Man, the bullpen, and then eventually the hitters, put together a really nice game as the Tigers won their fifth straight. Armando Galarraga was roughed up in his return to the rotation but from the time the first reliever came into the game, things turned around. Eddie Bonine got an inning ending double play in the third on his first batter and after that, six relievers combined to throw six shutout innings to allow the Tigers hitters to get back into this one. Jeremy Bonderman threw 1 2/3 shutout innings and while I didn’t see it, he was hitting the low 90s. Bonderman walked a couple in the seventh and got into trouble, but Bobby Seay came in to get further into the jame which he eventually pitched out of.
Placido Polanco put the Tigers on the board in the first with a solo home run. Then Carlos Guillen tripled home two in the third to make it a 4-3 deficit before the Rays scored two more in the bottom half of the inning. The seventh and eighth were the big frames. Al Avila belted a two run home run in the seventh and Placido Polanco later singled home a run to tie the game. Then in the eighth, Marcus Thames had a solid single (I got to see this) that scored Don Kelly for the game winner.
It’s weird seeing all of the minor leaguers up this early. I haven’t checked to verify, but this could be the first time in a while that none of the Tiges affiliates make the postseason. Even the Whitecaps look like they’re going to just fall short.
The Tigers go for their second straight sweep this afternoon. Edwin Jackson throws for the Tigers against his former team while Wade Davis makes his major league debut. He’s another 2004 draftee (third round). The Twins did win but the Tigers kept their six game lead. The White Sox also won (fourth straight) and they don’t seem to want to go away.
It looks like the Caps are in the playoffs. They play the Loons in a three game series. The Midwest League, with their first half/second half/wildcard system is a little, well, confusing.
There’s a chance that we look back at the night of September 4, 2009 as the night the scales finally tipped in one direction in the AL Central. The Twins lost to a mediocre Indians team and then the Tigers rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth (all of which they’d end up needing) to walk away with a win against the Rays. The end result is that the Tigers have a six game lead in the AL Central with 28 games left to play. If the Tigers play .500 ball the rest of the way and finish 14-14, this would force the Twins to go 20-8. Possible, but not likely for a team that’s had a tough time keeping their head over the .500 mark. It’d be nice if the Tigers have the division wrapped up before that final four game series with the Twins the last week of the season and if the Tigers keep doing their thing, that’s a distinct possibility.
Last night’s game was a pitcher’s dual for eight innings with Justin Verlander and Jeff Niemann both pitching into the eighth inning and each allowing just one run. Verlander and Niemann were the second and fourth picks in the 2004 draft and while Verlander has had the longer career to date, Niemann looks like a keeper as well, which explains why the Rays, with guys like Niemann and Price, were willing to part with Edwin Jackson this past offseason.
Verlander gave up a run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in eight innings. He did get up to 126 pitches and it’s the third time in five starts he’s topped the 120 pitch mark. I know the Tigers haven’t clinched, but if they get that lead up to eight or nine, Leyland might want to start cutting short some of Verlander’s starts so he’ll have a ready arm heading into the postseason.
Fernando Rodney was rocked for two runs on two hits and two walks in the ninth but fortunately, had three runs to work with so he picked up his 32nd save of the season. For Verlander, it was his 16th win of the season.
Miguel Cabrera his his 28th home run of the season and he finished two for four. Adam Everett drove in a run with a single and then he later scored on a sac. fly by Placido Polanco in the ninth.
Armando Galarraga makes his return tonight and the Rays will throw James Shields. The FOX game of the week for us should be the Indians and the Twins so the Tigers will know if they’ve picked up half game or not before their first pitch.
The Tigers needed ten innings yesterday, but Placido Polanco drove home Ryan Raburn with a sac. fly in the bottom of the tenth to wrap up a sweep of the Cleveland Indians. With the win, the Tigers extended their lead in the AL Central to five games over the Twins as they hit the road for a three game series against the Rays.
Curtis Granderson put the Tigers on the board with a lead off home run and then Clete Thomas tripled home two runs in the seventh to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. The Indians then rallied in the eighth for three runs off of Ryan Perry and Fu-Ten Ni before Zach Miner came in to get the Tigers out of the jam. Miner went on to throw two more shutout innings and he picked up the win to improve to 6-4. A really good start by Nate Robertson almost went to waste. He gave up four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six shutout innings.
The Twins take on the Indians over the weekend. Tonight, we’ll get to see Jeff Niemann who had a really nice start last Sunday against the Tigers. Justin Verlander goes for his 16th win as he throws for the Tigers.
So much for Rick Porcello wearing down at the end of the year. He’s given up two runs or less in six of his last seven starts and this one was good for win number twelve. He gave up two runs on five hits with one strikeout in seven innings and he had a typical 14/6 ground out to fly out ratio. He also needed just 81 pitches to get through the seven frames before he gave up it up to the pen. Porcello did pitch into the eighth but he gave up a solo home run to Travis Hafner to lead off the inning so he gave it up to Bobby Seay and then Brandon Lyon to get through the eghth. Fernando Rodney threw a shutout ninth and he picked up save number 31.
The Tigers did get five extra chances because the Indians made five errors Magglio Ordonez went three for four ad he drove in a run. Placido Polanco went two for four with a run.
Nate Robertson makes his second start this afternoon and the Indians will throw Fausto Carmona. Both of these guys have ERA’s north of six so this one could get interesting. The Twins lost yesterday so the Tigers now have a 4 1/2 game lead and with the Twins being off, the Tigers could make it five with a win today.
Looks like my usual fix for the RSS feed didn’t work so I’ll have to try something else. At times, WordPress (the program I use) can be very cool but it’s times like these where it gets annoying. Anyway….
The Tigers won their 70th game of the season last night. Edwin Jackson got some unusual run support and it was good for his eleventh win as the Tigers shot out of the game with four runs in the first. By the end of the fourth, it was 8-1 and while the Indians chipped away at the lead and made things pretty interesting, the Tigers walked away with an 8-5 win.
Aubrey Huff showed his thing finally as he put together a nice game. He went two for two with a home run, three RBIs and two walks. Placido Polanco, Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen also went yard in the win. Every Tiger hitter had a hit in this game by the end of the third inning (Adam Everett was the last).
Three Tigers have 25 home runs on the season. The last time three Tigers had more then 25 was 2006. The last and only time three Tigers hit 30 was 1992 when Cecil Fielder, Mickey Tettleton and Rob Deer all hit more then 30. That would be impressive in that the Tigers have only had two 30 home run seasons in the 2000′s (Bobby Higginson in 2000 and Miguel Cabrera last year).
Edwin Jackson improved to 11-6. He gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks with six strikeouts in five innings. Bobby Seay threw 1 1/3 shutout innings and Fernando Rodney threw a shutout ninth for save number 30.
The Twins beat the White Sox again and we just can’t shake them. The Tigers lead is still 3 1/2 games although it is four in the loss column. The Tigers still have seven games against the Twins so a lot will come down to that. It’ll be Rick Porcello against Aaron Laffey. The Twins and White Sox wrap up their series this afternoon.
Giving this another shot. I hate hackers.
I didn’t really have anything special planned, but this is the 2,000th post on Tigerblog.net. Throw in a couple hundred posts at the 1968 Tigers site, a couple of years worth of diaries at the now dormant Reds Cutting Edge and a couple hundred Business of Baseball Reports at the Hardball Times and it’s made for an interesting ride. While there have been some nights where I didn’t feel like posting, I’ve never thought about giving it up. Thanks to everyone for stopping by these past few years.
And the way I fixed my RSS feed didn’t work this time (I’ve been hacked again). Please bear with me.