It was really nice to see the Tigers come back and win their game last night against the Royals after their tough weekend. They’re up 5-4 right now, so hopefully they can make it two in a row.
Craig Monroe has been a Tiger on a tear. Similar to Brandon Inge, with the signing of Rondell White, he was a Tiger without a position and started the season in AAA. But with Bobby Higginson struggling and Alex Sanchez injured, Monroe has gotten a chance to sign. Last year’s Tiger Rookie of the Year, he has four homeruns and nine RBIs in the last four games (10 RBIs if you count tonight’s game). He’s also hit safely in now thirteen of his last fourteen games.
Brandon Inge is still hovering at .290 . I’ve always liked Brandon, even though I’ve probably been critical of him in the past, and I now look at him as my favorite Tiger on this team. Who doesn’t want to see him perform well?
I also got to watch bits and pieces of Sunday’s Little League World Series. Definitely one of the more enjoyable sporting events to watch, these kids play their hearts out. And this year it was the Carribean island of Curacao that brought home the championship, beating Thousand Oaks, CA.
Finally, I’m always looking for something good to listen to, and a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Willie Phoenix.
He does most of his live shows in Columbus, but if you want something new and original to listen too, pick up this CD. It’s a nice blend of Rock and Blues, and there’s definitely some good jams on his album. My personal favorite is Leopard Skin Cadilac, which sounds a little bit like some of the older ZZ Top songs.
August 31, 1984 A’s 7, Tigers 6 (87-48)
Milt Wilcox struggled as he walked five batters and gave up four hits in 3 2/3 innings. By the time he left the game, the A’s were up 5-4. The Tigers tied it in the fifth on a solo shot by Alan Trammell.
With the scored tied 5-5 going into the ninth, both teams scored a run to put the game into extra innings. Then in the bottom of the thirteenth, right fielder Mike Davis scored on a Dave Rozema wild pitch to win the game.
Once again, the usual combo of Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez kept the Tigers in this one and at least gave them a chance to win. They combined for 8 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one run, while striking out eight.
The loss once again put the Tigers back into a single digit lead over the Blue Jays. With 27 games left, they 9 1/2 games ahead of Toronto.
August 30, 1984 Mariners 2, Tigers 1 (87-47)
Starters Jack Morris and Jim Beattie both took shutouts into the eighth inning before either scored. In the bottom of the eighth, the wheels came off the wagon for Morris though. Spike Owen led off with a walk. Then second basemen Jack Perconte laid down a bunt, and according to Retrosheet.org, Morris dove for the pop up, missed it, then three the ball into rightfield while sitting down. To make matters worse, Kirk Gibson then threw the ball into the Mariners dugout trying to throw Perconte out at third base. So the Mariners scored both of their runs without even getting a hit.
In all, Morris pitched a great game though. He went the distance, gave up only four hits, and struck out eight.
The Tigers tried to answer in the ninth. Barbaro Garbey drew a lead off walk before Chet Lemon grounded out. Larry Herndon then also drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Howard Johnson singled to load the bases, but Lou Whitaker struck out to leave it up to Alan Trammell. Tram came through by drawing a walk and driving in a run, but Kirk Gibson grounded to second to end the game.
Well, just when you think they’re making progress, the Tigers run into a major road block. And not that any of this matters TOO much, but it would have been nice to come away with at least a split here. One run normally isn’t going to do it, and that’s what the Tigers scored in each of the four games against Boston. And this was in a hitters park no less. So as it stands, the Tigers would need to go 21-11 down the stretch to finish at .500. I’m a pessimist, today.
And the Braves showed why Barry Bonds is simply the greatest hitter of our lifetime. They pitch to him, and he ends up with two of the three longest shots in Turner Field history, and six RBIs. He’d need an incredible September to pass Babe Ruth, but at 696, he should be hitting 700 sometime in the next week or two.
And who would have thought, after the close race around the All Star Break, that the Twins would have the largest lead in their division over their rivals. Boston was helped tremendously by said sweep, and now stands a game and a half up in the AL wild card race, while there’s still a three way tie over in the NL with the Cubs, Giants and Padres all right there.
The Tigers have the Kansas City and Tampa Bay this weekend, so I’m hoping they come out of the week at least 3-3. A 16-16 finish would put them at 76 wins, far ahead of most people’s expectations. September call ups are also this week, which is a fun time of year for fans of teams that are out of it.
August 29, 1984 Mariners 5, Tigers 1 (87-46)
A week and a half ago, rookie starter Mark Langston shut down the Tigers with a four hit, eleven strikeout appearance over 8 1/3 innings. This time, he did one better, pitching a two hit complete game, striking out twelve Tigers.
Dan Petry was the opposing pitcher the last time the Tigers face Langston, and a nice outing was wasted. This time he didn’t fare as well, but it really didn’t matter because Langston was on. Petry was gone by the end of the fifth, and suffered his eighth loss of the season.
August 28, 1984 Tigers 5, Mariners 4 (87-45)
Another great comeback win for the Tigers. With the game tied 1-1 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Juan Berenguer had runners on first and second with two outs, when Spike Owen reached base on a Howard Johnson error. The Mariners went on to score three unearned runs as a result of the mishap before newly acquired lefthander Bill Scherrer came in to get the final out.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to bounce back though, because in the top of the eighth, Ruppert Jones led off with a double. Dave Bergman then singled to leave runners at first and third. Barbaro Garbey flew out before Lou Whitaker drove in a run on a sacrafice fly. Then with Bergman on first, Alan Trammell hit a two run two out homer to tie the game.
Then in the top of the ninth, Darrell Evans got a two out single. Rusty Kuntz ran for Evans, who moved to second on a wild pitch by reliever Mike Stanton. John Grubb struck out, but with two outs, Ruppert Jones drove in Kuntz with a double to take the lead.
Willie Hernandez once again did his thing, as he pitched the eighth and ninth, giving up only one hit to improve to 8-2.
The day before, Bill Lajoie pulled the trigger and got Sparky another left handed arm in the pen. For cash and a player to be named later (eventually being Carl Willis), the Tigers acquired Bill Scherrer from the Reds. He’d give the Tigers a much needed extra option, as he ended up throwing 19 innings with an ultralow 1.89 ERA.
For the third series in a row, the Tigers took two out of three. They’ve taken down the White Sox twice, and the Mariners once. No sweeps, but most importantly, they’re winning series. They’ve now pulled themselves back to six games under .500, and are one nice winning streak away from putting themselves close to that magic mark.
They also won their 60th game. That means the Tigers are pretty much guaranteed a season where they’ll lose less then 100 games. We Tiger fans are pretty easy to please, as this hasn’t been accomplished in three years. If they manage to win 80, and finish just under .500, it will be their best season since their last winning one back in 1993.
They have a tough task this weekend, as they head to Fenway. In fact the Tigers are now down 3-1, but Craig Monroe made a nice diving catch in center. Three Tiger errors doesn’t bode well, but they’re still in the game. Also, they’ll be fortunate because Curt Schilling pitching yesterday, so they’ll escape facing him.
I have my fantasy football draft this weekend, which is always interesting. I have two solid running backs as keepers, so I’m pretty set. However, for the first time in five years, I won’t finish in the top three of my baseball league. In the AL format, I lost Beltran in a trade and Giambi to injury. I still have a remote shot of finishing in the money, but I’d need some very solid finishes from my players.
August 26, 1984 Tigers 12, Angels 6 (86-45)
Kirk Gibson had a monster day, going three for four, scoring three, and driving in two on two solo homers. Marty Castillo went three for four as well, also scoring three times and hitting a solo shot himself. And Chet Lemon had the blow that set the stage for the win, as he hit a grand slam in top of third.
Milt Wilcox cruised to his fifteenth win, going six innings, striking out five, and giving up five hits. Doug Bair struggled, but by the time the Angels even scored the run, the Tigers had eleven. Aurelio Lopez closed the game getting the final four batters out in order.
August 25, 1984 Tigers 5, Angels 1 (84-45)
It’s definitely nice seeing Jack Morris put together back to back quality outings. In his seventeenth win of the season, Morris went eight innings, gave up nine hits and one run, while striking out four. Willie Hernandez came in to pitch a perfect ninth to finish off the game.
I am practically speechless after last night’s performance. Their was a rising outcry that the Tigers screwed up by rushing him along. They still may have, but last evening’s performance was one for the ages. It adds to the building crescendo of hope to what may yet come with this organization and it’s young players. I am glad for young Jeremy because the media, who had high expectations fed to them, were starting to wonder if the emperor had any clothes. He had performed all right statistically but has suffered some hard luck and situationally had not pitched well. He has yet to arrive, but this gives us a clearer view of what many scouts, coaches, and scribes had suggested may develop.
August 24, 1984 Angels 5, Tigers 3 (84-45)
Dan Petry gave up four runs in the first inning, and that was basically the difference in the game. He’d end up calming down and actually finishing the game, but homeruns by Chet Lemon and Marty Castillo weren’t enough for the Tigers to ever get the lead.
Angel’s starter Mike Witt threw a nice game, going eight innings while giving up eight hits and three runs, while striking out six.
For the third time in four tries, the Tigers won their series against their opponent. Unfortunately, I’m getting greedy, and I felt they should have swept the Mariners this weekend. They had a ton of chances to win the ball game this afternoon, but they just couldn’t quite come through. Two of their three runs scored on what I thought was an error. In fact, I think Santa Clauss was the official score keeper this afternoon, as I counted four or five potential errors, but they were all recorded as hits.
Either way, it was a nice day at the park. It was a very hot 75 or so, because the sun was literally beating down on you. I made the mistake of wearing a black shirt, and that compounded the problem. I did get to briefly meet Dan Petry and Gates Brown (I got bad info. if you were expecting Rozie and Wilcox from yesterday’s post), and I got them to autograph the shirts they gave out at the reception. I also got to briefly talk to a man who was at the 1945 World Series, so that was also kind of cool.
As a baseball fan, there’s just something about walking into the ball park. It’s like walking into your own little peaceful nirvana (just with a bunch of people sharing it). Even though I’ve been to Comerica Park probably close to twenty times, there’s still things I notice that I didn’t know were there, or forgot about since the last time I had been there.
White Sox are in town this week, then it’s off to Fenway for a four game series. Both of these teams are knee deep in the playoff hunt, so the Tigers will be getting some stiff competition.
August 22, 1984 Tigers 11, A’s 4 (84-44)
For the third straight game, the Tigers scored into double figures on the Oakland pitching staff. Barbaro Garbey, Alan Trammell, Marty Castillo, and Doug Baker all had two hits, and the Tigers scored all eleven runs without a homerun. The Detroit Tigers did steal six bases though.
Juan Berenguer pitched seven quality innings, giving up five hits and one run.
With the win, the Tigers extended their lead to 12 1/2 games, with only 34 left. At this point, the playoffs were just about in the bag. The only question on Tiger fan’s minds was who they were going to play. The Minnesota Twins held a 5 1/2 game lead over the Angels and Royals at this stage of the season.
The Tigers headed out west nine games below .500. With a stop back in Chicago, they came home eight games below .500. I’ll take a 5-4 west coast swing any day. Then to top it off, the Tigers hammered the Mariners last night.
The Twins are now comfortably in front again by five games. It’s hardly a lock, but I think they have the horses to win the division. I think Cleveland doing as well as they’ve done is almost as surprising as the Tigers doing as well as they’re doing.
The most interesting race is definitely the AL West.1 1/2 games seperate three teams, and who doesn’t get the division will be right there for the wild card spot.
Barry Bonds amassed his 9,000 career at bat in last night’s game, going three for four. He’s now also a round error away from having a .300 career lifetime batting average. And his now career OBP of .440 would him up two places to number six all time.
Ichiro is now on pace to have a shot at breaking George Sisler’s single season hit record of 257. The bad news is, this is really all Mariner’s fans have to cheer about. I’ll get to see Ichiro play tomorrow. My wife, who graduated from the Detroit College of Law (now at MSU), is having her class’ five year reunion at Comerica Park. I’ll have a shot at meeting former Tigers Dave Rozema and Milt Wilcox, and then we have tickets to the game. Having the chance to meet either Rozema or Wilcox should make for the fact that I’m going to be hanging out watching a game with a bunch of lawyers.
Have a great weekend.
August 21, 1984 Tigers 12, A’s 6 (83-44)
For the second straigh game, the Tiger’s bats allowed the pitchers a virtual night off. Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez both gave up two runs in an inning of work each, but four runs in the first and four in the sixth pretty much sealed this game up early.
Milt Wilcox pitched a nice game, going six innings and striking out seven. He improved to 14-7. Lance Parrish, Larry Herndon, and Darrell Evans all hit homeruns. Lance Parrish’s dinger was a grand slam in the first inning, and Darrell Evans ended the day going four for five, scoring three times, and driving in three runs.
It has been a wonderful season thus far and many players have had spectacular years. About this time of the season people begin to speculate who have been the best players for that particular season. This speculation precipitates an annual debate about determing the Most Valuable Player Award. In that debate, there is great divide over what determines who is the player who is most valuable and whether or not they should be a member of a winning team. I think there are 8 players whose performance stands out enough that they warrant consideration for this award.
AL MVP Frontrunners(as of 8/15)
Player G .BA .OPS HR RBI Runs RP(runs+RBI) %RP
Guerrero 113 .325 .941 25 89 89 178 15.5
Mora 94 .345 1.022 21 75 84 159 13.4
Ortiz 108 .311 .995 30 105 65 170 13.2
Hafner 108 .320 1.013 23 91 76 167 12.9
Guillen 115 .315 .926 17 83 83 166 13.8
Sheffield 113 .292 .928 27 85 91 176 13.8
Texeira 99 .265 .906 28 72 73 145 12.1
Ramirez 109 .317 1.024 30 87 73 160 12.4
The %RP is the percentage of the players runs + RBI/Team total of runs + RBI.
Runs Produced and the % of the teams total Runs Produced are a somewhat crude statistics but they are simple ways to make comparisons to the players values to their team. I believe the media would suggest Vlad Guerrero would be the frontrunner for the award and I would have to agree. I think Gary Sheffield is a very close 2nd. Unfortunately for Ortiz and Ramirez they sort of cancel each other out being from the same team. Guerrero has carried a team who has suffered from a number of injuries and has been very consistent all year. Sheffield is surrounded by a lot of good hitters but he has played through an injury all season and performed very well through it all. I like seeing Guillen’s stats in this, as a point of comparison. I think if the Tigers had a candidate, it would be Pudge but that would be based on sentiment and name recognition over actual performance. Melvin Mora continues to surprise people who doubted his talents and continues to prove he is among the best players in baseball.
August 20, 1984 Tigers 14, A’s 1 (82-44)
Not even with the way Jack Morris had been pitching could he have blown this one. The Tigers scored fourteen runs on twenty hits. Larry Herndon, Doug Baker, and Darrell Evans had three hits a piece, and Chet Lemon drove in three runs.
By the end of third, the Tigers had a 6-1 lead. With five in the fifth, they went into double figures. Jack Morris won his sixteenth by pitching seven innings of three hit ball, and Dave Rozema pitched two solid innings of relief.
Once again, I’m looking for writers looking for a showcase for their talents. Steve has done a nice job, but with my work on the 1984 diary, and a few other projects in the works, I’d like to add a few more hands to the mix.
Dan did a nice job doing game updates before he had to step down, and Kevin did as well before he lost interest. I’m just basically looking for people who can provide content. I have a few specific ideas people can write on, but a general column is also acceptable.
If you’re interested, feel free to drop me a line.
I have two spots left in my fantasy football league if anyone is interested. The draft is at my house, 1:30 pm, August 28th. $60 to play. Email me for details if you’re interested.
August 19, 2004 Mariners 4, Tigers 1 (81-44)
Rookie starter Mark Langston shut down the Tigers, giving up only four hits and one run through 8 1/3. More impressively, he struck out eleven Tigers. Mark led the league in strikeouts in his rookie campaign, and went on to do it as well in 1986 and 1987.
A fine game by Dan Petry was wasted, as he dropped to 15-6 while going the distance, and giving up ten hits while striking out eleven as well.
Just to show how bad the offense was clicking, Marty Castillo walked in the only run of the game for Detroit.