Armando Galarraga fell to 4-7 on the season with his second straight rough start in the Tigers 9-6 loss to Kansas City. The first four innings went fairly well then the floodgates opened in the fifth and he gave four runs (blowing a 3-0 lead). Alfredo Figaro and Eddie Bonine were also tagged for a pair of runs each.
Despite Galarraga’s recent struggles, I think he’ll still stick as the Tigers fourth starter next year. The big questions is whether Jeremy Bonderman is going to back as the team’s fifth starter. He showed some signs of improvement (namely he pitched the entire season) we’ll just have to see what the asking price is.
Brandon Inge went two for four with an RBI. Ryan Raburn hit home run number fourteen and Miguel Cabrera belted his 35th of the season.
One interesting note, the Royals have 62 wins and Joakim Soria has 40 saves. That’s a pretty high percentage and I wonder if anyone out there knows if this is a record or close to one.
My latest BOB Report should be up over at the Hardball Times soon. It’s been a couple of weeks but I touch on the McCourt’s divorce and the Athletics stadium situation amongst other things.
The rubber game is tonight (I might be at the game). Max Scherzer throws for the Tigers and Kyle Davies is the Royals starter.
It’s been a rough year for Zach Greinke. Coming off of his Cy Young season, he got off to a nice start in April (five starts, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) only to get little run support and he went 0-2. Since then, he’s looked mortal and he now finds his ERA sitting at a nice even 4.00 after the Tigers tagged him for six runs (five earned) in six frames. Greinke will be back in my opinion but in more ways then one, I’m sure he’s not too sad that we’re closing the books on 2010.
Rick Porcello looked sharp through four innings but then he was tagged for five runs in the top of the fifth inning when the Royals took their first and only lead. In all, he gave up twelve hits in 5 1/3 innings and this was after a nice string of starts for Rick. The hitters came through and his four game winning streak is intact.
The Tigers took the lead back in the sixth inning when Will Rhymes belted a two run home run on a shot that was reviewed by the replay officials. Al Avila then hit a solo shot in the eighth inning for some insurance. Avila finished three for four with the home run, three RBIs and two runs. Ramon Santiago had a pair of singles and an RBI.
Brad Thomas picked up the win and he improved to 6-2 with 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief. Dan Schereth struck out the side in the eighth and then Phil Coke got the final two outs for his second save of the season.
Game two is tonight. Armando Galarraga goes up against Bruce Chen.
I went to bed after the seventh inning thinking the Tigers had this one in the bag. I was kind of right because they won but the game went into the eleventh inning and thanks to the bottom of the order, the Tigers walked away with the win. After this one being a pitchers duel through six innings, the Tigers finally got to John Danks and it started with a two run home run by Casper Wells. Then the Tigers took a four run lead into the ninth only to see Phil Coke (with an assist by Robbie Weinhardt) implode. Then the Tigers got it done in the eleventh with an RBI single by Gerald Laird to go ahead and then Austin Jackson doubled home Brennan Boesch for some insurance. Eddie Bonine then got into trouble in the bottom of the eleventh before Dan Schlereth pitched out of the jam to pick up his first career save.
Jeremy Bonderman gave up his share of base runners and while he gave up three runs, only one of those was earned. I could have done without the five walks and he didn’t strike anyone out but he got his ERA back below 5.00 for the first time in over a month.
Ryan Perry came up big and he pitched two shutout innings. I still think he’s the heir apparent for the teams closer and while we have Jose Valverde one more year, the Tigers can begin getting Perry ready to fill his spot.
Austin Jackson and Gerald Laird both had two hits and two RBIs. Brandon Inge and Brennan Boesch both scored a pair of runs.
The Tigers come home for the last time in 2010. First up are the Royals beginning tonight and we’ll get Rick Porcello against Zach Greinke. Johnny Damon has been good against Greinke (.318/.375/.500 in 24 plate appearances) so look for that matchup. Brandon Inge has the third most plate appearances (49) against Greinke then any other players and he’s hitting .244 with a pair of home runs. Game time is 7:05.
I forgot to throw this up, but David Laurila talked to Tigers minor leaguer Scot Drucker. Pretty good stuff especially on how the players keep up with some of the minor league sources like Baseball America.
Tigers are winning now after a big seventh inning.
I’m about twenty minutes behind on the game (thank you TiVo) but the Tigers haven’t gotten anyone on base after ten hitters. Check that, Sizemore just hit a home run right before I made myself look foolish for criticizing Leyland for hitting him second. 2-1 White Sox. Now Raburn just got a double. Interesting note on Raburn, he’s only four for twenty against Danks, but of his four hits, three have been for extra bases (two doubles and a home run).
I’m still 16 minutes behind, but I snuck a peak at the WPA graph and it looks like nobody has scored yet. Looks like the Tigers chances of winning right now are about 26%. This game is kind of cruising though.
Scott Sizemore blasted a big three run home run in the top of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie in the Tigers 6-3 win over the White Sox yesterday. It was just his second home run on the season in what’s been a disappointing year for the upstart second baseman. It’ll be interesting to see what the Tigers do at second base in 2011 and a lot will depend on what happens to Carlos Guillen, who the Tigers have for one more year (more on him in a bit). Three players started more then 30 games and five different players started at least ten games at the position. Even worse, as a team the Tigers got just a combined .727 OPS from their second basemen. That’s not their worst position hitting wise but it goes to show you why the Tigers have struggled at times to put runs on the board.
Ryan Raburn drove in a pair of runs. He has 40 RBIs and a .933 OPS since the All Star Break. Raburn has not only played six different defensive positions, but he’s also hit at every spot in the lineup. It’ll also be interesting to see what the Tigers do with Raburn because this coming year will be the first one that he’s eligible for arbitration.
On the pitching side, Justin Verlander was, well, Justin Verlander. He struck out eight and went the distance for his third complete game and seventeenth win of the season. I’m not sure why he was kept out there for 123 pitches in a meaningless game but Jim Leyland must have had his reasons. Yesterday I talked about Verlander reaching 200 strikeouts and now he’s just two away from that mark.
And since we talked about Guillen earlier, he has a microfracture in his knee that’s going to require surgery. The Tigers haven’t said Guillen won’t (yes, double negative, I know) be ready for the start of spring training but it looks like we need an optimistic healing and rehab time table for that happen. Dombrowski has said he’s comfortable with a Rhymes/Sizemore platoon at second base but I don’t so we’ll see.
The Tigers are playing on ESPN tonight. Jeremy Bonderman will go up against John Danks and depending on what’s happening on the home front, I might do something I haven’t done in a long time and that’s sit and watch a baseball game.
The Twins won earlier this afternoon so that means the Tigers are 15 1/2 games back with 15 to play, ending even their formerly remote chances of making the playoffs. Not surprising considering the Tigers are 25-36 since the All Star Break. Only the Kansas City Royals (21-37) have had a worse record.
Jeff Passan has a piece on baseball trivia and he mentions Austin Jackson’s .413 batting average on balls in play. That’d be the best since Babe Ruth in 1923 so he has some pretty select company.
Max Scherzer pushed his record onto the winning side as the Tigers came back to beat the White Sox 9-2. Scherzer gave up runs in the fourth and fifth and he had to wait until the seventh inning, when the Tigers scored six runs, to finally get some run support. In all, it was another nice outing by Scherzer and he struck out eleven in eight innings of two hits ball. Unfortunately, those two hits went over the fence. The eleven strikeouts were his second best total of the season and that brings his season total up to 173. It’ll be cool to see next year the possibility of the Tigers having two 200 strikeout guys in the same rotation.
Ryan Perry pitched a shutout ninth because Jose Valverde was shut down. Valverde has been having some problems with his right elbow so for now he’s not going to pitch. The Tigers haven’t said it, but I doubt if we’ll see Valverde again this year. After an awesome first half, Valverde has looked mortal with a 6.95 ERA and a 1.818 WHIP in 22 innings. Phil Coke was given the closer job for the time being.
Al Avila and Austin Jackson had the big hits in the Tigers sixth run seventh. Avila gave the Tigers the lead with a two run double and then Austin Jackson capped off the inning with a two run home run, his fourth of the season. Jhonny Peralta drove in two runs and Ryan Raburn continued his exceptional second half with a single, three walks and two runs.
The Tigers play at 4:10 this afternoon and it’ll be Justin Verlander going up against rookie Lucas Harrell. Either a Tigers loss or a Twins win means the Tigers will be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Verlander needs 10 strikeouts to reach the 200 mark and if he does that, he’ll be the first Tiger since Jack Morris in 1986 and 1987 to reach 200 strikeouts in back to back seasons.
Alright, my big tax deadline has come and gone and at least one of my excuses for not writing is out of the way. Not only that, I have an incentive to get back on track so now it’s time to make up for some lost time. My timing couldn’t be better because Detroit lost a rough one last night to the Texas Rangers. The Tigers gave Armando Galarraga a two run first inning lead but that went up in smoke pretty quickly and he was bounced in the fourth frame. Eddie Bonine and Ryan Perry also gave up runs in the loss.
With Josh Hamilton on the shelf and the Tigers in Texas, the whole MVP debate has been pretty live these days. Miguel Cabrera doubled and drove in two runs and he now has 45 doubles on the season. If Cabrera hits another home run to bring his season total up to 35, he’ll be just the second Tiger to reach 35 home runs and 45 doubles in the same season. Only Hank Greenberg has done it and he did it three times (1935, 1937 and 1940) so that’s some pretty select company. It’s only been done 15 times since 2000 (Magglio Ordonez is on the list when he was with the White Sox, Adam Lind is kind of the weird stand out). Hamilton probably would have reached both those marks had he not missed so much time. In the end, I think both are pretty worthy, but the fact that Hamilton might win the batting title and he’s playing for a playoff contender will hurt Cabrera. Evan Longoria, who’s name hasn’t been thrown around quite as much, actually leads the AL in WAR (Wins above Replacement) so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in the whole mix.
I’ve also heard Austin Jackson’s name mentioned for ROY although I think that’ll go to Neftali Felix (also a Ranger). Since we’re throwing out tidbits, Jackson could become the Tigers’ first player to hit .300 or better, score 100 runs and strike out more then 150 times in a season. That’s only been done nine other times (three of those nine were by Sammy Sosa) ever.
The Tigers head to Chicago for three games beginning tomorrow. Edwin Jackson will be on the mound and he’ll face his trade mate, Max Scherzer. Then next week is the Tigers final homestand of the season with the Royals and the Twins coming into town.
This has nothing to do with baseball, but if you want to check out some top notch comedy this weekend, Mike Green is going to be performing at Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak this weekend. He’s a local guy, a Tigers fan and he puts on a great show. You can check him out at his website, Oreo Man.