Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Farewell Curtis, Edwin We Hardly Knew Ye

Well that didn't take long...

Part of me is sad to see Curtis go. I only own two jerseys, one of them being a Granderson jersey (the other a Zetterberg jersey) so it is a little disheartening to see it go the way of an Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl Champs t-shirts. The trade would be easier to take if he was a raging a-hole *cough*Sheff*cough*. But he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, who cared a lot about things bigger than baseball. The team will miss Curtis, but the city of Detroit will miss him as well. As for Edwin, well thanks for that good first half...and, um, well shouting at the Red Sox after the Porcello-Youlikis incident was pretty cool.

The analytical part of me however, really likes this trade. Max Scherzer is a year younger, had comparable stats to Jackson, and a much longer friendlier contract (which means more money for JV and 2011). Scherzer is the only given commodity. The other three players are young with a nice upside. Phil Coke looks to be a lefty setup man. If the last two months of 09 are any indication of what he'll do this year, people in Detroit will be very happy. Daniel Schlereth is another lefty pitcher who was a former first round pick for the Diamondbacks, and (sense a pattern here?) can strike people out. While Schlereth is a bright prospect who will most likely be pitching in Erie or Toledo. The key for the trade seems to be centerfielder Austin Jackson. He was listed as the 27th best prospect in the minors last winter. As a point of reference breakout rookies Tommy Hanson and Elvis Andrus were 24th and 21st respectively. Unfortunately for him, he may need to make an immediate impact to take the sting of losing Granderson away from Detroit fans. Maybe a signing or a trade (Marlon Byrd and Mike Cameron are jobless right now...) will give him a season or two to develop further and take the pressure off of replacing a beloved player.

For what it's worth, I don't think this will be the last move the Tigers will make, in fact I hope its not as there still are some glaring issues with the team (closer, left field, scoring runs). But to me this move might sting now, but it built for success in the long run.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winter Hibernation

Like a the bear, I'm peeking out and seeing what's going on around me this offseason.

On the plus side I have a job that keeps me very busy. On the downside that leaves me very little time to check in on the Tigers. Other then a quick glance at some sites I really haven't had much time to breakdown some of the stories this offseason. So on that note I have some question that I'll leave out that that (I hope) will be answered by Spring Traning:

  • Will Edwin Jackson still be a Tiger?
  • Will Curtis Granderson still be a Tiger?
  • Will the Tigers trade the entire team to the AL East and field a team of laminated Fatheads as a cost-cutting measure?
  • Will Scott Sizemore be able to fill the huge batting helmet left behind by Placido Polanco?
  • Who will be the closer for the Tigers in 2010?
  • What freak of nature occurrence will happen to a newly healthy Joel Zumaya?
  • Who will be the shortstop for the Tigers in 2010? Adam Everett was re-signed in between my lunchtime writing and my drive home
  • How long will Carlos Guillen actually play leftfield?
  • Will there be an under-the-radar deal pulled by Dave Dombrowski?
  • Who will be the the online whipping boy for the Tigers if Rodney and Everett leave town ?
  • Will Dontrelle Willis ever pitch again?
  • Will a big contract guy get Sheff'd before the season begins?

Some of these will probably be answered in the next few days, some maybe in the next few hours (looking at you Edwin Jackson). If big news breaks, I just might have to break out of my slumber again.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Playoffs??? What Do You Mean Playoffs???

The MLB playoffs kick off today, unfortunately without the Tigers who had a kick to the nether regions of their own to deal with last night. So with the Tigers out, the question is who do you root for (provided you can stomach a Tigerless playoff)? So here's cases for and against all 8 teams.

Minnesota Twins
Hate them for: Nick Punto, the damn Metrodome, and that fact that they just won't die
Root for: AL Central loyalty, their fans are pretty cool, the underdog factor

New York Yankees
Hate them for: They're the Yankees, do I really need to list things?
Root for: Revenge for the Twins beating the Tigers I guess...uh...Derek Jeter's from Michigan, right?

Boston Red Sox
Hate them for: Being the only group of fans more obnoxious than Yankee fans, Kevin Youkilis, months of smug Bill Simmons columns if they win
Root for: Fenway Park to collapse. There is nothing redeemable about this team

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Hate them for: The fact the official team name is "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim", the Rally Monkey, Vlad Guerrero's pine tard helmet
Root for: Winning for Nick Adenhart, a Red Sox loss.

Philadelphia Phillies
Hate them for: Winning last year, Philly fans
Root for: Ryan Howard seems like a cool guy, the potential reappearance of Pedro Martinez's little person.

Colorado Rockies
Hate them for: Wearing purple, the good chance their fans are also Avalanche and Bronco fans
Root for: Todd Helton to finally win the big one, the fact their best pitcher is named Ubaldo.

St. Louis Cardinals
Hate them for: the way media slobs over them for having the "best fans", the stupid Budweiser song, Joe Buck
Root for: Albert Pujols, and the fact Jim Leyland is probably rooting for them too

Los Angeles Dodgers
Hate them for: Manny being a cheater, employing Jeff Weaver, the fact that dumb Randy Newman song will be played ad nauseam during their games
Root for: Gratuitous screen shots of superfan Alyssa Milano

So there they are pick your side. Me I'm just hoping for some good games
As for how the playoffs are going to turn out, here's my thoughts:

Twins vs. Yankees
Yankees in 4
I don't think there's anyway the Twins can win today after last night's brutal 12 innings. The Twins won't go out without a fight, but the Yankee bats are just too much

Angels vs. Red Sox
Angels in 5
Both teams are pretty equal, but I just think the way the Angels seem to fly around the basepaths at home will be the difference in game 5

Phillies vs. Rockies
Phillies in 4
As long as the Phillies keep it out of Brad Lidge's hands they should be able to out hit the Rockies

Cardinals vs. Dodgers
Cardinals in 4
This may go 5, but the fact the Dodgers may have to beat Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright 2 out of 4 times makes me pick the Cards

Yankees over Angels in 6
I think the Yankee starters are a little better than the Angels, and Mariano Rivera is light years ahead of Brian Fuentes

Phillies over Cardinals in 7
Other than Pujols and Holliday there really isn't a dangerous bat in the Cards lineup. While the Cards may have the best 2 pitchers in the NL, Philly's rotation is a bit deeper and that will make the difference in a 7 games series

World Series
Yankees over Phillies in 6
It's going to be a bunch of 7-6 games, and it's going to come down to who can get the last three outs. Rivera vs Lidge. My money's on Mariano.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


One of the greatest games I have ever seen. Too bad about the outcome. I've lost 3 pounds sweating, and I'm sure most of my hair has turned gray. Good luck the Twins

Game 163: The Biggest Game Of The Year

Some stuff went down these past few days. Some good (Justin Verlander), some bad (Miguel Cabrera). But like Mark McGwire said, I'm not here to talk about the past.

I'm here to talk about the biggest game for the Tigers this season. They face the Twins today in Satan's Butthole (aka the Metrodome), with most people expecting the Twins to win. Well I for one think 83 games is way too many for the Metrodump and think the Tigers can make it be the last one played there.

If the Tigers do these things victory is assured:

1) Score first, preferably in the first inning. A big first inning would theoretically take the crowd out of the game and let Kid Rick focus on just pitching, not trying to win the game singlehandedly.

2) Work the pitch counts. Other than Joe Nathan, no one on the Twins is an all-world pitcher. Make them throw tons of pitches, get them tired, and drive their mistakes into the stands.

3) No free baserunners. There will be a decent number of ground balls. The Tigers can't afford to allow the turf to beat them.

4). Miguel must atone. He let his team, his fans, and his city down this weekend. A key hit or two would do a lot more for his image than a form letter apology

5) Assume Joe Nathan will be out in the 8th inning. So they need to have a lead by the 7th.

6). Hits from the bottom of the order. If the 7-8-9 hitter drive in runs, the Tigers will win.

7) Last one is a simple one. Play better baseball than the Twins. Any one team can beat the other team on any given day. The Washington Nationals won a series against the Yankees this year. It doesn't matter where the game is, top to bottom the Tigers are a better team than the Twins. If the team that showed up on Sunday shows up today...bring on the Yankees.

Thank god for DVR as I won't get out of work until 5:30, and thanks to Atlanta traffic at my house around 6:30. Regardless of what happens tonight I hope to have a playoff preview up tonight. I'm really looking forward to typing up a Tigers-Yankees preview.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Game 161 Recap

The Tigers are slowly killing me. Need to win tomorrow. That's all I got.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Game 158 Recap

Another big game, another big win for the Tigers. The 2009 Tigers, exactly the opposite of the 2008 version.

Eddie Bonine, the September call-up, the 4 option for a starter behind Jarrod Washburn, Armando Galarraga, and Nate Robertson, had himself another great game on the mound for the Tigers tonight. His 3rd start in September (4th of the year 9th of his career) was the magic one, as Bonine picked up his first career win. It wasn't easy though, as the Twins had him on the ropes in the first. Down 2-0 with the bases loaded, Bonine got a huge play from Placido Polanco to turn a double play and end the inning. He allowed only 4 more Twins to reach base in the next four innings and had himself another great start in a pressure packed situation.

Last time out Bonine was out of luck as he drew Jake Peavy to try to outpitch. This time he went up against a guy that had been pitching like a Cy Young winner against the Tigers. This time they figured him out. It all started with a pair of singles from Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez. Carlos Guillen drew a five pitch walk and the bases were loaded for Brandon Inge. Inge continued his hot hitting from yesterday, by driving a double to the gap in left center which brought in two. Ramon Santiago drove in Inge and Guillen with a single to center and the Tigers took the lead and never looked back.

The Tigers had the bases loaded again in the 5th. Miguel Cabrera at the bat, one pitch weak pop out. Here we go squandering again, right? Wrong. Magglio Ordonez took his first pitch and drove it deeper in the same part of the field that Inge's when for a bases clearing double, making the game 7-2. Zach Miner took over for Bonine, and while he wasn't as dominant as he was yesterday afternoon, he didn't allow a run to score in 2.1 innings pitched. Brandon Lyon bounced back from his wild performance yesterday (Closer mentality...hint, hint Mr. Dombrowski) as he struck out both batters he faced with runners at 1st and 2nd to end the 8th. Fernando Rodney showed he can in fact pitch a 1-2-3 inning to end the game.

A fact blurbed on "Baseball Tonight", no team has ever come back from 3 games back with 4 to go. The Tigers win tomorrow and they win the AL Central for the first time. Go do it Tigers.

Tigers 7 Twins 2
W: Bonine (1-1)
L: Pavano (13-12)

Tigers Record
W - L
85 - 73
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Minnesota)


Games 156 & 157

I spent all of the first game, trapped at work and wearing down my phone's battery for updates. After Lyon's performance my phone was almost the third wild pitch of the afternoon. As if the stress of month-end wasn't enough, the work day ended with the Tigers clinging on to a minuscule one game lead in the AL Central.

I spent most of the second game vomiting uncontrollably. It could of been from the fish I had at lunch. But more than likely it was caused by Nick Punto.

All in all yesterday was two games that kicked started my emotions into playoff mode. I nervous, agitated, surly, and I love it.

Tonight, dual Tiger killers are in effect. Carl Pavano is on the mound and the game is on ESPN. Maybe they will cancel each other out. And I think karma owes Eddie Bonine his first win anyway.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Game 153 Recap

Down 5-0 after four innings, and only one hit to show for their efforts. Same old Tigers, right?


After 4 innings of domination the Tigers figured out Freddy Garcia. It started with a Miguel Cabrera solo home run. 5-1. Miggy struck again with a 2 run single in the 6th, 5-3. Then in the 7th the Tigers broke it open. With Carlos Guillen and Gerald Laird aboard, Adam Everett singled, 5-4. Then Curtis Granderson singled, 5-5. Placido Polanco, single, 6-5. Magglio Ordonez (now hitting .297 by the way), single 7-4. The Tigers never looked back. They added 5 more runs over the next two innings on their way to a 12-5 victory.

Ozzie Guillen will be grumpy tonight, and that warms my heart.

This is why the Tigers are going to the playoffs. Yes, I know there are 8 games left and the lead is "only" 2. The bottom line is when this Tiger team absolutely, positively needs to win, they do it. Worst case scenario, the Twins come into town behind only one game. They will not lose that series. Still, I would not be opposed to a 3 game lead when that series start. Go Zack Greinke!!!

Tigers 12 White Sox 5
W: Figaro (2-1)
L: Garcia (2-4)

Tigers Record
W - L
83 - 71
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Minnesota)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Game 151

Now that's a little bit more like it. It's about time this first place Tiger team, treated a last place team like they are supposed to. And for one Tiger hitters attacked a struggling pitcher instead of making him look like a Cy Young candidate.

Justin Masterson faced the Tigers back on August 1st. He pitched 3 scoreless innings and gave up only 2 hits. In the first four batters he faced tonight he gave up 3 hits and allowed a run to score. The Tigers scored four runs in the first which would turn out to be enough to win the game, but thankfully they didn't stop there. Every Tiger starter recorded at least one hit, with most of the damage done by the Venezuelan Power Station of Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen. Miggy went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI, and Carlos was 3 for 4 with 2 home runs which helped him drive in 4. 11 runs on 15 hits, makes for a pretty enjoyable night watching the Tigers.

Rick Porcello was spotted 4 runs, before he took the mound. He seemed eager to give those runs right back as he loaded the bases on two hits and a walk after recording the first out. A Travis Hafner ground ball scored a run, but got an out. And Luis Valbuena hit a ground ball of his own to end the inning with Porcello relatively unscathed. He would go one to give up 4 more hits and walk two, but there were no runs scored and he was pulled after the 5th with the game well in hand at 9-1.

As for the bullpen it was a tale of two innings for Ryan Perry. He took over in the 6th and struck out the side. In the 7th he gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. Zach Miner, Jeremy Bonderman, and Fu-Te Ni combined to close out the game with little resistance from the Indians.

Tomorrow, Justin Verlander is on the mound, and the Tigers have a chance to break out the brooms and pick up a half game on the idle Twins. Unfortunately the Twins did some sweeping of their own closing out a sweep of the White Sox tonight. I can only hope the Sox will be as welcoming as they were to the Twins, and as the Indians have been so far to the Tigers.

Tigers 11 Indians 3
W: Porcello (14-9)
L: Masterson (4-9)

Tigers Record
W - L
81 - 70
1st Place AL Central (2.5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Game 150 Recap

Remain calm...ALL IS WELL!!!!!!!!!

Little crazy around here, with work, family obligations, and that whole widespread flooding of northern Georgia thing. When I last left the Tigers they were 4.5 games ahead of Minnesota, then all Hell broke loose and the Tigers September of 2009 was on the verge of being mentioned in the same breath as the September of the 2007 Mets and other epic collapses. Then Nate Robertson of all people keeps the Tigers from getting swept and possible saves the season.

A Minnesota win and a Tigers off day yesterday cuts the Tiger lead to 2.5 games. Edwin Jackson and his new tip-free delivery took the mound. Edwin was not the Mr. Jackson of the 1st half. He scattered 7 hits and gave up 3 walks. But the most important number, runs, was a big zero. Pitching one both sides seemed to suffer from a questionable strike zone from home plate ump Paul Schrieber. 12 walks in all. A Brandon Lyon bases loaded walk was the only run the Indians could manage. The Tigers were a little luckier with their bats.

Ryan Raburn started the scoring with a solo home run in the third, a few moments removed from gunning down the Indians first attempt at a run with a perfect throw to Gerald Laird from left field. Then nothing until Miguel Cabrera hit a double to left field to drive in a run, and Marcus Thames followed with a sac fly (made possible by a nice slide by Clete Thomas) to give the Tigers a few insurance runs.

In came Fernando Rodney. Pitcher with some control issues. Umpire with a errant grasp on a strike zone. Recipe for disaster right? Nope. 2 quick outs, the obligatory base runner, then a groundout and the game was over. Unfortunately, the White Sox could not cooperate to help the Tigers increase the Central lead, but nonetheless the Tigers are one win closer to the playoffs.

Tigers 3 Indians 1

W: Jackson (13-7)
L: Laffey (7-7)
S: Rodney (34)

Tigers Record
W - L
80 - 70
1st Place AL Central (2.5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thank You Ernie

- You know the life and times of Ernie Harwell could be capsuled I think in two famous quotations, one from a left handed, the New York Yankee pitcher and the other one from a right handed English poet. The Yankee pitcher, Lefty Gomez, once said, "I'd rather be lucky than good. " And the poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, once wrote in his epic poem Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I have met." Well, I know that I'm a lot luckier than I'm good. I've been lucky to broadcast some great events and to broadcast the exploits of some great players.

When I went to Brooklyn in 1948 Jackie Robinson was at the height of his brilliant career. With the Giants I broadcast the debut of Hall of Famer Willie Mays. When I went to Baltimore the great Brooks Robinson came along to replace my good friend George Kell at third base. Kind in my 22 years at Detroit it's been a distinct privilege to watch the day by day consistency of Hall of Famer Al Kaline. Yes, it's lucky that I've been there and I've been at some events too. I want to tell you about one that Ralph mentioned Bobby Thomson's home run October 3rd. I felt a little sorry for my Giant broadcasting partner that day, Russ Hodges. Ole' Russ is going to be stuck on the radio, there were five radio broadcasts and I was gonna' be on coast to coast TV and I thought that I had the plum assignment. Well, as you remember it turned out quite differently. Russ Hodges' record became the most famous sports broadcast of all time, television, no instant replay, no recordings in those days, and only Mrs. Harwell knows that I did the telecast of Bobby Thomson's home run. When I got home that night after the telecast she said to me, she said, ''You know Ernie when they turned the camera on you after that home run I saw you with that stunned look on your face, and the only other time I had ever seen it was when we were married and when the kids were born.”

That other saying, I'm a part of all that I have met, I think that would have to begin with my wonderful parents back in Atlanta when I was a youngster five years old I was tongue tied. They didn't have much money, but they spent what they had sending me to speech teachers to overcome the handicap. I know that a lot of you people who have heard me on the radio probably still think I'm tongue tied, but through the grace of God officially I'm not tongue tied any more. Also I'm a part of the people that I've worked with in baseball that have been so great to me, Mr. Earl Mann of Atlanta, who gave me my first baseball broadcasting job. Mr. Branch Rickey at Brooklyn, Mr. Horace Stoneham of the Giants, Mr. Jerry Hoffberger in Baltimore and my present boss, here's too the greatest ever, Mr. John Fetzer and Mr. Jim Campbell. I'm also a part of the partners that I've worked with and there have been so many great ones, beginning with Red Barber and Connie Desmond at Brooklyn and continuing on to my present partner WJR's Paul Carey.

But most of all, I'm a part of you people out there who have listened to me, because especially you people in Michigan, you Tiger fans, you've given me so much warmth, so much affection and so much love. I know that this is an award that's supposed to be for my contribution to baseball, but let me say this I've given a lot less to baseball than it's given to me and the greatest gift that I received from baseball is the way that the people in the game have responded to me with their warmth and with their friendship. Yes, it's better to be lucky than good and I'm glad that I'm a part of all that I have met. We're all here with a common bond today. I think we're all here because we love baseball.

Back in 1955, Ralph referred to this, I sat down and wrote a little definition of baseball to express my feelings about this greatest game of all. And I know that a lot of things have changed since then. Especially in this strike filled year but my feelings about the game are still the same as they were back then and I think that maybe yours are too. And I'd like to close out my remarks for the next couple of minutes with your indulgence to see if your definition of baseball agrees with mine.

Baseball is the President tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That's baseball. And so is the big, fat guy with a bulbous nose running home one of his 714 home runs.

There's a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh forty-six years ago. That's baseball. So is the scout reporting that a sixteen year old pitcher in Cheyenne is a coming Walter Johnson. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic.

In baseball democracy shines its clearest. The only race that matters is the race to the bag. The creed is the rulebook. Color merely something to distinguish one team's uniform from another.

Baseball is a rookie. His experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins fulfillment of his dream. It's a veteran too, a tired old man of thirty-five hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through another sweltering August and September. Nicknames are baseball, names like Zeke and Pie and Kiki and Home Run and Cracker and Dizzy and Dazzy.

Baseball is the cool, clear eyes of Rogers Hornsby. The flashing spikes of Ty Cobb, an over aged pixie named Rabbit Marranville.

Baseball just a came as simple as a ball and bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion.

Why the fairy tale of Willie Mays making a brilliant World's Series catch. And then dashing off to play stick ball in the street with his teenage pals. That's baseball. So is the husky voice of a doomed Lou Gerhig saying., "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

Baseball is cigar smoke, hot roasted peanuts, The Sporting News, ladies day, "Down in Front", Take Me Out To The Ballgame, and the Star Spangled Banner.

Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball! Thank you.

- From Ernie Harwell's Hall of Fame induction speech August 2nd, 1981

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 Up and 3 Down

Back in town, fully rested after a lot of driving on a long weekend that seemed way to short. So how did the Tigers do?

The weekend was very good. A sweep over the defending AL champions, the Tampa Bay Rays. Home runs were hit, games were exciting, balls were chucked at reporters. In hindsight, maybe that wasn't so impressive, as Tampa has dropped 11 of it's last 14. The three straight come from behind victories might have lulled the Tigers into a false sense of security.

The last place Kansas City Royals, are doing what they did in 2006. Making the September of the Detroit Tigers a little less fun. Maybe it was the Curse of Marc Lancaster for Fernando's throw. The magic created against the Tampa bullpen, was left in Florida as the Tigers were only able to score 3 runs in 11.1 innings against the vaunted Royal bullpen. Bruce Chen was the only Royal the Tigers were able tear up, of course that is a feeling than many of team have felt.

So all in all a .500 road trip. While the result is not at all half bad, the way they got to it was kind of disappointing. 7 at home and a good change to at least keep the AL central lead the same going into next weekend's huge series in Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

9 Things

So a busy past couple of days, personal and professionally, have kept me away. Now a trip up to Michigan for Labor Day weekend will keep me away for another couple of days. So I decided to make an actual non-game recap post of things I've seen or have been on my mind this season. 9 seems like the perfect number for baseball. So here I go in no particular order.

1) While Miguel Cabrera is without a doubt the team MVP. A good case can be made for Placido Polanco. His bat has been below his career averages this year, but when the offense has been clicking Polly's been in the thick of it. In game in which Placido has scored a run, by my count (which may or may not be accurate)the Tigers are 38-12. It seems simple enough. If Polly gets on base, it's a good chance the Tigers win

2) I still cannot figure out why the Twins in second place scare the crap out of me. Maybe it's flashbacks to 2006. Maybe its the fact that the way this team just will not die, is like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhies, and Freddy Krueger rolled into one. Joe Nathan looking human today was a relief, but I wont be able to sleep at night until the Tigers lead in the Central is greater then the amount of games remaining.

3) I didn't except Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff to be a Cy Young candidate and a triple crown threat. But I expected a little bit more than a 6.81 ERA and .145 batting average. Solid Septembers from the both of you, please.

4) One thing about Magglio's contract, and other contract related issues. If the Tigers make the playoffs, and get at least 4 home games and it's paid for. My math figures average ticket price is around $100, times 4 sellouts of 44,000. That's $17.6 million, and that's not including merchandise, parking, etc. I know that it's not that simple and everything isn't pure profit. My point is if the Tigers win, they will make money. The City of Detroit is struggling. Mike Illich is not. If the Tigers win, he will sign the checks with a smile.

5) I've grown a bit weary of constant criticism of fringe players on the team. I've heard way much consternation about Adam Everett's bat. What are you really expecting from someone batting ninth? He's hitting .244, his career average is .245. The same with the fielding stats. Any offense he can provide is great. Yeah the Tigers don't have the world's greatest offense. That really didn't get them far last year.

6) 32 pitchers have recorded at least 10 saves or more in the Major Leagues. No one is perfect, but there are 3 with one blown save. Mariano Rivera, Huston Street, and...wait for it...Fernando Rodney. We all know that if the game's not on the line things can get dicey. Even when the game is on the line things can get dicey. 31 times out of 32 the job has been done. Sure who wouldn't like a guy who does it like Rivera, but those guys are few and far between. Here's a stat to repeat in your head next time Nando takes the mound: No closer has induced more groundouts then Fernando. His 80 edges Chad Qualls by one, in third is Rivera with 69. So have faith when that baserunner reaches, odds are that the double play is coming.

7) I would really like to see Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga bounce back. Nate had a promising start last Saturday. Armando's final rehab start is in Toledo tomorrow. If both can pitch at a high level, the Tigers could drop one into the rotation and use the other to spell Rick Porcello, or the apparently aching Jarrod Washburn. A healthy, rested starting rotation will go a long way down the stretch and into the playoffs

8) If Jair Jurrgens wasn't traded for Edgar Renteria, he would have been in the Cabrera deal. Let it go people. I for one am happy he's in Atlanta. I've seen him pitch in person as many times down here as I did when he was in Detroit.

9) Meaningful baseball in September. Welcome back. We've missed you. Go ahead make yourself comfortable. We've got a futon you can sleep on. Better yet, I'll take the futon. You're a guest, please stay as long as you like. Those jerks in Chicago don't know how to treat you. And have you been to Minnesota in October? Brrrrr. Stay here, I'll throw a couple brats on the grill. We've got some catching up to do.

So there it you go. Tigers 10 games above .500 and 4.5 ahead in the AL Central on the 2nd day of September. Pretty damn good if you ask me. Everyone have a safe holiday weekend, and I'll see you in about a week. Go Tigers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Game 127

Tigers were back at home, but bats were still working like they were against the Angels.

All the damage today was provided by the bottom 3 in the order. Brandon Inge started things with a solo HR in the second. Right after the home run, Gerald Laird was plunked by Tampa starter Matt Garza. Laird got his revenge in the 4th. 2 walks and a Inge single had the bases loaded for Gerald. Gabe Gross decided to use the Copa outfield as a slip-n-slide, and a Laird line drive to right turned into a 2 run double. Adam Everett followed that with a double of his own to left. Curtis Granderson drove in Everett with a double of his own and the Tigers had a 6-0 lead.

Rick Porcello used that run support to pick up his 11th win of the season. Porcello broke the 100 pitch mark for the first time all season. Fu Te Ni, and Brandon Lyon combined to pitch a perfect 3.1 innings, leaving Bobby Seay to work out some kinks in the 9th. Sadly he did not as he gave up a home run to Gabe Kapler and a single to BJ Upton before giving way to Fernando Rodney. Fernando fought through the rain to record the final out and preserve the win for the Tigers

The return of Nate Robertson occurs in front of a National (well 1/3 of the nation) audience. I will have to miss out on the game for 2 reasons. First, since there is an NL East team playing that is what will be on my local broadcast. Secondly, and most importantly, my wife and I will be celebrating our First Anniversary. The pennant race will be taking a back seat for the rest of the weekend. I would appreciate breaking the 10 games above .500 bubble a great present.

Tigers 6 Rays 2
W: Porcello (11-9)
L: Garza (7-9)

Tigers Record
W - L
68 - 59
1st Place AL Central (4.5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

West Coast Trip

I'm might be able to stay up and watch the games with the 10 pm start times. But after 8 hours of sleep, the details of the game are a little fuzzy. Especially when you add to that I had a weird dream (nightmare actually) that the Tigers blew a 14 run lead in extra innings. I had to scramble to the computer to confirm the Tigers did win last night. Stupid brain trying to trick me. Although Ryan Raburn hitting two home runs in a game is still a little hard to belive as well. My point is blogging will be sparse (well more sparse than usual) until the Tigers return to the Eastern Time zone

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Games 119 & 120

Game 119

When your offense struggles against Felix Hernandez it isn't fun to watch, but at least it's understandable. When your offense struggles against Ian Snell it is even less fun to watch, and it's inexcusable. One bad inning from Justin Verlander, and the game was over.

Tigers 1 Mariners 3
W: Snell (3-9)
L: Verlander (13-7)
S: Aardsma (28)

Game 120

It started out same old story, just a different day. Bottom of the 4th, Tigers down 4, and they only had one hit at this point. But Ryan Raburn lead the inning off with a solo home run, and Brandon Inge added one of his own two batters later. The Tigers had a bit of life as they cut the lead in half. Unfortunatly the Mariners answered back with two solo shots of their own in the 6th inning and the lead was back to four.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers had Seattle starter Ben Howland-Smith on the ropes. A double and two walks had the bases loaded. Then the rains came. How would the Tigers respond to the delay and a solid bullpen? An RBI groundout from Aubrey Huff, and a 2 RBI single from St. Avila and the Tigers were within one.

While Jarrod Washburn struggled, the bullpen was stellar. Two perfect innings from Zach Miner, and one thrown in from Bobby Seay gave the Tiger bats a chance to win it. They came close in the 8th, with runners on first and second with one out. Unfortunately lightning could not strike twice for Avila, as he lined out. Placido Polanco followed that with a weak popout to end the inning. In came David Aardsma, fifth in the AL in saves. In to face him was the pinch hitter Carlos Guillen. Carlos did what he does best, battled his way through the entire at bat. Seven pitches and he was at first with a walk. Ryan Raburn tried to bunt him to second, but ended up popping out the catcher. Miguel Cabrera did the job and then some with a double down the line. The Mariners walked Magglio to set-up the double play. Brandon Inge did not oblige. He hit it deep enough to score Guillen on a sac fly (aided by a poor catch by Johjima at the plate). That misplay put the winning run 90 feet away for Clete Thomas. Clete had a Gullien-esque at bat fouling off pitches and fighting to a full count after falling behind 1-2. The 8th pitch (Aardsma's 27th) was in a place Rod Allen calls "The Happy Zone". Clete lined it past Russell Branyan for a base hit, giving the Tigers the win.

So crappy middle game aside, it's a series win for the Tigers. A series win with two comebacks against one of the better bullpens in the Majors. Now to a West Coast swing, and insomnia for Tigers fans for the next 6 games. Maybe they'll remember to put the bats on the plane this time.

Tigers 7 Mariners 6
W: Seay (4-2)
L: Aardsma (3-5)

Tigers Record
W - L
64 - 56

1st Place AL Central (2.5 games ahead of Chicago)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Game 118

Once again the Tigers had themselves in a pitching duel, with Kid Rick Porcello facing off against King Felix Hernandez. Hernandez allowed one run on five hits, while striking out 9. At least this time a struggling offense was due to a top flight pitcher, not someone of Carl Pavano's caliber

Porcello gave up a lead off hit to Ichiro, then promptly retired the next 13 in order. Not to be outshines by King Felix, 7 of those were strikeouts. He ran into some trouble in the 6th, and left the game with the bases loaded. In came the other rookie in the rotation, and ended the inning with a harmless fly out after 2 pitches. He went on to pitch another inning before being pulled after a lead off single in the 8th. In came Bobby Seay, and it was not pretty. Seay gave up two runs (one was credited to Perry) and here we go again...

St. Avila will have none of that. He led off the 8th with a solo shot that landed in the Seattle bullpen. Ramon Santiago, pinch hitting for Adam Everett, followed that with a single. After Curtis Granderson fouled out, Placido Polanco reached on a ball that might have been the inning ending double play. Might have being the key phrase, it wasn't due to an error by the shortstop. Add a Carlos Guillen walk later, the bases were full for Miguel Cabrera. Line drive, Tigers have the lead.

Fernando Rodney did his thing, but finally struck out Jose Lopez on the 12th pitch of the at bat, with the tying run on second base. And thanks to a little help from the Royals, the lead in the Central grows.

Tigers 5 Mariners 3
W: Seay (3-2)
L: Lowe (1-6)
S: Rodney (25)

Tigers Record
W - L
63 - 55
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Chicago)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Game 115

Jason Karnuth has been avenged. Brandon Inge's walk-off home run, at a reasonable hour none the less, off Ramon Colon gave the Tigers the 1-0 victory. But the real story of the game was the pitching duel between Zach Grienke and Jarrod Washburn.

The Jarrod Washburn the Tigers traded for finally arrived on the mound today. He had a no hitter going into the 5th inning until some idiot jinxed him. Washburn had his best start since, well since he pitched against the Tigers on the 23rd of July. He pitched 8 innings for the 3rd time this year. All three of those starts he did not allow a run.

Zack Greinke was just as good, if not better than Washburn. He pitched his best game since facing the Rangers on the 24th of July. He struck out 7 and only allowed 3 hits in 7 innings pitched. But he could only make it into the 7th inning, and the game was turned over to the bullpens. Brandon Lyon was perfect, Ramon Colon was not.

By the way...is there anybody pitching better than Brandon Lyon since June 1st? Since the month of May ended Lyon has pitched 34 innings. In those innings he has 28 K's, with only 3 runs allowed on 16 hits and 10 walks. His ERA has shrunk from 6.43 to 2.95. He picked up his 5 win in the time frame due to his perfect 9th inning.

JV stellar start, JarWash stellar start. Mr. Edwin Jackson, you're next.

Tigers 1 Royals 0

W: Lyon (6-4)
L: Colon (1-2)

Tigers Record
W - L
61 - 54
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Chicago)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

4 Days in Boston

It started with a gut punch, turned into a brawl, devolved into a butt kicking, and ended with a statement. 3 losses and yet the Tigers still sit 2.5 games ahead in first place heading into a 6 game home stand.

It was a series with a bunch of what ifs. What if Zach Miner pitched like he did yesterday on Monday. What if Kevin Youkilis didn't charge the mound, or for that matter Brian O'Nora issues a warning on the pitch inside to Victor Martinez. What if the Tigers didn't leave men on base on Monday. What if Jim Leyland pinch hit for Adam Everett. What if Armando Galarraga took some Robitussin Tuesday night. 3 losses, but 2 of those showed moments where the Tigers played like a team that could contend in October.

We did learn something else, Justin Verlander must be an illegitimate son of Jack Morris sans moustache. 8 innings of "here it is, you are not hitting it" dominance. 8 strikeouts, one walk and four hits. 123 pitches total. The last 2 hit triple digits. Once again, when the Tigers needed a win, needed a starter to go deep, needed an emotional boost, Justin Verlander delivered. There's not a pitcher in the majors that I would rather have pitching for my team come playoff time.

1 of 4 in Boston. Not good, but luckily for the Tigers their division foes were more that happy to stay put, as they both lost their series as well. In comes Kansas City, and let's hope they behave like the Royals of May and June of 09, not the Royals of September of 06.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Game 111

A reeling Boston team desperate not to drop their 7th game in a row, and the game being televised on ESPN this game had tough luck for the Tigers written all over it.

Edwin Jackson was never really on, and the Tigers were down early. To their credit they fought back and eventually tied it in the 7th inning. Only to give the lead away in the bottom of the inning. A total gut punch of a game.

Tigers 5 Red Sox 6
W: Ramirez (6-3)
L: Miner (5-2)
S: Papelbon (28)

Tigers Record
W - L
59 - 52
1st Place AL Central (2.5 ahead of Chicago)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Game 110

Yesterday I was taking in a Rome Braves game, the Class A farm team for the Braves. They won, the Tigers didn't, so let's move on to today's game

The Twins took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th punctuated by back to back home runs to straight away centerfield. Those deep blasts tearing up shrubbery must have awakened the dormant Tigers offense, as they stormed back in the bottom of the inning. Marcus Thames started it off with a solo shot to lead it off. The next three pitches were singles for Miggy, Maggs, and Guillen to load the bases. Brandon Inge added a sac fly, and Gerald Laird (possibly inspired by the new guy's offensive prowess) tied the game with a double. Ramon Santiago grounded out, but to the right side of the infield and that allowed Maggs to score and gave the Tigers the lead

One inning later Miguel Cabrera added some more runs with a 2 run homer after Placido Polanco led off the inning with one of his patented two strike hits. Miggy seems to have gotten his power stroke back, but I would argue just as important to the Tigers resurgent offense is Placido Polanco. He is on a 12 game hitting streak, hitting .396 in that time. He was 3 for 5 today with that 3rd hit being a RBI single to give the Tigers back the lead in the 8th.

Then TBS went out and jinxed save opportunity Fernando. He got Mauer and Morneau out to start the 9th. Good thing too, as Michael Cuddyer went yard for the second time today. The insurance run Clete Thomas provided in the 8th paid off. And with a big barehanded assist from Brandon Inge, Fernando Rodney was able to close out the game and the series win.

A series win from Cleveland over the White Sox and the Tigers regain a 3 game lead in the Central. Good thing too, because I do not have a good feeling about going into Fenway to face a Red Sox team that lost 6 straight. Added to that, the game is on ESPN, which has brought nothing but suckitude from the Tigers. Poor Edwin Jackson.

Tigers 8 Twins 7
W: Lyon (5-4)
L: Guerrier (5-1)
S: Rodney (23)

Tigers Record
W - L
59 - 51
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Chicago)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Game 108

Alex Avila is the talk of Tigertown, after adding 4 RBI and a home run to his resume after a RBI double in his MLB debut yesterday. After a start like this, Gerald Laird would be wise to teach him the art of defense very, very, slowly to protect his own job security.

Avila's two run homer followed Miguel Cabrera's 3 run shot to open the scoring for the Tigers in the first. Hmm...the Tigers score a lot of runs and the 1-2 guys in the order go 7 for 10. Strange isn't it? I'm sure 7 of the 15 hits being those of the extra base variety helped run the score up as well. and hey another rookie pitcher that wasn't able to shut down the Tigers. Maybe the Tigers are finally figuring out pitchers under the age of 24.

And it's a good thing the score was run up, because as quick as the runs were put on the board. Tigers pitchers seemed determined to give them right back. Armando Galarraga led the way allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and 5 walks. All of the damage was in the first two innings, partly due to the 4 free passes issued by Armando. Ryan Perry was hit or miss almost literally. he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, and struck out 3 in 2 innings of work. Brandon Lyon's redemption song added another chorus as he pitched a perfect 1-2-3 8th. Then non-save Fernando happened. Happened all over the place. When all was said and done the Tigers held on to win it. Todd Jones used to say something to the effect of "If you don't the way I do things, get up go make a sandwich, when you come back it will be done one way or the other" regarding his "relief" appearances. Someone needs to translate that to Spanish for Fernando to repeat.

Oh yeah, thank you Cleveland for sticking to other teams in the Central, and helping the Tigers expand their lead. Let's hope Carl Pavano left his magic against the Tigers by Lake Erie.

Tigers 10 Twins 8
W: Galarraga (6-10)
L: Swarzak (3-5)

Tigers Record
W - L
58 - 50
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Chicago)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Agreement Reached

Sunday I set forth a list of demands for this Tiger team to accomplish by today. Let's see how they did:

4 Runs a game - 5, 2, 4, and 7 for and average of 4.5. Well done offense.

3 Extra Base hits a game - 14 total for the series. Cabrera who I called out hit .400 with 3 extra base hits and 4 RBI.

JV complete game - almost, and since Edwin Jackson pitched into the 9th yesterday, I'm going to give it to them

No runs surrendered by the pen - The pen gave up 3 in nine innings, but when it counted they were perfect, so I'll give this one to them as well

Granderson to drive in some runs - I singled out Granderson, but my point was get some 2 out RBI. I think 12 2 out RBI in the series will work

Win 3 games - Locked it up this afternoon.

Whether it was the home cooking or three rookie starting pitchers against them on the mound, the Tigers acted like a first place team. The lead in the Central stays the same, and Minnesota comes into town this weekend. Keep it going Tigers, I want to keep watching

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Strike Update

After a good first day of negotiations Monday, talks fell apart last night.

Spirits were high Monday as The Tigers had come close to fulfilling all requirements, but Tuesday had them pulling everything they had put forth Monday off the table. Both sides now sit at exactly the same point they were when the strike began late Sunday.

The Tigers are pulling out all the stops, reshuffling staff, and doing what the can to end this by Thursday. Today's talks figure to be key, as if they are not a step forward, the strike could continue into September.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Weekend In Cleveland

That's it. Only one win against the team that traded away it's best hitter and pitcher, and it took 12 innings to get that win. I refuse to watch a team with only 3 series wins in its last 11. A team that turns Carl Pavano into Cy Young. So I am on strike due to unfair watching conditions.

You have another last place team coming in for 4 games here are my list of demands:

- At least 4 runs in every game. Baltimore's team ERA is 4.88. This should happen

- 3 extra base hits a game as a team. I'm looking at you Singuel Cabrera.

- A Justin Verlander complete game. This is more to help my next demand happen.

- No runs given up by the bullpen. JV's going the distance tomorrow, you will be rested. No excuses for sucking

- Curtis Granderson to not strike out when runners are on base. If he does the next community service he does should be in a batting cage

- Win 3 of 4 games. You call yourself a first place, act like it. Beat up on a last place team

Until my demands are met I refuse to be subjected to below average baseball from the Detroit Tigers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Game 100

That's great guys. 13 runs on 19 hits. I still would feel safer that night's like this would be more regular with an Adam Dunn or Luke Scott in left field.

Justin Verlander did had a bad inning the 5th, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits. Good thing for him he had a seven run lead to work with entering the inning. Outside of the fifth, he was filthy. JV tied a career high in strikeouts with 13, and had only 2 hits in the other six innings he pitched.

Also having great games were Curtis Granderson, who started off the game with a home run for the second night in a row. He added another 2 run homer in the 2nd. Miguel Cabrera broke out of his singles habit, and had a RBI double and a 3 run home run. His 4 RBI tonight almost doubled his RBI count for the month, giving him a grand total of 10 for July. Poor Magglio was the only Tiger starter held hitless.

Gerald Laird had only one hit, but single-handily got his way around the basepaths to score, in a good show of hustle that's been lacking on this Tiger team the past few days. He blooped a pop fly that Josh Hamilton could not quite get to, and hauled ass to get to second. He saw third base was there for the taking and stole third without a throw. Then, with perfect timing (and the help of an off-target throw) Laird scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Adam Everett. While it was the 9th run the Tigers score, it was a big one after the Rangers crawled back into the game after their 3 run 5th. The bounce back after their opponents have a big inning, is something that's been missing the past few weeks.

So the Tigers get the offense clicking just in time to get on a plane and a day off tomorrow. The lingering question will be, will there be any new Tigers in uniform when they take the field Friday night vs. Cleveland

Tigers 13 Rangers 5
W: Verlander (12-5)
L: Feldman (9-7)

Tigers Record
W - L
53 - 47
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Minnesota)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Game 98

Dave Dombrowski, white courtesy phone. GM Dave Dombrowski, white courtesy phone.

I would hope the hours from now until Friday, are spent looking for a bat.

1 for 8 with RISP is not going to cut it in September.

At least the White Sox lost

Tigers 2 Rangers 5

W: Hunter (3-1)
L: Galarraga (5-9)
S: Wilson (11)
Tigers Record
W - L
52 - 46
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Game 97

So the next time ESPN wants to put the Tigers on national TV, they should politely decline. At least they scored a run as opposed to the 11-0 back on April 28th.

Rick Porcello pitched 3.1 strong innings, the problem was the White Sox scored all 5 runs in the first two it which he was kinda terrible. It also didn't help that the run support usually provided was no where to be found. Getting an early trip on the trip to Texas perhaps. Irregardless of how Porcello pitched, mustering up 5 singles is rarely going to win games. On the plus side two of those singles belonged to Magglio Ordonez. Yes were at the point where I'm happy Magglio goes 2 for 4.

So the White Sox avoided the sweep. Tigers still hold the division, and head to Texas and Cleveland before returning home to face Baltimore. The Sox go to Minnesota then host the Yankees and the Angels.

Tigers 1 White Sox 5

W: Richard (4-3)
L: Porcello (9-7)

Tigers Record
W - L
52 - 45
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Game 96

To paraphrase LL: Don't call it a comeback, they've been in first place for months.

Ok, it was a comeback...A HUUUGGGGE comeback.

It started off good, with run support for Edwin Jackson of all people, with a 2 run first inning. And it would figure that the game the Tigers give E-Jax some runs to work with an he has one of his worst starts of the season. Good news for the Tigers, even a bad start for Jackson was still a quality start.

The White Sox took the lead in the 5th and it seems a case of sqanderitis had set in. Curtis Granderson had a runner at 3rd with 2 outs in the 7th, but lined out to end the inning. In the 8th Carlos Guillen followed a 2 out walk by Miguel Cabrera with looking at strike three to end the inning. So here it was 3 outs left and Bobby Jenks and his career 20 saves vs. the Tigers to look forward to. A strikeout by Ryan Raburn started off the inning, no surprise there. Then Brandon Inge took the first pitch he saw to left field his hobbled knee replaced by Adam Everett and the rally was on. Marcus Thames pinch hitting for Gerald Laird followed with a lucky broken bat single which gets runners on the corners with one out. I say lucky because if the bat doesn't break it's more than likely a routine line out to right field. Ramon Santiago got it in the air, but not out of the infield for the second out. Up again was Curtis Granderson. This time he delivered. A double down the line and it's a tie ballgame. Placido Polanco was unable to end it, as he lined out to end the ninth.

In came Fernando Rodney. He gets Jim Thome to strike out, but allows Paul Konerko to reach on a walk. Up now is A.J. Pierzynski. The insufferable douche was 4 for 4 with an RBI in the game so far. One pitch from Rodney, two outs was the result, and to the bottom of the 10th we go.

Clete Thomas and Miguel Cabrera both singled to lead off the inning. Up comes Carlos Guillen. 6 pitches later a hit up the middle and the game is over. I don't want to say "he's back" just yet, but it's not going to take much more convincing after these past two games. And speaking of impressive since returning, big tip of the cap to Ryan Perry. 4.2 innings, one hit 4 K's since being recalled from the minors. See Joel that's how it's done

On the the nightcap on ESPN tomorrow night, with each team's young stud pitcher on the mound. I wasn't expecting a chance for the sweep, but I'll take it.

Tigers 4 White Sox 3 (10 innings)
W: Rodney (1-2)
L: Carrasco (3-1)

Tigers Record
W - L
52 - 44
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Chicago)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Games 94 & 95


What a difference 24 hours makes.

Justin Verlander has a set of huge brass balls. He's quickly turning into the second coming of Jack Morris. I would need to see him get a couple more wins in the postseason for the transformation is deemed complete. He took the mound and wasn't going to leave the game up to anyone else. A little wild at times (4 walks and loading the bases on 3 singles with no outs in the 9th), but he dialed in when he needed it. After getting a huge double play for the first two outs in the 9th, he was clocked at 100 mph on his 125th pitch. Two pitches and a ground ball later. Game one was over with a Tiger victory.

Now while Verlander was not about to let the bullpen give the game away for him, there was that issue of run support which has been a sticky issue as of late. The power might not have been there (only 2 of the ten hits were for extra bases), but the hits were timely. 3 for 9 with RISP, and two of the runs via sacrifice. The clutch hitting from the bottom of the order that put the Tigers in first returned today to give them the outright lead back in the AL Central.

As for the nightcap and to extend that lead, things started out kind of dicey with a Jim Thome bomb to open the scoring. Carlos Guillen showed he might be the bat the Tigers are missing, by answering back with a home run of his own in the bottom of the 2nd. Jermaine Dye answered in the top of the 3rd with a 2 run shot to put the Sox back up 3-1. In the 5th the Tigers fired back with 2 singles from Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge to lead off the inning. Dusty Ryan of the .156 batting average, lucked one into centerfield to drive one run in. Curtis Granderson drew a walk and the bases were loaded for Placido Polanco. Polanco hit one up the middle far enough to beat out an double play attempt and the score was tied. Polanco also started the rally in the 8th with a one out single. Magglio Ordonez followed with a double down the line. Miguel Cabrera was walked to load the bases. All you need is a deep fly ball, right? Unfortunately pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn was not successful. But the problem with loading the bases, is that the pitcher has no room for error. Matt Thornton made a mistake by throwing his 13th pitch of the inning outside the strike zone for a bases loaded walk.

Fernando Rodney worst two pitches were the first two to Paul Konerko. After starting out 2-0, he rebounded to strike out Konerko, Chris Getz, and got Gordon Beckham to bend one back to the mound to end the game. Rodney would not have had this chance had Bobby Seay pulled his head out of his rear mid 7th inning. Seay had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Seay must have been thankful for the free out as he gave the next two batters strikeouts to end the inning. Round of applause for Eddie Bonine, as well for pitching a pretty good game. Too bad he couldn't get the win before heading back to Toledo.

So 2 games into the 4 for the weekend are in the win column for the Tigers. Two national (well national for the Midwest tomorrow afternoon) games to go. For Edwin Jackson's sake the Tigers had better score some runs tomorrow, or he may choke some out out on the dugout

Game 1
Tigers 5 White Sox 1
W: Verlander (11-5)
L: Contreras (4-9)

Game 2
Tigers 4 White Sox 3
W: Lyon (4-4)
L: Linebrink (2-5)
S: Rodney (21)

Tigers Record
W - L
51 - 44
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Game 93

Yeah it happened again.

If the Tigers are too lazy to come up with runs, then I'm too lazy to try to come up with a new way to describe the same old thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Game 92

The Armando Galarraga on the mound tonight looked like the Armando Galarraga of last season and this April. Unfortunately for him the offense and bullpen supporting him was the same old song.

The Tigers held the Mariners to two hits. It just happened to be one of those was a home run with a man on base. Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander were probably the first ones to give Galarraga a shoulder to cry one.

The Tigers had their best chance in the first inning with runners on first and third with no outs. Whether it was Felix Hernandez's skill or the Tigers offensive ineptitude the ending the inning scoreless is anyone's guess.

Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Great. Now let's see about getting some guys on base for him to get a RBI streak going.

So another game, another way to lose. Worst of all Tampa's bullpen couldn't hold a lead either, and now the White Sox are breathing down the Tigers necks with 4 huge games looming this weekend. Gulp.

Tigers 1 Mariners 2
W: Hernandez (11-3)
L: Seay (1-2)
S: Aardsma (23)

Tigers Record
W - L
49 - 43
1st Place AL Central (1 game ahead of Chicago)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Game 91

The Tigers must have left their bats at home, as they busted out 9 runs on 11 hits. Unfortunately the pitching must have missed a connecting flight from New York, as Seattle made it close scoring 7 of their own.

The big shot of the game was the Magglio Ordonez grand slam in the first inning. That put the Tigers up 5-1. A sign of a possible turn around for Maggs? I'd be a little more convinced if the next two times he put the ball in play, it would leave the infield. The rest of the team hit well, with only Marcus Thames and Adam Everett held hitless. Good news, Miguel Cabrera was 3 for 3, had a Home Run and was inches away from a 2nd on his double in the 8th. Bad News, that solo shot was only Cabrera's 5th RBI in July.

As for the 16 day layoff for Rick Porcello, it didn't seem to help that much. He did strikeout 4, but allowed 5 runs for the 3rd straight start. As for the bullpen, the mistakes they made ended up over the wall. Fortunately no one was on base when these mistakes happened.

Maggs slam was the first of seven home runs to leave the field tonight. And there were a couple just hit foul, and to the warning track that could have made the total in the double digits. So the Tigers have 3 straight pitching duels in a Yankee Stadium that's been a launching pad all year. The AL leader in ERA comes into town and its a slugfest...yeah that makes perfect sense for the 2009 season

Good luck running up the score tomorrow vs. Felix Hernandez. Felix has struck out 58 and allowed only 11 runs in his past eight starts...no pressure Armando

Tigers 9 Mariners 7
W: Porcello (9-6)
L: Olson (3-4)
S: Rodney (20)

Tigers Record
W - L
49 - 42
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Catching Up

Yeah about that midseason review...

With family in town the past week time has been scarce to even watch a Tiger game(the only baseball I've seen in the past few days was the Braves game I went to on Friday), let alone sit down and write my thoughts on something.

Blogging was a lot easier when your family is in another state and you're unemployed.

Judging by the mood around the blogosphere this morning, maybe its for the best I didn't see any of games over the weekend. Still in first place...for now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My All-Star Break

Taking some time off as my parents are in town. And anybody who gives me a new TV as a house warming gift will get my full attention. Only wish I could have seen Inge hit a home run or two in crystal clear Hi-def. Well there's always tonight.

I am trying to get a half assed mid-season review in but considering game recaps are a challenge, don't hold your breath. So if I don't get the big one done here's a miniature one:

First place? Yay!

Fingers crossed we can still say that in October.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Game 85

A little late with this, but WE DID IT!!!!!

Not only did Brandon Inge win the final vote, he's going to be a participant in the Home Run Derby. Pretty cool for a guy that was sulking on the bench at the beginning of the 08 season.

As for yesterday's game, see what happens when you give Edwin Jackson run support? A Gerald Laird double and Josh Anderson single drove in all the runs Edwin Jackson would need. It was a good thing Jackson was on, because Anderson's 2 RBI single was the last hit the Tigers would get against Cliff Lee.

It seems the Tigers had passed their squandering ways (insert blanket joke here) to the Indians. They were 0 for 9 with RISP and as a team stranded 10 men on base, with the lone run coming on a Ryan Garko solo HR in the 5th. On the other hand, two of the three Tiger hits against Cliff Lee drove in runs, and Marcus Thames added a 2 run HR after Placido Polanco walk in the 8th.

The bullpen wasn't perfect, but it got the job done. Which has been the case more often than not this year. Maybe the biggest break was Joel Zumaya being taken out after 2 pitches in the 8th. Bobby Seay completed the walk added one more of his own, and had runners at 2nd and 3rd with only one out. He then struck out Shin Soo Choo, and made Travis Hafner fly out to avert the crisis. Fernando Rodney did what he normally does in a non-save situation. Gave fans of the opposing team hope, before finally shutting the door.

Today it's Armando Galarraga, who's been pitching well lately, vs. Carl Pavano who has not. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Pavano's win win was against the Tigers after previously allowing 19 runs in his starts prior to meeting the Tigers

Tigers 5 Indians 1
W: Jackson (7-4)
L: Lee (4-9)

Tigers Record
W - L
47 - 38
1st Place AL Central (3.5 games ahead of Chicago)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Game 84

Only one way to keep him in 1st...


Just like last night's game, on paper, Grienke vs. French seemed like a huge mismatch. Fortunately for the Tigers games are not played on paper.

The Tigers jumped out quick on Greinke, scoring more runs (3) in the first two innings, than they had in previous 18. It was only 3 the Tigers would score all game, but the pitching staff would make it stick.

Jim Leyland let Luke French stick around long enough this time to pick up the win. But the real key is the solid bullpen work tonight. Fu-Ne Ti took over with a runner on base, got a double play to end the inning. Brandon Lyon was the Lyon that was supposed to challenge for the closer position this spring, as he struck out the only 2 batters he faced. In came Fernando Rodney, coming off of 48 pitches over the last two nights. He sat down the side 1-2-3 striking out the last two outs and is 19 for 19 in save opportunities.

So a series win, and a off day awaiting the struggling Cleveland Indians. An off day you should be spending sending one more Tiger to the All-Star Game

Tigers 3 Royals 1

W: French (1-0)
L: Greinke (10-5)
S: Rodney (19)

Tigers Record
W - L
46 - 38
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Game 83

Before we get to the recap...


As for the game, Justin Verlander vs. Bruce Chen, you would think advantage Tigers right? Well you obviously haven't been watching Tiger baseball this year. Things were looking bleak for the Tigers after the top of the 3rd inning. Verlander's pitch count was entering the 50s and the Tigers trailed 3-1. Luckily Placido Polanco flexed some muscle and the score was tied 3-3. I don't have the time or the patience for the research, but I'd wager the Tigers record when Polanco drives in a run is a good one.

Then in the 5th inning Bruce Chen turned back into the Bruce Chen we know and love. A Polanco RBI single and a Marcus Thames 3 run home run, put the Tigers ahead 7-3. The Royals clawed back with 2 in the 6th, but Polanco struck again in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tigers back the 3 run lead.

The bullpen was far from perfect. 3 hits and 3 walks in 3 innings. But the most important stat of all, runs allowed was frozen at zero, allowing Fernando Rodney to pick up his 18 save, and securing the win for the Tigers.

Tomorrow it's Luke French vs. Zack Greinke. For once I would like the pitcher who's not supposed to win be the one in the Old English D

Tigers 8 Royals 5
W: Verlander (9-4)
L: Chen (0-3)
S: Rodney (18)

Tigers Record
W - L
45 - 38
1st Place AL Central (2 games ahead of Chicago)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Game 82

First if you haven't done so go and...VOTE INGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So with the holiday weekend and family in town, i was able to take a nice relaxing weekend away from the team that has given me several a gray hair this year. I come back and get double pants poopings by Zumaya and Rodney. Ah, to be a Tiger fan.

The good news:
Armando Galarraga pitched his best game since Opening Day. He went 7 innings for only the 4th time all season, striking out 7 and allowing one run on five hits. Armando was in line for the win until the aforementioned bullpen snafu. Ryan Raburn did his best to secure victory for the Tigers. His solo HR put the Tigers in the lead in the 6th, and tied the game in the 8th.

The bad news:
C'mon Joel, Willie Friggin Bloomquist??? The worst part of the loss was that noted facepuncher Ramon Colon got the win. Tiger bats were not without blame. They wasted 5 walks by starter Gil Meche, and were 0-4 with RISP. Hitting into 3 double plays. Do. Not. Want.

The question now is, will the Tigers add Bruce Chen to the list of less than mediocre pitchers who have shut them down. Or will they treat him like the AAAA pitcher he is.

Tigers 3 Royals 4

W: Colon (1-0)
L: Rodney (0-2)
S: Soria (13)

Tigers Record
W - L
44 - 38
1st Place AL Central (1.5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Games 75 & 76

bad migraines and a west coast trip had me sidelined the past few days. Will be back up after tomorrow's game

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Game 74

Thinking the game started at 7 Central time, I decided to get one more game in for Tiger Woods '10 for the Wii. I tune in at 8:05...I decided to go back to playing Tiger Woods.

I feel good about my decision.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Game 73

Ah well, they can't win them all. Still 4 games up in the Central and 9 over .500

But...Joel Zumaya, really?

2 pitches in the 7th, then 28 before getting yanked in the 8th...really?

An 8 pitch walk to Darin Erstad. Erstad and his whopping .147 average...really?

Walking the bases loaded, then walking in the tying run...really?

Joel, if you're not careful, you'll be entering Robertsonville.

Tigers 4 Astros 5

W: Sampson (4-0)
L: Zumaya (3-2)
S: Hawkins (10)

Tigers Record
W - L
41 - 32
1st Place AL Central (4 games ahead of Minnesota)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Game 72

Game 72, or "How Magglio Got His Groove Back"

It started off shaky for Armando Galarraga, giving up 3 runs on a home run in the bottom of the first. But he recovered to only allow 4 more hits, and one run in the next five innings. And with a little help from Magglio Ordonez first home run in...well I can't count that high, I was a Communications major; Armando was able to pick up his first win in 11 starts.

Also joining Maggs in the run producing department, were Ramon Santiago who had a 2 run home run of his own, and Ryan Raburn, who should get some looks from NL Central teams after the way he tore up Cubs pitching this series.

And what would a close Tiger win be without a nail-biting save from Fernando Rodney. Rodney gave up a home run in his second pitch of the 9th. Fernando bounced back to strikeout the next two hitters, but then gave up a double to put the tying run on 2nd. Pinch hitter Geovany Soto entered the game, and was sent packing after striking out to end the game.

A second sweep and 7 in a row and on to Houston.

Tigers 6 Cubs 5
W: Galarraga (4-7)
L: Liily (7-5)
S: Rodney (16)

Tigers Record
W - L
41 - 31
1st Place Al Central (5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Game 71

Fernando Rodney made the margin of error thinner then most Tigers fans would like to see, but got the job done (maybe with a little help from an expanded strike zone) to close out the game.

1 for 15. That was what the Cubs did with runners in scoring position tonight. 3 innings the Cubs had the bases loaded, and only managed 2 runs. Cubs pitchers gave those two runs back to the Tigers with two bases loaded walks.

The big story of the pre-game was Magglio's freshly trimmed cranium. Did it work? Well 2 for 4 and no GIDP is certainly a step in the right direction. Let's try for a double tomorrow Maggs.

6 in a row, looking for another sweep, a season high 9 games about .500...good time to be a Tiger fan.

Tigers 5 Cubs 3
W: Miner (5-1)
L: Harden (4-4)
S: Rodney (15)

Tigers Record
W - L
40 - 31
1st Place AL Central (5 games ahead of Minnesota)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Game 70

He's starting to grow on me...

I take back anything bad I've ever said about Ryan Raburn...for now. His walk-off 2 run home run, was the third time the Tigers erased a Cub lead, and gave the Tigers their 5th straight win.

Much like Sunday's game this 2009 team looks to be playing to win until the 27th out. Last year's team you got the feeling that the attitude (looking at you Pudge and Sheff) was one of "Here we go again" instead "Let's get it back" anytime the Tigers lost a late lead.

Not lost in this should be the great games pitched by both Edwin Jackson and Carlos Zambrano. Their lines were pretty similar, with Jackson in line for the win when he left the game. Jackson did not get the win, because for some reason Joel Zumaya decided it would be fun to place a changeup over the middle of the plate. Micah Hoffpauir promptly deposited it into the bleachers in right to put Zambrano in line for the win.

Ryan Raburn hit the home run, but if not for Don Kelly's 9 pitch walk to start the inning. I had no idea who Don Kelly was before his call up, but he's really impressed me with his patience at the plate. And how fitting that someone just as maligned as Raburn in the first few months (who am I kidding he's still pretty maligned), Brandon Lyon gets the win for this one.

Tigers 5 Cubs 4
W: Lyon (3-3)
L: Gregg (2-2)

Tigers Record
W - L
39 - 31
1st Place AL Central (4 games ahead of Minnesota)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Games 68 & 69

Yesterday MLB decided that I should watch the Mets-Rays and that was it. Mother Nature had other ideas and while it was raining in New York, I was treated to the debut of Alfredo Figaro. All things considered not a bad performance picking up his first carerr victory, and in my mind it immediately places him ahead of Armando Galarraga on the depth chart. Ryan Perry, well that's another story. June has not been kind to the rookie as he surrendered runs in his third straight appearance. His ERA in June and Robertsonian 9.00.

While the bullpen surrendered runs, the bats put them on the board. The heart of the order came up big with Cabrera, Thames, and Kelly going 9 for 14 and driving in in four. Josh Anderson also had a nice day going 3 for 4 and driving in two. Placido Polanco hit his 3rd HR of the season and passed the "on hiatus" Magglio Ordonez on the season total list.

As for today's game it was a battle of the aces, with Justin Verlander going up against Yovanni Gallardo. Verlander gave up a HR on the second batter of the game. He pretty much held the Brewer bats in check allowing only 3 more hits until Craig Counsell lead off the 8th with a home run. All in all he struck out 8 and allowed more than 1 run for the first time at home all season.

At first it looked like it might be another hard luck loss for a Tiger pitcher, as Gallardo was shutting down the recently potent Tiger offense. The Tigers did not get their first hit until a leadoff single by Miguel Cabrera in the 4th. They threatened in the 5th, with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but were unable to cash in. Again in the 6th the Tigers had a opportunity, with 2 on and 2 out, this time Brandon Inge knocked one of the few mistakes Gallardo made all day deep into the left field seats.

That would be all the runs the Tigers needed. Fernando Rodney recorded his 2nd perfect 9th inning in a row, after the near horror show of Thursday night. The Tigers pick-up the sweep and another game on Minnesota heading into tomorrow;s off day

Game 68
Tigers 9 Brewers 5
W: Figaro (1-0)
L: Bush (3-4)

Game 69
Tigers 3 Brewers 2
W: Verlander (8-3)
L: Gallardo (7-4)
S: Rodney (14)

Tigers Record
W - L
38 - 31
1st Place AL Central (4 games ahead of Minnesota)