Archive for the '2007 Tigers' Category

Tigers Finally Gain Wild Card Ground With Close Win Over Twins

If you would have told me that Yorman Bazardo would be gone before the end of the fifth inning and that Johan Santana threw eight innings, I would have thought the Tigers were toast.  Of course that only applies when Johan isn’t doing his best Jeremy Bonderman impersonation because the Tigers tagged him for four quick runs in the first inning and that was good enough for the win.

Of course if you were in Detroit, you didn’t get to see those four runs because the Yankees and Red Sox game went late.  That’s how it goes these days when national television deals trump the local ones.  So while everyone in the area got to see the Red Sox close out a blowout win over the Yankees, the Tigers were putting the only runs they’d score the entire game on the board.

The big hit of that first inning was a three run double by Ivan Rodriguez.  Carlos Guillen put the Tiger on the board just prior to that with an RBI single.  The Tigers would pick up just two hits the rest of the game but the damage was done.

Yorman Bazardo was good enough.  He got into trouble in the third but got out of it and then he got into trouble again in the fifth which was what prompted his removal.  Bobby Seay came in and pitched the Tigers out of that jam and it wouldn’t be until the seventh inning when the Twins would threaten again.  With the score 4-3, Joel Zumaya came in with one out and the bases loaded and he was able to get Joe Mauer to ground into an inning ending double play.

If they would have lost the game in the seventh, it would have been on an odd play that started with an error by Zach Miner.  Jason Kubel grounded to Miner, who turned to throw to second.  His throw went high and Ramon Santiago couldn’t get his foot down in time.  He threw to first late and then Carlos Guillen was late on a throw home to get Nick Punto for the Twins third run.  Three throws, nobody out but fortunately Zumaya pitched them out of it.

Zumaya threw a shutout ninth and then Jones closed it out for his 36th save of the season.  The Yankees lost, so the Tigers now sit 2 1/2 games back of New York.  It’ll be Jair Jurrjens this afternoon going up against Scott Baker and it goes without saying that the Tigers need a win.

Tigers Fail to Pick Up Ground Despite Comeback Win Over Twins

The Tigers won, but with just over two weeks left in the season, the Tigers also need help and they didn’t get any last night.  The Yankees stormed back and scored six runs in the eighth inning to beat the Red Sox and even the Indians came back and won.  So at the end of the night, they were still 3 1/2 games (four losses) back of the Yankees for that Wild Card.  Their elimination magic number is down to 12 and at this point, the Tiges have to be close to perfect get that Wild Card spot.

Nate Robertson gave the Tigers seven quality innings.  He gave up just two runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts and he improved to 8-11.  Somehow, Tim Byrdak was given a hold despite not getting a baserunner out (he hit Joe Mauer to lead off the eighth and then he came out of the game), and both Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones threw a shutout inning of relief.  Rodney struck out two of three batters he faced.

The Tigers big inning was the sixth.  Down 2-1, Ivan Rodriguez drove in a run with a bases loaded walk (just his ninth walk of the season) and Timo Perez broke the tie with a two run single.  Perez also put the Tigers on the board in the second with an RBI single and he finished three for four to keep his batting average well above .429.

Tonight, Yorman Bazardo makes his first career start and he’ll have the unenviable task of outpitching Johan Santana to win that game.  I’m not counting the Tigers out, but this would be a pretty big win if they could manage it…somehow.

Justin Verlander Wins Seventeenth Game

Justin Verlander won his fourth straight start and his sixth out of the last seven to improve to 17-5 on the season in the Tigers 5-1 win in their finale over Texas.  Verlander gave up just one run on seven hits and a walk and he struck out seven.  Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones each pitched a shutout inning while Jones struck out the side in a non-save situation.

All five of the Tigers runs came on a pair of homers.  Gary Sheffield put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a two run homer and then Magglio Ordonez provided some insurance with a three run homer in the sixth.  Ordonez now has 132 RBIs and while that puts him tied for fourteenth with Norm Cash and Cecil Fielder on the single season RBI list for the Tigers, he needs just eight more to jump all the way to fifth.  He would then become just the third Tiger hitter to drive in 140 runs in a season.  Hank Greenberg did it four times and Rocky Colavito was the last to do it in 1961.

Placido Polanco had a solid game as well.  He picked up a single and a walk and he scored on both of the homeruns.  He needs just two more runs to reach 100 on the season.  Gary Sheffield has 99 and Curtis Granderson and both Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez have topped the century mark.  The last time a Tiger team had four players with 100 runs was 1950.  George Kell, Hoot Evers, Johnny Lipton and Jerry Friddy did it that season.  In 1934, five Tigers scored a 100 runs or more.

The bad news is, the Yankees won again so the Tigers still sit four games back of the Yankees (five in the loss column).  The Tigers have the day off today while the Yankees wrap up their series Toronto.  It’d sure be nice if the Blue Jays helped us out and won that game.

In the meantime, the Tigers rotation is in shambles.  Jeremy Bonderman is out, Kenny Rogersand Jair Jurrjens are both sore and the Tigers have a tough three game series coming up in Minnesota against the Twins.  Kenny Rogers is listed as the stater on Saturday, but he could be pushed back as could Jurrjens, who’s listed to throw in Sunday.  The only thing Jim Leyland said that he knew for sure was that Robertson was starting on Friday in the series opener.


Tom Gage reports that Yorman Bazardo will get the start on Saturday.  Jurrjens will thrown on Sunday and then Kenny Rogers will start the opener against the Indians on Monday.

Another Interesting Curtis Granderson Stat

I’m watching the game and Curtis Granderson almost grounded into a double play.  Curtis amazingly has grounded into just one double play all season and if he finishes the season with just one, he’ll be only the fifth player in the last 27 years to ground into one double play or less and have more then 550 at bats.  He’d join Rafael Furcal (the last player to do it) in 2003, Brady Anderson and Craig Biggio in 1997 and Ellis Burks in his rookie season of 1987.  He’ll be in even more select company if he finishes with 600 at bats and less then one stolen base.  To date, Biggio and Furcal are the only players to do it since the ground into double play stat was kept track of back in 1939.

Tigers Lose More Ground After Split With Rangers

Things  got off to an immediately bad start yesterday as the Tigers were pummelled in game one of their doubleheader with the Rangers.  The Rangers set a record for homeruns by visiting team with seven in a 13-6 beatdown that at one point had the Tigers down 11-0 late.  The four starters who threw at least an inning all gave up runs and all four gave up homeruns.

By the middle of the game, most of the starters were out there which cleared the way for guys like Mike Hessman, Brent Clevlen and Cameron Maybin to get some time in.  Hessman finished the game with three RBIs and Timo Perez went three for four with two runs.

Fortunately, the Tigers bounced back in the second game and won it 4-1.  Jair Jurrjens picked the Tigers up with a solid start and he improved to 2-1 with five innings.  He gave up just one run on three hits and a walk with one strikeout while Jason Grilli, Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones held the Rangers scoreless in the final four innings.  For Jones, it was his 34th save of the season.

The Tigers big inning was the first one, in while they pummelled Brandon McCarthy. Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez all had RBI singles in the inning and the Tigers added a fourth run in the second inning on an RBI single by Placido Polanco.  Curtis Granderson supplanted Gary Sheffield as the team leader with two stolen bases where as Sheffield stole one.

The problem is, the Yankees won.  That puts the Tigers four games back, but more importantly, they’re five back in the loss column.  At this point, if the streaking Yankees go 998 in their final 18 games, the Tigers will have to go 11-5 just to force a tie so at this point, every loss really, really counts.

The finale with the Rangers is tonight.  It’ll be Justin Verlander throwing for his 17th win and the Tigers’ hitters will face Edinson Volquez, who I really don’t know much about.  He is 2-0 though but he has a career ERA of 7.89 in 57 innings so hopefully the Tigers can figure him out.

September Theatrics

At the end of this month, last night’s game may end up meaning little but man, was it fun to watch.  Roy Halladay owned the Tigers most of the night and heading into the ninth, the Jays had a comfortable 4-1 lead.  Mike Rabelo led off with a single and then Timo Perez hit one up the middle that looked like it might go through the hole but John McDonald made a spectacular play where he made a diving grab, scooped the ball with his glove to the second baseman who then turned the double play.

Sean Casey then hit one to left field and, when I initially saw the play live, I thought Reed Johnson short hopped it.  The ump called it a single but when the replay came back, it actually looked like Johnson caught but it was definitely close.  Anyway, Brandon Inge followed that up with a single to move pinchrunner Cameron Maybin over to third and Inge moved to second on catcher’s indifference.  Then Curtis Granderson drove them both home with single.  Placido Polanco singled, Gary Sheffield walked and then Maggs came through with the big game winning single.  So with two outs, it was single, single, single, single, walk single.  Final was 5-4.

Ordonez finished the game four for five and he’s now hitting .359.  Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Sean Casey all had two hits a piece and Gary Sheffield drew two walks.

Kenny Rogers put in 6 1/3 innings en route to throwing 98 pitches in a solid start.  He gave up just two runs on nine hits with two strikeouts while Joel Zumaya, with some help from Zach Miner, gave up two runs in the eighth that appeared to put the game out of reach.  Yorman Bazardo pitched a shutout ninth and he picked up his first career win.

The Yankees were off so the Tigers now sit 3 1/2 back of the Yankees, who didn’t play yesterday.  New York has three against the Blue Jays beginning today while the Tigers play three against the Rangers, including a doubleheader today.  The Rangers have played some good ball of late and they’re 30-24 since the All Star Break.  They’ve won five straight and they’re close to getting out of the cellar in the AL West.  Anyway, it’s Chad Durbin versus Vicente Padilla in the opener and Jair Jurrjens against Brandon McCarthy in the opener.

Tigers Win It In the Ninth

It’s been a rough day but it ended with a smile as the Tigers came back from a 4-1 deficit to score four runs in the ninth to win it.  Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderon each had two run singles with Maggs drivine in the tying and winning runs.

I’m beat so I’m crashing.  I’ll have my usual write up tomorrow morning.

Tigers to Shut Down Jeremy Bonderman

Jim Leyland said that there’s a good chance that Jeremy Bonderman will be shut down, potentially for the entire season.  Bonderman hasn’t been the same pitcher in the second half and it looks like one of the culprit’s is a sore elbow.  Billfer wrote up an excellent analysis of Bonderman’s second half slide so be sure to check that out.

Bondo Blowout

Jeremy Bonderman had another poor start yesterday afternoon as the Mariners blew out the Tigers 14-7 in an ugly game.  Bonderman was back to having first inning troubles when he gave up two runs in the first frame but Felix Hernandez outdid him by giving up four in the bottom of the first.  That was the last time the Tigers would have the lead though because the Mariners scored four more in the second, then four more in the third and three more in the fourth.  All five pitches used each gave up a run and Bonderman lasted just 1 1/3 innings.  He fell to 11-8 and it looks like once again, he’ll fall short of picking up 15 wins.

The game was shaping up to be a marathon because it took almost two hours to get through the first four innings but things calmed down in the second half of the game (just one run a piece) and it ended up clocking in at a still long but not too bad 3:17.

There’s a lot of new faces in the Tigers dugout because both the Seawolves and the Mud Hens are done.  Both lost in the first round of their respective playoffs.  The White Caps also finished up this weekend but in a good way as they repeated as Midwest League champions.  Oneonta just kicked off their playoffs with a win last night.

***UPDATE*** – Okay, I blew the White Caps things.  I didn’t know they had a three series format, so they’ll play for the Midwest League championship beginning Tuesday.

Curtis Granderson had a big day at the plate.  He was a perfect four for four with a homerun, two runs and a stolen base.  With the stolen base, Curtis Granderson joins Willie Mays and Frank Schulte as the only players to hit 20 homeruns, 20 doubles, 20 triples and steal 20 bases.  Magglio Ordonez went two for four with three RBIs and a run and he still leads the race for the batting title while Placio Polanco had two more hits to put himself back in it with Maggs and Ichiro.

The Yankees won so the Tigers lost a game in the Wild Card race and they now have to make up four games with 19 left to play.  And the Mariners aren’t dead yet either because they’re tied with the Tigers in the loss column.

The Blue Jays come to town tonight for a makeup game.  As luck would have it, the Blue Jays are sending Roy Halladay to the mound.  For the Tigers, it’ll be Kenny Rogers throwing. 

Curtis Granderson Steals 20th Base

Curtis Granderson just did it. He stole his 20th base to become just the third player in major league history to hit 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homeruns and steal 20 bases.

Tigers Hammer Jeff Weaver For Fourth Straight Win

Ivan Rodriguez led the Tigers at the plate last night as they blew out the Mariners 12-6 for their fourth straight win.  It was Pudge’s third game in which he had four hits this season.  He homered, drove in two and scored twice.  Curtis Granderson picked up his 22nd triple and he scored three runs while Placido Polanco put himself in the batting title race with a three for four game in which he drove in four and scored two times and Timo Perez went three for four with a triple and two RBIs.  Finally, Brandon Inge was the other Tiger to go yard.  It was his fourteenth of the season.  So a lot of hitting highlights in this one and quite a few of them were off of former Tiger Jeff Weaver.

Nate Robertson had a rough start which forced the Tigers to once again go to the pen earlier then they would have liked.  Robertson gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Zach Miner picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of relief in which he gave up one run and Fernando Rodney and Yorman Bazardo each threw a scoreless frame.

While the wins are nice, all they’ve done is match the Yankees, who have a four game winning streak of their own.  The good news is, with a win this afternoon, the Tigers can bury the Mariners and they’ll know they have to make up games on just one team.   It’ll be an interesting matchup of two solid young starters with Felix Hernandez pitching against Jeremy Bonderman.

Curtis Granderson Belts 20th Homerun In Tigers Third Straight Win

The Tigers have put together a nice little winning streak and in the process, they’ve moved into sole possession of second place in the American League Wild Card race.  As I’m writing this, the Yankees and Royals are tied 2-2 and if KC can pull it out, then the Tigers will pick up a game and move to within two games of the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson belted his 20th homerun and with one more stolen base, he’ll join just Willie Mays (the last to do it back in 1957) and Frank Schulte as the only hitter to steal 20 bases and rack up 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 homeruns.  When you bump the double total up to 30, then Granderson would sit with just Schulte and no hitter has picked up 40 doubles, 20 triples, 20 stolen bases and 20 homers.  He also has a shot at becoming the first modern baseball hitter to pick up both 25 homeruns and 25 triples in the same season.  He’d need a great month but the only hitter to ever do that was Buck Freeman back in 1899.

Justin Verlander won his 16th game of the season with eight inning solid frames in the 6-1 win.  He gave up just one run on seven hits.  He had just three strikeouts but he didn’t walk anybody and he got it all done on just 92 pitches.  He even had to contend with a half hour rain delay in the fifth inning.  Joel Zumaya pitched a shutout ninth to close things out and that was that.

Magglio Ordonez went two for three with a walk and he broke a tie in the batting title race with Ichiro, who went 0 for 4.  Ordonez sits at .354 while Ichiro fell to .349.  Ordonez also sits at 186 hits and he should become the first Tiger to pick up 200 hits since Alan Trammell in 1987.  If Placido Polanco can get there with 28 more hits, it would be the first time since 1937 that the Tigers had two hitters with 200 hits.  In 1937, they had four hitters pick up 200 hits. 

Tomorrow, it’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Jeff Weaver in an evening game.  Robertson was solid his last time out and hopefully he can follow that up with another nice outing.

Placido Polanco Wins It in the Ninth As Tigers Win Second Straight Over White Sox

It was another close, but the Tigers pulled a game out of their hat as they took their series against the White Sox and for the second straight day, they won the game on a walk off hit.  Brandon Inge put the Tigers on the board in the third inning with a solo homer (his first since July 21) off of Mark Buehrle and the game remained at 1-0 until the White Sox came to bat in the ninth.  Then the White Sox tagged Fernando Rodney for two runs and things looked grim as the Tigers came to bat in the ninth against Bobby Jenks.

Timo Perez led off with an infield single and then ended at second after Danny Richar threw the ball away.  Mike Rabelo then bunted Perez over to third and Cameron Maybin came in to pinch run for Perez.  Sean Casey then tied the game up with a single and he was replaced by Omar Infante on the bases.  Brandon Inge grounded out but it was good enough to move Infante over and then Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch.  The Placido Polanco came up huge with a walk off, RBI single to win it.

The win moves the Tigers into a tie with the Mariners for second place in the Wild Card race, and ironically, that’s the Tigers opponents this weekend.  Justin Verlander gets the start in the opener tomorrow and it’ll be Miguel Batista throwing for the Mariners. 

Tigers Top White Sox In Eleven Innings

Other then the fact that the Tigers had to use six pitchers in the Tigers 2-1, eleven inning win over the White Sox,the game was encouraging on a couple of different levels.  Kenny Rogers made his second return and pitched five solid frames.  He gave up just one run on two hits and he had a season high six strikeouts in five innings.  The other encouraging thing was how well the pen pitched.  Five relievers held the White Sox scoreless in the final innings with the highlight being Joel Zumaya’s two shutout innings.  He was consistently hitting the high 90s on the gun and he struck out three and gave up just one hit.

Mike Hessman put the Tigers  on the board in the fifth inning with a solo shot, his second of the year.  Ironically, his other homerun also came off of starter Gavin Floyd earlier in the year.  Then while the Tigers threatened, they couldn’t push a run across the plate until the eleventh.  Curtis Granderson failed to bunt his way for the first out before and then Placido Polanco lined out.  Brandon Inge kept the inning alive with a double and Carlos Guillen was intentionally walked.  Then Timo Perez laced a single into right field to drive home Inge for the game winner.

The Tigers had six stolen bases in this game including two by Curtis Granderson and two by Placido Polanco.  The two by Granderon gives him 19 on the year and he’s only been caught once.  So he’s just one homerun and one stolen base away from the 20 mark.

The Yankees beat the Mariners so while the Tigers still sit three and a half back of New York, they’re just a half game back and could tie up the Mariners with a win this afternoon.  The Yankees are also off today.

The Tigers play this afternoon in what should be there final Thursday game of the season.  Chad Durbin gets the start and the Tigers hitters will face Mark Buehrle.  It’s also supposed to be the return of Gary Sheffield.

Wildcard or Bust and Kenny Rogers Returns

Jon Garland held the Tigers’ hitters in check as a solid start by Jeremy Bonderman was wasted.  And once again, the Tigers failed to get it done against the White Sox.  Sigh.  With the Indians win, the Tigers sit a distant seven games out with each team having 24 games left.  So even if the Indians go 10-14 (which is unlikely), the Tigers would have to go 17-7 (which, based on how they’re playing, it also unlikely).  At this point, I’m not even looking at what the Indians are doing, it’ll all be Yankees and Mariners.

The Tigers outhit the White Sox last night but they pushed just one baserunner across in a 3-1 loss.  Carlos Guillen drove in the lone run with an RBI single in the sixth inning and he also had a team high two hits.  Omar Infante, in his first game since getting called back up from Toledo, went one for three with a run. Magglio Ordonez went one for four and his lead in the batting race over Ichiro is now down to a single game.

Jeremy Bonderman fell to 11-8 in a pretty ineffecient start.  He lasted just 5 1/3 innings yet threw 100 pitches and he gave up three runs on seven hits and two waks with three strikeouts. The two big mistakes were homeruns to Josh Fields and Alex Cintron which accounted for all three White Sox runs.  Zach Miner did a nice job in relief.  He finished up where Bonderman left off and he gave up just one hit in 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

The Yankees beat the Mariners last night so the Tigers deficit in the Wild Card is now 3 1/2 games.  Kenny Rogers makes his second return of the season and he’ll face Gavin Floyd.  This could be one of those important games not just on the scoreboard, but on the mound to see whether the Tigers will have one of their arms down their stretch.

Tigers Affiliates Well Represented In Minor League Post Season

The Tigers minor league affiliates have had some quality seasons this year and with a lot of the playoffs starting tomorrow, the Tigers have three affiliates in the post season.  The Toledo Mud Hens and West Michigan White Caps will defend their titles while the Erie Seawolves also made the playoffs.  And the Oneonta Tigers season isn’t over with yet, but they have a solid chance of winning their division.

For some outstanding coverage of the playoffs, be sure to check out Tigers Minors and Take I-75 North.

Tigers Lose Tough Game In Finale Over Athletics

Wow.  It’s funny because I turned the game off in the seventh because of family duties (i.e. playing with boy).  I logged back in to check the box score to see how many runs the Tigers ended up winning by only to see the A’s came back in dramatic fashion.  I’m glad I didn’t keep the game on because I’m sure, to put it lightly, I would have been annoyed.  To blow a seven run lead is tough.  To blow it when you could have picked up a game in both the division and the Wild Card makes it even tougher.

But blow a seven run lead they did.  Nate Robertson was very good through six innings and his only blemish was the fifth when he gave up two runs.  Then Fernando Rodney got tagged (he’ll probably be the talk on the sports radio show because everyone had been talking about how good he’d been), which set things up for Todd Jones to blow it in the ninth with two runs. He gave up only his third homerun of the season and it was his first blown save since July 21.  Then Yorman Bazardo yielded the “losing” run in the tenth.  Sigh.

Marcus Thames had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Tigers at the plate.  Cameron Maybin hit leadoff and he went 0 for 4.  Ramon Santiago was the other hitting star with two doubles, a triple and two RBIs.

So the Tigers are right back where they are to start the day because the Indians, Yankees and Mariners all lost.  The Tigers get a day off to think about things before they head home to play three against the White Sox.  Jeremy Bonderman will try to help right the ship on Tuesday and the hitters will see Gavin Floyd.  I normally wouldn’t be worried about facing Floyd with his 6.92 ERA but his best start of the season was against the Tigers when he pitched six shutout innings on (his only win) on August 5.

Lose One, Win One

The Tigers lost on Friday but then won this afternoon.  The problem is at this point, .500 isn’t going to cut it especially against a team that’s pretty much out of it.  With the Indians winning eight straight, the Tigers find themselves down by 5 1/2 games.  Things are a little better for the Wild Card, but they still trail the Yankees by three games and the Mariner by one.  Even if the Yankees go .500 the rest of the way, the Tigers would have to 16-10 the rest of the way just to force a tie.  And this is a team that has gone 21-29 since the All Star Break.  Anyway, sorry to sound so grim but things aren’t looking good.  The Tigers need to put together an extended winning streak and they need to do it now.

Justin Verlander threw a career high 128 pitches and it’ll be interesting to see how he does the next couple of starts.  He did strikeout ten in a solid start and he improved to 15-5.  I was asked in an interview whether Verlander would win 15 this season and I said no thinking he’d run out of gas and finish with 13 or 14.  As is sometimes the case, it can be good to be wrong.

Curtis Granderson belted his 19th step closer, and that puts him one long ball short of a historic season.  He finished the day four for five with two RBIs and three runs while Timo Perez went three for four with two runs.

It’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Dallas Braden.  Then it’s back home for three against the White Sox.  In looking at the Tigers schedule, it’s odd that they have so many days off in September.   In fact this Thursday’s game against the White Sox is their last Thursday game of the year barring a postponement.

Bondo and the Long Ball

It took well over a month, but Jeremy Bonderman finally won his eleventh game of the season as the Tigers finally put together and pulled out a win in their series finale with the Royals.  Bonderman improved to 11-7 and he gave up just one run on six hits with three strikeouts in seven innings.  Just as important, he didn’t walk a single batter after walking nine in 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts.  Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya each threw a scoreless frame to close out the 6-1 win.

It’ll be interesting to see how the talk radio scene reacts.  After Sunday’s beatdown over the Yankees, people were calling it the most important win of the season.  Then just one day later after the loss in the opener to the Royals, they were counting the Tigers out.  There’s still quite a few games so to place one game over another is a little silly even as we go into September.

Curtis Granderson hit homerun number 18 and he both drove in and scored twice.  The two runs put him over the 100 run for the first time in his career.  Magglio Ordonez also went yard with his 26th and he finished the game three for four.  With just a month to play, Ordonez leads Ichiro by nine points in the race for the batting title.

The Indians won their sixth straight game so the Tigers still sit 4 1/2 games back.  The Yankees also won but the Mariners lost so the Tigers made a baby step forward in the Wild Card race.

Andrew Miller was sent down to the minors, sort of.  He was optioned to Lakeland, who’s season ends on Monday so Miller won’t even report.  Then when rosters expand tomorrow, he’ll be put back on the squad but he’ll be used as a reliever for the forseeable future. 

The Tigers kick off a three game series in Oakland beginning tonight.  Virgil Vasquez will get the start and he’ll face Joe Blanton.

Rough First Inning Costs Tigesrs, Andrew Miller Win In K.C.

Well, it was another bizarre game,  Andrew Miller couldn’t do much right as the left hander gave up five runs before getting a single out in the first inning as he fell to 5-5 on the season.  Oddly, Buddy Bell probably had just as much to do with the Tigers escaping with just five runs because of an odd call.  With runners on first and second and nobody out, he called for Joey Gathright to bunt with two strikes.  He missed and that led to a strike em’ out, throw em’ out to give Miller his only two outs.  Zach Miner then came in to get the final out.

From that point on, neither team scored the rest of the way and the Tigers ended up with a 5-0 final.  Zach Miner threw four shutout frames and then Tim Byrday, Fernando Rodney and Bobby Seay pitched the final 3 1/3 while giving up just one hit.  So the pen did their job, the Tigers’ hitters just couldn’t get on track to mount a come back for the second straight night.

Placido Polanco, Sean Casey and Timo Perez all had two hits a piece.  Perez had the only extra base hits with each of his hit’s being doubles.

Even worse, the Indians won, so now the Tigers sit a distant 4 1/2 games back in the division race (five back in the loss column).  And with the Mariners five straight losses, the Wild Card looks now to be the better option when everyone was saying it was out of reach just a week ago.  The Tigers sit three games back for the Wild Card with Seattle and the Yankees tied atop the heap.

This afternoon, it’ll be Jeremy Bonderman going up against Leo Nunez.  Bonderman hasn’t won since July 13, and this would be a great time for him to end that six game losing streak.

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