Archive for June, 2004

Tigers Sweep Brewers, Remain Six Games Up

June 17, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 4 (47-16)

Dave Rozema improved to 3-0 with a solid five innings of four hit ball. Aurilio Lopez inherited a five run lead, and although he wasn’t stellar, picked up his eighth save by going four innings to finish the game off.

The Tigers did the bulk of their damage in the fifth when they scored five runs. Tom Brookens had a two run triple, and Barbero Garbey scored by stealing home. Chet Lemon led the hit parade by going three for five while driving in two runs.

The Tigers headed home with three straight wins a struggling Yankees team still six games ahead of Toronto. The race at this point was pretty much a two team one, as Baltimore had tapered of to 11 1/2 back (still a better record then the division leading California Angels).

Juan Berenguer Shutouts Brewers

June 16, 1984 Tigers 6, Brewers 0 (46-16)

Juan Berenguer was very impressive, throwing what would be his only complete game shutout of the season. He pitched a five hitter, and never gave up more then one hit in any given inning.

Darrell Evans had the hot bat, hitting a three run homer in the sixth, and adding another RBI with a sacrafice fly. Dave Bergman went three for four, and Rupert Jones tacked on two hits, one of which was was second homer of the season.

The Blue Jays had also won their last two since the Tiger’s series, and remained stuck at six games back. Still enough to worry about.

Dan Petry Bests Brewers in Come From Behind Win

Jun 15, 1984 Tigers 3, Brewers 2 (45-16)

The Tigers scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to take the lead for good in this tight pitching matchup. John Grubb reached base on an error and drove in the tying run, while Larry Herndon had an infield single with the bases loaded to score what would be the winning run. Lance Parrish hit his tenth homerun while going two for three, and Larry Herndon contributed with two hits of his own.

Dan Petry pitched another fine game, going seven innings of seven hit ball. Willie Hernandez nailed the door shut with two shutout innings to earn his eleventh save.

State of the Blog

I’m sorry for the lack of updates. Everyone says things change immensely when you have a kid, and you think you know how it’s going to be. But of course, you really don’t. So I apologize for the lack of content, at least from me. But I’m hoping to get some time in the next few days to catch up on the 1984 diary, and write about a few other things.

Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, Steve wrote a nice column that’s worth reading, and I still have a couple other authors who are busy working on topics.

Situational Leftist

On May 24th and 25th I was given the opportunity to view some Tiger prospects first hand. I was able to watch the West Michigan Whitecaps play our local Cubs class A affiliate in Lansing, the Lansing Lugnuts. It was also a great opportunity because on the 25th Mark Prior had his second rehabilitation start. It would also prove to be a very difficult test for the Whitecaps hitters as Prior held them hitless with no walks and allowed one baserunner on a fielding error in 4 1/3 innings. I realize that 2 games is a very limited sampling but I was left with good impressions from three Whitecap players and their overall performance in those games.
Tony Giarrantano was very good at shortstop. He exhibited good range and a strong arm. In particular, during the 2nd inning of the May 24th game he snagged a hard hit ball in the 5 1/2 hole between second and third and threw out a baserunner at 1st going away that was very impressive. He had a double with an RBI and also reached base after being hit by a pitch in the 9 at bats I witnessed. He looked confident and was very good at working the counts. He will need to develop a little pop if he will continue to move through the system.
Vincent Blue, is a lanky centerfielder who appears to have good range and really moved to get after balls hit into the rangy centerfield of Oldsmobile Park. He did lose one line drive that was turned into a triple but otherwise performed very well. He had 4 hits in his 10 at bats in the 2 games and had a RBI. He was an aggressive base runner which lead him to being thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. As Blue physically matures I can see him develop some more slugging potential because he is very long and thin.
Kody Kirkland performed very well in the games I saw but appears to have had a rough time at the plate to begin the season. He had 4 hits in nine at bats but also struck out 4 times. He seemed to have his best at bats versus Prior even if he was only able to get on base due to a fielding error. Kirkland who two triples very deep in right center, one of which might have been a homer if it hadn’t struck a protective railing on the outfield wall. Kirkland was sure handed at third and seemed to have a good arm. Kirkland may have the most difficult path to the majors since he will have not only his own performance to be concerned with but the fact that the organization also has a former first round draft pick in Scott Moore sitting just one level above him in the organization.

My name is Steve Butts. I went to Michigan State University and got a B.S. in Pychology. I have been a baseball fan since seeing a 1977 Detroit Tigers baseball program. The first World Series I remember viewing was the “We are Family” Pirates. I have also been at times a Cub fan thanks to cable television and a late grandfather who grew up in West Michigan and was a lifelong fan. I am also a distant relative to Toledo pitcher Andy Van Hekken on my mother’s side of the family. I am currently employed in the Music and Video Dept. of a local Barnes & Noble.

Dave Stieb Shutsdown Tigers

June 13, 1984 Blue Jays 7, Tigers 3 (44-16)

The Tigers ran into a brick wall in Dave Stieb, and they never really had a chance in this one. Stieb pitched seven strong shutout innings, giving up only three hits. It wasn’t until the eighth inning, against rookie reliever Jimmy Key, that Tigers managed to get on the board with three runs.

Milt Wilcox threw five mediocre innings, and Doug Bair got lit up for three runs in his two relief innings.

No real hitting stars in this one, as the Tigers only managed to get seven hits, and nobody had more then one.

So the Tigers had a chance to really extend their lead, but by dropping the last two games, they gave Toronto some help. Six games was a nice cushion, but hardly insurmountable this early in the season.

Blue Jays Blowout Morris, Tigers

June 12, 1984 Blue Jays 12, Tigers 3 (44-15)

Jack Morris got shelled, plain and simple, and the pen followed suit with some equally bad pitching. This would be the most runs the Tigers would give up in a game all season (the twelve runs would eventually be matched in August, but not surpassed).

Three innings, eight hits, and six runs was the final line for Morris. By far his worst outing of the season. Sid Monge, who was picked up the day before, pitched four innings and gave up three runs. Even the reliable Aurilio Lopez gave up three runs in an eighth inning that didn’t mean too much.

Tiger’s hitting stars included Lou Whitaker, who went three for four with two RBIs. John Grubb went two for four, and Howard Johnson went two for three and scored twice. Chet Lemon was the only other player to get a hit.

Tigers Win Thriller in Toronto

June 11, 1984 Tigers 5, Blue Jays 4 (44-14)

With the score tied at three a piece, Lou Whitaker hit a two run shot in the fourth inning to put the Tigers up by two. Seemed like a modest lead, but it turned out to be the difference, but not without some nail biting by Tiger fans.

With two outs in the bottom of seventh, Willie Hernandez came in with that two run lead and a runner on third. Willie allowed the inherited runner to score and pull the Jays to within one run, but he got the final seven Blue Jays out (three by strikeout) to earn his tenth save of the year.

With the win, the Tigers extended their lead to a season high eight games

Tigers take series from the Braves

It looked like the Tigers were going to drop the first series in interleague play. They were down 4-1 going into the bottom of the 6th inning against the Braves. They hadn’t gotten a hit and they didn’t have their manager(Trammel was tossed earlier in the game). In that 6th inning they scored 2 runs and in the 7th inning they scored 4 runs to seal the 7-4 victory over the Braves.

Maroth(5-3) gave up some runs early but settled down to pick up the victory. The win also ended his personal 4 game winless streak.

Urbina got another save and now has 9 on the season.

This was just the second time this season that the Tigers have trailed through 6 innings and still won the game.

This was a good series for the Tigers. They took 2/3 games from the Braves to start interleague play. Their next series is against the Marlins.

A Save Today Versus a Save Yesterday

Joe Morgan, who I enjoy as a baseball commentator, but usually find myself disagreeing with time and time again, wrote a column on ESPN about Eric Gagne’s consecutive save record. And in this instance, I find myself agreeing with him.

You can check out the column, and decide for yourself. Although I don’t neccesarily agree that the Cy Young should exclude relievers, I do agree that a pitcher who throws just over 80 innings isn’t nearly as valuable as a guy who throws 125, much less 225, no matter how effective he is. Probably the best write up on this would be in Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (required reading for a baseball fan, the book is excellent), where he talks about Dennis Eckersley. Also be sure to check out the thread Bllfer wrote about using his relievers over on the Detroit Tigers Weblog.

Hopefully everyone enjoys the new writers. Dan is doing a fine job reporting on the day to day activities of the Tigers, while Kevin is writing a semi-weekly AL Central report. Also, I’ll be taking a short hiatus. I’ll most likely be in the hospital tonight or tomorrow as my wife is more then ready to have the kid. In my place, a good friend will be doing a little writing for me.

Tigers Sweep Doubleheader, Head to Toronto With a Seven Game Lead

This double header seemed liked a big win at the time, but it basically marked the point where the Tigers continued to widen the distance between themselves and Toronto. They’d come in with a 5 1/2 game lead, and leave with a seven game lead. Toronto would pull a little closer in the next week, and pull to within six games in early July, but the 35-5 start gave the Tigers to strong of a base to start with.

June 10, 1984 Tigers 10, Orioles 4 Game 1 (42-14)

Another tough start by Glenn Abbot. He didn’t make it through the third, giving up seven hits and three runs through 2 2/3. At the end of the third, the game would be tied, but then the Tiger’s bats took over.

Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Kirk Gibson, the Tigers 1-2-3 hitters, were a combined 8 for 13. Lou Whitaker went three for four and scored five runs. Tram went two for four with a double and triple, had four RBIs, and scored twice. Kirk Gibson went three for five and chalked up four RBIs. Four Orioles errors led to five unearned runs.

Doug Bair went 3 1/3 of one hit ball to pick up his third win, and Willie Hernandez went three innings to chalk up his ninth save.

June 10, 1984 Tigers 8, Orioles 0 Game 2 (43-14)

This was a blow out, plain and simple. Dan Petry bounced back to throw a three hitter. Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, and Howard Johnson all had three hits, and Hojo hit his fourth homer of the year.

Nearly 52,000 fans showed up for the doubleheader.

Tigers drop Interleague Opener

The Tigers lost another close game, this time against the Braves. The game was tied 3-3 in the 10th inning when Danny Patterson threw Rafael Furcal’s sac bunt attempt past first base and into right field for a two-base error, allowing Mark DeRosa to score to make it 4-3 Braves. The Tigers couldn’t score in the bottom of the 10th and they lost 4-3.

Jason Johnson(4-6) pitched good going 8 innings while giving up 3 runs. He also struckout 8.

The Tigers were down in this game 3-0 when they scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to tie the game.

Detroit is now 25-32 on the season.

Interleague Play Begins

As always, I have mixed feelings about this time of year. I still think the best playoff format was no playoffs like they had it back in 1968, but I’m probably in the minority on that one.

Interleague play is another one of those things. At first I liked it, and in certain respects, I still do. If the Giants were to come to town, I’d love to go see Barry Bonds play. I missed Mark McGwire’s appearance a few years ago at Comerica Park, but I would have liked to see him as well.

And then you have the stories like last night, where East Lansing native and former Tiger’s farmhand John Smoltz made his pitching debut in Detroit, pitching a perfect tenth to seal the victory for the Braves. Yeah, the Tigers came up on the short end, but it’s a warm feeling none the less.

But I think what it does to the schedules around the league is more of a detriment then the benefits it brings. In a tight playoff race, every game counts, and if one team has a weaker schedule then the next, it gives them a distinct advantage. Getting rid of interleague play would also, in my opinion, make the All Star Game, and even the World Series, more interesting.

Mike Flanagan Shuts Down Tigers

June 9, 1984 Orioles 4, Tigers 0 (41-14)

For the second time in a week, Mike Flanagan was too much for the Tigers as he pitched nine shutout innings, walking nobody, and only giving up six singles and a double.

A couple of firsts in this one. Aurilio Lopez got shelled. He gave up three hits and a walk while only getting one out. He was relieved by Carl Willis, who made his major league debut and pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Starter Juan Berenguer was erratic, giving up four walks, but striking out six in 5 1/3 innings.

Nothing much to report on the hitting front. Barbero Garbey went two for four, and Chet Lemon had the only extra base hit of the game, a ninth inning double.

Tigers Sneak Past Orioles

June 8, 1984 Tiger 3, Orioles 2 (41-13)

The Tigers beat the Orioles in front of over 50,000 fans in a tight affair. Milt Wilcox threw six solid innings to win his seventh game, and the bullpen was stellar. In all, the Tiger’s staff only gave up six hits and three walks. Once Milt was taken out, Doug Bair threw a perfect seventh, and Willie Hernandez finished things out by pitching two strong innings to earn his eighth save.

The Tigers stranded ten baserunners again, but this time it didn’t cost them a win. With the score at 2-1, the Tigers scored two runs in the top half of the seventh on a double by Howard Johnson and a sacrafice fly by Alan Trammell.

Jack Morris Shuts Down Jays, Tigers Split Series

June 7, 1984 Tigers 5, Blue Jays 3 (40-13)

When in doubt, you put the ball in Jack Morris’ hands. Nine innings, seven hits, and one walk was the final line as he improved to 11-2 in front of nearly 41,000 Tiger fans.

The big blast of the night was by Rupert Jones, who made his Tiger debut that evening. And what a debut it was. Injury problems and a few rough seasons saw Rupert Jones on the chopping block at San Diego, and the Tigers signed him in April and sent him to AAA (which was at Evansville at the time, not Toledo). He was brought up the night before, and what a debut, because in the bottom of the sixth, with the score tied, Rupert Jones took starter Jim Clancy deep for a three run shot to give the Tigers what they’d need to win it.

And for those of you who don’t remember Rupert, he would become known for his batter’s box routine, which became known as the Rupert Jones Lumber Trance. He’d hold the bat up near his eyes and just stand there staring at the bat. Classic stuff, and reading about this brought back some memories as I always liked Rupert Jones.

With the win, the Tigers left Detroit with a split of the series against the Jays, so they walked away with the same lead they walked in with. Three of the four games drew 35,000+, which was pretty good for a weekday series. Now they’d have to go to Baltimore to face a team that beat them in their previous series.

Blue Jays Beat Detroit Again, Narrow Margin to 3 1/2 Games

June 6, 1984 Blue Jays 6, Tigers 3 (39-13)

The Tigers losing ways went on, as they had now dropped 8 of 12 since their fantastic start. Dan Petry got shelled, giving up 10 hits in four innings, and the Jays had five runs on the board before the Tigers got one across the plate.

Aurilio Lopez pitched four strong innings of relief to keep the Tigers in it, but like yesterday, they couldn’t get it done with men on base as they left 10 men stranded throughout the game. Venezuelan native Luis Leal improved to 6-0 for the Jays, which was impressive for a man with 58 career wins.

Lou Whitaker went three for four, and Howard Johnson went two for three.

At this stage of the season, the Tigers lead now stood at 3 1/2 games. They had basically blown their lead. We all know how this story ends, but at this point, there was some geniune concern. Fortunately for the Tigers, they’d go on a run, and this would be the closest the Jays would ever get.

Knotts lifts the Tigers over Minnesota

The Tigers finally won a road game Saturday after losing 5/7 away from home. They beat the Minnesota Twins 6-0.

Gary Knotts(3-1) threw another gem going 7.2 innings while giving up only 3 hits and 0 runs.

The Tigers got all the runs they needed when Pena hit a solo shot (9th of the season) in the second inning. Carlos Guillen then padded the lead when he also hit a solo homer in the third inning.

Monroe continued his hot streak with another 2 hits and 4 RBIs. He now has 24 RBIs on the season.

Pudge went 4-5 on the day with 2 runs scored.

This was the first game that the Tigers have been on FOX in several years. It was nice to see them get a victory on the road against a Central Division foe.

This was the Tigers’ third shutout in their last 15 games and their second in 4 games. Their pitching has been stronger of late and hopefully they can keep it up.

Toronto Blue Jays Even the Score Against the Detroit Tigers

June 5, 1984 Blue Jays 8, Tigers 4 (39-12)

A six run fourth inning and four total homeruns by the Blue Jays did the Tigers in. Starter Paul Abbott couldn’t make it through four innings, and the ever reliable Doug Bair was hit hard as well.

Detroit managed eight hits and eight walks, but only four men crossed the plate. Brookens (double) and Herndon (triple) had the only extra base hits, and Kirk Gibson went two for four.

Maroth’s Gem Goes to Waste

In the bottom of the 9th inning the Tigers were tied with the Twins at 2-2. Torii Hunter came up to bat and hit a walkoff homerun off Jamie Walker(0-2) handing the 3-2 loss to the Tigers.

Even though the Tigers lost, Mike Maroth pitched great. He went 7 innings giving up only 2 runs, and striking out 5. Maroth is now winless in his last four starts,but 3 of those starts have been no-decisions.

Carlos Guillen hit his 7th home run of the season to give Detroit a 2-1 lead, but it highlighted a critical out on the previous at-bat. Alex Sanchez reached base on a bunt but was caught stealing just before Guillen went deep. If he hadn’t tried to steal, the Tigers would have probably taken the 3-1 lead rather than the 2-1 lead.

The Tigers are 2-6 when tied after 8 innings this season.

Pena knocked in the first Tigers’ run in the 4th innning when he hit a RBI single.

This was just the 4th win for the Twins in their last 12 games.

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