Game 1 (Final Score: 6-2, Diamondbacks win)
I’m going to ape Ernie Harwell by saying it but InterLeague play for teams without cross league rivals lacks zest. So the Tigers face the Diamondbacks (2nd in NL West) in their bid to win another series against a western opponent. Sadly I’m going to have to crib from various news stories to put the game together since there was no pitch-by-pitch report. Happily you won’t have to read as much of my gibberish to find out what happened.
If you like Tigers hitting then there’s not going to be much here for you. Brandon Webb continued his dominance of the Tigers by pitching no-hit ball through 6.1 innings. According to quotes from various article sources, it was more Webb’s skill than the Tigers’ lack of skill that produced this tremendous outing. He seems to pitch well at Comerica Park so he might be worth a look when he becomes eligible for free agency in a couple years (of course after he’s signed as a Tiger, it’ll prove to be a small sample size or having faced weak competition issue). The Tigers mustered two runs in the seventh to tie the score after Bonderman allowed two first inning runs and not much else (2-2).
The tie didn’t last long because the Diamondbacks dropped a pair of runs on the Tigers in both the eighth and ninth to go and stay ahead (6-2). Overall the Tigers’ pitchers allowed five doubles (four by Bonderman) out of thirteen hits and five walks and the hitters managed only six hits (two doubles) and one walk. This was just an anemic performance by both the hitting and pitching. I sure hope Bonderman is healthy because he’s been the losing streak stopper; Poor Johnson has been pitching well enough to win but still losing. Here’s to tomorrow being better.
Game 2 (Final Score: 2-3, Tigers win)
Nate Robertson faced Shawn Estes on Saturday to banish memories of last night and earn the Tigers an InterLeague win. Robertson and Estes kept the game scoreless until the top of the seventh, allowing only 4 base runners each, albeit in different ways. Robertson allowed 3 walks and a double and Estes allowed 4 singles. These potential runs for both teams were wasted with double plays and general poor execution at the plate.
In the top of the seventh, Robertson allowed singles to Ex-Tiger Tony Clark, Shawn Green, and Royce Clayton after striking out Troy Glaus. Luis Terrero mustered a sacrifice fly to plate Clark’s pinch-runner (1-0). Robertson walked his fourth batsman of the night (Koyie Hill) and was replaced by Doug Creek. Creek induced a groundball from Craig Counsell to end a bad inning before it turned ugly. In the bottom half, the Tigers actually strung together a couple of hits. Ivan Rodriguez smacked a leadoff triple and scored on Carlos Guillen’s single (1-1). Dmitri Young hit a one out single after Rondell White’s line out bringing up Craig Monroe, who loaded the bases with his walk. Marcus Thames and Omar Infante both had awful at bats ending in strikeouts to end the inning.
After Farnsworth’s dominant eighth (2Ks), the Tigers again hit well enough to make it interesting. Inge hit a one out double and Rodriguez advanced him to third on a groundout. Guillen was intentionally walked to bring up White, who validated the choice by harmlessly forcing out Guillen at second. Ugueth Urbina almost made the decision gold by loading the bases with the combination of two walks and a single in the top of the ninth before escaping with Counsell’s pop out. The Tigers went quietly to end the game but since it was tied, gave the hometown fans bonus baseball.
In the tenth, Franklyn German and Jose Valverde provided for a quick inning by getting the hitters out in order. The eleventh was a different story. German allowed a leadoff triple before mowing down the next two batters. He issued first base to Luis Gonzalez, bringing up Koyie Hill who scored Chad Tracy from third with his two out single (2-1). Counsell ended another inning by missing strike three. In the bottom half, Rodriguez had another extra base leadoff hit (a double). Rodriguez proceeded to tie the game when he scored from third on White’s one out double (2-2). Young was given first base on purpose and Monroe earned it after watching four consecutive balls on an 0-2 count. Thames came up again and smacked a single scoring White and winning the game (2-3).
Game 3 (Final Score: 1-0, Diamondbacks win)
I can’t describe how fun it is to write about the third game of a three game series and have the Tigers in a position to win it. Obviously taking the first two would be ideal but it is nice (not satisfying) to be competitive each time we face a new team. Jason Johnson went up against Javier Vasquez to decide the series’ winner. To be frank, these two were the deciding factor, hands down. Johnson and Vasquez both pitched excellent games with Johnson going eight and Vasquez nine innings.
That’s not to say Johnson didn’t make things interesting. He ended his no-hit bid on the first batter, Craig Counsell, who singled and stole second. Jose Cruz Jr. walked putting Johnson to his first test: Face the heart of the Arizona order with two men on and none out. Luis Gonzalez was out one (fly out); Troy Glaus and Shawn Green were Johnson’s first two strikeout victims. Yup, he got out without giving up a run. Johnson allowed a couple of two out singles and that was it until the eighth. Royce Clayton was on third after his single, Chris Snyder’s sacrifice to Johnson, and Johnson’s wild pitch. Craig Counsell hit a single into left, scoring Clayton (1-0). Vance Wilson helped Johnson out by going 1 for 2 on base stealers so Johnson’s two walks didn’t amount to any more scoring.
I wish I could say the Tigers got the run back in the last third of the game to get Johnson even, but they didn’t. I’m going to be slightly fair about this; Vasquez brought his nasty stuff tonight and tore through the line-up. He didn’t issue any walks, allowed only one leadoff hit, and never allowed multiple base runners in an inning, but he was vulnerable. Rondell White hit a two out double and Dmitri Young couldn’t get him home in the fourth. Brandon Inge hit a two out triple and Carlos Guillen couldn’t plate him in the sixth. Finally in the ninth, Guillen had a one out double but both White and Young couldn’t plate him and tie the game up. Thanks mostly to Vasquez, the Diamondbacks take the series tonight and incidentally are the only first or second place team with more runs allowed than scored.
|J Bonderman||6||7||2||2||4||4||3.00 1.83|
|D Creek||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0.00 10.00|
|K Farnsworth||1.1||0||0||0||0||2||0.00 0.00|
|F German||2||3||2||1||1||3||4.50 2.00|
|J Johnson||8||5||1||1||3||6||1.13 1.00|
|N Robertson||6.2||4||1||1||4||5||1.45 1.29|
|C Spurling||2||3||2||1||0||2||4.50 1.50|
|U Urbina||1||1||0||0||2||1||0.00 3.00|
|J Walker||1.2||1||1||1||1||1||7.50 1.67|