The Tigers had a chance to stay in a virtual tie for first place with the Twins yesterday but a rough outing by the bullpen combined with some pretty weak hitting turned what was a nice outing by Max Scherzer into a loss. The Tigers managed just three hits in this one and they didn’t score their second run until Carlos Guillen hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. They scored another of their runs on a Miguel Cabrera ground out and then their third run in the 4-3 loss came on a bases loaded walk. Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago had the other two hits.
Scherzer had his struggles but he didn’t allow a run in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and that helped to offset the four walks and one hit batter that he gave up. He also got some help in the sixth from Joel Zumaya when he left two man on with two outs. Scherzer had just struck out Eric Hinske for that second out so it was interesting to see Leyland go to the pen. Wasn’t sure if it was going over 100 pitches or not.
Of course Zumaya then got into his own trouble in the seventh inning and he gave up the deal breaker. He walked two batters then he gave up a three run shot to Chipper Jones. Eric Hinske doubled home a run off of Enrique Gonzalez in the eighth and that set things up for the Tigers as they headed into their ninth inning down 4-1.
As far as the former Tigers watch, Omar Infante got in to pinch hit. He’s found a nice little role for the Braves since he went over there. He’s consistently hit over .290 without much punch in a reserve infielder/pinch hitter role.
Overall, it was a tough loss. You’re not going to win many games when you walk eight batters and while Scherzer got away without giving up a run after half of those walks, they finally came back to haunt the team. This afternoon the Tigers try to avoid the sweep in a solid pitching match up between Justin Verlander and Tommy Hanson. Then it’s off to Minnesota for a big showdown against the Twins.
I had a chance to meet former Tigers’ announcer Paul Carey yesterday and that was a special treat. He and Ernie Harwell worked in the booth for most of my childhood and I have fond memories of listening to them both on the radio. Ernie is a pro no doubt but I’ve always thought that Paul Carey was vastly underrated and I know at one point, was making a push to get him on the Frick Award ballot. He was a nice guy and he gave a great speech about working with Ernie at our SABR chapter meeting yesterday.
This has been an “interesting” year for me and unfortunately, Tigerblog hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Between some personal issues and a heavy workload things have been tough and while I can’t make any promises, the writing bug is coming back. It also helps that the Tigers are in the mix for the division title. At this point, if you rolled the magic eight ball, the answer that most applies to me is “the future is unclear.” So while I’d love to write everyday, there’s going to be weeks where you don’t hear too much from me. Thanks a lot for your patience along the way.