair, another key member of the Tigers bullpen, came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only 3 hits and one walks, and striking out five.

Six different Tigers had multihit games in this Friday the 13th game, and the Tigers would improve to 8-0.

And the diary will take a short break. In an unusual stretch of the season, the Tigers had four consecutive days off because of rain, and even snow. So be sure to check back on April 18th. In the meantime, hopefully the 2004 Tigers will give me more to write about.

Happy Birthday Tigerblog

One year ago today, I made my first post on this blog, so this is as good of a time to say I started things off. What started off as a side page on my fantasy baseball site has sort of grown on its on. What’s equally ironic is this post, the 200th, is also a mile stone. Thanks for everyone’s kind words over the past year.

And the Tigers kept things going, beating the Twins in 10 innings, 6-5. Mike Maroth threw a good game, and the bullpen had a nice effort down the stretch. Steve Colyer shut the Twins down in the tenth to earn his first win as a Tiger, and Craig Monroe had the game winning hit.

So the Tigers improve to 5-1, and Toronto comes into town for a three game series tomorrow. As always, we’ll have to take the season one game at a time, and we can’t take Toronto for granted, despite sweeping them last week. If they can take the series, and improve to 7-2, then we might be looking at a “for real” situation.

Tigers Sweep Texas, Morris Improves to 3-0

April 12, 1984 – Tigers 9, Rangers 4 (7-0)

Alan Trammell, Chet Lemon, and Lou Whitaker all homered, as the Tigers trounced the Rangers 9-4. Through five innings, Texas was hanging in there, but the Tigers scored four in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Jack Morris was his usual self, going seven innings, while giving up seven hits and one walk. The only two runs he gave up were unearned.

And with that win, the Tigers broke the franchise record for most consecutive wins to start the season. They also already had a three game lead in their division. The only question for Tiger fans was how long they could keep it up.

It Had to End

Unfortunately, Jason Johnson couldn’t follow up on his nice performance to open the season, and the Tigers dropped their first game of the season to the Twins, losing 10-5. The Tigers tried to mount a couple of comebacks, but fell a little short.

But, I’ll still take 4-1.

With April 15th this week, I’m going to try to write, but, like today, they’ll be pretty short. I’ll be back up to full speed probably even as early as Tuesday. At the very least, I’ll be sure to keep up with the 1984 Detroit Tigers Diary. No entry today because they had the day off on April 11th.

Have a Happy Easter.

Addition by Subtraction

If anyone can tell me what the Vegas odds were that the Tigers would be the last undefeated team in baseball, I’m sure it would be telling tale. Yes, it’s only four games into the season, but Toronto, who Detroit man handled in a three game series in their own box went on to beat Boston in “their” home opener yesterday.

Still, Tiger fans have to be realistic. Pat Caputo, the Oakland Press writer, who also has a radio show on AM 1270, knows more about baseball then anyone I know. And just on Sunday, six days ago, he predicted on his radio show that the Tigers would go 62-100.

Not to rain on everyone’s parade, but he could still be right. With Dmitri Young down, all it would take is something similar to happen to Vina, or Pudge, or White, to see things drop off pretty quick.

Not that I’m trying to be pessimistic, but the fans who now have taken a new interest in the Tigers shouldn’t neccesarily just give up on them if they drop off. They should enjoy the fact that Mike Ilitch said he’d make the team better, and he followed through. Maybe next year we add another guy (starting pitching) that puts us over the top. But for now, all we can do is enjoy what the Tigers are giving us, some plain old excitement.

Tigers Win Home Opener, Improve to 6-0

April 10, 1984 – Tigers 5, Rangers 1 (6-0)

Dan Petry went the distance in this one, yielding a run and two hits in the first inning, and then only giving up two hits the rest of the way, all while striking out seven.

Once again, the Tigers only had five hits, but they made them all count. Darrell Evans hit a three run homer on his very first swing at Tiger Stadium in the first inning. Dave Stewart wouldn’t even make it out of the first inning (five walks, two hits, and four runs in 2/3 of inning).

And with the win, the Tigers tied their franchise best start ever. One really interesting thing about the Tigers 1984 season is that Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez got quite a bit of the credit for carrying this team, but it was Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox who helped Morris anchor a great rotation.

In fact, in some respects Dan Petry had an even better year the Morris. He didn’t have the no-hitter, but his ERA was better (3.24 vs. 3.60) and so was his WHIP (1.273 vs. 1.282). Both had just about the same number of strikeouts (144 for Petry and 148 for Morris). Not to diminish Morris’ role, because he was the leader, but Petry had an outstanding year in his own right.

Tigers Remain Undefeated, Beat Twins in Home Opener

The Tigers weren’t satisfied with six or seven runs. They had to do better. And they did. Down three to zero going into the sixth, the Tigers put together a nice four run rally to take the lead. Bobby Higginson came up huge with a two run double to give the Tigers the lead.

But the Twins weren’t done. Jacque Jones led off the seventh with a homerun to tie things up. So everything was tied going into the bottom of the seventh.

And then it happened again. An offensive explosion that would have been more rare in 2003 then even a win, the Tigers scored five runs to take the lead for good. Higginson capped off a huge day with a two run triple and finished the day with four rbis.

Cornejo pitched well over seven innings. He did give up two homeruns, but he struck out four. Without going back to check, that had to be close to his season high last year.

Colyer then came in and finished things off. He did give up a two run shot, but that wasn’t nearly enough to lose the game.

So the Tigers start the season 4-0. They’ve scored 30 runs. Last year, it wasn’t May 4th that they won their fourth game. And it took them 16 games to rack up thirty runs. The only other team that is undefeated in all of baseball is Anaheim.

What a great start. Words can’t even begin to describe it. After years of dissappointment, Tiger fans finally have something to cheer about, the basic fact that if you go to see them they play, they could win the game. It sounds simple, but it’s been lacking the last couple of years.

The 1984 Tigers, along with the 2004 Tigers, had the day off tomorrow, so the diary won’t be updated until Saturday.

Tigers Sweep Whitesox, Head Home Undefeated

April 8, 1984 – Tigers 7, White Sox 3 (5-0)

Dave Rozema pitched four strong innings, but had to leave the game when his arm tightened up. He left Aurilio Lopez with a one run lead, and summarily slammed the door, giving up only one run (Harold Baines home run), one hit, and striking out four in four strong innings.

The Tigers got to Tom Seaver early as well, scoring five runs in the first five innings. Kirk Gibson hit his second homer of the season. Tram stole his fourth base. Barbero Garbey doubled twice and drove in three runs.

I’m not sure why, but this game went three hours and seventeen minutes. Back then, that was a pretty long game.

And one odd quirk about the 1984 season is the Tigers played in four home openers. They opened the Metrodome, Comiskey, Fenway and then of course Tiger Stadium. They rained on everyone’s parade that year.

Opening Day

The Tigers open up Comerica Park this afternoon against the Twins. The way everyone is talking, if they win this one, it wouldn’t surprise me if the fans storm the field. That’s how excited people are.

I also want to give a big thanks to the Detroit Tigers Weblog and Baseball Musings for the kind words about my 1984 Detroit Tigers Diary. They were both instrumental in making yesterday my best traffic day ever.

For those of you going to the game, have a blast.

Tigers Sweep Jays, Head Home Undefeated

Jeremy Bonderman got off to a rough start, giving up a three run homerun to Carlos Delgado in the first inning. It sounded (I listened to most of it on the radio) like it was going to be one of those games. Greg Myers doubled, but Bonderman struck Pond out and got Orlando Hudson to ground out.

If this were 2003, the game would have been over with after just half of an inning.

But something happened. Carlos Guillen reached base on a Carlos Delgado error, Higgy hit a sac fly to make it a two run game, and Craig Monroe drew a walk. Then, it happened.

Eric Munson hit a three shot to give the Tigers the lead. For good.

Jeremy Bonderman was rock solid after that first inning as he pitched four innings of no hit ball. Then in the sixth, the Tigers got a scare when Vernon Wells hit a liner up the middle, and nailed Bonderman in the foot/ankle area. He shook it off, threw some warm up pitches, but they took him out of the game. Hopefully he’s fine. Four different relievers came in to shut the Jays down the rest of the way, and the Tigers ended up with a 6-3 victory.

And with that, they play their home opener undefeated. The last time they won their first three games was 1985. The last time they won their first three road games was 1984. It took the Tigers 22 games in 2003 to win their third game. It took them 30 games to win their third road game.

I know the season is long, and you only have to look back to last year’s Kansas City Royals to see how a team that gets off to a hot start can drop off. But Tiger fans haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about the past several years. So far this week, they finally do.

Jack Morris Throws Gem, No Hits White Sox

April 7, 1984 – Tigers 4, White Sox 0 (4-0)

For the second game in a row, the Tigers only had five hits. but that was more then enough in this one, as Jack Morris went the distance, and threw the first Tiger no-hitter since Jim Bunning did it back in 1958. Morris actually walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but got Greg Luzinski to hit into a 1-2-3 double play to get him out of the jam.

I distinctly remember this game. It was on a Saturday, which was the day we usually went to evening mass. The game wasn’t done when we left, so I made everyone listen to the game on the radio on the drive over there, and I even waited until the game was done before getting out of the car. I was glued to the radio.

Tigers Make It a Winning Streak

Another seven runs, to go with twelve hits, and the Tiger’s are now 2-0 for the first time since … 1986. It wasn’t until their 19th game that they won their second. And it took them until the 8th game to score 14 runs.

Five different Tigers had a multi-hit game and no one Tiger drove in more then two runs. Carlos Guillen hit his first homer as a Tiger.

This was definitely a team affair, as everyone got involved in the scoring. Mike Maroth began to struggle in the fifth, and was taken out with the lead after only 70 pitches. The eventual 5th starter, Nate Robertson, came in and pitched extremely well, throwing four shutout innings and striking out seven to close out the game and earn the save.

The bad news is it looks like Dimtri Young broke his fibula. The official announcement was a non-displaced fracture, and I’m not quite sure what that means, but it’s not good. It’s unfortunate that our DH of all people would suffer a serious injury.

One more win, and the Tigers will open up Comerica Park undefeated.

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