Archive for May, 2004

Memorial Day

For more reasons then just baseball, Memorial Day is a very important holiday. I personally salute all veterans, both past and present, along with our current troops defending our country here and overseas.

Memorial Day at one point used to represent the quarter point of the baseball season. Most teams played doubleheaders. Now, with the earlier start, it marks “sort of” the quarter point kind of like the All Star break now represents “sort of” the half way point.

It was a tough weekend for the Tigers as they got swept for only the second time all year. The Tigers kept each game close, but yesterday’s game might have been the most disappointing of the season.

Closer Ugueth Urbina was given a one run lead. He then gave up four hits and two walks, leading to a six run Orioles ninth inning. He only managed to get one out. In the process, his ERA rose from a nice 1.76 all the way to 5.17. A fine pitching performance by Mike Maroth went to waste.

The View From the Bleachers is having a Baseball Blog World Series, and he was nice enough to include my site. If you get a chance, head on over there and cast your vote.

Kansas City is on deck this afternoon. Hopefully they can turn things around.

Willie Hernandez Comes Up Big to Lead Detroit Tigers to Victory

May 30, 1984 Tigers 2, A’s 1 (37-9)

Big players come up in big ways, and two big players came up big in this one.

To set the stage, Juan Berenguer was cruising along. Two hits through four innings. Then the wheels came off the wagon. An error and three walks led Oakland to the go ahead run in the fifth. Then with the bases loaded, Captain hook was true to form and brought in his horse from the pen, Willie Hernandez. With two outs and an inherited bases loaded, Willie got Mike Davis to ground out to end the inning, and stop the damage.

The Tigers would answer immediately in the sixth inning. Barbero Garbey tripled to lead off the inning. And then with one out and Garbey at third, future Tigers Tony Phillips made an error that allowed Garbey to score and tie up the game.

Hernandez would shutdown the A’s through the eighth, and in the top half of the ninth, with one out, Kirk Gibson, known for his clutch hits, jacked a solo shot to give the Tigers the lead for good. Aurilio Lopez finished the game to earn his seventh save.

Oakland Turns Tables, Upends Detroit Tigers

May 29, 1984 A’s 8, Tigers 5 (36-9)

Oakland really pummelled Milt Wilcox, who dropped to 6-2. By the end of the fourth inning, he’d be gone, and the score was 8-1. Not a whole lot to say about this one. Chet Lemon hit his ninth homer, and only one other Tiger, Barbero Garbey, had an extra base hit.

And not to get too far away from the 1984 season, but I’ve never been a big fan of the save statistic. I wrote about it and John Hiller in a past column, but in this game, Oakland’s closer, Bill Caudill, earned his tenth save of the season. Oakland was a sub-.500 team, but using the benchmark statistic for closers, you could make the arguement that Caudill was more effective then either Willie Hernandez and Aurilio Lopez, both of whom had a lower save total.

In fact, Caudill would end the season with 36 saves, four more then Cy Young and MVP winning Willie Hernandez. Interestlingly enough, two relievers finished in the top three of the MVP balloting in 1984. Willie of course won it, but Dan Quisenberry came in third. They also finished first and second in the Cy Young. As best as I can tell, 1984 was the only time relievers were as represented at the top of the ballots for either award.

Detroit Tigers End Skid With Strong Outing by Morris

May 28, 1984 Tigers 6, A’s 2 (36-8)

A four run first sealed this one pretty early as Jack Morris didn’t give the A’s much to work with. He improved to 10-1, went the distance, and only gave up six hits while striking out eight. On top of that, neither of the two runs he gave up were earned.

Jack Morris was definitely the Tigers “ace.” This term gets thrown around a lot, but in my mind, it’s basically a great pitcher who’s also a losing streak stopper. Someone who goes out, and no matter how bad the team is doing, does what it takes to end that streak. And that’s exactly what Morris did here. He’d have his troubles later in the year (10-1 was sort of his pinnacle, as he’d go 9-10 the rest of the way), but the Tigers needed a win here to stop the three game skid.

I also specifically remember at around this point was when the “30 win” talk began to heat up.

Lance Parrish hit his eighth homer of the season, and Alan Trammell went three for four.

When in Doubt, Blow Them Out

That was the mantra of the Tigers yesterday. They had struggled against a poor team, and needed to bounce back. And they did, in a huge way. In all, they’d score 17 runs on 27 hits.

Stellar performance number 1 goes to Carlos Pena, who put up numbers you’d normally see on a console baseball game. 6 for 6, four runs, and five RBIs on two homeruns. That one game boosted his batting average from .204 all the way to .236.

Stellar performance number 2 goes to Omar Infante. Omar went four for four, with three double, two runs, and two RBIs. Not bad production from the eight and ninth spot.

Stellar performance number 3 goes to Alex Sanchez. Alex started the game four for four, then dropped off on his final two at bats. He finished four for six, with yet another multi-hit game.

Seven Tigers had multi-hit games. Five had three or more. Five had two or more RBIs. Six scored at least twice.

The honorable mention goes to Nate Robertson, who pitched five strong innings to pick up his fourth win. He left the game with a nice eight run cushion.

Tigers face Baltimore this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get my email fixed, and I’ll be able to square things away with the people who will be writing for the site to give everyone some more diverse readings. This email problem is more and more frustrating because it will start to work for a bit, and I think I’m out of the water, then it will start crashing again.

Royal Blues

Kind of typical for sports teams around here. The Tigers clawed their way back up to around .500, and now they’ve dropped two in a row to one of the worst teams in baseball (record wise), the Royals. All this despite outhitting them 12-10.

One of the many surprises, but possibly the biggest, is Alex Sanchez. He again had a good game yesterday, going three for five. I am an OBP advocate, and Sanchez still isn’t drawing many walks. But in his defense, that bunt he has might actually make up for it. If someone has numbers on how effective that is when he does (bunting for a hit) and they’d be willing to share them with me, I’d appreciate it. But if it’s more then 40%, then I’ll take those odds. Bunt for the hit instead of going for the walk.

But his average is up to .361, and he’s had multihit games in five of the last six games.

The Tigers go this afternoon. Hopefully they avoid the sweep.

And for the people who wrote me about writing for the site, I’m still having problems with my email. Basically I can read email, but can’t send any. I did get one out yesterday, but it’s back to crashing IE, which I think is the problem. Thank you for your patience.

Mariners Finish Sweep, Blowout Tigers Again

May 27, 1984 Mariners 6, Tigers 1 (35-8)

Not a whole lot went right in this one. Dan Petry got shelled, giving up nine hits and four runs in four innings. Aurilio Lopez had his worst outing of the year as well. On top of all that, the Tigers had ten hits, but only managed to score one, on a solo shot by Chet Lemon.

This was the first three game losing streak of the season, and the first time the Tigers were swept. At this point, the Tigers next 40 games would result in a 20-20 record, a pretty long stretch of mediocrity for a team that was so good for the first quarter of a season.

Berenguer Shelled, Mariners Best Tigers Again

May 26, 1984 Mariners 9, Tigers 5 (35-7)

This one was over early. Starter Juan Berenguer, who would suffer from inconsistency throughout the season, could only manage to get one out before getting pulled. In all he gave up four runs. Three of the four Tigers relievers gave up runs in what could only be termed as a blowout.

The Tigers fought back with three in the top half of the ninth, but they couldn’t manage to pull off the nearly impossible. Kirk Gibson hit his sixth homerun, and Rusty Kuntz hit his second.

This had to be one of the oddest series of the year. After coming off of the high of the 35-5 start, the Tigers would get swept in Seattle (as we’ll see the finale tomorrow). And in all three games, they beat them pretty handily. Seattle had gotten off to a fair start (20-24 at the beginning), but they were still a sub-.500 team.

Attendace was also unusual for this weekend series. The Friday and Sunday games drew 15,000 and 12,000, but the Saturday game drew 41,000. Maybe they were giving something away in Seattle for that Saturday game.

Message to Prospective Writers

It looks like this latest attempt to garner some guest writers was more successful then the last one. For those of you who emailed me or left a comment, thank you for the interest. I’ll find a job for each of you, I’m just having problems with my email right now. Once I get it figured out, I’ll be in touch and explain how everything will work.

Tigers are down early to KC, 2-0.

Mariners End Streak, Tigers Finally Lose

May 25, 1984 Mariners 7, Tigers 3 (35-6)

It all had to end eventually. But to be sitting near the end of May, and to only have six losses, is quite an accompishment. The major league consecutive road victory streak record remained intact, with an added name, but it wouldn’t be broken.

Milt Wilcox never got on track in this one. He gave up three quick runs in the first two innings, and then gave up three more in the fifth inning. He walked with his first loss of the season. The pen pitched well, but the Tigers couldn’t put the runs on the board to come back.

The only real hitting highlight was Alan Trammell hitting his sixth homerun. Darrell Evans also put up a two hit game.

Looking for a Few Good Men, Again

I tried doing this at the beginning of the offseason, and it had moderate success, but I was wondering if anyone out there in cyberspace would like to write for the site. Steve B., who comments regularly and had one column up, was nice enough to volunteer last time, but due to computer issues, wasn’t able to write more regularly. I hope he’ll be willing to write again, but I’m also hoping to add more people. Basically I’d want volunteers for the following things:

Game Updates – Possibly the easiest, but the most time consuming, you’d be writing commentary on the Tigers as they play their season.

Minor League Update – Takes a little more digging, but I’d like something weekly or twice a week. Might be ideal for a Toledo resident.

AL Central Update – Weekly column. A little more broad of a subject, but I’d be looking for something once a week on the movers and shakers in the division.

And then maybe one or two additional weekly general columns. I’d then be able to focus a little more on the 1984 diary, possibly get my friend up and running on his Red’s blog, and pipe in with a weekly column of my own.

So, if any of this interests you, drop me a line. You get the benefit of having a modest number of people read your stuff, and if you ever decided to go off on your own, you’d have my full support in doing so.

Tigers Take Series from Seattle, Pitching Strong

For the third weekend in a row, the Tigers won their three game series. Twice against Texas and now against Seattle, the Tigers seem to be mired in this “just below .500” trend. They’re 9-10 this month, and site at 21-22 on the season. They also sit four games behing four different teams for the wild card spot. They’re also four games behind the division leading Twins and White Sox.

Playoffs you say? Isn’t that a bit optimistic? With this team, maybe. Dmitri Young’s recovery looks to be set back a little, and he’d be a big help. But what Dave Dombrowski could be thinking about is getting one more starting pitcher the rest of the way that could put us over the top. We know this team can hit, but outside of Maroth and Bonderman, I don’t have ton of confidence in their starters.

The other angle would be to stand pat, keep our prospects, and plan for the future. Most of this current team will remain intact next, so adding that last one or two pieces next year might be a better way to go.


May 24, 1984 Tigers 5, Angels 1 (35-5)

Jack Morris is one of those players who ends up in history making situations. He’d later do it for the Twins in his classic 10 inning, Game 7 shutout during the 1991 World Series. He’d also be a part of history again in 1984 as he’d win the game most people recognize as what the 1984 Tigers embodied, their 35-5 start.

Morris would get off to a shaky start, giving up two hits and one unearned run in the first. He then went on to only give up two hits the rest of the way, while ending up with 10 strikeouts.

Alan Trammell’s two run homer in the fourth led to a four run inning that put the Tiger’s up for good. Lance Parrish added a solo shot in the sixth, but it was a run they wouldn’t end up needing.

With the win, the Tiger’s improved to 35-5, the best start ever over the course of the first quarter of the season (and as far as I could determine, the best 40 game stretch ever). They broke an AL record with their 17th consecutive road victory, and also tied the 1916 New York Giant’s major league record for consecutive road victories. It was truly a memorable day, and the 35-5 start would go down as possibly the Tiger’s greatest single accomplishment in the history of the franchise.

Parrish Homers Tigers to 16th Road Win in a Row

May 23, 1984 Tigers 4, Angels 2 (34-5)

Lance Parrish hit a two run homerun in the seventh to lead the Tigers to their record tying 16th consecutive road victory. Only the 1912 Washington Senators had won as many road games in a row as the 1984 Detroit Tigers.

Dan Petry, who was born Palo Alto, CA, 10 minutes away from the Angels ballpark, threw another gem of a game to pick up his seventh win. He walked two and gave up five hits, but the only real damage was the two run shot he gave up to Doug DeCinces in the fourth inning. Willie Hernandez pitched two perfect innings and struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.

Tigers Start West Coast Swing With Win

May 22, 1984 Tigers 3, Angels 1 (33-5)

It’s amazing how the great teams get exactly what they need to win. A few games ago, the Tiger’s needed a five run first inning to beat Oakland. Good starts would garner them a sweep, despite some late inning comeback attempts.

And things didn’t change here. If your offense only scores three runs, you’re not likely to win the game. But Juan Berenguer and Aurilio Lopez combined for a five hitter to give the Tiger’s their 33rd win of the season.

Berenguer struck out nine batters in six innings to get his third win of the season. He’d walk three and give up three walks, but only one Angel, Rod Carew on a solo shot, would cross the plate. Aurilio Lopez would shut out the Angels the rest of the way to lead the Tigers to victory.

41,000 fans would come out to see the Angels play the Tigers in Anaheim. On a Tuesday no less. And with the win, the Tigers won their 15th straight on the road, one shy of the AL record.

Tigers Throw Game Away, Drop Series to A’s

I caught the very beginning of this one on the radio, and Dan Dickerson and Jim Price made a point to tell everyone that against Hudson, you had to take advantage of every opportunity. They left eight men on base, so they didn’t reall accomplish that, hence the loss.

Ten hits off of Tim Hudson is no small task. In fact, it’s the first time this year anyone has tagged Hudson for double digit hits. The Tigers just couldn’t capitalize on their chances though. Compound that with the game winning, eighth inning run scoring on a throwing error by Eric Munson, and you definitely have a game that got away. The 3-2 lead would stand, and the Tigers now drop to two games below .500 at the 40 game point.

Fortunately they head to Seattle, where they face a stuggling Mariners team. Walking away with two out of three would be nice.

Oakland Tops Tigers, Maroth

Mike Maroth lost his first game in almost a month. Go back and reread that sentence, and keep in mind that this is a Tiger pitcher. You’ll then realize how much this team has really improved.

Homeruns were his archnemisis. Bobby Kielty had a career day, hitting two homeruns and driving in four. Jermaine Dye would get in on the action by hitting a solo shot himself.

The Tigers weren’t without opportunities in the 6-2 loss. They left eleven men on base, and drew five walks (no more by Sanchez). Brandon Inge poked his head back above .300 by going two for four.

The rubber game is this afternoon, as Gary Knotts throws against Tim Hudson. Hopefully the Tigers will be able to get the win and leave the first series on their road trip on a winning note.

Wilcox Remains Perfect as Tigers Sweep A’s

May 20, 1984 Tigers 4, A’s 3 (32-5)

This was another one run game where the Tigers got off to a nice early lead, but watched the other team nearly come back to beat them. Milt Wilcox was simply awesome, and improved to 6-0. He threw six innings, and only gave up three hits and a walk. Willie Hernandez pitched the final three innings, and his only blemish was a solo homerun by Mike Heath. In total, the two pitchers would hold the A’s to four hits while only giving up one walk.

Dwight Lowry, the Tiger’s backup catcher, hit the first homerun of his career. Larry Herdon picked up two singles to be the only Tiger with a multihit game. Nine of the ten Tiger hits were singles, with the Lowry homer being the exception.

Tigers Hold on for Morris

May 19, 1984 Tigers 5, Oakland 4 (31-5)

This is a game that almost got away. Detroit got off to a comfortable 5-1 lead, and almost let things slip through their fingers. Aurilio Lopez gave up a solo shot to Dwayne Murphy in the ninth to cut the lead to one, but held on the rest of the way to earn his fifth save. Jack Morris had a rough outing, walking six and giving up eight hits in 7 1/3, but he got through some jams to earn his eighth victory.

Lou Whitaker and Darrell Evans drove in two runs a piece (one of Lou’s came off of a solo shot), and Kirk Gibson scored twice. Alan Trammell stole his 12th base, which at that point was one more steal then what Rickey Henderson, the eventual league leader, had stolen. The Tigers scored all five of their runs in five seperate innings.

Bonderman/Harden – Round 2

This time, the Tigers didn’t let a good outing by Jeremy Bonderman go to waste. He pitched seven strong innings, giving up only four hits, three walks and one run, while striking out five. Jeremy now sits at 4-2, which is a fry cry from his 6-19 record last year.

Rondell White and Craig Monroe homered for Detroit, but the most suprising stat came from Alex Sanchez. He doubled his season walk total by drawing two walks.

With the win, the Tigers are back to .500, as they currently stand at 19-19. The Tigers didn’t win their 19th game last year until July 1.

Just a few quick notes. First off, and I heard this from someone so it’s second hand information, but WDFN gave credit for “breaking” the story that the Singing Hot Dog Vendor was silenced to someone over at the Detroit Sports Report on Tuesday. Of course this is hardly breaking news to those of you who frequent this site, because I talked about it late Friday.

Second, I have preliminary plans to make sure there’s a transition, but my wife is due basically any day now. So if you stop by and I haven’t updated, it’s not because I’m lazy (at least this time it isn’t), it’s because I can’t get at a computer. I do have a guest writer lined up, so hopefully there won’t be a noticable break.

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