Archive for the '2008 Tigers' Category

Tigers Finish Tough Week With Tough Loss

If there was any doubt that the Tigers were done, this week should have put those doubts to rest.  The Tigers drop five of seven through series against the Jays and Orioles and things ended on a particularly ugly note this afternoon with a 16-8 drubbing at the hands of the Orioles.  The end result is a 4-6 record over the Tigers ten game home stand and this was a stretch where they would have had to go 8-2 to stay in things.  From this point on, I’m no longer looking at the standings because from the Tigers perspective, their chances of making the playoffs are pretty much zero.

In the meantime, the White Sox and Twins, two teams I had pegged to be at the bottom of the standings back in April, are in a dead tie for the division title.  For more comedy, check out who I predict to win the NL Central.  At least it looks like I picked the AL ROY correctly.  Anyway, the Tigers still play a series each against the White Sox and Twins as well as a series against the Rays so they could still have a small impact in who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of games against the Indians and a lot of games against the Royals so my bet is, you begin to see more sparse crowds at the ballpark.  They’ll still set the attendance record, but only because the tickets have already been sold.

The Tigers head to Texas for three games and they’ll have to contend with the best offense in baseball.  We’ll also see if the Tigers pull of another trade or two to begin positioning themselves for next year.  I’m not sure who’s cleared waivers (as far as I know, there’s no real way for an outside to know) but it wouldn’t surprise me if Dave Dombrowski pulls the trigger on a deal.  Kenny Rogers goes up against Scott Feldman and you have two guys who’s combined ERA is ten.  I think we’ll see some offense tomorrow considering Leyland will have to ride Rogers since we used five pitchers.

Tigers Sign Freddy Garcia to Minor League Deal

Prior to tonight’s game, the Tigers signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal.  He’s going to start out at Lakeland to build up his arm strength and the hope is, he’ll be with the Mud Hens sooner rather then later.

Talk about a guy who fell quicly.  Garcia was a key part of the White Sox 2005 World Series run and then he won 17 games for the White Sox in 2006.  He was then dealt to the Phillies where he won just one game before going down with a torn labrum and he hasn’t pitched since.  Now he has a second chance and hopefully it turns into a worthwhile experiment for the Tigers.

Tigers are up 4-1 but the Jays are threatening in the top of the seventh.

Nate Robertson Has Best Start In a While

Nate Robertson had his best start in over a month as he got his ERA down below six.  He improved to 7-8 and he gave up just one run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.  Fernando Rodney got the final four outs, including getting out of the eighth with an inherited runner, and he picked up his third save of the season.

Curtis Granderson belted his 15th homer and he’s well on pace for his second straight season over 20.  Granderson’s slugging percentage is down about 60 points from his exceptional 2007 season but outside of that, he’s proven himself a bonafide star hitter from the leadoff spot.  You can’t argue with an .862 OPS and the only thing that should keep him from getting 100 runs (although he still has a chance) is that time he missed in April.

Magglio Ordonez drove in a pair on two hits and that brings his season total up to 70.  Like Granderson, the only thing that’s going to stop him from getting 100 RBIs is that time he missed just before the All Star Break.  If he does get to 100, he’ll be the first Tiger with three straight 100 RBI seasons since Cecil Fielder did it from 1990 through 1992 and then Fielder was the first guy to do it since Hank Greenberg.

Reason number 99 that the Tigers probably won’t make the playoffs is that, despite winning two of three, they made up no ground on first place (still 7 1/2 back), mostly because they have to contend with two teams.  In order to have a shot, they need to make up about a game a series on BOTH teams and that’s just too tough.

Next up is a four game set against the Blue Jays.  When I was a teenager, an August series against the Blue Jays usually meant something.  Not so much now.  Anyway, Sean Marcum goes up against Justin Verlander in the opener tomorrow.

Miguel Cabrera Homers Twice, Tigers Even Series With Athletics

This game was a lot closer then it looked.  Through six innings, it was a back and forth 3-2 game that saw the Tigers score, and the A’s answer shortly thereafter.  Then the Tigers offense exploded for three runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth to turn it into a blowout.  Miguel Cabrera homered twice and drove in four runs and Placido Polanco had a team high three hits and a run. Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria also both went deep with solo shots.

Armando Galarraga was the first Tiger pitcher to reach ten wins with another solid start.  He gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.  Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya and Kyle Farnsworth combined to hold the A’s to just two hits in 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

The rubber game is this afternoon.  It’ll be Nate Robertson going up against rookie Greg Smith.  The Tigers didn’t get it done against a lefthander on Friday so hopefully they’ll fare better today.  The White Sox lost but the now first place Twins won so the Tigers sit eight games back.

I met some big time baseball fans this weekends.  Yesterday, I voluneteered to help out at Wal-Mart Field with the Miracle of League of Michigan.  Wal-Mart Field is specially designed to give kids with disabilities an easier way to play ball.  I was a player “buddy” for Toby, who’s favorite baseball player is Gary Sheffield and who was a southpaw like me.  There motto is a good, “Every Child Deserves the Chance to Play Baseball.”  I had a nice time and everyone there was extremely friendly.

Athletics Snap Ten Game Skid At Tigers Expense

The Tigers had a chance to build on their win last night over the White Sox but they went out with a whimper today.  They jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a huge centerfield shot by Marcus Thames in the second inning but they did little after that.  And when I say little, I mean two hits in the final seven frames for the Tigers.

I penned a piece over at the Hardball Times on the Tigers chances the rest of the way.  I present the reasons they will (yes, I was stretching) and won’t make the playoffs.  If the numbers look funny, it’s because everything is as of after Tuesday’s loss.  It just didn’t get put up until today.

The White Sox are up 3-0 and if that lead holds, the Tigers will be back to nine back in the loss column.  The Twins are also ahead.  Tomorrow, it’ll be Armando Galarraga going up against Dan Meyer in a night game.

Guillermo Moscoso – A Prospect to Watch

After a less then stellar minor league career prior to 2008, Guillermo Moscoso has taken his game to the next level.  Yes, he’s 24 and he just made his Double A debut today but as Mike Cassidy discusses, his numbers are impressive this season.

No Sunday Series Saver

Like I touched on last week, the Tigers had done a good job in the month of July by winning their Sunday games to salvage a game in their previous four weekend series.  It almost looked like this would be the case today, but Fernando Rodney had a tenth inning meltdown that cost the Tigers the win.  He walked three, hit a batter and gave up a single and a one run lead turned into a one run loss in extra innings.  Even worse, Kyle Farnsworth gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth and the only reason the game went into extra frames was because Curtis Granderson came through big in the ninth with a game tying solo homer.

The end result is, the Tigers are now back below .500.  They’re seven games back of the Twins, who passed the White Sox today.  Speaking of said White Sox, the Tigers have a day off, then they finish up their road trip with three against the White Sox in Chicago.  Even a sweep would only cut their deficit to the Sox in half.  The Twins have three against the worst team in the American League, the Mariners.

Armando Galarraga once again came through with a fantastic outing.  He gave up just one run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts in seven innings.  He was up to 100 pitches, which is probably wanted prompted Leyland to go to the pen.  After 90 pitches, Galarrage had given up thirteen hits and five earned runs in seven innings prior to today’s start and outside of his first fifteen pitches, that was his roughest patch of the game.

Here’s some more interesting tidbits on Galarraga.  Prior to today’s start, he had a .329 batting average against when hitters put the first pitch into play.  After the first pitch, regardless of the count after that first pitch, Galarraga has a .192 batting average against.  To round out the Galarraga situational stats, he’s gone to 3-0 to eleven batters and he’s walked all eleven.  He hasn’t given up a hit nor has a batter even put the ball into play.  Some of his other numbers are similarly odd.  After going 3-1 to a batter, his line is .160/.553/.240.  You wonder how often he just gives up the free pass and hopes he can get the next guy.

Miguel Cabrera belted his 20th homerun to give the Tigers the lead in the tenth.  It was a huge shot that actually hit one of the cat walks in the dome.  Cabrera would be the perfect guy to match up against Galarraga.  Prior to today’s game, Cabrera was hitting .400 when he put the ball in play on the first pitch and he’s walked all thirteen times he’s gone to a 3-0 count.

Enough of the fun.  There’s no doubt the Tigers need to win this week.  After the White Sox, they come home to play the struggling Athletics.  Hopefully the A’s are still struggling and the Tigers are riding a three game winning streak.

Trouble By The Bay

The Tigers dropped the first game of their three game set with the Rays last night and the loss now puts them seven games back of first place in the loss column and just one game above .500.  Tuesday night, I need to write a piece for the Hardball Times on the Tigers final two months of the season and if the losing continues, I’m going to have a hard time being optimistic.

Things started well enough for the Tigers yesterday.  They drew four walks in the first inning for their first run and then Miguel Cabrera tripled home a run in the third to make it 2-0.    Unfortunately, that was it and they picked up just three hits beyond that point.  In the bottom of the third, the Rays tagged Zach Miner for a pair and just like that, the game was tied.  Carlos Pena homered for the winning run and two of the Rays five runs scored without someone reaching base.  The second run came on a passed ball and the fourth one came on a wild pitch.

Brandon Inge was busy behind the plate.  He was two for five, which isn’t bad.  He gunned down B.J. Upton and Akinori Iwamura but Carl Crawford, Upton and Eric Hinske all stole bases. 

The Tigers have an unusual 6:10 start time tonight.  Must be something going on in the St. Petersburg area.  It’ll be Kenny Rogers going up against Andy Sonnanstine.

Pudge For Kyle – Initial Thoughts

The story of the day is the Tigers trade with the Yankees.  The Tigers sent future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees for former Tiger reliever Kyle Farnsworth.  When I saw the headline, my initial thought was WTF but then I thought about it and in a lot of ways, this move makes some sense.  Here’s why…

1)  The difference between Pudge and Brandon Inge, especially for just two months of the season, isn’t that big of a deal.  Heading into tonight’s game, Brandon Inge has an OPS of .758 and Ivan Rodriguez sits at .755.  Both have been average hitters but Inge’s low batting average with extra base hits is about on par with Ivan Rodriguez’s hollow .295 batting average.  And over the course of the season, Pudge’s defense would definitely tip the scale in his favor but that advantage is muted considerably when you take into account that we’re 2/3 of the way through the season.

2)  Pudge is getting old. He’s 37 and he’s on pace to catch around 130 games.  That wear and tear could take its toll on Rodriguez through the final two months of the season and his career second half OPS is almost 100 points lower then his first half.  Combine that with the stress of playing in the Big Apple and it could be a long two months.

3)  The move might not make a ton of sense now, but odds are good the Tigers aren’t done dealing so when all of the deals are taken together, there could be more method to the madness.  If they can trade the out of favor Todd Jones for even a good backup catcher, it gives the Tigers some insurance behind the plate.  Marcus Thames (Matt Joyce has done well, which could make Thames expendable) is someone with some value and while it might be an odd move, Armando Galarraga’s value could never be higher then it is right now.  The only way trading Galarraga would make sense though is if the Tigers upgrade at starting pitcher.

4)  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya would make a formidable 1-2-3 punch.  While not as good as the combination in Minnesota, this would more closely resemble the solid pen the Tigers had going for them in 2006.  Shortening games is always a good thing especially when you have guys like Zach Miner and Galarraga who aren’t used to throwing a ton of innings.

5)  The draft picks for Pudge probably wouldn’t have been there.  You’ll have some people point to the fact that if someone would have signed Rodriguez, we would have gotten two draft picks but that’s only had we offered arbtitration and he subsequently declined it.  Odds are good Rodriguez would have accepted arbitration and the Tigers would have had him for another for somewhere in the range of $5-$8 million a year.

I guess I like the deal.  It’s low risk and at worse, the loss will be muted because of the short time period.  I’m also curious as to what else the Tigers might do tomorrow.

The Tigers have just scored four runs in the eighth and after being down 8-1 at one point, they’ve tied the game up at 11-11.  The White Sox are probably going to win, so the Tigers need to win to keep their current deficit intact.

Salvage Sunday

The Tigers have won all four Sunday games this month.  The problem is, all four wins have followed at least a two game losing streak (one of the four was a three game losing streak) so all Sunday has been for them is a chance to avoid a sweep.  Still it gives the team a glimmer of hope because the difference between being seven down (loss column) and nine down is pretty huge.  The Tigers still have a long road ahead of them if they even want to have a chance, but if they somehow manage to slip into the playoffs, these four Sunday wins could be a big reason why.

I went to the game today with my son.  We didn’t stay the whole game because it was pretty hot in the sun, but it was nice to see a win.  I was a little annoyed because we got there early and wanted to sit in the shade so we parked in a couple of club seats.  There was nobody sitting in the section at that point, yet the usher gave us all of two minutes before asking me for the ticket that he knew I didn’t have before kicking us out.  I’m sure someone could give me a stupid reason why this makes sense, but to me it seemed pointless.  There was a time, not too long ago, when the Tigers had a tough time selling seats.  Now that they’re good, everyone gets a little cocky but that could always turn so keeping the fans happy should still be a priority.  Letting a dad and his four year old son cool off for a ten minutes until the rest of the crowd actually showed up would have been a nice attempt at customer service but it wasn’t happening.

Anyway, I didn’t get much of a chance to actually see much of the game but I’ll take the win. Zach Miner put in another good performance and Ivan Rodriguez had a nice game and he went four for four.  Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames both went yard and Miguel Cabrera drove in two more runs.  Cabrera is now up to 74 on the season and with two months and change left, 125 RBIs isn’t out of the question.

Next up is four against the even more depleted Indians who traded Casey Black this week.  We also have the trade deadline and that can get a bit crazy.  Regardless, the Tigers next three series are on the road with the finale in Chicago against the White Sox.

White Sox Take Round One

This probably won’t interest most of you, but my nightly schedule usually keeps me from watching at least the first half of Tiger home games.  My son doesn’t go to bed until around 9 pm, so by the time I get settled in and turn the game, it’s usually pretty much decided.  I was able to catch bits of this one while he was playing and of course just about every time I had the game on, the Tigers were leading.

In fact, the White Sox never had the lead in this one until the ninth inning.  The Tigers would score, the White Sox would answer.  Then Carlos Guillen belted a solo homer in the seventh inning and all looked well.  The eight inning went by without incident and Todd Jones looked like he was set to cruise through the ninth when he got the first two batters out.  Then disaster struck.  Carlos Quentin put one through the left side of the infield and then Jermaine Dye took Jones deep to turn a Tigers one run lead into a one run deficit.

It’s too bad because the Twins lost as well.  Now the Tigers will six 6 1/2 back, and more importantly, they’ll be seven back in the loss column.  If they lose either of the next two games, it could determine whether the Tigers decide to be buyers or sellers heading into the trading deadline.

Tigers Sweep Royals

The Tigers went a long way towards evening their record against the Royals after they pulled off a three game sweep in Kansas City.  The Tigers outscored KC 33-6 and in no way, shape, or form did the Royals ever have a chance in any of these games.  Yes, Kansas City is still one of the worst teams in the American League but these are also the games the Tigers have to win (and hadn’t the first two months of the season). 

This afternoon, Armando Galarraga took a perfect game into the seventh inning only to have David DeJesus single to lead off the frame.  In all, he gave up just one run on three hits and a walk with a career high seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.  Casey Fossum and Todd Jones then pitched a scoreless inning each to close out the game.

Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco each had a team high three hits.  Miguel Cabrera continued his impressive week with two singles and three RBIs.  He now has 14 RBIs in the last five games.  Curtis Granderson tripled for the sixth time this season and while Carlos Guillen didn’t get a hit, he walked twice and scored a pair of runs.

The Tigers now get a day off and then they start a very important three game series against the White Sox.  Nate Robertson gets the nod on Friday and he’ll go up against Gavin Floyd.  The White Sox have cushioned their first place lead and they’re 2 1/2 ahead of the Twins and 5 1/2 ahead of the Tigers.  I’ll be going to Sunday’s game with my son.

Jeff Passan has a solid column on Joel Zumaya’s comeback.  Good stuff.  And not that I’m in Jeff’s class, but I’ve also gotten back to writing, after a short hiatus, my Business of Baseball Reports over at the Hardball Times.

Justin Verlander Shines In Split With Orioles

Justin Verlander helped the Tigers salvage a split against the Orioles today.  He gave up an early run in the second inning, but after that he gave up just a pair of hits and he pitched deep into a game where the Tigers needed to give their pen a rest.  He only struck out three, but he walked just three and Justin has now won his last six decisions.  Todd Jones came in to got the final batter out, and he did after giving up a walk.  What was equally impressive was that Verlander threw all of those innings in what was an above 100 heat index.

Magglio Ordonez and Marcus Thames both went yard while Gary Sheffield drew three walks.  Ramon Santiago continues to impress and he went two for four to bring his season batting average up to .358.

Of course there was the disappointing loss Saturday night.  Yes, the Tigers got hosed on that play at the plate but it should have never gotten to that point.  A six run lead, when you’re fighting for your playoff life, is something you shouldn’t give up.

Speaking of playoffs, the Tigers sit 6 1/2 back. Doesn’t sound like much until you do the math.  Baseball Prospectus thinks it’ll take 91 wins to win the American League Central and that the White Sox have about a 69 percent chance of hitting that mark.  With a 49-49 record, the Tigers have to go 42-22 to hit the 91 win mark, which is just over a 65% winning percentage.  Basically, they’re going to have to be the best team over the final two months of the season.  Another way to look at it is if the White Sox and Twins both go .500 the rest of the way, then 87 or 88 wins will get it.  Even then, the Tigers will have to go 38-26, which means they’d still have to play close to what a 100 win team would be.

Kansas City is up next.  Zach Miner is going to get the start so we’ll how that goes.  First round pick Luke Hochevar throws for Kansas City.  His best start of the season was against the Tigers on May 14 when he threw six innings of shutout ball.

Tigers Kick Off Second Half With Win

I know, the All Star Game is no longer the absolute split between the first and second half anymore but I still look at it as a fresh start of sorts.  The Tigers seemed to like the time off and they won a tough contest against the Orioles tonight.  It seemed like every time the Tigers scored the Orioles would answer and through five innings, Baltimore had a 4-3 lead.  Brandon Inge put the Tigers ahead for good though with a two run shot in the sixth and then Marcus Thames gave the Tigers some needed insurance with a solo shot in the seventh.  Todd Jones didn’t disappoint and he gave up a run in the ninth with some help from a Ramon Santiago error but 6-5 was as close as the Orioles would get.

Gary Sheffield put the Tigers on the board with a monster two run shot in the second inning.  It was his only hit but he also drew a walk.  Edgar Renteria and Marcus Thames had a team high two hits while Magglio Ordonez went one for five in his first game back from the disabled list.

Kenny Rogers picked up the win but he got his share of help from the Tigers defense.  In the second inning, the Orioles already had two runs and there were runners on first and third with nobody out when Brandon Inge started an interesting 5-4-2 double play.  He checked Melvin Mora at third, had time to throw Ramon Hernandez at second base and then Placido Polanco threw home to get Mora.  That was the first of four double plays that the Tigers made.

The Tigers ended up using six pitchers although two of those threw to just one batter.  In all, the pen held on well enough and they combined to give up just one unearned run in three innings.

Tomorrow it’ll be Armando Galarraga going up against Jeremy Guthrie.  Guthrie is a right hander who, despite having a 5-7 record, has some very solid numbers.  Hopefully Armando is on his game and the Tigers can make it three straight.

There’s some interesting news with regards to Tiger Stadium.  If you believe what the newspapers are saying, the Stadium is on it’s last leg.  If you’re a fan of saving the ballpark though, you got a little glimmer of hope earlier thie week because Senator Carl Levin was able to get $4 million in funding to help save a portion of  Tiger Stadium in the HUD appropriations bill.  This could go a long way towards saving a part of the ballpark for future use.

On a seperate note, you can do your part if you want to see a portion of Tiger Stadium preserved.  No other old ballpark is left standing so it’s interesting (and not surprising) that Detroit wouldn’t want to be trendsetters here.  You can read about what the Old Tiger Stadium Conservacy is trying to do as well as make a donation if you’d like to help the cause.

Tigers Avoid Sweep, Head Into Break With Even Record

I guess there’s two ways to look things.  If you would have told me the Tigers would be at an even 47-47 record at the All Star break back in March, I would have been extremely disappointed.  Had you asked me in early June, I probably would have been excited. It’s been one of those years where expectations have definitely been tempered and with some help from the Rangers, the Tigers still sit seven games out of first place despite dropping three of four to the Twins.

And what a series.  The Tigers were outscored by a single run through the four game series, yet they manage to win just one of four.  And while the Tigers have turned it around as of late (taking out the last week or so), Justin Verlander has been one of the guys to lead the charge.  He struck out eight today in seven solid innings and he gave up just four hits.  In his last eight starts, he’s thrown 53 innings and struck out 52.  He’s also shaved 3/4 of a point off of his ERA and he’s now won five straight games.  Not too shabby for a guy who looked to be making a run at 20 losses.

Matt Joyce hit his ninth homerun of the season and what a surprise he’s been.  His batting average and OPB isn’t anything special, but that .600+ slugging percentage looks might fine.  17 of his 25 hits have been for extra bases and he’s hit six of his nine homeruns at home.  Not too bad for a guy who didn’t even show up on most prospect lists heading into the season.

Clete Thomas belted his first career homerun and while his batting average has tapered off, he’s still hitting a healthy .284 although he’s benefited from a .360 (prior to today’s game) batting average on balls in play.  He’s also drawn 14 walks which is a solid mark for the number of times he’s come up to the plate.

I might find time in the next couple of days to pen my typical “The All Star Game is no longer what it used to be” column that I’m known for this time the year.  In the meantime, I’m happy that work is going to be lightening up and Burn Notice is back on the air.  The first show of the season was solid and it looks like they’re not going to make too radical of a turn from what was a solid first season.  I don’t watch much television and I pick my shows wisely and outside of maybe 24, which isn’t on for another several months, Burn Notice is the best show around.

A Comeback For Me, a Comeback For You

Yesterday’s 8-6 win over the Indians was definitely one of the bright spots of the Tigers’ season.  The team clawed back from a 6-0 deficit and they capped off the dramatics with a two run walk off homerun by Miguel Cabrera.  Carlos Guillen showed he can still flash the glove and the Tigers got some big time help from the pen.  Casey Fossum pitched himself out of a huge jam by striking out the side after loading the bases up with nobody out and it looked like a 2006 flashback with both Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones throwing scoreless frames to close out the game.

Then the Tigers turn around and have an almost as disappointing loss.  Up 6-2, they let the Twins claw back into the game today and the Twins sent the game into extra frames when they tagged Jones for two in the ninth.  Then in the eleventh, Justin Morneau took Freddy Dolsi deep for the game winner.  Matt Joyce hit his second homerun in as many days and Marcus Thames had three hits, it was just all for naught.

The Tigers have made a slew of roster moves the past couple of days.  Ramon Santiago came off the disabled list and Mike Hollimon was sent down.  Dane Sardinha moved down in place of Brandon Inge and then Eddie Bonine was sent down and Jeff Larish was called up.  Bonine was moved down not because he was being bumped from the rotation, but because the Tigers don’t need him for close to two weeks.  In the meantime, he’ll get some innings in Erie for the SeaWolves.

It’ll be Armando Galarraga throwing tomorrow night with Glen Perkins throwing for the Twins.  Kansas City has blown two straight games and they’re down 1-0 tonight to the White Sox.  Another Chicago win means the Tigers are eight games back, which isn’t good.  Right now, the Tigers PECOTA adjusted projected chance of making the playoffs was just 11.6% and that was before today’s loss.  Oddly, BP still has the Tigers with a better chance then the Twins, although that margin will shrink after today’s loss.

Tigers Salvage Seattle Split

I said this last week but anything less then three out of four would be considered a disappointment this weekend against Seattle.  I guess if your a glass half full kind of guy, the Tigers’ salvaged what could have been a disaster series by winning a 15 inning pitchers duel this afternoon.  Yeah, they only split, but it could have been a whole lot worse.  Marcus Thames drove in the game winner with a sac. fly and an awesome start by Nate Robertson didn’t got to waste.  Give some props to Joel Zumaya, Freddy Dolsi, Aquilino Lopez and Todd Jones because they held the Mariners to just two hits in a combined six innings.  Ryan Raburn homered for the other run in the 2-1 win and Ivan Rodriguez had four of the Tigers’ eight hits.

Fernando Rodney was the goat last night.  He gave up a two run homer to Jeff Clement in the bottom of the eighth inning and that turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 loss.  It’s too bad because Rodney appeared to have turned the corner with five straight appearances without giving up a run.  Now you have you have to be concerned again whenever he’s called on in a high leverage situtation.

The Tigers have the day off tomorrow while they head home for two against the Indians.  It was supposed to be C.C. Sabathia throwing for the Indians in the opener but it looks like he’s going to be a Brewer so we’ll fortunately miss him.  I’m not sure who the Indians will have throwing in his place but whoever it is, it’ll be better then facing the big lefthander.

The Twins have rattled off five straight wins while the White Sox have stayed hot as well so the Tigers deficit is 7 1/2 games.  This weekend series against the Twins will be pretty important but the Tigers have to make sure they’re not looking ahead because they still have to take care of business against the struggling Indians.

Tigers Head Into Seattle Seven Games Down

The biggest problem with digging yourself into a hole in baseball is you usually need a lot of things to go right to get out of it.  The Tigers winning streaks and impressive June are now a thing of the past and after just two straight losses, the Tigers now find themselves seven back of the White Sox and four and a half back of the Twins.  Thankfully they came back in that Monday game because had they not pulled that game out, things would be looking even more grim.

Still, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  The Tigers play four games against the AL worst Mariners and you have Felix Hernandez and J.J. Putz both out.  The Tigers will catch Erik Bedard for the first time this season, but after making him my second round pick in my fantasy draft, Bedard has looked very mortal.  The good news is, anyone should like the Tigers chances in this series.  The bad news is, anything worse then three of four will be considered a disappointment.

After missing a couple of games, Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup.  Edgar Renteria has the night off and both Michael Hollimon, Clete Thomas and Matt Joyce will get the nod in the starting lineup.  It’ll be Justin Verlander going up against Carlos Silva. 

Tigers Have Winning Record For First Time In 2008

The Tigers hung on yesterday to finish up a three game sweep over the Rockies.  This puts them at 41-40 at the half way point of the season and it marks the first time they’ve had a winning record all year.  Regardless of what happens tonight, the Tigers have had an impressive month.  Despite a three game sweep at Oakland, they’re now 18-8 in June.  Things take on an added importance beginning tonight though because they start a three game set against the second place Twins.  The Tigers haven’t done well on the road (16-23) nor have they done well in their division (10-19) but now is as good of a time as any to turn both of those things around.

Dane Sardinha came up with the big hit yesterday.  His two run triples turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead that turned out to be the final.  The other two Tigers runs came in the first inning when Miguel Cabrera and Marcus Thames each had RBI singles.  Thames has gotten hot and after a three for four game yesterday, he’s now seen his batting average rise to .280.

Kenny Rogers also continued his impressive stretch.  He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts and while it wasn’t great, it was good enough to push him into winning territory.  Freddy Dolsi struck out three in two shutout innings and then Todd Jones followed his Saturday meltdown with a perfect inning in the ninth for his fifteenth save of the season.  The Tigers are still packing in the crowds and they had over 41,000 at the game.  Right now, the Tigers are eighth in average attendance with a 39,242 average.  If they keep that up, they’ll easily top three million fans again.

Tonight, it’ll be Armando Galarraga going up against Glen Perkins.  Galarraga had a tough showing last week against the Cardinals in a game the Tigers ended up winning.   What hurts is Magglio Ordonez has been the latest Tiger to hit the DL.  Probably the most consistent Tiger hitter this year, Ordonez will sit because of an oblique muscle (keep your Brandon Inge pillow jokes to yourself).  Matt Joyce was called up in his place and this will most likely give Marcus Thames even more playing time.

Tigers Top Cards In Ten

The Tigers took care of another three game series today and it was one of those wins where they scored three runs or less. Clete Thomas drove in the game winning run with his second bases loaded walk of the game while Gary Sheffield had the big hit.  His solo homerun in the bottom of the ninth sent the game into extra frames.

Nate Robertson got off to a rough start and he given up five hits and a walk in the first two innings but he benefited from a double play in each inning to get out of the two jams.  Todd Jones gave up three hits in the ninth and he was set to take the loss before Sheffield bailed him out.  Bobby Seay pitched a scoreless tenth and he picked up his first win of the season.

The White Sox were off so the Tigers shaved their deficit down to five games.  Next up are the Rockies, who have dropped four straight, including three in a row to the Royals.  Eddie Bonine gets the nod in the opener.

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