Thursday, July 31, 2008

Game 108 Recap

With a bullpen stretched to the limit, the Tigers needed a strong performance fro Justin Verlander. They didn't quite get that. JV gave up 6 runs and couldn't make it past the 6th inning. Tiger for a day Clay Rapada was force to eat it, as the Tigers really had no one that could pitch more than two innings. So Rapada stuck around for 1.2 innings and gave up three runs. Nine runs rarely will get you a win with a fully stocked Tiger line-up. It's a death sentence when the "Sunday Line-up" is thrown out there.

So the Tigers split another series. And this weekend isn't going to get any easier. They go to Tampa to take on the AL East leading Rays, while Chicago and Minnesota get the bottom two teams in the Central (KC and Cleveland Respective) to feast on. I was actually looking forward to this weekend, as Tampa is the closest the Tigers travel to Atlanta all year. But a wedding came up, and actually I'll be back in Michigan. Which is probably for the best. The way things are looking, if I had gone, I'd be front and center to watch the Tigers playoff chances die. I'll be back Monday, fingers crossed I still have a playoff chase to follow.

Tigers 4 Indians 9
W: Carmona (5-3)
L: Verlander (8-11)

Tigers Record:
W - L
55 - 53
3rd Place AL Central (6.5 GB Chicago)

Game 107 Recap

This was one weird game. A game I almost missed. First off the big Pudge news of course. But then, driving home I flipped the game off after listening to the bottom of the 3rd, in which the Indians took a 8-1 lead. A seeming need for abuse brought me to my computer and hour later, where the Tigers had cut the lead to one run.

Then Todd Jones happened...BOOOOO!!!!

Then Miguel Cabrera happened...YAAAAY!!!!!

Then Placido Polanco happened...BIGGER YAAAY!!!!

Then Fernando Rodney did a Todd Jones...BOOOO!!!!

Then I drifted in and out of consciousness for the remaining 4 innings. I thought I saw Bobby Seay have 5 K's and Casey Fossum get out of a no-outs bases loaded jam. But I also think I saw a leprechaun bungee jumping off my desk. But I do remember a big hit by Polly and a big error by the Indians first baseman to give the Tigers the lead. Casey Fossum bumbled his way to the final three outs in the bottom of the 13th and that was that.

I would really like to write a farewell to Pudge but that will have to come a different day as it is way past my bedtime. The series wraps up tomorrow afternoon, where I will be clueless of it's outcome due to crazy month-end fun at work.

Tigers 13 Indians 12
W: Fossum (2-0)
L: Rincon (2-3)

Tigers Record:
W - L
55 - 52
3rd Place AL Central (5.5 GB Chicago)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Game 106 Recap

Like clockwork, the Tigers follow-up an embarrassing loss with a offensive outburst. Everyone in the line-up had at least one hit, and the team as a whole hit 14.

The surprise is that most of the damage came from the 7-8-9 hitters. Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, and Brandon Inge only combined to go 4 for 11. However, every one of those hits was for extra bases and all came with runners on base. The bottom of the order drove in 7 of the 8 runs, with the other run coming off a Miguel Cabrera solo HR.

Lately, Armando Galarraga seems to be hitting a wall the third time he faces hitters. Today was no exception. He left in the 6th after allowing the Indians to cut the lead to 3. Freddy Dolsi came in and got the final two outs of the inning. Joel Zumaya's arm seems to be fine as he threw 25 pitches in 1.2 innings of work. Looking at the play-by-play of the 8th inning, maybe it was one inning too long.

Closing out the game, Fernando Rodney found a way to give up a run without allowing a hit. He walked Grady Sizemore, who then took second base unchallenged. A deep fly-out go him to third. Then Fernando uncorked one and Grady trotted home on the wild pitch. Rodney then stuck out the batter to end the game. Not exactly Todd Jones, but not exactly Mariano Rivera either

Tomorrow looks like it could be a long for for Tigers fans. Cliff Lee vs. Nate Robertson. Why could Anthony Reyes make his Cleveland debut in this game?

Tigers 8 Indians 5
W: Galarraga (9-4)
L: Ginter (1-2)

Tigers Record:
W - L
54 - 52
3rd Place AL Central (5.5 GB Chicago)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Game 105 Recap

I slept on it...and the Tigers still sucked last night. Paul Fricking Byrd??? Of course today they'll probably win 14-3 or something and build my hopes back up again. I'm just wishing for a long streak one way or other so I know where this team stands.

But seriously, 4 hits against Paul Byrd, WTF?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Game 104 Recap

Is "Rodney" the way the Tigers will spell relief?

So once again, the Tigers were on the brink of the having a disastrous series to take them out of the playoff race. Once aging they avoid the sweep and go on the fight another day.

Zach Miner pitched another outstanding game, and doing a great job to solidly the 5 spot in the rotation. However, the biggest news of the day revolved around the bullpen. Todd Jones is out, Fernando Rodney is in as closer. Out and about this late afternoon, I missed Rodney's somewhat shaky debut. That is probably for the best. After this weekend's highs and lows, I don't think my heart could have taken another nail-biter. Still Jones might be needed to pitch in a tight situation tomorrow, as Rodney threw 40+ pitches and Zumaya left the game with a triceps strain. Though with the way Cleveland's pitching, and the way the Venezuelan M & M (Maggs & Miggy) boys are hitting...there might not be a save situation in the next four games.

Those next four games have added importance. Every game they win in Cleveland will catch them up with either Chicago or Minnesota who have a 4 game series of their own in the Metrodome. A 4 game sweep isn't necessarily needed, but the Tigers almost certainly will need to take 3 of 4 to stay on contention.

Tigers 6 White Sox 4
W: Miner (5-3)
L: Vasquez (7-9)

Tigers Record:
W - L
53 - 51
3rd Place AL Central (6.5 GB Chicago)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Game 103 Recap

What a difference a closer makes. The White Sox have a good one, and that's a big reason why they won the first two games of the series.

Justin Verlander had a bit of a relapse into his crappy April self. He gave up seven hits and his pitch count was in the hundreds by the fifth inning. That brought in Bobby Seay, who only allowed one hit in 3 innings of relief. Unfortunately that one hit brought in a run, and was followed by a sac fly. Still, Seay did pitch 3 strong innings; and Freddy Dolsi pitched in a perfect 2 innings to give the Tigers a chance to win.

And chances they had. Bases loaded in the seventh. A lead off double in the 8th. Another double with two outs in the 9th. Six chances to drive in the game tying run. The results were 4 strikeouts, a walk, and a infield pop-out.

The big hit did not come tonight. Some need to come tomorrow afternoon. If there is any situation where a game in July can be classified as "must-win" tomorrow's contest fits the bill.

Tigers 6 White Sox 7
W: Danks (8-4)
L: Verlander (8-10)
S: Jenks (21)

Tigers Record:
W - L
52 - 51
3rd Place AL Central (7.5 GB Chicago)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Game 102 Recap

Todd Jones served up a giant shit sandwich tonight. Another kick in the nuts to Tiger fans everywhere. If George Sherrill isn't a Tiger by the end of the weekend Todd jones throws one more pitch as a Tiger, I just might have to re-enact Sherman's March in downtown Atlanta. I might write a more in detail recap later, but drinking heavily seems like a much better option. In conclusion, eat a dick Todd Jones.

It's a little over an hour later. I may have been a bit quick on demanding a trade that might not even fix the problem. I do stand by my sentiments on Jones. I've defended him in the past, and defending him just rewards you with looking like a jackass in the future. Well, no more Todd. Don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out. Here's hoping to Justin Verlander bailing the Tigers out tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Look Into The Future

With the All Star Game behind us, many have been reviewing the first part of the season and giving their guess on what will happen in the second half. Well trying to come up with a new angle can be pretty tricky. So that's why I chose to look way ahead, into the future...

The future???

Yes all the way to the Year 2000...

In the yeeeaaarrr 2000...In the yeeeeaarrrr 2000!!!

Curtis Granderson ends his term as the junior senator from Illinois, with a run for President. His campaign hits a snag when running mate Grady Sizemore is caught up in a scandal which comes to be known as Grady's LadyGate.

Todd Jones takes an interest in real estate. His homes are a hard sell once it is learned that as they are almost completed, they nearly collapse every time. Only by some miracle to stay upright and intact.

After having surgery to have a rib removed, Jeremy Bonderman has his best season as a starter. In the off season he heads to the doctors to have his entire rib cage removed. After doctors tell him that this is impossible, a distraught Bonderman retires.

Gary Sheffield becomes a best-selling author of self-help books. His latest title "Do It Your Own Damn Self, and Leave Me The F*@# Alone...and other tales of teamwork" enjoys its 5 straight week at the top of the NY Times bestsellers list.

At 85 years years old, Kenny Rogers throws out the first pitch at Opening Day. An uncomfortable scene results afterwards as Rogers refuses to leave the mound and wants to pitch the first inning as well. It seems after retiring two years ago Kenny has gotten back the itch to play.

Nate Robertson is still completely average in every way.

While in New York, Miguel Cabrera has an interesting double-header. He wins the Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating contest in the morning, and goes out and hits 3 HRs in that night's game at the newly renamed Hank Steinbrenner Rules!!! Stadium.

Magglio Ordonez's TLF (Tilde Liberation Front) leads a bloodless coup to take control of his native Venezuela. The deposed regime of Ozzie Guillen was easy to overtake, as Guillen commanded his troops to play "SmartWar". This consists of using your rifle as a club, and bunting at your enemy, instead of shooting the weapon.

Justin Verlander goes on to set all-time Tigers records for wins, strikeouts, ERA, and most body hair

Marcus Thames finally gets an invitation to the Home Run derby. The event is called before the first round is completed, as Marcus hits every ball out of the stadium.

Pudge Rodriguez is named as the manager of the Puerto Rico Toros, formerly the Florida Marlins. He promptly ends his retirement and declares himself the starting catcher.

Joel Zumaya's band "High Heat" building on their successful tour of the country, lands a cameo spot on Santana's 42nd record.

Fernando Rodney quits baseball to become a professional wrestler in Mexico. He is known as "El Sombrero Curvo".

In an effort to consolidate their abundance of young outfielders, Dave Dombroski tries an experimental fusion surgery and new outfielder Brematete Clevthoyce is born. He never sees the field as an unfortunate side effect to the surgery is an allergy to grass.

And finally...
Brandon Inge becomes a sidekick on Lou Dobbs Tonight, as Lou has taken a liking to Brandon for persevered in spite of having his job taken numerous times by Latinos

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

KC BBQed (games 100 & 101)

The remnants of the Royals after a series sweep

Two games, two 7-1 victories, to close out a series sweep of the Royals. 33 runs over the last three games, will have the attention of the White Sox on their way into Detroit for a huge weekend series. But lost in all this was how well the Tigers pitched in these games. The Tigers will hit, it's how they pitch that will determine their playoff chances.

Armando Galarraga was the latest and arguably the best, in the recent string of great pitching from Tigers starters. Armando was perfect through six innings, striking out six, and had all but two out recorded in the infield. 9 outs away from a KC masterpiece, David DeJesus lead-off the 7th with a full count single to end the perfect game. Jose Guillen ended the shutout a few batters later. Since Sunday's game in Baltimore Tigers starters have given up a total of 3 runs on 13 hits and 6 walks in 27.2 innings.

The reilevers did a pretty good job as well. In fact Freddy Dolsi seem to be the only pitcher that couldn't get a Royal out. Dolsi (with 4 hits and a walk) and Aquilino Lopez (2 hits) were the only relievers to allow more than one base runner. The standout had to be Fernando Rodney, who struck out four in last nights game.

Getting back to the offense, Miguel Cabrera must be sad to leave KC. All Miggy did was hit .500 and drive in 9 runs. After missing out on all the fun Monday, Magglio Ordonez made up for it in the last two games going 6-10 with 4 RBIs.

Now the question in the back of everyone's mind has to be: Is this the real Tigers team, or was was this performance Royals enhanced? Well the only way to know for sure will be visible in the the standings Sunday evening. A series win puts the Tigers 4.5 back, a sweep 2.5. If it goes the other way, the deficit is 5.5 and 8.5.

Game 100
Tigers 7 Royals 1
W: Rogers (8-6)
L: Davies (3-2)

Game 101
Tigers 7 Royals 1
W: Galarraga (8-4)
L: Greinke (7-7)

Tigers Record:
W - L
52 - 49
3rd Place AL Central (5.5 GB Chicago)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Game 100 Recap

Currently stuck in a rain delay, the Tigers are up 5-1 in the eighth. No news at to whether Magglio Jones will be making another appearance. But one things for certain, it's way past my bedtime. So recap of this game and tomorrow afternoon's contest tomorrow evening.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Game 99 Recap

Round of applause for Zach Miner. Yes, it's just one game, but the lack on control that lead to his demotion to Toledo, was not in effect tonight. Only one walk and 56 of his 88 pitches were strikes. They need someone to step-up in the starting rotation, and Zach certainly did a great job tonight.

Not that he really needed to. It seems that the Tigers might have taken issue with being shut out twice, while going 0-6 to the Royals this year. They asploded for 19 runs tonight. 10 of those coming in the 8th inning where poor Jimmy Gobble just couldn't do anything right. The Tigers started the inning with 6 straight hits. Then added a couple walks, including one with the bases loaded, and ended up bringing 15 batter to the plate. Miguel Cabrera and Matt Joyce went berserk. Going a combined 9 for 12, they drove in 11 runs with Joyce a double away from the cycle. 9 walks tonight put a lot of Tigers in scoring position, and 18 hits will score you some runs. Carlos Guillen also returned to the line-up with a good night. He went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 2 RBI and 5 runs scored.

The Royals pitching was just feasted on tonight. Starter Luke Hochevar was run off in the 5th. Then the Tigers made the next three pitchers to combine for 103 pitches over the next 3 innings. The best pitcher of the night for the Royals was SS Tony Pena, who recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th on 12 pitches. Add it all up, 208 pitches for the Royals tonight. 19 runs on 18 hits for the Tigers. And best of all both the White Sox and Twins lost, bringing the Tigers one game closer to both

Tigers 19 Royals 4
W: Miner (4-3)
L: Hochevar (6-8)

Tigers Record:
W - L
50 - 49
3rd Place AL Central (5.5 GB Chicago)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Game 98 Recap

I was listening to the above CD over the weekend, and after a Tiger performance like this today, it's hard not to follow the title track's advice to "Stay Positive".

Justin Verlander is the tourniquet, the stopper. He went 8.2 allowing only one run and three hits. He could have and maybe should have finished the game, but was yanked after his second walk of the inning in the ninth. He had thrown only 105 pitches at the time, and he regularly gone in the 110s, but today JV was shut down one out away from a complete game. At one point Verlander retired 16 in a row, before a double by Kevin Millar in the 7th. In every start since April 27th, Verlander's ERA has decreased. It has gone from 6.50 to 3.95. If the Tigers had just a few more guys pitching like this, I'd feel better about their chances.

At times, it looked like the Tigers were going to waste this performance by Verlander. After loading the bases in the first, the inning ending with the bases still loaded and no runs scored. Magglio's HR in the 3rd tied the game up, but the Tigers could only manage 3 base runners in innings 2-5. But just as the pitch count for Oriole pitcher Brian Burres hit 100, everything started to turn in the Tigers favor. Marcus Thames added a homer, and Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn followed with hits to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead and send the O's to the bullpen. The Tigers tacked on two more insurance runs and that was that.

The Tigers head now the Kansas City who they have not beaten all year. The same Royals who have given the White Sox a handful in their weekend series.

Tigers 5 Orioles 1
W: Verlander (8-9)
L: Burres (7-6)

Tigers Record:
W - L
48 - 48
3rd Place AL Central (7.5 GB Chicago)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Game 97 Recap

Yeah that's about right. This one hurts, big time. Yes, the ump blew the call in the 10th, but the Tigers blew a 6-0 lead, and couldn't win after scoring 10 runs. And now we're reduced to hoping for a split tomorrow afternoon. No fun.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Game 96 Recap

When Luke Scott's not busy shooting his guns, he shoots up Tigers pitchers. His three RBI on two HRs were the difference in the game tonight for the Orioles. Armando Galarraga tied his career high in strikeout with 6, but also tied a career high in HR surrendered with 3.

Tigers bats racked up 14 hits, unfortunately when it came time for a big hit it was no where to be found. Three double plays helps Oriole pitching get out of jams, and in the end the Tigers leaving 9 men on base didn't help out much either. Potential trade bait, Pudge Rodriguez did his best job to drive up the price, going 4 for 4 with a 2 run homer tonight.

But if anything this might be one of those games where the law of averages kicks itself in. O's Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie had only 4 wins entering tonight's game, despite being tied for the league lead for quality starts with 12. So he goes out, doesn't pitch well, and of course, gets the win.

So I vote for Gary Sheffield to DH tomorrow. With Daniel Cabrera on the mound, one can only hope the results are the same as they were last season.

Tigers 4 Orioles 7
W: Guthrie (5-7)
L: Galarraga (7-4)
S: Sherrill (28)

Tigers Record:
W - L
48 - 48
3rd Place AL Central (7.5 GB Chicago)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Game 95 Recap

Rumor has it, that's Marcus Thames' arm...when he was three years old

The Tigers started off the 2nd half of the season showing some of the power that was experted of this line-up. Todd Jones also showed why he is perilously close to losing his closer job, by almost giving the game away in the ninth.

The Tigers bat's had pop tonight, going deep three times. Marcus Thames (naturally) had one and drove in another with a lowly single. Gary Sheffield had a homer, and was a Jay Payton play away from hitting two. Brandon Inge would like you to know he really likes playing third, as he had a couple good plays in the field and added a two-run shot. Edgar Renteria even chipped in with 2 hits and a walk. Lost in all this was the Return of the Tilde, who notched a hit in his first game back off a trip to the DL.

The Orioles had their chances, outhitting the Tigers 14-9. But were more than happy to shoot themselves in the foot, making some horrible decisions on the base paths that bailed Kenny Rogers out of jams early. Todd Jones, being the good Christian he is, must had taken pity on the poor Orioles as he gave back those chances they squandered in the ninth. To paraphrase Dean Wormer "Loading the bases with one out is no way to stay the Closer, son." I've defended Jonesy before, but it's apparent now that he might have the old "tired arm" find himself on the DL until the Tigers can decide what they want to do. Zumaya may not be perfect, but at least there's the variable of the strikeout thrown in. All Jones seems to be able to do is throw it and hope it hits a glove in the field somewhere. Which is like playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the chambers. On the plus side, sans Jones, the bullpen did a good job. Both Rodney and Zumaya are looking more and more like the 2006 versions.

Tigers 6 Orioles 5
W: Rogers (7-6)
L: Olson (6-5)
S: Jones (18)

Tigers Record:
W - L
48 - 47
3rd Place AL Central (6.5 GB Chicago)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

...And I'm back

Two weeks without TV and internet. It wasn't fun, but with a houseload of boxes to move and unpack, it went by quicker than I thought it would. In the midst of the unpacking I was taking a page out of my Grandpa's yearbook and following along on the radio. And the days I was really bored I would keep score along with the broadcast. Yes, I am that big of a nerd.

When I last posted the Tigers were 2 games about .500 and only 5 games behind the White Sox. Now, at .500 and 7 back. With Magglio coming back, 6 games against the Orioles and Royals, then a big series at home against the White Sox, that lead could easily by under 4 by the end of July.

So here's to what hopefully will be a long and exciting run down the stretch for the Tigers

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Away Message

Real life will interrupt for the next two weeks. Moving into a new house this week (tomorrow actually). The walls are lined with boxes as I speak. After that a quick trip up to Michigan for the holiday weekend. And then back home where my internet will be hooked up sometime in the next two weeks. Yeah that's going to suck. I will have my trusty XM to follow along with the Tigers, hopefully they'll still be in the middle of the AL Central race when I am back up and running.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone, and be back in a few weeks.