Sunday, May 31, 2009

Game 49

No Miguel Cabrera, no Placido Polanco, no problem.

Newly appointed Clean-up hitter Curtis Granderson provided all the run support Edwin Jackson needed with his solo home run in the 4th. Jackson was once again outstanding, with his 2 hits, 7 K performance. Jackson retired the first 11 batters in order, and did not allow the other hit until a lead-off double to Ty Wigginton in the 8th. Most astonishing was the neutralization of Tiger Killer Luke Scott. He was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. Fernando Rodney did his thing. Allowed a base-runner, but got three outs for his 10th save of the year. It also gave the Tigers their Major League leading 7th shutout.

Road trip over with a record of 4-3. Might not have been pretty in the first two games, but it ended well. Back home to a day off then the Red Sox

Tigers 3 Orioles 0

W: Jackson (5-3)
L: Berken (1-1)
S: Rodney (10)

Tigers Record:
W - L
30 - 19
1st Place AL Central (4 games ahead of Chicago)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Game 48

I still hate Luke Scott.

But my love for Clete Thomas is growing by the day

Justin Verlander had his worst game in May, which is still better than most pitchers best days. Gave up 3 runs and struck out 5. In May JV lowered his ERA 2 full runs in his 6 starts in May, while striking out 56 along the way. He got out of a big bases loaded jam in the 5th, but was unable to avoid the Tiger Killing Juggernaut that is Luke Scott, and the game was tied in the 6th.

Enter Clete, who lead off the 7th with a solo home run, his second of the game. The 2 home runs tonight doubled his career total to 4. Thanks to some shoddy fielding the Tigers added two insurance runs in the 8th. They were not needed due to the bullpen doing its job. Joel Zumaya was the real hero. He recorded 4 outs (2 by strikeout with one of those being Luke Scott) on 12 pitches, all strikes. I think the Joel of 06 is back. Fernando Rodney started out giving up a single. That runner never got past 2nd, as Rodney sat down the next three to end the game, and the Tigers losing streak. And with KC and Minnesota losing, the Central lead grows, with Chicago now the team in second.

Tigers 6 Orioles 3

W: Verlander (6-3)
L: Albers (0-2)
S: Rodney (9)

Tigers Record:
W - L
27 - 21
1st Place AL Central (4 Games ahead of Chicago)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Games 46 & 47

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, hate Luke Scott

Tigers 3 Luke Scott 9

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Game 45

Whatever Zach Grienke is to Tiger bats, Kyle Davies is the polar opposite. Davies was rung up for 8 runs (though 3 were unearned) and 10 hits this afternoon. Just slightly worse then the 7 runs and 8 hits he gave up a little over a month ago when he faced the Tigers. When Polanco goes yard on you, then you know you got pwned, as the kids would say.

The benefactor of the offense was Rick Porcello, who rolled to his team leading 6th win of the season. Porcello gave up two runs on four hits in a nice easy 6 inning 82 pitch performance. Seay, Zumaya, and Rodney closed out the remainder of the game without issue to wrap up the game and the series victory for the Tigers. Onward to Baltimore and hope of a smooth Galarraga start

Tigers 8 Royals 3
W: Porcello (6-3)
L: Davies (2-4)

Tigers Record:
W - L
26 - 19
1st place AL Central (4 Games ahead of Kansas City)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Game 44

Zach Grienke is really good. If not for Roy Halladay, he'd be the runaway favorite for AL Cy Young after 2 months. Right now, unless you're lucky, you're not beating him. The only loss he has was a 1-0 decision to the Angels, where he was out dueled by Joe Saunders. When you have two throwing errors by your pitcher, you can figure out it's probably not going to go your team's way that evening.

Still, as a whole, Kansas City does not frighten me. They're in the bottom third in the Majors in practically all the offensive categories. Yes, they do have Grienke. They also have Kyle Farnsworth, Horacio Ramirez, Sidney Ponson, Ron Mahay, and Kyle Davies. There are 3 pitchers on the Royals staff with an ERA worse than Brandon Lyon.

As for the Tigers tonight, well you cant mount a rally on what you can't hit. Yes Robertson and Lyon didn't help matters by expanding the Royal lead. The way Greinke was pitching I would rather have them serve up the runs today, and have Perry, Zumaya and Rodney ready to go tomorrow afternoon. Now it the bats are cold against a guy they lit up for 7 runs last time out, then you get a little worried

Tigers 1 Royals 6
W: Grienke (8-1)
L: Jackson (4-3)

Tigers Record:
W - L
25 - 19
1st Place AL Central (3 games ahead of Kansas City)

Memorial Day Weekend

Busy weekend in these parts. Not much time for the Tigers for me. But its always nice to see the Tigers improve on their division lead.

Friday, I was dragged to commencements for the high school my wife works at. Spent the first part of the night amazed at the amount of weird looking babies in the crowd around me. Spent the latter part of the night trying to convince the bartender to turn on the end of the Red Wings game. While Rick Porcello was the winner, I came up on the short end of the stick that night.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in Atlanta with In-Laws. Probably for the best I wasn't following along, as keeping track of two losses to the Rockies would have made me an unpleasant dinner guest.

I did catch the first 6 innings of yesterday's demolition of the Royals before I went out to a BBQ. Good to see the bats working again, though I doubt that will be the case tonight with Zach Greinke on the mound. Facing him will be Edwin Jackson who's a neighbor of Greinke's in the ERA leaderboard. Should be fun to watch.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Games 38 & 39

SIX PACK!!!!!!!

I'm getting spoiled. Justin Verlander struck out 8, allowed only 1 run on 3 hits, and yet I think he still could have done better. However I don't think I'm out of line believing that the bullpen was not as good as it could have been. Brandon Lyon and Joel Zumaya allowed Texas to chip away at the lead. It did not matter, because Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect 9th to clinch the Tigers 5th win in a row.

Anyone else think Ryan Raburn might be getting a "random" test soon? He went deep yesterday. Joining him in the Shrubbery Club, was Wilkin Ramirez getting his 1st MLB home run on his first MLB hit,and Clete Thomas this afternoon. Matt Joyce who?

Speaking of Matt Joyce, that guy we got for him took the mound today. Edwin Jackson was a little wild today with 5 walks. He got into a jam in the 8th and watched his lead evaporate as Nelson Cruz tied the game with a double with Jackson one strike away from ending the inning. An uncontested steal, and a walk later Edwin Jackson was facing runners at the corners and 128 on the pitch count. Jim Leyland left him out there, as to say "you got yourself into this mess, fix it.", and 4 pitches later he had his 7th strikeout and chance for his offense to get him the win.

Kevin Millwood was in that same situation with 2 on in the bottom of the 8th. Ron Washington stuck with his ace. Unfortunately for Millwood, he needed to get Miguel Cabrera out. Cabrera took the first pitch he saw to centerfield and the Tigers had the lead, and Jackson was in line for the win, it was Rodneytime. Obviously felling bored, after retiring 16 straight batter, Fernando decided to kick it up a notch. He allowed the tying run 90 feet from home, and the go-ahead run on first. Rodney got Michael Young to hit the groundball, and Placido Polanco and Adam Everett did their thing to turn the 4-6-3 double play and give the Tigers the sweep and their 6th win in a row.

And in come the strug-gel-ing Colorado Rockies. They're tied for the worst record in the major leagues, they dropped 2 of 3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates last weekend, and are coming off of getting curb-stomped the past two days by the Atlanta Braves (23rd in the Majors in runs scored). Oh yeah then there's This Guy coming back to a bullpen near you. Should be a fun weekend...and you better get a win Armando

Game 38
Tigers 5 Rangers 3
W: Verlander (4-2)
L: Harrison (4-3)
S: Rodney (7)

Game 39
Tigers 4 Rangers 3
W: Jackson (4-2)
L: Millwood (4-4)
S: Rodney (8)

Tigers Record:
W - L
23 - 16
1st Place AL Central (3 Games ahead of Kansas City)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Game 37

My 1st adventure in terrible MSPaint art

Well there you are Dontrelle Willis of 2005, we've been looking for you. No runs, one hit, two walks, and 5 strikeouts. I was not expecting this kind of performance from the DTrain, especially with the hot hitting Rangers coming into town. I guess the CoPa has some sort of kryptonite that neutralizes Rangers bats.

While Dontrelle (deservedly so) will get all the attention, let's not forget the bullpen was the opposite of what it was his last start. Bobby Seay, Brandon Lyon, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney closed out the remaining 2.2 innings, without allowing anyone to reach base.

Everyone in the line-up had a hit except DH Jeff Larish, who still contributed and RBI via sac fly. Of those 10 hits, only 2 were for extra bases with Miguel Cabrera and The Natural Ramon Santiago both having a double a piece. It's hard to complain about 9 left on base when a 2 out RBI single in the first is all that was needed for the victory.

Tigers 4 Rangers 0
W: Willis (1-0)
L: McCarthy (3-2)

Tigers Record
W - L
21 - 16
1st Place AL Central (1.5 ahead of KC)

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Weekend In The D

Yay fireworks!!!

Missed the bullpen implosion on Thursday, but that was made better by the Red Wings taking the Ducks out later that night.

Missed the offensive explosion Friday, but then again I missed many things due to an open bar.

I was there for Rick Porcello's gem and the fireworks during the game and the post-game ones as pictured above.

I watched the Tigers claw their way back from a 6-0 hole to complete another weekend sweep.
And I sat today wondering what the hell is wrong with Armando Galarraga.

I'm not alone in this one, as Mack Ave Tigers ponders the same question. He gives up 5 runs the entire month of April, and in May he's giving up at least 5 per start. The main thing is that pitches he was throwing for strikes in April are now being put into play. So with Jeremy Bonderman in my neck of the woods, Armando needs to figure it out, or he'll end up in Robertsonville.

The D-Train Road to Redemption (or Perdition) faces it next stop as the first place Tigers face the first place Rangers in the next series...that is a sentence I never thought I would be typing nearing the end of May.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Game 32

Good thing the only thing I have to do tomorrow is get on a plane...because, wow, what a game, I don't know if my heart will be able to take Wings-Ducks Game 7 tomorrow.

Dontrelle Willis' debut. 24 Runs on 31 hits. A Jim Leyland eruption. Two Tiger comebacks. Moonshots by Miguel Cabrera and Jeff Larish. A go-ahead balk. And Joe F'N Crede.

Brandon Lyon's going to take some heat for the loss, but should he? The walk off grand slam was Lyon's 60th pitch. Maybe I'm just too tired to be angry right now.

So here's to you Justin Verlander, Tiger Nation turns it's tired eyes to you

Back in the D this weekend, will be in attendance for Saturday's game. Will try to get some good photos

Tigers 10 Twins 14 (13 innings)
W: Crain (2-1)
L: Lyon (1-3)

Tigers Record:
W - L
17 - 15

Friday, May 08, 2009

Game 28

Apparently all the Tigers need is Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson.

Verlander went the distance for the complete game shutout, all while striking out 11 and allowing only 2 hits. His second strong performance in a row, and if anybody doubts Rick Knapp was a good hire, these last two starts by JV speak volumes about Knapp.

Ok I lied, Verlander actually gave up a 3rd hit. It was a HR to Grady Sizemore that went over the fence in centerfield. Now here's where this Curtis Granderson fella comes in. A perfectly timed leap, and the walk-off home run turned into the 2nd out in the 9th. Granderson also scored the only run of the game. A 4 pitch walk, a stolen base (aided by a terrible throw by Kelly Shoppach), the patented runner-advancing Polanco groundball, and a double-clutch on a groundball to 2nd and Granderson had scored. Poor Cliff Lee.

Tigers 1 Indians 0
W: Verlander (3-2)
L: Lee (1-5)

Tigers Record:
W - L
15 - 13

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Game 27

Rain Delayed, and coming off of a 9-0 whipping of the Twins...Mark Buerhle takes a perfect game into the 7th inning. At least they were shutdown by a guy who is pitching well this year.

Armando Galarraga didn't do the Tigers any favors pulling a Bonderman in the first. He surrendered 5 runs on 2 walks and 3 hits. He settled down and only allowed three more hits in the next five innings he pitched.

So once again, Tiger fans sit scratching their heads after another Jekyll and Hyde performance. Expect another pitcher's duel tomorrow with Verlander adn Cliff Lee

Tigers 0 White Sox 6

W: Buerhle (5-0)
L: Galarraga (3-2)

Tigers Record:
W - L
14 - 13

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Game 26

Out with the old and in with the new. Carlos Guillen to the DL, enter Clete Thomas. And what an entrance. 3 for 4, two runs driven in, and a home run shy of the cycle. Another guy, one leg short of the cycle, Miguel Cabrera who was without the triple. Miguel found that bat with all the pop that he had earlier this season as he went 3 for 4, driving in 4. Two of those on a deep shot to left field. Oh yeah, there was this little thing about a new line-up, as Jim Leyland threw the kids into the mix. The biggest move was the placing of Josh Anderson into the lead-off spot, and Curtis Granderson to 5th. After putting up 9 runs on 11 hits, the debut was a success. Though I don't think I'm alone in thinking Granderson would be better suited to 3rd, and moving Clete further down if/when Magglio gets his power stroke back.

Lost in all this newfangled offense, was the gem pitched by Rick Porcello. Of those hits, none were more than weak line drives to the outfield. 14 Groundball outs. Which makes it easy for double plays, as the 6-4-3 struck 3 times today. And hey, Nate Robertson and Juan Rincon actually held the shutout for the Tigers.

So the "new look" Tigers head into the 8 game AL Central road trip, with a win under their belts. The question is what team is going to show up in Chicago, yesterday's or today's?

Tigers 9 Twins 0
W: Porcello (2-3)
L: Blackburn (2-2)

Tigers Record:
W - L
14 - 12

Monday, May 04, 2009

Game 25

Another 7th inning, and another Tiger pitcher given the opportunity to get out of a jam for a chance at the win. 2 on, no one out, and then double...Edwin Jackson, you are no Justin Verlander. Brandon Lyon made sure everyone of the people Jackson left on base found their way home, before Clay Rapada got the final outs. There was no comeback from this one. It's a shame too, as Jackson was pitching well until the 7th. 25 games in, and I'm still not sure what to make of the 2009 Tigers

Tigers 2 Twins 7
W: Liriano (1-4)
L: Jackson (1-2)

Tigers Record:
W - L
13 - 12

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Game 24

The Tigers had trouble hitting Carl Pavano on Friday, so the defending AL Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee takes the mound on Sunday, you would think more of the same. Especially with the theme of pitchers restoring their mojo vs. the Tigers.

Cliff Lee was good, but Justin Verlander was better. JV and his newfound strikeout swagger kept the Tigers in it as the offense threatened, but just couldn't cash in. Then the 7th inning came along and each pitcher decided the game for his team.

Justin Verlander started off near the 100 pitch mark, and a walk and a double to the first two batters had him in trouble. Jim Leyland called for the intentional walk of 6 hitter Davd Dellucci, as to say "7-8-9 hitters, get them out ace." Get them out he did. A shallow pop-up did it Kelly Shoppach, Matt Laporte learned what Major League curves look like as he watched one sail into Dane Sardinha's glove for a called 3rd strike, and a groundball from Luis Valbuena ended the threat.

Jim Leyland left his guy out there to get the win, it was up to the offense to deliver. Dane "The Hawaiian Hammer" Sardihna mashed one into the gap for a leadoff double. Curtis Granderson stung one down the line for a double of his own to give the Tigers the lead. Magglio added another insurance run to give the Tigers the 3-1 lead and turn the game over to the bullpen.

That bullpen was more than capable. Bobby Seay got the first two outs, and started to falter. Joel Zumaya came in and got the final out, with a little help from a leaping Adam Everett. Fernando Rodney had a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save and secure the win, and the series for the Tigers

So after a stutter step on Friday, the Tigers used late inning rallies (both lead by Curtis Granderson) to take two of three from the Indians. In come the Twins for another AL Central battle.

Tigers 3 Indians 1
W: Verlander (2-2)
L: Lee (1-4)
S: Rodney (6)

Tigers Record:
W - L
13 - 11

Friday, May 01, 2009

Game 22

Between the Red Wings - Ducks Game 1 and funnel clouds in the vicinity of my house, I kinda tuned out most of the game today. Been shut down by Carl Pavano will do that to you. And for the second game in a row the offense picked up a little to late. More troubling is the performance by Armando Galarraga. 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, to an offense that has Shin Soo Choo as a clean-up hitter. At least the Wings won, or there might have been several electronics devices broken in my house. Win tomorrow and all is forgiven.

Tigers 5 Indians 6
W: Pavano (really? Carl fricking Pavano...)
L: Galarraga (3-1)
S: Wood (5)

Tigers Record:
W - L
11 - 11

What We Learned In April

The first day of May, an above .500 record, and a half game out of first place. Not too bad, all things considered. So heading into the 2nd month of the season, what do we know?

-Miguel Cabrera is really, really, really, ridiculously good at hitting a baseball.

-Apparently I was wrong. The english translation of Jose Mesa is not "Joe Table", but "Brandon Lyon".

-Zach Miner over Nate Robertson was the right choice. May might prove Clay Rapada is the right choice over Nate.

-Justin Verlander looks to be back. He needs to be, as he has faced the #1 starter in each game he's pitched.

-Fernando Rodney thinks non-save situations are boring and likes to spice them up a little.

-The back-up catcher's position may very well be cursed.

-This may be the year Jim Leyland realizes Bobby Seay is more than just a LOOGY.

-The hype is real with Porcello and Perry. Though I think both will benefit long-term with some time in the minors.

-Josh Anderson should be the lead-off hitter by the season's end.

-Brandon Inge likes playing third base. I'd make a joke about pillows but I have no room to make fun of him since pulled a muscle getting out of bed this morning.

So those are the things I've taken in from the first month of baseball in 2009. With the Indians in town and The Carl Pavano one the mound, the Tigers can start May off on a good note.