The Tigers lost their finale yesterday and failed to sweep the Twins, but there’s plenty to be happy about with regards to the Tigers first half of the season. They’re tied for first place if you look at the loss column and they even put some distance between themselves and the Twins. The White Sox can’t stay this hot forever but I’m interested in seeing how this three team race pans out. Tigers fans have to be a little happy too because the team leads all of baseball with 32 home wins. They need to work on their road record to contend the rest of the season but it’s still nice going to the ballpark knowing the team is going to win around 70% of the time.
While Miguel Cabrera’s first half was huge, two other reasons the Tigers are in contention is the comeback of Magglio Ordonez and the emergence of Brennan Boesch. Ordonez’s numbers look eerily similar to 2008 when he had a nice follow up to his near-MVP 2007 season. Boesch came out of nowhere and continues to rake and he heads into the break with a five game hitting streak. His batting average hasn’t been below .340 since early June and his OPS has been hovering right around the 1.000 mark.
The pitching staff needs some work. Justin Verlander is there, but after that it’s pretty inconsistent. Max Scherzer is riding a four game winning streak and I think he’s the guy who’s going to step up in the second half. The guy I’m most worried about is Jeremy Bonderman. I just hope that arm holds up in the second half because it’s been a while since he’s thrown this many innings.
I am a little sad about what the All Star Game has become though. Growing up, this was a big game and it was one of the few chances to see players from the National League. I think the home run derby, as boring as that is, actually is more popular then the actual All Star Game now. I’ll still watch some of it, but not with the interest I had in the 1980s when I was glued to the television. My favorite All Star Game is still 1987 when they went into extra innings in a shutout game. I also think the whole home field advantage thing is a joke but that’s for another day.
As a kid, my favorite television show was the A-Team. When it first started, there were occasional references to Hannibal being on the jazz. This happened when he got particularly nutty/cocky or when one of the team members was fired up. Johnny Damon must have definitely been on the jazz last night. He not only picked up his 2,500 hit, but he also belted a walk off home run in the bottom of the eleventh to win it for the Tigers. We also can’t discount Miguel Cabrera (MVP of the first half in my opinion), who hit a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames.
With the three for five game yesterday (which included a home run and a triple), Cabrera now sits atop the American League in all three triple crown categories. Granted he’s tied with two others in home runs but when Yaz won it in 1967, he was tied with Harmon Killebrew in home runs. I know we still have 80 more games to play though. And it’s also interesting how quickly people forgot about those off field troubles Cabrera had at the end of last year. A nice start can heal those wounds pretty quickly.
Armando Galarraga had a rough start and for his troubles, he was sent down to Toledo just over a month after pitching his perfect game that should have been. He gave up just three runs in 6 2/3 innings, but he gave up ten hits and walked three. Robbie Weinhardt was called up in place. The move was simply to give the Tigers another arm in the pen for the final four games and I’d expect Galarraga will be back up shortly after the break. We already burned an option on him so we might as well take full advantage of it.
Jose Valverde got his ERA back below one with a shutout inning. Ryan Perry got it done again and he was the winner. He’s now 2-4 on the season. The Tigers go for the sweep tonight. Max Scherzer gets the ball for the Tigers and he’ll face Brad Bergesen. The Twins and White Sox both won so the Tigers have little margin for error these days.
The Twins picked a good time to go cold because the Tigers have one of the softer parts of their schedule here in early July. They took two of three against the Mariners and now they face what many people is the worst team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles. Of course they have the Twins later in the week before they take some time off for the All Star Break.
Andy Oliver was roughed up yesterday but fortunately, the bats were there to pick him up. He didn’t pitch out of the second inning and by the time the inning was over, a 5-1 lead had turned into a 6-5 deficit. Fortunately the Tigers answered quickly and took the lead in the bottom half of the inning and never really looked back.
After that, five relievers gave up three runs over seven innings. Eddie Bonine picked up the win and he improved to 4-0. Ryan Perry continued his successful return with a shutout inning. Jose Valverde saw his ERA nearly double when he gave up two runs in the ninth inning in a save situation.
Brennan Boesch drew four walks and scored three runs without picking up a hit. Johnny Damon went three for six with two runs and Brandon Inge went three for four with two doubles and four RBIs.
This is also the half way point of the season so the Tigers are on pace to win 88 games. About what you’d figure out of the AL Central leader. Things are definitely tight with the resurgence of the White Sox though as one game separates first and third.
Armando Galarraga throws tonight. Jake Arrieta throws for the Orioles.
The Tigers lost their third straight series and they fell another game back of the Twins after a 5-1 beating in Minnesota this afternoon. After a decent debut against the Braves, the Twins took Andy Oliver to task for five runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. The two of the three unearned runs came about because of Oliver’s throwing error so those shouldn’t really count. Johnny Damon also made an error that resulted in an unearned run.
Seven different Tigers had a hit each. Miguel Cabrera drove in the lone run when Magglio Ordonez scored on his double. Not much at the plate in this one.
It wasn’t a pretty road trip and the Tigers finished it 3-6. That puts the Tigers at 16-25 on the road and that’s the most losses on the road by a team with a winning record. Fortunately the Tigers get a day off before they come for three against the Mariners. Max Scherzer throws for the Tigers and Doug Fister gets the ball for the Mariners.
The big news was Dernard Span’s three triple game yesterday but for Tiger fans, it was the poor pitching. Armando Galarraga needed 91 pitches to get through four innings and change last night and he was tagged for six runs. Right after that, Fu-Te Ni was shelled for four runs on two hits and four walks in just 2/3 of an inning. Jim Price was trashing Ni on the radio for how poorly he was pitching and both he and Dickerson felt that something was wrong with him.
Fortunately, Enrique Gonzalez came in and pitched 3 1/3 solid frames to close out the game and save the pen. The Tigers have a quick turnaround for this afternoon’s rubber game so keeping as many pitchers off the mound as possible was huge so give a hat tip to Gonzalez for pitching some garbage innings.
Johnny Damon went two for four with a double, two RBIs and a run. Damon has just a .687 OPS in June and that was after a rough May. His solid April is still propping up his overall numbers so hopefully Damon can turn things around and revert back to his old form. Miguel Cabrera had a pair of hits, an RBI and a run and he now has 67 RBIs on the season.
Andy Oliver gets his second start and it’s a big one. Kevin Slowey throws for the Twins. Game time is 1:10 in a get away day game.
The first piece of big news is the Tigers beat the Twins in Minnesota to move into first place in the AL Central. Of course the second piece of big news is the bitter sweet half because in the process, Joel Zumaya was injured and his future is unclear.
The Tigers got off to a quick start against Francisco Liriano. Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch each had two run doubles and the Tigers scored a fifth run in the second inning on a Ryan Raburn ground out. The Twins eventually bridged some of this gap and made it 5-4 before Ryan Raburn drove in his second run in the seventh on a single that effectively put the game away. Austin Jackson went two for four with three runs and five different Tigers had a pair of hits. Magglio Ordonez sat the game out with his nagging injury.
After that, Jose Valverde pitched 1 2/3 innings to slam the door. He struck out three and didn’t allow a base runner for his 18th save of the season.
Game two is tonight. Armando Galarraga gets the nod and he’ll go up against Nick Blackburn. Galarraga is coming off of back to back mediocre starts so hopefully he can turn it around.
I’m going to open this up to the readers. The Tigers are in a virtual tie for first place, but I swear they’re making moves like a team in panic mode. I’m not arguing with a lot of the moves, but does anyone ever remember a good team shuffling key members of the team back and forth like the Tigers have?
The Tigers avoided a sweep for the second straight road series by pulling out a win in their finale against the Braves today. Brennan Boesch bounced back from a rough game yesterday and he belted a two run home run, his 12th of the season. In the meantime, the Tigers racked up seventeen hits, all of which were singles outside of Boesch’s fifth inning blast. Austin Jackson went three for five with two runs and two RBIs in the 10-4 win. Carlos Guillen was three for three and Boesch finished with two hits, three RBIs and two runs.
Justin Verlander didn’t have his best stuff but it was good enough to improve to 9-5. He gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in seven innings. Phil Coke and Jose Valverde then threw a shutout inning each to close out the game. Verlander’s ERA isn’t much to write home about at 4.02 but he’s on pace for a possible 20 win season.
Valverde’s ERA is back down to 0.56. Not quite the 0.34 he had a couple of weeks ago before he gave up a run but not to shabby. Some of his splits are fun to look at. At home, his batting average against is .093 (prior to today’s game). His batting average against in June is .031 and when he gets an 0-1 count, he’s got a .059 batting average against after that. When there’s two outs in an inning, Valverde has a .033 batting average against and a .155 OPS against. With two outs and RISP position, he’s given up two walks and no hits in 12 plate appearances. Funny stuff.
Anyway, the Tigers square off against the Twins at Target Field beginning tomorrow. The Twins lost so whoever walks away with the three game series will be in first place. Game one has Fransisco Liriano going up against Jeremy Bonderman. Jeremy has had an up and down June and this would be a nice place to settle down. Liriano has had a comeback season but his last couple of starts have only been okay. It’d be nice if the Tigers could bring him further back down to earth.
The Tigers’ struggles on the road continued as they kicked off a road trip that started in New York against the Mets. It’s been a while, but not only did Justin Verlander get roughed up, but the bullpen had a bit of a meltdown as well. Verlander gave up five in just two innings. This is the first time he hasn’t pitched into the fifth inning all season and it’s his shortest outing since September 1, 2008 when the Yankees took him to task. Jay Sborz was shelled in his major league debut and Fu-Te Ni gave up three runs in three innings. An eight run third inning was what pretty much did the Tigers in early in this one.
Brennan Boesch continued to rake. He went two for three with his eleventh home run, a walk and three RBIs in the 14-6 loss. Then six Tigers had a hit a piece for an eight hit performance.
Andy Oliver got the nod to replace Rick Porcello in the rotation. He’ll get his first career start on Friday in Atlanta against the Braves. I still think this is just a blip for Porcello and he’s smart enough to work through some things. People just have to remember he’s only 21. in the meantime, Sborz will continue to pitch with the team until that start. Oliver was the Tigers second round pick in last year’s draft and while sending Porcello down means the Tigers will get older, it won’t be by much because Oliver is only 22 himself.
The Twins lost so the Tigers deficit in the Central is still a game and a half. Game two against the Mets is tonight with Jeremy Bonderman going up against R.A Dickey.
Dontrelle Willis came back to Comerica Park (I said this was a road game but I’m still getting used to Yahoo’s new format where the opposition is always second) and while Armando Galarraga hardly outdueled him, the Tigers still walked away with their seventh straight win. Galarraga didn’t make it out of the fifth inning but four relievers combined to give up just one run in 4 2/3 innings. Brad Thomas pitched two shutout innings, Phil Cook threw one (and improved to 5-0) and then Jose Valverde pitched a shutout ninth for his fifteenth save of the season.
Willis looked like his old self and he gave up five runs in five innings with four walks and four strikeouts. It was Chad Qualls who gave up the game winner though. Brandon Inge tripled home Brennan Boesch to put the Tigers ahead in the eighth and then Al Avila singled home Inge for a little insurance. Inge finished three for four with a double, a triple, and two runs. Magglio Ordonez drove in two and he hit his ninth home run of the season.
Ordonez has now matched his season total in home runs last year. He’s only five RBI’s back of last year’s total and his .931 OPS would be the best since his near-MVP season back in 2007. Equally as impressive is that Ordonez is just third in OPS behind Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch who are both over 1.000.
The Twins lost so the Tigers are now just a half game back of first place (tied in the loss column). Rick Porcello gets the ball today and he’ll go up against former Tiger Edwin Jackson. Both of these guys are down from their stellar 2009 seasons and Porcello hasn’t had a good start in June. Hopefully he can turn that around here this afternoon (game time is 1:05).
I must need glasses. It’s a night game tonight.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to baseball, I’ve kind of been out of it the past couple of weeks. It’s also showing because of the lack of updates over here but I took a good look at the standings throughout the league today and I’m happy with what I’m seeing. The biggest gap between first and second place in any division is only 2 1/2 games. Two division have ties upon the top while two others are separated by just one win (1/2 game). I know things could change quick depending on who gets hot but this could make for an interesting summer of baseball.
The Tigers won their sixth straight game yesterday and finished their second straight sweep by taking care of the Nationals yesterday. That leaves them just one loss behind the Twins for first place. The White Sox have gotten hot too so things are kind of working out how most people thought with one of those three teams vying for the division. It was also interesting to note that the Tigers are 23-10 at home this year. Unfortunately they hit the road beginning today in an interesting pitching match up.
Jeremy Bonderman got it done last night and pitched seven strong innings. Bonderman was consistently around 92-93 mph and he dialed it up 94 a few times. That lasted until his final frame when Adam Dunn took him deep after he’d lost a couple of notches on his fastball. Still, for a guy who probably hasn’t touched 95 much this year, Bonderman has 59 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings and he’s been consistently good and much better then his 3-4 record indicates.
Tonight, Armando Galarraga faces Dontrelle Willis so we’ll get to see if Willis can keep it up since joining the National League. He’s still walking guys, but he’s dodged some bullets in his first two starts for Arizona. The Tigers face Edwin Jackson tomorrow.
On a different not, has anyone tried WordPress 3.0 yet. I know it’s supposed to be comprehensive change so any thoughts or comments on their upgrades would be appreciated.
Without Zack Greinke, the Tigers should have walked away with a series win but instead they were outpitched and dropped two of three to the Royals in Kansas City. Max Scherzer reverted back to his pre-demotion form with a rough outing on Friday and today, Jeremy Bonderman was roughed up for seven runs. Sandwiched between those two games was a nice outing by Justin Verlander but Verlander isn’t going to be able to do it by himself and as good as the pen has been, they can’t do it either if the Tigers are down by five runs when they get in the game.
Bonderman’s usual velocity was there but the Royals were just all over them. I didn’t get to watch the game so I’m not sure what the problem was but to all six batters in the first inning, he gave up a first pitch ball so he was working from behind most of the time. Brad Thomas gave up four hits in two innings but he buckled down and didn’t allow a baserunner.
The Tigers only managed six hits and one of them was Brennan Boesch’s thirteenth double. Not too bad for a guy who didn’t even show up on most top 10 lists (or even top twenty lists). You just have to wonder if he has the staying power. The Tigers 2006 draft was definitely a productive one. They took Andrew Miller in the first round and while he hasn’t lived up to the hype, he did help get us Miguel Cabrera. Ron Borquin was taken in the second round (nothing from him yet) but then you have Boesch (third), Ryan Strieby (fourth) and Scott Sizemore (fifth) to give the Tigers some firepower. Casey Fien was taken in the 20th round.
The Tigers have a day off before they head to Chicago for three with the White Sox. Armando Galarraga makes his first start since his infamous day and Gavin Floyd throws for the White Sox.
Lynn Hennings latest discusses the chance of . He basically says the Tigers shouldn’t do it and he uses the Aubrey Huff/Jarrod Washburn fiasco from last year as a primary reason. I thought the most interesting part of the story is where he says the Tigers have little chance to win the division even with Oswalt or Lee. Way to support the home team when they’re going through a rough stretch. The Twins won’t play .600 ball all year and while the Tigers are hardly what I’d call an “awesome” team, they still have a solid chance in their weak division.
Jeremy Bonderman fell to 2-3 tonight although it wasn’t for lack of a solid outing in the Tigers 3-2 loss to the Indians. He needed just 100 pitches to get through eight innings and that’s his longest start since he went eight innings on July 7, 2007. Yeah, it’s been that long. And the first June start for the Tigers followed up a May where Bonderman struck out 26 in 27 innings with a 1.33 ERA. He only went 1-1 during that stretch but the Tigers were 2-2 in his four starts.
The good news is Bonderman’s velocity is slowly creeping up. In the first inning, he threw several pitches at 93 mph. In fact in that first frame, he threw thirteen pitches and all were fastballs. He didn’t throw his first off speed pitch until the third inning and he even touched 94 mph once. By the seventh inning he was starting to wear and instead of pushing 92-93 mph, he was in the high 80s/lower 90s.
The Tigers offense continued to be a problem and they managed just a pair of runs on six hits. Miguel Cabrera went two for four and Al Avila singled and drove in a run. The Tigers had the tying run at third and the winning run at first with two outs in the ninth but Ramon Santiago flew out to left to end the game.
Tomorrow, Fausto Carmona gets the start for Cleveland and Armando Galarraga throws for Detroit. Game time is 7:05.
Is it fitting that Dontrelle Willis is being traded to the team with the worst ERA in baseball? Regardless, the Tigers pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Willis to the team he was hoping to go play for. In return, the Tigers got Billy Buckner, a right hander. Before you get too excited, Buckner has a career 6.25 ERA in 138 1/3 major league innings but he’s pitched fairly well the past couple of years in the minors so the Hens should be able to put him to use. Buckner was picked in the second round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Royals and he has the distinction of being picked ahead of Hunter Pence and Dustin Pedoria.
Apparently if Dontrelle Willis has a choice, this year. I mentioned this yesterday in that Willis has been downright awful this year like he has the past couple of years, he’s just been poor. If someone needs a back of the rotation starter and had a fringe minor league player to give up, the Tigers might be able to get something out of this mess.
That big trade is pretty much down to Cameron Maybin for Miguel Cabrera. Miguel has lived up to his hype and while Maybin is struggling a bit this year (although he could score 100 runs), he’s only 23 so the jury is still out on that one.
I think Memorial Day is one of the more misunderstood and under appreciated holidays. It was also a pretty big baseball day back in the days. When the season started in mid-April, Memorial Day usually signified the quarter point of the season and it usually had all teams playing doubleheaders. Now, there’s a handful of teams that didn’t even play today. I know doubleheaders are a thing of the past and television usually dictates the schedule but this is another tradition I wouldn’t mind seeing come back.
The Tigers lost today and that meant the Tigers finished the May with a losing record (12-14). They’ve also dropped seven of their last nine in their toughest stretch to date. During the nine game stretch, they’ve gone from tied for first place to four games back (the Twins play later tonight) so the Twins have really capitalized. It’s like the end of last season, just in May.
The big news over the weekend was that the Tigers finally gave up on Dontrelle Willis and designated him for assignment. It’ll be interesting to see what the Tigers can get for Willis (if they can get anything). This season so far was weird because Willis wasn’t downright horrible, he was just consistently mediocre. In seven of his eight starts, he pitched at least five innings and while he never gave up more then four runs in a start, he was usually in the three to four run window. With Max Scherzer finding his groove in Toledo, it just made sense that he get brought back up. The question then was, who was out and Willis was probably the worst of the bunch that made sense (Porcello is struggling, but they’re not paying him a bunch of money and he’s only 21).
And what a re-debut for Scherzer. He struck out 14 in just 5 2/3 innings and he picked up just his second win of the season. In Scherzer’s start, Joel Zumaya picked up the save and with it, an odd trend has developed (and will probably be broken this year). Joel Zumaya has five career saves, and he has exactly one in each of his five seasons with the Tigers. No more then one, and no less then one each season.
We’re four games into the Carlos Guillen at second base experiment and so far so good. Guillen hasn’t made an error but he’s just two for fifteen since coming off of the disabled list. He did hit a home run which helps. Overall, the Tigers are hitting just .221/.316/.325 from their second baseman (prior to today’s game) and it’d be nice to see Guillen get back into a groove and bring that up.
The Tigers host the Indians beginning tomorrow. It’ll be Jake Westbrook against Jeremy Bonderman in the opener.
The Tigers managed just one run on four hits as they were shutdown by Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers bullpen. Austin Jackson had a pair of hits (single and a double) and he scored the lone run in the first inning when Magglio Ordonez drove him in with a sac. fly. Ordonez also drew a walk (it’s funny how you look at these things when you’re trying to scrape together hitting highlights when they aren’t there) and Brandon Inge doubled.
Dontrelle Willis had another rough start and we’re now almost a month removed from his last win when he threw six shutout innings. He got off to a good start and gave up just a single in the first three innings but then in the fourth, after going through the lineup once, the Dodgers started producing on him. The fourth inning was particularly weird because the Dodgers got a run on just one single. With two outs, it went single, wild pitch, walk, walk then HBP. He gave up two more runs in the fifth (one with a wild pitch) and then another in the sixth (although the RBI hit came off of Eddie Bonine, who inherited Willis’ runner).
After that, the pen did their job but the Tigers couldn’t get the bats going. Brad Thomas pitched two shutout innings to close out the game. It’s nice to see him getting back on track after some bumps in late April.
Tonight, it’ll be Armando Galarraga going up against John Ely. It’s a late afternoon game in LA so it’ll be the Tigers regular time slot at seven.
The Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the American League right now and Jeremy Bonderman, who looked like a shell of his old self in April, has now put together three nice starts in a row. He even came out of the bullpen earlier in the week and threw a shutout inning. His latest outing was yesterday and he struck out a season high eight batters in six innings en route to his second win of the season. He did walk four and the Athletics offense is in the bottom half of the league but he’s gone at least six innings and given up two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts and he’s striking out almost a batter an inning on the season.
The strange thing is, I don’t know how he’s doing it. His velocity is still down and while pitchers have reinvented themselves after injuries (Frank Tanana for example), Bonderman has made the transition pretty quickly. He is throwing a lot of sliders but in this last start, he didn’t throw above 91 and most of his fastballs were in the high 80s.
His numbers don’t look too out of whack though. He has a .299 batting average on balls in play which isn’t too strange. A big reason for his success is he’s really getting righties out (.544 OPS) but one concern is that he’s giving up a lot of fly balls and if he’s not careful, that could come back to haunt him. Still, all in all Bonderman has been one of the Tigers better starts outside of Justin Verlander.
Interleague play begins today and the Tigers are in LA to take on the Dodgers. It’s Dontrelle Willis against Chad Billingsley. It’s the last game of the day at 10:10.