August 18, 1984 Tigers 4, Mariners 3 (81-43)
This current winning streak was the beginning of the end of any chance the Blue Jays would have to catch up to the Detroit Tigers. With the win, the Tigers extended their lead to eleven games, with only a month and half left in the season.
Juan Berenguer had probably his best start of the season, throwing 8 1/3, giving up only three hits, two earned runs (three total), while striking out twelve. Two of the three runs came in the top of the ninth, but Willie Hernandez slammed the door shut by getting the last two batters out to earn his twenty sixth save.
The Tigers were held to only five hits, but one of those was a three run shot by Kirk Gibson. The homerun was the twentieth of the season, making this the first of five consecutive seasons that he’d hit twenty homers and steal twenty bases.
The Tigers are up 4-0 early. Good to see Higginson finally producing, because he has a three run shot. Ooops, spoke to soon. It’s 4-1.
I’m what they call a purist. I long for the days before 1969, when there were no playoffs, just a World Series. Each pennant winner was decided based on who finished best during the regular season, and a best of five initial series, where really anything can happen, didn’t control your fate. A lot of people might point to the fact that the wild card race in both leagues are very tight, but if we went to the “old” format, we’d know the best teams would be making into the series.
Based on this year’s standings, the Yankees and Cardinals would pretty much have things wrapped up. Of course the unbalanced schedule might cause a little big of havoc in the way things happen now, both of these teams would be well on their way to a World Series appearance. And for those of you who think it would make for a boring September, I say this year it would, but you just have to look at the outstanding pennant race in the American League in 1967 to show how exciting things could get. I touch on it a little bit in my 1968 story, but the Bobby Thomson’s shot heard round the world in 1951 is another great example. But as always, that’s my two cents.
A few months back, I was a little disappointed in the change in format AM1270 was going through. Gone in the morning was Don Imus, who I’d listen to on occassion. In came S&L, Mark Spindler and John Lund. I have to admit at first, I couldn’t get into the program, but it’s definitely growing on me. Their Top 5 at 8 is something I really enjoy listening too, and Mark Spindler is really getting more comfortable in the job. He obviously provides top notch football analysis, but at times in the past I thought his commentary on other sports was a little, well, not quite there. But I don’t know if he’s just more comfortable now, or if he’s been doing his homework, but he’s really gotten much better. Very eloquent in his analysis, it’s always nice to get a real athlete’s opinion on sports.
John Lund is probably the perfect partner to Mark Spindler. He really knows his stuff, and he’s pretty hilarious. The banter between the two has me laughing in the car, but when he wants to get serious, he can provide some top notch analysis. So if you get a chance, turn the dial to AM1270 in the morning and check them out on your drive into work.
Now it’s 4-2, and the bases are loaded. Maroth actually walked in a guy, and now a sac fly has made it 4-3. Talk about a nice lead going away in a hurry.
August 17, 1984 Tigers 6, Mariners 2 (80-43)
The last time the Tigers faced Seattle was the day after their heralded 35-5 start. The Mariners went on to hand the Tigers losses six, seven and eight in a three game sweep, and the Tigers got their revenge in this one.
By the end of the third, the Tigers were up 4-0, and that was really all they needed. Milt Wilcox pitched a nice game for his thirteenth win, going eight innings, and giving up one run on seven hits.
In Sparky’s book Bless You Boys, he mentions that this was the game where they broke the attendance record set in 1968. For only the second time, they pulled in 2,000,000 fans. They’d end up drawing 2,704,794, still a record. They’d draw 2 million three more times during the 1980s (1985, 1987 and 1988) and then wouldn’t draw as many until 1989, the final season at Tiger Stadium. Since then, only Comerica Park’s opening season has brought 2,000,000 fans to the ball park
August 16, 1984 Tigers 8, Angels 7 (79-43)
Some back and forth, wild and crazy games, can be called rollercoasters.
If that’s the case, then this one was Millenium Force. The Tigers took a quick 5-0 lead after two innings, essentially giving Jack Morris some easy sailing.
And he didn’t take advantage of it. Two innings later, Morris was gone, and the Tigers were down 7-5, as one again, he struggled to get batters out. Then enters the bullpen. More on that in a second.
Down 7-5 in the eighth, Alan Trammell drove in two with an RBI single to tie the game. In the bottom of the twelth inning, Barbaro Garbey came up huge with a walk off RBI double to win the game. A nice, solid, come from behind win.
But give a huge dose of credit to the bullpen. Doug Bair, Aurelio Lopez, and Willie Hernandez combined for a total of 8 1/3 innings of four hit, shutout baseball. Another superb job by the pen kept the Tigers in the game, as they salvaged a 2-2 split of the series.
I really thought the Tigers were going to come away with their second consecutive series, but a nice pitching performance by Jason Johnson went to waste this afternoon. They got to Troy Percival in the top of the ninth, but the couldn’t get the run across to tie things up.
In all, a 3-3 split on this final west coast swing wasn’t too bad, considering the competition they faced. Now they make a stop in Chi Town to see if they can play spoiler in their own division. With all of the games they have left against the White Sox, they could actually finish ahead of them.
I’m not sure if they just got old, or what, but what’s happened to Arizona is a little surprising. This is a team that won it three years ago, and has been in the playoff picture for at least the last five. They didn’t even pull a Marlins by disbanding their team either. At least Randy Johnson keeps plugging away, as he had another nice outing, and went over the 200 strikeout mark for the twelth time in his career. It will be interesting to see who finishes second, him or Roger Clemens.
For the second straight season, it looks like nobody is going to hit fifty homers. A couple of players have outside chances, but we’ll see. Whoever does top it, won’t top it by much. Of course if Barry Bonds actually got pitched to, he’d be hitting .400 and would probably have 55 already.
The hard part about picking the guy who will come in second place to Bonds in the MVP balloting is which Cardinal to pick. Scott Rolen might get the voters nod, but at this point, Jim Edmonds gets my vote. All I have to say is, he has a better OPS then Albert Pujols, which is incredible based on how good Pujols is. But overall, the Cards have three players (Edmonds, Rolen and Pujols) with an OPS above 1.000.
The Wildcard races are going to be very interesting as going into today, you had two three way ties. It’ll also be interesting to see who comes out on top in the AL Central as Cleveland is making things very interesting.
August 15, 1984 Tigers 8, Angels 3 (78-43)
At this stage of the season, with Jack Morris’ struggles, Dan Petry had become the ace in that he seemed to come up with a win to put a stop to any kind of substantial losing streak. Dan pitched eight solid innings, giving up eight hits and three runs. The Angels had the lead once, going up 2-1 in the fourth, but the Tigers bounced back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead for good. Willie Hernandez pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game off.
Tom Brookens had the big game, going three for three with two RBIs. Barbero Garbey went three for three, Dave Bergman drove in three runs, and Kirk Gibson scored three times. It was a solid all around performance by the team.
Tonight was the third time recently that Bobby Higginson has been benched in favor of Marcus Thames or Craig Monroe while a right handed pitcher is starting. According to a Yahoo.com article, Higgy had gone 9-16 with 2 Homers versus Ramon Ortiz in his career and Ortiz has had a poor season. If he is not hitting well enough to even platoon and Tram has apparently lost confidence in his abilities maybe he should go the way of other former Tigers Randall Simon and Robert Fick, and be released. He will have $8 Million in salary coming to him next season. Were he receiving a similar salary to that of Monroe or Thames this wouldn’t be an issue. Did the releases of Damion Easley and Tony Clark hurt the Tigers in the long run? Next to Juan Gonzalez, this just might be the most disappointing Tiger in the team’s history. Other than being a favorite of Mr. Ilitch I can see no reason he is still around.
August 14, 1984 Angels 6, Tigers 4 (77-42)
The Tigers lost the first of two in a back and forth affair. The Angels took the lead on three different occassions, only to see the Tigers tie it up, until the top of the ninth when the Angels finally took the lead for good. A Doug DeCinces two run single off of Willie Hernandez was the winning blow, as Willie lost his second game of the season.
Juan Berenguer pitched a solid game, but for one of the few times this season, the Aurelio Lopez/Willie Hernandez combo didn’t come through. Lopez gave up a run in his sole inning, and Willie gave up his two after pitching two innings.
August 14, 1984 Angels 12, Tigers 1 (77-43)
The twelve runs by California matched the Tigers season worst for runs given up in a game. On two other occasions, Tiger’s pitching gave up twelve.
And there were no notables on offense. The Tigers spread out seven singles, and Darrell Evans drove in the only run. With the two losses, the Tiger’s lead over Toronto had dwindled to 7 1/2 games. What looked like a runaway race was tightening up quick.
I just heard on the news that Joe Falls has passed away. Truly a shame, as he was one of the best. My thoughts go out to his friends and family members.
For those of you asking for particulars, I’ll point you to Rob over at Bleacher Guy, who did an excellent write up, and has some nice links to just everything you need to know about Joe Falls. Be sure to check it out.
Well, the season has definitely been interesting. Being an MSU grad, I should be used to the up/down, lose when you’re supposed to win, and win when you’re supposed to lose, but you can never quite shake the annoyance. The Tigers have looked great at times. And they’ve looked downright bad. Robert Louis Stevenson could have wrote the book on this season (yes, Jeckyl and Hyde, not Treasure Island).
And this week………it was Dr. Jeckyl as the Tigers took a series in Oakland for the first time in a long, long time. And they did it by beating last year’s should have been Cy Young, Tim Hudson. Not to be confused with future Cy Young Mark Mulder or past Cy Young Barry Zito. And speaking of Cy Young’s, Steve has a nice little analysis on the current year’s race below. Definitely worth a read. He’ll be happy to see that Johan Santana won his start this afternoon, and I totally agree with his column.
So now the Tigers stand eight games back of .500. Not insurmountable, but they’d need a couple of five game runs down the stretch to get there. And they face a tough Anaheim team that’s won 7 of their last 10.
For the thirteenth consecutive season, Barry Bonds has hit 30 homeruns. He just drove in his 70th run a few minutes ago, and he stands 12 homeruns shy of 700. Simply incredible. And he’s done it with a 23/160 strikeout to walk ratio, and he’s now four at bats shy of 9,000. Looking at his career stats are something to behold as he should also break his single season OBP mark this year.
I’m a little disappointed in all the talk of Edgar Martinez getting into the Hall of Fame. Edgar is a top notch player, but in my eyes, he’s nowhere near a Hall of Fame player. He had a hard enough time getting through a season with landing on the DL, and without playing on the field. Yes, he’s a career .312 hitter, but 2,200 hits and 300 career homers doesn’t quite cut it these days. Check out Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker and compare the numbers and you won’t even be saying Edgar and Hall in the same breath.
I’m actually in town this weekend, which will be nice. I’ve been anxiously awaiting a package that should start me off on my next big Tigerblog project. Until it comes, I’m hesitant to say what it is, but soon enough.
By all indications, Mark Mulder will probably be awarded the Al Cy Young this season. Mulder has pitched very well and deserves consideration especially since has a league leading 15 victories. Michigan State University baseball fans would be very excited in the event that this would occur due to Mulder having attended Moo U. I think another lefty may even be more deserving of the honor of CY Young in the AL due to his recent performance. He is a Venezuelan who said that he intended to be an engineer had he not made it as baseball player and the Tigers division rival, Johan Santana.
Player CG SH W-L ERA WHIP opp. OPS Team OPS AVG R/gm
Santana 1 1 11-6 3.34 0.99 .622 .747 4.71
Mulder 5 1 15-3 3.49 1.22 .681 .779 5.05
Schilling 3 0 13-5 3.38 1.13 .677 .824 5.61
Martinez 0 0 12-4 3.94 1.17 .698 .824 5.61
Johnson 1 1 8-9 4.40 1.28 .717 .789 5.20
These stats are as of 8/6. I included Jason Johnson’s stats as a point of comparison. Team .OPS and AVG Runs/Gm are measures of what kind of hitting and run support the pitcher is receiving. The significant difference in run support and hitting along with Santana’s absolutely stellar performance and his league leading 183 strikeouts, I think it would be a travesty if he didn’t receive the award. Furthermore, the Twins better lock him up long term and pay him so that he doesn’t become a free agent. Otherwise, Boss Steinbrenner will back the Brinks truck right to Santana’s door and he will be fitted for pinstripes.
Dave Dombrowski was briefly interviewed on the local sports talk station (WQTX 92.7/92.1) today by local jock/author Rich Kincaid (“Gods of Olympia Stadium”, a Red Wings book). It occurred at 11:00 A.M. and Dombrowski was very open about several topics. Kincaid started by indicating that he had mixed feelings in regards to this season. He felt that that D.D. had made some nice moves in the offseason to strengthen the team up the middle and if the Tigers were to reach .500 it would be a nice improvement, but Kincaid felt that the elements were there to contend and since the All-Star break they haven’t been playing like contenders. Dombrowski replied “that their had been dramatic improvements” and that he would continue to take steps this winter to make the team a contender. Kincaid mentioned that he thought the starting pitching had performed well and that it was a bit of a surprise. Dombrowski stated that he was happy with their young pitching and that he felt that they had a lot of upside. He also said that the young pitchers would have to continue to improve and get to that 15-17 win level in order for the Tigers to contend. Kincaid then mentioned that he felt Jason Johnson had been a little inconsistent and had had an up & down year. Dombrowski talked about Johnson’s early blister problems and about the recent 10 start stretch where he had been very good and that his last couple had been difficult. They started discussing the pressures on free agents and how Kincaid noticed that the free agents would often struggle in their first year with a new team. Dombrowski replied that free agents were competitive individuals who often place tough expectations on themselves and that they often just need to settle in and return to the standards of performance that made them desirable as free agents in the first place. Kincaid then stated that if they made the 38 game improvement from last season to this season and finished .500 that this season would possibly be the greatest in Tiger history. Dombrowski stated that he felt that they had made dramatic improvements but essentially said that this season could not be a greatest anything unless they had one a World Series. Kincaid then asked some questions that had been submitted by listeners. He first asked Dombrowski about the play of Bobby Higginson and whether or not Nook Logan or Marcus Thames will be playing more in right field? Dombrowski stated that Higginson had struggled recently and would never be the player he had once been. He also said that he felt Higginson had been a steady, everyday type of player but they would like better numbers from the position and that Alan (Trammell) may have to make the decision to play Monroe or Thames in right field down the road. He also said that there could not be a lineup with Nook Logan and Alex Sanchez together. Another caller wanted to know if Inge of Infante would possibly be used as trade bait to acquire some more pitching. Dombrowski said that Inge in particular was very valuable with his offense and his “maneuverability” that he was definitely in their plans. He also stated that they aren’t thinking about next year yet and that they have year-in-review meetings in October and that’s where they begin to address the changes that might occur in the offseason. I asked if it would be possible that the Tigers will feature three lefties in their starting rotation next season. Dombrowski stated that as long as they are pitching well he would have no problems using three lefties. He said that Oakland has used three lefty starters the last couple of years and that one team had even had four (?). Another caller wanted to know when and if the Tigers may recall Matt Anderson? Dombrowski said that Anderson was suffering from some tenderness (?) and had not had a very good year in Toledo and if they did not recall him he would be a free agent at the end of the year. (He all but said he’ll be gone. Another first rounder bites the dust, Matt Wheatland) Another caller asked about the status of Fernando Vina and Dombrowki stated that between the knee and hamstring, he had to make some tough decisions whether or not he wanted a surgery. The surgery provides no guarantees of full recovery.
August 12, 1984 Tigers 8, Royals 4 (77-41)
A four run first inning put the Tigers up for good as Milt Wilcox held the Royals scoreless through the first six innings. The Royals tagged Milt for four runs in the seventh, but the typical tandem of Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez finished the game up to give the Tigers the weekend series sweep.
August 11, 1984 Tigers 9, Royals 5 (76-41)
It wasn’t his best outing of the year, but Jack Morris went one batter short from going the distance, as he gave up five runs on eleven hits. Aurelio Lopez struck out the final batter to earn his twelth save.
August 10, 1984 Tigers 5, Royals 4 (75-41)
It sounds like a broken record, but the usual suspects in the bullpen did it again. Dan Petry pitched 6 2/3 solid innings, but left the game tied 4-4. Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez were nearly flawless in the final 2+ innings, allowing Ruppert Jones to put the Tigers ahead with a solo shot in the eighth inning. Lopez improved to 10-0, and Hernandez saved his 25th game.
The contribution Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez made throughout the 1984 season were incredible. They threw a combined 278 innings, went a combined 19-4, and saved 46 games, all while striking out 206 batters and throwing up a 1.053 WHIP and a 2.43 ERA. Those numbers were by far better then any of the starters and shows why Willie Hernandez got the support he did for the Cy Young.
Well, another weekend, and another losing series. The Tigers haven’t won a grand total of one series since the All Star Break, which was last weekends three consecutive one run wins against the White Sox. They’ve dropped to fifth in the AL in runs scored, which is impressive compared to last year, but not so because it wasn’t that long ago that we were on top. Throw in a 4.90 ERA, and that doesn’t make for many wins.
And it’s showing in the standings. Despite only being nine games below .500, and on pace to win 74 games, the Tigers have the 11th best record out of 14 teams. As much as I hate to say it, the odds of them making the playoffs are pretty much zero. The odds of finishing .500 are slowly becoming zero as well.
The Tigers have their final west coast run this week, as they head to Oakland, then Anaheim. They stop back at Chicago next week before coming home to face the Mariners for the final time. Once again, the Tigers could potentially play spoiler, as they face a series of teams in serious playoff contention. At least it makes for fun baseball.
I’m still hoping to get out to the park for one more game. Getting tickets in September usually isn’t too tough, but I’m happy to say that the Tigers are averaging a little over 25,000 fans a game. That’s good for 23rd in baseball, but they’ve already topped last year’s attendance, so Mr. Illitch has to be happy. At the current pace, 2,000,000 fans isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
About the only thing I can say about this past weekend is, I got through the ASL Starter Pack rules twice. Watching your kid while at a wedding shower is pretty much an recipe for boredom. I set the bar pretty low, and the bar was met.
August 8, 1984 Red Sox 8, Tigers 0 (74-41)
An error by third basemen Howard Johnson led to five first inning unearned runs, as Glenn Abbott couldn’t get out of the first inning. Probably the strangest thing about the inning was Abbott struck out Wade Boggs.
August 7, 2004 Red Sox 12, Tigers 7 (73-40)
Jack Morris got pounded again. Coming off the heels of the best start he’s had in a while, Jack gave up six hits, two walks and nine runs 1 1/3 innings, forcing Sparky to go to the pen early. Bruce Hurst was hardly stellar, but when you’re given a seven run lead after two innings, there’s not much you can do to lose the game.
August 7, 1984 Tigers 7, Red Sox 5 (74-40)
Milt Wilcox cruised through the first six innings, and then gave up four runs in the seventh to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. As a precursor to the 1986 World Series debacle, Dave Bergman scored in the ninth on an error by firstbasemen Bill Buckner that sent the game into extra innings.
The Tigers are just starting up, and Mike Maroth got Kevin Youkilis to ground into a double play. Nice start, but they have some making up to do after the three game sweep by Texas. The only thing good you can say is they kept it close in two of the three, but the Tigers now sit eight games below .500. To get their, they’ll have to go 31-23.
Pat Caputo broke a story on AM1270 that the Tigers were set to trade Ugueth Urbina for Jerome Williams at the trading deadline. Williams came down with the sore elbow, so the deal got nixed. Talk about dodging a bullet, as Williams has recently had surgery on that right elbow.
And as we head into the final two months of the season, the playoff races are really heating up. It looks like the Yankees and Cardinals will cruise along, but the other four divisions, along with the Wild Cards, are still wide open.
And once again, the Oakland A’s are doing it. I know Billy Beane is considered the genius among the blogging community, and it’s simply hard to argue that point. Yes, he still has the big three, but with Miguel Tejada gone and Barry Zito looking mortal, this team is still heavily in the playoff picture. In fact, the Tigers can help out the A’s by beating the Red Sox this weekend, who a game and half back of the A’s for the Wild Card spot.
I’m off to Toronto again this weekend. No baseball unfortunately. I also got some good news for next years big project. I’m even more jacked up about this then I was about doing the 1984 diary, I just have to think hard about how I’m going to roll this out. Good stuff.
Have a great weekend.
August 6, 1984 Tigers 9, Red Sox 7 (73-38)
Dan Petry didn’t have his best stuff, as he gave up six runs and eleven hits in only 4 2/3 innings, but Bob Ojeda was just as worse, as the Tigers scored six on the Red Sox starter as well. Aurelio Lopez pitched 2 2/3 to improve to 8-0, and Willie Hernandez picked up his 23rd save.
August 6, 1984 Red Sox 10, Tigers 2 (73-39)
A drubbing, plain and simple. Carl Willis got one batter before getting pulled, and Doug Bair didn’t much better. By the end of the fourth inning, the Tigers were down 9-1. Rookie starter Roger Clemens threw a solid eight innings, holding the Tigers to six hits while striking out nine.