Archive for June, 2011

Tigers and Strikeouts

Yesterday when I was at the White Sox/Nationals game, Adam Dunn went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.  When I was looking at the Tigers box score, I noticed that Austin Jackson also had four strikeouts and was 0 for 4 (although he drew one walk).  Four strikeouts in a game isn’t a common occurance, but it’s also not too rare so here’s a little history of Tigers and bad days at the plate.  Here’s the raw data if you want to look at it yourself.

Austin Jackson yesterday was the first Tigers with four strikeouts in a game.  Last year it happened four times by four different players.  Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera (a little surprised by this one), Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch all struck out four times in one game in 2010.  Boesch’s game was a four plate appearance game but for the other three, they all had five plate appearances (so there was one time at the plate that they didn’t strike out).

The last Tiger to strike out five times in one game is Craig Monroe.  He did it on June 14, 2007.  Prior to that, it hadn’t been done since 1995 when Danny Bautista went one for six with five strikeouts.  The only other five strikeout games I could find on Play Index were Chet Labs in 1938 and Cecil Fielder in 1990 although there are still some holes during those times.

Only four Tigers have struck out at least four times in a game and hit a home run.  Marcus Thames was the last player to do it in 2008 and he’s joined by Curtis Granderson, Jim Northrup and Alan Trammell (somewhat of a surprise).  Thames is the only Tiger to strike out four times and have two hits in a game which he did in 2006.  That was a 13 inning game.

Tony Clark has the most four strikeout games in a single season with four in 1999.  Cecil Fielder (1990) and Rob Deer (1991 and 1993) were the other two to have four strikeouts games three times.  There’s a four way tie atop the list of all time Tigers with four strikeout games.  Travis Fryman, Cecil Fielder and Tony Clark have eight each.  Rob Deer has seven.  No active Tiger has more then two.

Tigers Honor Sparky With Win Over Diamondbacks

With former Tigers Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson on the other side of the field, the Tigers took care of the Diamondbacks this afternoon.  They had one good inning but that was more then enough for the Tigers to walk away with the win.

Brad Penny had one of his better starts of the season but when he left with two outs in the seventh, the Tigers were down 2-1.  They weren’t able to do much against Joe Saunders but once he came out the floodgates opened.  In all, the Tigers scored seven in the eighth.  Jhonny Peralta led the way and he went three for four with a home run, two runs and two RBIs.  Miguel Cabrera was two for four with two RBIs and Brandon Inge drove in two, his first two RBIs since coming off of the disabled list.

Penny gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings.  That’s two straight solid starts for him and not a win (for him) to show for either one of them.  Al Alburquerque picked up the win and he’s now 5-1.  He struck out two and he now has 46 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings.  People wanted Joel Zumaya back and they pretty much got him in Alburquerque this year.

I went to the White Sox game today.  First time I’ve ever been to U.S. Cellular Field and now I’m going to go to the White Caps game tomorrow assuming the rain holds.  I’m watching the Giants beat the Indians right now if their 3-0 lead holds, it means the Tigers will have sole possession of first place.  It’d be fitting because we knocked off the Diamondbacks for the Giants.

The Tigers make up a game against the Blue Jays tomorrow so they lose their second day off in the month.  Max Scherzer throws for the Tigers and rookie Zach Stewart goes for the Jays.  Game time is 6:05 on this one.  The Indians travel out to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks and the White Sox have the night off.

First Place and Magglio Ordonez

For the second straight day, the Tigers sit in a tie with the Indians for first place in the American League Central.  On Sunday, they kind of backed right into it because the pen struggled in their finale against the Mariners but fortunately, the Indians continue to sink quickly.  Also of note is the White Sox aren’t too far behind.  They sit 3 1/2 games back now (but five in the loss column to Detroit) and if I had to bet now, it’ll be the Sox and the Tigers duking it out in September.

Today marks the return of Magglio Ordonez.  Enrique Gonzalez was sent down to Toledo and now we’ll see if Ordonez can be an effective player in this tail end of the first half.  He was solid in his rehab stint (11 for 39 with two home runs).  Hopefully the time off did him some good because he’ll face a solid rookie pitcher in Alex Cobb tonight.  It’ll also be interesting to see where he bats in the lineup.

The Tigers had a chance to beat Felix Hernandez yesterday but a bad inning (partially thanks to a misplay by Ramon Santiago on a steal attempt) by Rick Porcello gave the Mariners the lead in the fifth and the Tigers could never recover.  It was also disconcerting seeing Joaquin Benoit give up that two run shot because that put things out of reach and he had been throwing so well lately.  Alex Avila had a nice day at the plate and he drove in runs on two different at bats and he even picked up his third stolen base of the season.

The Tigers take on the Rays tonight in a makeup game then the Indians roll into town.  The Indians aren’t playing so a Tigers win puts them in sole possession of first place for the first time this year.  Phil Coke throws for the Tigers.

RIP Jim Northrup

Jim Northrup passed away.  He played eleven seasons in a Tigers uniform from 1964 through 1974 and he’s best known for two things.  First, he hit five grand slams in 1968.  Second, in that same year, he drove home the winning run in game seven of the 1968 World Series.  He was also indirectly involved in one of the most unusual manging moves ever.  Because of his breakout season in 1968, the Tigers found themselves with four solid outfielders so manager Mayo Smith moved Mickey Stantley to shortstop for the tail end of the regular season and the World Series.

For a great look at Northrup’s career, be sue to check out this great piece by Chris Jaffe over at the Hardball Times.  You can also check out some of his game highlights at the 1968 Tigers site.

Phil Coke Is Shaky In Return

The Indians lost again yesterday and a Tigers win would have put them just a half game back of first place.  It wasn’t to be though because the Rangers bounced back on Phil Coke, who made his return to the rotation last night.  He gave up six runs on ten hits and he didn’t strike out anyone in five innings.  Those kind of numbers make me wonder if he’s over his bone bruise.  I didn’t get to see the game so I don’t know how his mechanics look but it wasn’t pretty.

Adam Wilk gave up a solo home run to Adrian Beltre in his two innings of relief.  Enrique Gonzalez threw a shutout inning to close out the game for the Tigers.

Don Kelly put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a solo home run in his first at bat but that would be the last time the Tigers would have the lead.  Kelly also drove home the Tigers third and final run on a ground out in the ninth.

Now the Tigers come home to play the Mariners beginning tomorrow.  The Mariners have been a surprise this year and they sit two games over the .500 mark.  Justin Verlander throws against Doug Fister in the opener tomorrow.  The Indians are playing at Yankee Stadium this weekend so I like our chances of making up some more ground heading into the Tigers/Indians series next week.



I must be losing it.  The Tigers don’t have a day off.  They play four against Seattle.

Rick Porcello Leads Tigers In Win Over Rangers

The Tigers got it done again. I don’t know what’s more encouraging, the fact that Rick Porcello had another nice start or that the Tigers’ hitters are taking it to a pretty good Rangers pitching staff.  38 hits in two games is nothing to shake a stick at and I like the fact guys up and down the lineup are getting it done.

Four different players had three hits, two more had two hits and every Tiger in the starting lineup got at least on hit in the 8-1 in yesterday.  Austin Jackson went three for six with three RBIs and Casper Wells went three for six with a pair of doubles.  None of the Tigers 20 hits left the park and they left 12 men on base but fortunately the pitching was good enough to get it done.

Rick Porcello pitched six solid frames and while he struck out just two batters, one of those was pretty timely.  In the bottom of the sixth, he had two runners on with two outs in what was then a 4-1 game and he punched out Nelson Cruz for the final of the inning.   The win pushed his record to 6-3 and he gave up six hits and a walk.  David Purcey pitched two shutout frames and then Dan Schlereth pitched a shutout ninth to close out the game.

The Indians won so the Tigers deficit in the AL Central is still a game and a half.  Phil Coke returns to the lineup tonight and the Rangers throw the undefeated Alexi Ogando.   We saw him way back on April 11 and he shut us out over seven innings.  It’d be nice to hand this guy his first loss of the season.  Then the Tigers get a much needed day off.

Boesch’s Big Night

Prior to last night’s game, Brennan Boesch was 0 for 10 lifetime against Colby Lewis.  He broke that slump with a pair of home runs against the Texas starter and he went on to have a career game.  When the dust settled, Boesch was five for six with a double, two home runs, five RBIs and three runs.  Not too shabby.

Max Scherzer struggled again but we didn’t need much from him because of the early lead.  At this point, you wonder if he’s nursing an injury or something.  With Charles Furbush in the mix, you wonder if it’d make sense to have Scherzer go on the 15 day disabled list (dead arm or something).  That way he can get some rest, get a rehab/fine tuning start down in Toledo, and come back in time to make an impact like he did earlier in the season.

Joaquin Benoit has now had nine scoreless outings.  Looks like he’s back.  And his ERA is down from 7.98 to 5.24.  During those nine outings, he’s struck out nine and walked two.  I think he’s back.

Alex Avila hit his ninth home run and he’s hitting .280.  I’m not sure how much consideration he’s getting, but for a catcher, those are All Star numbers.  He also has more RBIs (32) then he had all of last year (31).  His strikeout rate is up a little though and his walk rate is down but it doesn’t seem like it’s throwing him off much.

Tonight, it’s Rick Porcello going up against Matt Harrison.  The Indians lost again so the Tigers now sit just 1 1/2 games back (two in the loss column) of first place.  They play Cleveland next week so hopefully we’ll have made up that last amount of ground by then and we can take over first place in front of a home crowd.

Tigers Head to Texas With Some Momentum

The Tigers now sit just 2 1/2 games back of the first place Indians after taking two of three in Chicago over the weekend.  The Tigers have won five of six but they’re heading to Texas to take on an equally hot Texas Rangers team that’s won five straight.  Josh Hamilton will also be in the lineup and the last time we saw him, he got hurt on that fluky play coming into home plate.  The bad news is, he’s also been hot.

At some point in time, we’ll go back and revisit some of my predictions (which were pretty poor) but one of them was that Rick Porcello will step it up. Since April 15, he’s had just one rough start and he’s won five of six.  Even in his two no-decisions, he had good starts.  He’s even pitching deeper into games although he’s had two extended breaks during the season.  With Phil Coke on the disabled list and with his recent success, I think those breaks will come to an end.

The good news, and this is where we tie in my prediction, Rick Porcello is striking out more batters.  The bad news is his walk rate is a little higher as well but it’s in line with what he did in his rookie season.  Still, I like that near one strikeout increase per nine innings and once he gets into the six range, we’re going to see the Rick Porcello we were hoping for back when the Tigers drafted him.

Andy Oliver was up and now he’s back down with Toledo with Phil Coke coming back on Wednesday.  He had one decent start and one poor start and hopefully he can keep improving with Toledo because I think we’ll see him at some point in time later in the season.

Brandon Inge hit the DL with mono and Omir Santos is up.  Don Kelly has gotten the past couple of starts but Danny Worth is another option at the hot corner.

The Tigers don’t get a break because they start things off against the Rangers tonight.  Max Scherzer tries to right his ship and the Tiger hitters will go up against Colby Lewis.

Fear Factor

Sometime it’s the moves you don’t make as opposed to the ones you do that come back to haunt you.  Yesterday I wrote about the Tigers troubles at second base.  Scott Sizemore is gone (and I think they gave up on him way too early), Wil Rhymes is at Toledo and now the Tigers have a mish mash of Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth playing second base.    Who knows when Carlos Guillen will be back but he’s been somewhat pegged as the savior so until his fate is clear, the Tigers won’t make a move.  What’s probably the most frustrating part of all this is, the Tigers had a good second baseman and they let him go.

After the 2009 season, the Tigers decided not to offer Placido Polanco arbitration.  He had a good but not great year and the Tigers were worried he was going to take it because Scott Sizemore had been pegged the second baseman of the future.  He had his share of injuries in 2010 but still had a nice year but in 2010, he’s hitting .321 with 18 walks and 16 strikeouts.  You put him in the number two spot in the lineup for the Tigers and this is a much different team.  He’s averaging a little over $5 million a year for the Phillies and my guess is, the Tigers could have gotten him a little cheaper then that had they held on to him.

Hopefully Rhymes gets back on track and can help the team.  Or maybe Carlos Guillen has another half season in the tank.  Still, not holding on to Polanco for another year (or two) was still a big mistake.

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