Ivan Rodriguez led the Tigers at the plate last night as they blew out the Mariners 12-6 for their fourth straight win. It was Pudge’s third game in which he had four hits this season. He homered, drove in two and scored twice. Curtis Granderson picked up his 22nd triple and he scored three runs while Placido Polanco put himself in the batting title race with a three for four game in which he drove in four and scored two times and Timo Perez went three for four with a triple and two RBIs. Finally, Brandon Inge was the other Tiger to go yard. It was his fourteenth of the season. So a lot of hitting highlights in this one and quite a few of them were off of former Tiger Jeff Weaver.
Nate Robertson had a rough start which forced the Tigers to once again go to the pen earlier then they would have liked. Robertson gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Zach Miner picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of relief in which he gave up one run and Fernando Rodney and Yorman Bazardo each threw a scoreless frame.
While the wins are nice, all they’ve done is match the Yankees, who have a four game winning streak of their own. The good news is, with a win this afternoon, the Tigers can bury the Mariners and they’ll know they have to make up games on just one team. It’ll be an interesting matchup of two solid young starters with Felix Hernandez pitching against Jeremy Bonderman.
The Tigers have put together a nice little winning streak and in the process, they’ve moved into sole possession of second place in the American League Wild Card race. As I’m writing this, the Yankees and Royals are tied 2-2 and if KC can pull it out, then the Tigers will pick up a game and move to within two games of the Yankees.
Curtis Granderson belted his 20th homerun and with one more stolen base, he’ll join just Willie Mays (the last to do it back in 1957) and Frank Schulte as the only hitter to steal 20 bases and rack up 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 homeruns. When you bump the double total up to 30, then Granderson would sit with just Schulte and no hitter has picked up 40 doubles, 20 triples, 20 stolen bases and 20 homers. He also has a shot at becoming the first modern baseball hitter to pick up both 25 homeruns and 25 triples in the same season. He’d need a great month but the only hitter to ever do that was Buck Freeman back in 1899.
Justin Verlander won his 16th game of the season with eight inning solid frames in the 6-1 win. He gave up just one run on seven hits. He had just three strikeouts but he didn’t walk anybody and he got it all done on just 92 pitches. He even had to contend with a half hour rain delay in the fifth inning. Joel Zumaya pitched a shutout ninth to close things out and that was that.
Magglio Ordonez went two for three with a walk and he broke a tie in the batting title race with Ichiro, who went 0 for 4. Ordonez sits at .354 while Ichiro fell to .349. Ordonez also sits at 186 hits and he should become the first Tiger to pick up 200 hits since Alan Trammell in 1987. If Placido Polanco can get there with 28 more hits, it would be the first time since 1937 that the Tigers had two hitters with 200 hits. In 1937, they had four hitters pick up 200 hits.
Tomorrow, it’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Jeff Weaver in an evening game. Robertson was solid his last time out and hopefully he can follow that up with another nice outing.
It was another close, but the Tigers pulled a game out of their hat as they took their series against the White Sox and for the second straight day, they won the game on a walk off hit. Brandon Inge put the Tigers on the board in the third inning with a solo homer (his first since July 21) off of Mark Buehrle and the game remained at 1-0 until the White Sox came to bat in the ninth. Then the White Sox tagged Fernando Rodney for two runs and things looked grim as the Tigers came to bat in the ninth against Bobby Jenks.
Timo Perez led off with an infield single and then ended at second after Danny Richar threw the ball away. Mike Rabelo then bunted Perez over to third and Cameron Maybin came in to pinch run for Perez. Sean Casey then tied the game up with a single and he was replaced by Omar Infante on the bases. Brandon Inge grounded out but it was good enough to move Infante over and then Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch. The Placido Polanco came up huge with a walk off, RBI single to win it.
The win moves the Tigers into a tie with the Mariners for second place in the Wild Card race, and ironically, that’s the Tigers opponents this weekend. Justin Verlander gets the start in the opener tomorrow and it’ll be Miguel Batista throwing for the Mariners.
Other then the fact that the Tigers had to use six pitchers in the Tigers 2-1, eleven inning win over the White Sox,the game was encouraging on a couple of different levels. Kenny Rogers made his second return and pitched five solid frames. He gave up just one run on two hits and he had a season high six strikeouts in five innings. The other encouraging thing was how well the pen pitched. Five relievers held the White Sox scoreless in the final innings with the highlight being Joel Zumaya’s two shutout innings. He was consistently hitting the high 90s on the gun and he struck out three and gave up just one hit.
Mike Hessman put the Tigers on the board in the fifth inning with a solo shot, his second of the year. Ironically, his other homerun also came off of starter Gavin Floyd earlier in the year. Then while the Tigers threatened, they couldn’t push a run across the plate until the eleventh. Curtis Granderson failed to bunt his way for the first out before and then Placido Polanco lined out. Brandon Inge kept the inning alive with a double and Carlos Guillen was intentionally walked. Then Timo Perez laced a single into right field to drive home Inge for the game winner.
The Tigers had six stolen bases in this game including two by Curtis Granderson and two by Placido Polanco. The two by Granderon gives him 19 on the year and he’s only been caught once. So he’s just one homerun and one stolen base away from the 20 mark.
The Yankees beat the Mariners so while the Tigers still sit three and a half back of New York, they’re just a half game back and could tie up the Mariners with a win this afternoon. The Yankees are also off today.
The Tigers play this afternoon in what should be there final Thursday game of the season. Chad Durbin gets the start and the Tigers hitters will face Mark Buehrle. It’s also supposed to be the return of Gary Sheffield.
Jon Garland held the Tigers’ hitters in check as a solid start by Jeremy Bonderman was wasted. And once again, the Tigers failed to get it done against the White Sox. Sigh. With the Indians win, the Tigers sit a distant seven games out with each team having 24 games left. So even if the Indians go 10-14 (which is unlikely), the Tigers would have to go 17-7 (which, based on how they’re playing, it also unlikely). At this point, I’m not even looking at what the Indians are doing, it’ll all be Yankees and Mariners.
The Tigers outhit the White Sox last night but they pushed just one baserunner across in a 3-1 loss. Carlos Guillen drove in the lone run with an RBI single in the sixth inning and he also had a team high two hits. Omar Infante, in his first game since getting called back up from Toledo, went one for three with a run. Magglio Ordonez went one for four and his lead in the batting race over Ichiro is now down to a single game.
Jeremy Bonderman fell to 11-8 in a pretty ineffecient start. He lasted just 5 1/3 innings yet threw 100 pitches and he gave up three runs on seven hits and two waks with three strikeouts. The two big mistakes were homeruns to Josh Fields and Alex Cintron which accounted for all three White Sox runs. Zach Miner did a nice job in relief. He finished up where Bonderman left off and he gave up just one hit in 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
The Yankees beat the Mariners last night so the Tigers deficit in the Wild Card is now 3 1/2 games. Kenny Rogers makes his second return of the season and he’ll face Gavin Floyd. This could be one of those important games not just on the scoreboard, but on the mound to see whether the Tigers will have one of their arms down their stretch.
The Tigers minor league affiliates have had some quality seasons this year and with a lot of the playoffs starting tomorrow, the Tigers have three affiliates in the post season. The Toledo Mud Hens and West Michigan White Caps will defend their titles while the Erie Seawolves also made the playoffs. And the Oneonta Tigers season isn’t over with yet, but they have a solid chance of winning their division.
Wow. It’s funny because I turned the game off in the seventh because of family duties (i.e. playing with boy). I logged back in to check the box score to see how many runs the Tigers ended up winning by only to see the A’s came back in dramatic fashion. I’m glad I didn’t keep the game on because I’m sure, to put it lightly, I would have been annoyed. To blow a seven run lead is tough. To blow it when you could have picked up a game in both the division and the Wild Card makes it even tougher.
But blow a seven run lead they did. Nate Robertson was very good through six innings and his only blemish was the fifth when he gave up two runs. Then Fernando Rodney got tagged (he’ll probably be the talk on the sports radio show because everyone had been talking about how good he’d been), which set things up for Todd Jones to blow it in the ninth with two runs. He gave up only his third homerun of the season and it was his first blown save since July 21. Then Yorman Bazardo yielded the “losing” run in the tenth. Sigh.
Marcus Thames had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Tigers at the plate. Cameron Maybin hit leadoff and he went 0 for 4. Ramon Santiago was the other hitting star with two doubles, a triple and two RBIs.
So the Tigers are right back where they are to start the day because the Indians, Yankees and Mariners all lost. The Tigers get a day off to think about things before they head home to play three against the White Sox. Jeremy Bonderman will try to help right the ship on Tuesday and the hitters will see Gavin Floyd. I normally wouldn’t be worried about facing Floyd with his 6.92 ERA but his best start of the season was against the Tigers when he pitched six shutout innings on (his only win) on August 5.
The Tigers lost on Friday but then won this afternoon. The problem is at this point, .500 isn’t going to cut it especially against a team that’s pretty much out of it. With the Indians winning eight straight, the Tigers find themselves down by 5 1/2 games. Things are a little better for the Wild Card, but they still trail the Yankees by three games and the Mariner by one. Even if the Yankees go .500 the rest of the way, the Tigers would have to 16-10 the rest of the way just to force a tie. And this is a team that has gone 21-29 since the All Star Break. Anyway, sorry to sound so grim but things aren’t looking good. The Tigers need to put together an extended winning streak and they need to do it now.
Justin Verlander threw a career high 128 pitches and it’ll be interesting to see how he does the next couple of starts. He did strikeout ten in a solid start and he improved to 15-5. I was asked in an interview whether Verlander would win 15 this season and I said no thinking he’d run out of gas and finish with 13 or 14. As is sometimes the case, it can be good to be wrong.
Curtis Granderson belted his 19th step closer, and that puts him one long ball short of a historic season. He finished the day four for five with two RBIs and three runs while Timo Perez went three for four with two runs.
It’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Dallas Braden. Then it’s back home for three against the White Sox. In looking at the Tigers schedule, it’s odd that they have so many days off in September. In fact this Thursday’s game against the White Sox is their last Thursday game of the year barring a postponement.