The Tigers lost their third straight series and they fell another game back of the Twins after a 5-1 beating in Minnesota this afternoon. After a decent debut against the Braves, the Twins took Andy Oliver to task for five runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. The two of the three unearned runs came about because of Oliver’s throwing error so those shouldn’t really count. Johnny Damon also made an error that resulted in an unearned run.
Seven different Tigers had a hit each. Miguel Cabrera drove in the lone run when Magglio Ordonez scored on his double. Not much at the plate in this one.
It wasn’t a pretty road trip and the Tigers finished it 3-6. That puts the Tigers at 16-25 on the road and that’s the most losses on the road by a team with a winning record. Fortunately the Tigers get a day off before they come for three against the Mariners. Max Scherzer throws for the Tigers and Doug Fister gets the ball for the Mariners.
The big news was Dernard Span’s three triple game yesterday but for Tiger fans, it was the poor pitching. Armando Galarraga needed 91 pitches to get through four innings and change last night and he was tagged for six runs. Right after that, Fu-Te Ni was shelled for four runs on two hits and four walks in just 2/3 of an inning. Jim Price was trashing Ni on the radio for how poorly he was pitching and both he and Dickerson felt that something was wrong with him.
Fortunately, Enrique Gonzalez came in and pitched 3 1/3 solid frames to close out the game and save the pen. The Tigers have a quick turnaround for this afternoon’s rubber game so keeping as many pitchers off the mound as possible was huge so give a hat tip to Gonzalez for pitching some garbage innings.
Johnny Damon went two for four with a double, two RBIs and a run. Damon has just a .687 OPS in June and that was after a rough May. His solid April is still propping up his overall numbers so hopefully Damon can turn things around and revert back to his old form. Miguel Cabrera had a pair of hits, an RBI and a run and he now has 67 RBIs on the season.
Andy Oliver gets his second start and it’s a big one. Kevin Slowey throws for the Twins. Game time is 1:10 in a get away day game.
The first piece of big news is the Tigers beat the Twins in Minnesota to move into first place in the AL Central. Of course the second piece of big news is the bitter sweet half because in the process, Joel Zumaya was injured and his future is unclear.
The Tigers got off to a quick start against Francisco Liriano. Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch each had two run doubles and the Tigers scored a fifth run in the second inning on a Ryan Raburn ground out. The Twins eventually bridged some of this gap and made it 5-4 before Ryan Raburn drove in his second run in the seventh on a single that effectively put the game away. Austin Jackson went two for four with three runs and five different Tigers had a pair of hits. Magglio Ordonez sat the game out with his nagging injury.
After that, Jose Valverde pitched 1 2/3 innings to slam the door. He struck out three and didn’t allow a base runner for his 18th save of the season.
Game two is tonight. Armando Galarraga gets the nod and he’ll go up against Nick Blackburn. Galarraga is coming off of back to back mediocre starts so hopefully he can turn it around.
I’m going to open this up to the readers. The Tigers are in a virtual tie for first place, but I swear they’re making moves like a team in panic mode. I’m not arguing with a lot of the moves, but does anyone ever remember a good team shuffling key members of the team back and forth like the Tigers have?
The Tigers avoided a sweep for the second straight road series by pulling out a win in their finale against the Braves today. Brennan Boesch bounced back from a rough game yesterday and he belted a two run home run, his 12th of the season. In the meantime, the Tigers racked up seventeen hits, all of which were singles outside of Boesch’s fifth inning blast. Austin Jackson went three for five with two runs and two RBIs in the 10-4 win. Carlos Guillen was three for three and Boesch finished with two hits, three RBIs and two runs.
Justin Verlander didn’t have his best stuff but it was good enough to improve to 9-5. He gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in seven innings. Phil Coke and Jose Valverde then threw a shutout inning each to close out the game. Verlander’s ERA isn’t much to write home about at 4.02 but he’s on pace for a possible 20 win season.
Valverde’s ERA is back down to 0.56. Not quite the 0.34 he had a couple of weeks ago before he gave up a run but not to shabby. Some of his splits are fun to look at. At home, his batting average against is .093 (prior to today’s game). His batting average against in June is .031 and when he gets an 0-1 count, he’s got a .059 batting average against after that. When there’s two outs in an inning, Valverde has a .033 batting average against and a .155 OPS against. With two outs and RISP position, he’s given up two walks and no hits in 12 plate appearances. Funny stuff.
Anyway, the Tigers square off against the Twins at Target Field beginning tomorrow. The Twins lost so whoever walks away with the three game series will be in first place. Game one has Fransisco Liriano going up against Jeremy Bonderman. Jeremy has had an up and down June and this would be a nice place to settle down. Liriano has had a comeback season but his last couple of starts have only been okay. It’d be nice if the Tigers could bring him further back down to earth.
The Tigers had a chance to stay in a virtual tie for first place with the Twins yesterday but a rough outing by the bullpen combined with some pretty weak hitting turned what was a nice outing by Max Scherzer into a loss. The Tigers managed just three hits in this one and they didn’t score their second run until Carlos Guillen hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. They scored another of their runs on a Miguel Cabrera ground out and then their third run in the 4-3 loss came on a bases loaded walk. Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago had the other two hits.
Scherzer had his struggles but he didn’t allow a run in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and that helped to offset the four walks and one hit batter that he gave up. He also got some help in the sixth from Joel Zumaya when he left two man on with two outs. Scherzer had just struck out Eric Hinske for that second out so it was interesting to see Leyland go to the pen. Wasn’t sure if it was going over 100 pitches or not.
Of course Zumaya then got into his own trouble in the seventh inning and he gave up the deal breaker. He walked two batters then he gave up a three run shot to Chipper Jones. Eric Hinske doubled home a run off of Enrique Gonzalez in the eighth and that set things up for the Tigers as they headed into their ninth inning down 4-1.
As far as the former Tigers watch, Omar Infante got in to pinch hit. He’s found a nice little role for the Braves since he went over there. He’s consistently hit over .290 without much punch in a reserve infielder/pinch hitter role.
Overall, it was a tough loss. You’re not going to win many games when you walk eight batters and while Scherzer got away without giving up a run after half of those walks, they finally came back to haunt the team. This afternoon the Tigers try to avoid the sweep in a solid pitching match up between Justin Verlander and Tommy Hanson. Then it’s off to Minnesota for a big showdown against the Twins.
I had a chance to meet former Tigers’ announcer Paul Carey yesterday and that was a special treat. He and Ernie Harwell worked in the booth for most of my childhood and I have fond memories of listening to them both on the radio. Ernie is a pro no doubt but I’ve always thought that Paul Carey was vastly underrated and I know at one point, was making a push to get him on the Frick Award ballot. He was a nice guy and he gave a great speech about working with Ernie at our SABR chapter meeting yesterday.
This has been an “interesting” year for me and unfortunately, Tigerblog hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Between some personal issues and a heavy workload things have been tough and while I can’t make any promises, the writing bug is coming back. It also helps that the Tigers are in the mix for the division title. At this point, if you rolled the magic eight ball, the answer that most applies to me is “the future is unclear.” So while I’d love to write everyday, there’s going to be weeks where you don’t hear too much from me. Thanks a lot for your patience along the way.
The Tigers’ struggles on the road continued as they kicked off a road trip that started in New York against the Mets. It’s been a while, but not only did Justin Verlander get roughed up, but the bullpen had a bit of a meltdown as well. Verlander gave up five in just two innings. This is the first time he hasn’t pitched into the fifth inning all season and it’s his shortest outing since September 1, 2008 when the Yankees took him to task. Jay Sborz was shelled in his major league debut and Fu-Te Ni gave up three runs in three innings. An eight run third inning was what pretty much did the Tigers in early in this one.
Brennan Boesch continued to rake. He went two for three with his eleventh home run, a walk and three RBIs in the 14-6 loss. Then six Tigers had a hit a piece for an eight hit performance.
Andy Oliver got the nod to replace Rick Porcello in the rotation. He’ll get his first career start on Friday in Atlanta against the Braves. I still think this is just a blip for Porcello and he’s smart enough to work through some things. People just have to remember he’s only 21. in the meantime, Sborz will continue to pitch with the team until that start. Oliver was the Tigers second round pick in last year’s draft and while sending Porcello down means the Tigers will get older, it won’t be by much because Oliver is only 22 himself.
The Twins lost so the Tigers deficit in the Central is still a game and a half. Game two against the Mets is tonight with Jeremy Bonderman going up against R.A Dickey.
Dontrelle Willis came back to Comerica Park (I said this was a road game but I’m still getting used to Yahoo’s new format where the opposition is always second) and while Armando Galarraga hardly outdueled him, the Tigers still walked away with their seventh straight win. Galarraga didn’t make it out of the fifth inning but four relievers combined to give up just one run in 4 2/3 innings. Brad Thomas pitched two shutout innings, Phil Cook threw one (and improved to 5-0) and then Jose Valverde pitched a shutout ninth for his fifteenth save of the season.
Willis looked like his old self and he gave up five runs in five innings with four walks and four strikeouts. It was Chad Qualls who gave up the game winner though. Brandon Inge tripled home Brennan Boesch to put the Tigers ahead in the eighth and then Al Avila singled home Inge for a little insurance. Inge finished three for four with a double, a triple, and two runs. Magglio Ordonez drove in two and he hit his ninth home run of the season.
Ordonez has now matched his season total in home runs last year. He’s only five RBI’s back of last year’s total and his .931 OPS would be the best since his near-MVP season back in 2007. Equally as impressive is that Ordonez is just third in OPS behind Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch who are both over 1.000.
The Twins lost so the Tigers are now just a half game back of first place (tied in the loss column). Rick Porcello gets the ball today and he’ll go up against former Tiger Edwin Jackson. Both of these guys are down from their stellar 2009 seasons and Porcello hasn’t had a good start in June. Hopefully he can turn that around here this afternoon (game time is 1:05).
I must need glasses. It’s a night game tonight.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to baseball, I’ve kind of been out of it the past couple of weeks. It’s also showing because of the lack of updates over here but I took a good look at the standings throughout the league today and I’m happy with what I’m seeing. The biggest gap between first and second place in any division is only 2 1/2 games. Two division have ties upon the top while two others are separated by just one win (1/2 game). I know things could change quick depending on who gets hot but this could make for an interesting summer of baseball.
The Tigers won their sixth straight game yesterday and finished their second straight sweep by taking care of the Nationals yesterday. That leaves them just one loss behind the Twins for first place. The White Sox have gotten hot too so things are kind of working out how most people thought with one of those three teams vying for the division. It was also interesting to note that the Tigers are 23-10 at home this year. Unfortunately they hit the road beginning today in an interesting pitching match up.
Jeremy Bonderman got it done last night and pitched seven strong innings. Bonderman was consistently around 92-93 mph and he dialed it up 94 a few times. That lasted until his final frame when Adam Dunn took him deep after he’d lost a couple of notches on his fastball. Still, for a guy who probably hasn’t touched 95 much this year, Bonderman has 59 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings and he’s been consistently good and much better then his 3-4 record indicates.
Tonight, Armando Galarraga faces Dontrelle Willis so we’ll get to see if Willis can keep it up since joining the National League. He’s still walking guys, but he’s dodged some bullets in his first two starts for Arizona. The Tigers face Edwin Jackson tomorrow.
On a different not, has anyone tried WordPress 3.0 yet. I know it’s supposed to be comprehensive change so any thoughts or comments on their upgrades would be appreciated.
Without Zack Greinke, the Tigers should have walked away with a series win but instead they were outpitched and dropped two of three to the Royals in Kansas City. Max Scherzer reverted back to his pre-demotion form with a rough outing on Friday and today, Jeremy Bonderman was roughed up for seven runs. Sandwiched between those two games was a nice outing by Justin Verlander but Verlander isn’t going to be able to do it by himself and as good as the pen has been, they can’t do it either if the Tigers are down by five runs when they get in the game.
Bonderman’s usual velocity was there but the Royals were just all over them. I didn’t get to watch the game so I’m not sure what the problem was but to all six batters in the first inning, he gave up a first pitch ball so he was working from behind most of the time. Brad Thomas gave up four hits in two innings but he buckled down and didn’t allow a baserunner.
The Tigers only managed six hits and one of them was Brennan Boesch’s thirteenth double. Not too bad for a guy who didn’t even show up on most top 10 lists (or even top twenty lists). You just have to wonder if he has the staying power. The Tigers 2006 draft was definitely a productive one. They took Andrew Miller in the first round and while he hasn’t lived up to the hype, he did help get us Miguel Cabrera. Ron Borquin was taken in the second round (nothing from him yet) but then you have Boesch (third), Ryan Strieby (fourth) and Scott Sizemore (fifth) to give the Tigers some firepower. Casey Fien was taken in the 20th round.
The Tigers have a day off before they head to Chicago for three with the White Sox. Armando Galarraga makes his first start since his infamous day and Gavin Floyd throws for the White Sox.
Lynn Hennings latest discusses the chance of . He basically says the Tigers shouldn’t do it and he uses the Aubrey Huff/Jarrod Washburn fiasco from last year as a primary reason. I thought the most interesting part of the story is where he says the Tigers have little chance to win the division even with Oswalt or Lee. Way to support the home team when they’re going through a rough stretch. The Twins won’t play .600 ball all year and while the Tigers are hardly what I’d call an “awesome” team, they still have a solid chance in their weak division.
Jeremy Bonderman fell to 2-3 tonight although it wasn’t for lack of a solid outing in the Tigers 3-2 loss to the Indians. He needed just 100 pitches to get through eight innings and that’s his longest start since he went eight innings on July 7, 2007. Yeah, it’s been that long. And the first June start for the Tigers followed up a May where Bonderman struck out 26 in 27 innings with a 1.33 ERA. He only went 1-1 during that stretch but the Tigers were 2-2 in his four starts.
The good news is Bonderman’s velocity is slowly creeping up. In the first inning, he threw several pitches at 93 mph. In fact in that first frame, he threw thirteen pitches and all were fastballs. He didn’t throw his first off speed pitch until the third inning and he even touched 94 mph once. By the seventh inning he was starting to wear and instead of pushing 92-93 mph, he was in the high 80s/lower 90s.
The Tigers offense continued to be a problem and they managed just a pair of runs on six hits. Miguel Cabrera went two for four and Al Avila singled and drove in a run. The Tigers had the tying run at third and the winning run at first with two outs in the ninth but Ramon Santiago flew out to left to end the game.
Tomorrow, Fausto Carmona gets the start for Cleveland and Armando Galarraga throws for Detroit. Game time is 7:05.
Is it fitting that Dontrelle Willis is being traded to the team with the worst ERA in baseball? Regardless, the Tigers pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Willis to the team he was hoping to go play for. In return, the Tigers got Billy Buckner, a right hander. Before you get too excited, Buckner has a career 6.25 ERA in 138 1/3 major league innings but he’s pitched fairly well the past couple of years in the minors so the Hens should be able to put him to use. Buckner was picked in the second round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Royals and he has the distinction of being picked ahead of Hunter Pence and Dustin Pedoria.
Apparently if Dontrelle Willis has a choice, this year. I mentioned this yesterday in that Willis has been downright awful this year like he has the past couple of years, he’s just been poor. If someone needs a back of the rotation starter and had a fringe minor league player to give up, the Tigers might be able to get something out of this mess.
That big trade is pretty much down to Cameron Maybin for Miguel Cabrera. Miguel has lived up to his hype and while Maybin is struggling a bit this year (although he could score 100 runs), he’s only 23 so the jury is still out on that one.