The Tigers made a move to fill the gap left by Brandon Inge’s injury. I’ll write more on this when I get a chance.
Monday night, the Tigers were held without a hit. Last night, they picked up twelve hits and three walks and only managed to push two batters home. It didn’t help that they struck out eleven times but that shouldn’t explain this. The Rays picked up two of their three runs on a two run home run by former Tiger Carlos Pena and the other run was pushed across by an RBI double by Matt Joyce so it was definitely a time for the two former Tigers to shine.
It’s also bad that the Tigers lost on Justin Verlander’s start. It was nice that Verlander gave the pen a rest in his second complete game of the season. The Carlos Pena home run was unfortunate but after that in the first inning, he didn’t give up a run until the sixth.
Brennan Boesch is crashing down to earth. He went zero for four and he left five men on base. Miguel Cabrera doubled twice and he now has 35 on the season. Austin Jackson picked up his 25th double.
My latest BOB Report is up at the Hardball Times. I discuss the Rangers auction and both the Athletics and Rays’ stadium issues.
Game three between the Tigers and Rays is tonight. It’ll be Eddie Bonine making his first start of the season against Jeff Niemann. The Tigers are now four back of the White Sox and three back of the Twins so they have to make some noise here to stay in the mix.
It would have made for an interesting trivia question. Name the last team to have a pitcher throw a perfect game (or even a no hitter) and then have one thrown against them in the same day. Thanks again Jim Joyce.
If you’re looking for some good, Max Scherzer did throw five shutout innings before the Rays finally got to him in the sixth inning. The pen is also faltering. We won a lot of games in the first half because of a shutdown bullpen and now everyone is coming back down to earth.
Outside of that, there’s not much to say. I did want to give a shout out to Billfer, who’s taking a hiatus (I’m guessing, but I think he’ll be back at some point in at least a limited capacity). He was one of the few guys blogging when I got started and he’ll be missed.
Things have not gone well for the Tigers since the All Star Break. They’ve lost seven out of ten and they’re now short half of their infield and Magglio Ordonez is on the shelf for a while. More then half of the players in the Tigers lineup in yesterday’s finale were playing in the minors at this point last year and they needed a three run double by “veteran” Ryan Raburn in the eighth inning to pull that game out of their hat. Even the fact that the rest of the division has stood still as well could come back to haunt the Tigers.
And it is kind of funny that the rest of the division has been almost as bad since the break and the Tigers sit just two games back of the White Sox in the Central. With the trade deadline this upcoming weekend, the Tigers have some decisions to make. It’s hard to keep a straight face and say the Tigers team as it sits will be able to keep up with the other two teams but the fact is, they very well just might so giving up is hard to swallow. But if they get a good offer for someone like Jose Valverde and they don’t take it, then drop ten of twelve after the trade deadline, it’s not going to help the team moving forward.
I think this week is going to be very telling. They have four games in Tampa (second best team in all of baseball) then three against the Red Sox (with two of those coming before the deadline). It’ll be interesting to see where the team sits this time next week.
The All Star Game is in the books and if the Tigers make it to the World Series, they won’t get home field advantage this year because the National League won 3-1 last night. Growing up, the National League won most years and it wasn’t until the nineties when things switched around. Miguel Cabrera went one for two, Justin Verlander struck out two and gave out two hits in a shutout inning and Jose Valverde struck out the side in a shutout ninth inning to represent the Tigers. Brian McCann drove in all three NL runs in the seventh with a bases loaded clearing double and the AL scored their lone run on a Robinson Cano sac. fly.
Now the second half begins. The Tigers get, like a lot of teams, an extended break and they kick things off on Friday. The bad news is, they’re on the road. The good news is, they’re playing Cleveland. Friday’s matchup has Max Scherzer against Jake Westbrook and I like the way Scherzer’s been pitching lately.
The Yankees got hit hard this past week or so. First Bob Sheppard passes and then George Steinbrenner. Not this team needs any more edge, but it’ll be interesting to see whether this fires up the team. I’ve always been a Steinbrenner fan and his uniqueness will definitely be missed. Not that his heirs haven’t been doing a fine job so far since they took over the team a few years back.
I’m hoping to get more into the second half. I’m dealing with some personal issues at the moment as well as some logistical issues (Comcast went to this digital conversion so the little TV in my office doesn’t get FSD). Still, my hope is to do a better job in the second half especially with the Tigers in the middle of a division race.
The Tigers lost their finale yesterday and failed to sweep the Twins, but there’s plenty to be happy about with regards to the Tigers first half of the season. They’re tied for first place if you look at the loss column and they even put some distance between themselves and the Twins. The White Sox can’t stay this hot forever but I’m interested in seeing how this three team race pans out. Tigers fans have to be a little happy too because the team leads all of baseball with 32 home wins. They need to work on their road record to contend the rest of the season but it’s still nice going to the ballpark knowing the team is going to win around 70% of the time.
While Miguel Cabrera’s first half was huge, two other reasons the Tigers are in contention is the comeback of Magglio Ordonez and the emergence of Brennan Boesch. Ordonez’s numbers look eerily similar to 2008 when he had a nice follow up to his near-MVP 2007 season. Boesch came out of nowhere and continues to rake and he heads into the break with a five game hitting streak. His batting average hasn’t been below .340 since early June and his OPS has been hovering right around the 1.000 mark.
The pitching staff needs some work. Justin Verlander is there, but after that it’s pretty inconsistent. Max Scherzer is riding a four game winning streak and I think he’s the guy who’s going to step up in the second half. The guy I’m most worried about is Jeremy Bonderman. I just hope that arm holds up in the second half because it’s been a while since he’s thrown this many innings.
I am a little sad about what the All Star Game has become though. Growing up, this was a big game and it was one of the few chances to see players from the National League. I think the home run derby, as boring as that is, actually is more popular then the actual All Star Game now. I’ll still watch some of it, but not with the interest I had in the 1980s when I was glued to the television. My favorite All Star Game is still 1987 when they went into extra innings in a shutout game. I also think the whole home field advantage thing is a joke but that’s for another day.
As a kid, my favorite television show was the A-Team. When it first started, there were occasional references to Hannibal being on the jazz. This happened when he got particularly nutty/cocky or when one of the team members was fired up. Johnny Damon must have definitely been on the jazz last night. He not only picked up his 2,500 hit, but he also belted a walk off home run in the bottom of the eleventh to win it for the Tigers. We also can’t discount Miguel Cabrera (MVP of the first half in my opinion), who hit a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames.
With the three for five game yesterday (which included a home run and a triple), Cabrera now sits atop the American League in all three triple crown categories. Granted he’s tied with two others in home runs but when Yaz won it in 1967, he was tied with Harmon Killebrew in home runs. I know we still have 80 more games to play though. And it’s also interesting how quickly people forgot about those off field troubles Cabrera had at the end of last year. A nice start can heal those wounds pretty quickly.
Armando Galarraga had a rough start and for his troubles, he was sent down to Toledo just over a month after pitching his perfect game that should have been. He gave up just three runs in 6 2/3 innings, but he gave up ten hits and walked three. Robbie Weinhardt was called up in place. The move was simply to give the Tigers another arm in the pen for the final four games and I’d expect Galarraga will be back up shortly after the break. We already burned an option on him so we might as well take full advantage of it.
Jose Valverde got his ERA back below one with a shutout inning. Ryan Perry got it done again and he was the winner. He’s now 2-4 on the season. The Tigers go for the sweep tonight. Max Scherzer gets the ball for the Tigers and he’ll face Brad Bergesen. The Twins and White Sox both won so the Tigers have little margin for error these days.
The Twins picked a good time to go cold because the Tigers have one of the softer parts of their schedule here in early July. They took two of three against the Mariners and now they face what many people is the worst team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles. Of course they have the Twins later in the week before they take some time off for the All Star Break.
Andy Oliver was roughed up yesterday but fortunately, the bats were there to pick him up. He didn’t pitch out of the second inning and by the time the inning was over, a 5-1 lead had turned into a 6-5 deficit. Fortunately the Tigers answered quickly and took the lead in the bottom half of the inning and never really looked back.
After that, five relievers gave up three runs over seven innings. Eddie Bonine picked up the win and he improved to 4-0. Ryan Perry continued his successful return with a shutout inning. Jose Valverde saw his ERA nearly double when he gave up two runs in the ninth inning in a save situation.
Brennan Boesch drew four walks and scored three runs without picking up a hit. Johnny Damon went three for six with two runs and Brandon Inge went three for four with two doubles and four RBIs.
This is also the half way point of the season so the Tigers are on pace to win 88 games. About what you’d figure out of the AL Central leader. Things are definitely tight with the resurgence of the White Sox though as one game separates first and third.
Armando Galarraga throws tonight. Jake Arrieta throws for the Orioles.