Tag Archives: Curtis Granderson

Counter-Punch

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(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/DFP)

Well, after the Game 1 tirade, things turned around on the nightcap and the Tigers held on to a 6-5 win with a kung-fu grip. In true Tiger fashion, this one wasn’t in the bag until the last fly ball landed in Raburn’s glove, but a win is a motherf****n win and I don’t care how we get them at this point.

Hat tip to Miggy (solo homer), Maggs (2 RBI), Inge (2 RBI), Grandy (Solo homer, even though he gave the run back on a badly played fly to center) and Fernando (clutch save).

A BIG “We’re not worthy” to Verlander, who ended up pitching eight innings deep to the tune of something like 398,271 pitches.

The only number that matters now is FOUR.

Hunker down, Tigers. Stay hungry.

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Centennial Celebration.

100th post

So I’ve been MIA for the past few days trying to find the right way to commemorate the 100th post for SIM. I’ve kicked around a ton of ideas. I thought about pulling in some friends to comment on the miserable predictions I’ve made over the last 99 posts. I debated tossing out some more ridiculous predictions that will fail miserably and only serve to further damage my sports writing credibility. I even thought about using the 100th post to call it quits and spare each and every one of you from the endless drivel of Michigan sports that (of late, rarely) graces this site.

But then I started thinking about all of the times we have had together. Yes, things got off to a rough start as Michigan football bumbled their way to the worst record in school history. Michigan hockey looked to carry the banner for the maize and blue, but a disappointing NCAA loss to Air Force ended the season on an incredibly sour note. You hung with me as I divorced that joke of a team that marauded as the Pistons. And you bravely hung with me as I watched my beloved Red Wings come within a game of raising their 12th Stanley Cup, only to be denied on home ice.

Yes, it wasn’t pretty at times. But let’s not forget that, despite some rough patches, there were also quite a few highs. For the first time in over a decade, Michigan basketball made it back to the NCAA tournament, even giving us a first round win. The Tigers, a middle-of-the-pack pick by most experts at the start of the season, currently lead the AL Central. Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge all made it to the All Star game. And, despite not bringing home the Cup, the Wings gave us a heck of a fun run through the Stanley Cup playoffs.

We’ve had our good and we’ve had our bad. And while it’s true that no championships have come home to Michigan since the inception of this blog, that doesn’t mean we won’t see any in the future. Winning a championship is an incredible feat and it never comes easy. If anything, the losses and shortcomings make you cherish those championship moments even more. They will come. And we will celebrate.

But in the meantime, I’m committed to enjoying the ride with all of you. These writings have forged new friendships and facilitated endless discussions. They have opened the doors to new opportunities and helped me embrace the passion of sports fans outside of the state of Michigan. But mostly, they have given me the chance to share something that I strongly believe in with a group of folks that share the same ideology: that sport can unite us, bring us together and provide us with incredible experiences and memories.

To each and every one of you that read this: Thank you. For all of those who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through SIM and Winging It: Thank you. And for those of you that have passed my little corner of the blogosphere along to others: a HUGE thank you. The first 100 posts have been great and have led to wonderful experiences. Here’s hoping to even better over the next 100.

OK. Enough of the sappy shit. Let’s celebrate!

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**Apparently, the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t wait to give us our first present! According to Wyshynski over at “Puck Daddy”, our good friend Marian Hossa could be out until December with a shoulder injury. Which they knew about when they signed him. So basically, the ‘Hawks drop an injury risk in Martin Havlat to sign damaged goods in Hossa, all while shelling out more cash for him in the process.

*Slow Clap*

He’s the gift that just keeps on giving, ‘Hawks fans. Until you get to the playoffs, that is. ENJOY!

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Series Wrap-Up: Brewers – This Brew Goes Down Smooth.

38-31, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)

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(Picture courtesy of Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press)

Well then! Apparently all it takes is a little ranting from yours truly, and all of a sudden the wins start piling up and the brooms get dusted off. Obviously, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but sweeping a division leader is something that is never easy. But the Tigers held fast, surviving a couple of rain delays on Friday, a rookie on the mound Saturday, and an old fashioned pitching duel on Sunday to get the sweep of the Brew Crew and get back on track in the standings.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Literally. Friday night’s game got underway with the threat of rain looming, and Armando Galarraga pitched like he was afraid of getting hit by a lightning bolt on the mound. The “Sick Cat” pitched the Tigers into an early hole, giving up a three run shot on a miserable changeup to Prince Fielder. Honesty, Galarraga just doesn’t have it right now and it’s really starting to show. Seriously, when he’s on the mound, does ANYONE feel like the Tigers have a chance to win? I sure as hell don’t.

Anyways, despite Galarraga’s best attempts to fail, the Tigers’ bats came alive and the baseball gods offered up a rain delay after the boys clawed back for a lead, mercifully ending Galarraga’s night. Marcus Thames popped a pair of home runs, and Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson added their own, fueling the Tigers to a 10-4 win.

Coming into Saturday’s affair, all of the talk was around 24 year old starter Alfredo Figaro, making his major league debut. However, the storyline quickly shifted to the re-energized Tigers’ bats, led by Thames and Cabrera, who both went 3 for 5 on the day. Add to that rookie Don Kelly adding three hits, and the Tigers offense was officially back in the swing of things (no pun intended.) This is not to take anything away from Figaro, though, who performed very well in his first start, going five innings while giving up two runs on eight hits and striking out seven.

With a sweep on the line, both squads trotted out their aces on Sunday, as Justin Verlander squared off against Yovani Gallardo. Neither pitcher disappointed, as they both threw late into the game and struck out eight each. But it would be Brandon Inge’s sixth inning home run that would be the difference in this one, giving the Tigers a 3-2 win and a series sweep to boot.

Like I said earlier, this was a big sweep for the Tigers. Not only did it give them a four game winning streak *knock on wood*, but it was a real confidence booster for a team that has struggled to sustain any sort of momentum throughout this season. That said, any momentum earned over the last four games will be put to the test when the Cubs come calling, and the Tigers will need to play to their full potential to win what is all but guaranteed to be a fun and entertaining series over the next few days.

Roster movin’: The Tigers will recall right-hander Freddy Dolsi before tonight’s game. Dolsi appeared in 42 games for the Tigers last year, and had a 3.97 ERA. (I also gave him many shouts of Budweiser infused encouragement last year during a warm-up session in the Safeco Field bullpen. Not that this has any bearing on his call-up. Just thought it was worth a mention.)

Also worth noting, Jim Leyland has said that he will move Alfredo Figaro in between Verlander and Edwin Jackson in an attempt to provide the bullpen with more regularity when it comes to their appearances.

And just because I forgot to mention it this weekend, Skippah’ Jimmay signed himself a two-year extension, ensuring that that ever-present cloud of Marlboro smoke in the dugout tunnel isn’t going anywhere.

On Deck: Chicago Cubs

  • Record: 34-32 (3rd in NL Central, 2.5 GB of St. Louis)

Tuesday, June 23

  • Tigers – Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.39 ERA, 72 SO)
  • Cubs – Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 3.44 ERA, 59 SO)

Wednesday, June 24

  • Tigers – Rick Porcello (8-4, 3.54 ERA, 41 SO)
  • Cubs – Rich Harden (4-3, 5.27 ERA, 64 SO)

Thursday, June 25

  • Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-7, 5.62 ERA, 45 SO)
  • Cubs – Ted Lilly (7-4, 3.04 ERA, 75 SO)

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Series Wrap-Up: LA Angels – Punch ‘em right in the mouth.

31-25, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)

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(Photo courtesy of Duane Burleson/AP)

**FYI: Record has been updated to reflect the Tigers beating the White Sox in Game 1 of their doubleheader today. WOO!!!

So the last time we checked in with the Tigers, they had just been swept by the Red Sox, Jim Leyland got himself tossed from a game, the doubters were out in full force and the Los Angeles Orange County Angels of Anaheim and Surrounding Neighborhoods and Communities were on their way into town before the Tigers embarked on a week-and-a-half long road trip.

The Tigers needed to bounce back strongly and get some wins.

The answer started with Justin Verlander, who pitched another fantastic game in the opener, but got let down AGAIN by sub-par hitting from a mashed up lineup due to Miguel Cabrera’s hamstring injury. Verlander’s work was good enough to keep the team in the game, but Fernando Rodney came in and gave up a run, and with the sub-par hitting, that was enough for LAOCAASNC to escape with a 2-1 win.

Knocked down again.

But what do you do when you get knocked down? You get back up and punch that dude right in his mouth.

Detroit’s counter-punch? Edwin Jackson. The KO punch? Clete Thomas. (Clete Thomas?!?!)

Despite suffering from the same lack of run support that plagued Verlander, Jackson put the team on his back and just took over on Saturday night (and Rodney didn’t blow this one.) And on Sunday, Clete cleared the bases with a grand slam as the Tigers started to locate the offense.

KO delivered. Tigers take the series.

Look, the series win was important for the Tigers, despite being less than aesthetically appealing. The Tigers are in an interesting position where two to three games a week, they are going to get good/great pitching and then to to three games a week they will put up solid batting numbers. When those two line up, the Tigers win ball games. But the rest of it is a crapshoot.

I know Leyland is making an attempt to generate some offense by moving Curtis Granderson back up to the leadoff spot and adding in the newly rehabilitated Marcus Thames for some additional power. But I don’t think that is going to cure the inconsistencies of this team. The real trick for Jim is to find a way to start small with this team. This is NEVER going to happen, but they need to focus more on hitting for singles and sacrifices, and maybe even *GULP* the occasional bunt or two. Sacrilege, I know. Yes, the Tigers will always have power and yes, that power is a great thing, but yes, that power disappears from game to game and yes, if we stick to the power game for the entire season, we might finish somewhere around .500.

Anyways, it’s a thought. Maybe try it out one night when Verlander or Jackson is on the mound since nine games out of 10 you are going to get a top notch performance from them. I’m just sayin…

One last thing before we go: Jeremy Bonderman returns to the bump tonight finally. This could be interesting, as most of the folks that regularly cover the Tigers say that Bondo doesn’t have that “umph” back in his velocity, which means he should be less overpowering and more crafty.

Kenny Rogers, anyone?

On Deck: Chicago White Sox

  • Record: 26-31 (3rd in AL Central, 5.5 GB of DET)

Monday, June 8 (DH)

Game 1

  • Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-6, 5.31 ERA, 41 SO)
  • White Sox – Clayton Richard (2-1, 3.97 ERA, 34 SO) **Yes, THAT Clayton Richard. As in the Clayton Richard that used to be a backup on the Michigan football team. Whoa.

**Since the game is over and I already updated the records, here are the resulting lines for each guy. Joel Zumaya got the win for the Tigers, BTW. Rodney, the save.

  • Galarraga: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, No decision
  • Richard: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO, No decision

Game 2

  • Tigers – Jeremy Bonderman (0-0, –.—ERA, – SO)
  • White Sox – Jose Contreras (0-5, 8.19 ERA, 17 SO)

Tuesday, June 9

  • Tigers – Dontrelle Willis (1-3, 6.84 ERA, 13 SO)
  • White Sox – Mark Buehrle (6-2, 2.91 ERA, 46 SO)

Wednesday, June 10

  • Tigers – Justin Verlander (6-2, 3.26 ERA, 97 SO)
  • White Sox – John Danks (4-4, 5.10 ERA, 54 SO)

Thursday, June 11

  • Tigers – Edwin Jackson (6-3, 2.16 ERA, 62 SO)
  • White Sox – Gavin Floyd (4-5, 5.35 ERA, 66 SO)

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TT: Verlandered!!!Grandersoned!!!

Tigers 1, Indians 0

15-13, 2nd in AL Central (2.0 GB of KC)

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(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

  • It looks like Justin Verlander has finally shaken off the early season cobwebs (knock on wood), as he was completely dominant last night against the Indians. JV went the distance, giving up only two hits and two walks opposite of striking out 11, in what was absolutely his best performance of the season. Basically, the Indians got “Verlandered.” (Props to Old English D, who dropped the term before I was able to get to it today. The perils of having company from out of town…)
  • So with one down in the bottom of the ninth in a 1-0 game, Curtis Granderson broke the hearts of Cleveland fans (and sportscasters) everywhere with his game-saving over-the-wall grab to rob Grady Sizemore of a game winning home run. Pure awesomeness.
  • While it was a nice win for the Tigers, they still haven’t shown a large amount of consistency when it comes to putting together a good string of wins. Yes, it’s a young season, but with the way the Royals have been playing of late (despite losing to LAA last night), you have to wonder if the Tigers will be able to start churning out the wins that will be crucial later in the season. It’s never too early to start thinking playoffs, and while the Tigers have the talent and pieces to make it happen, a few lengthy winning streaks wouldn’t be the worst thing ever at this point. They face the struggling Fausto Carmona tonight, and this game is a very winnable one that MUST be won, as KC trots out the cyborg known as Zack Greinke against the Angels tonight. The goal here is to keep pace.

Probable starters for 5/9:

  • Tigers – Edwin Jackson (1-2, 3.08 ERA, 28 SO)
  • Indians – Fausto Carmona (1-3, 6.11 ERA, 21 SO)

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TT: Shook Up

Angels 10, Tigers 5

8-7, 1st in AL Central (Tied w/ CHI, KC)

  • Maybe it was the pair of earthquakes that shook the Anaheim area tonight, but Edwin Jackson sure didn’t look like the starter we have seen throughout the early parts of the season. Jackson looked good in the early innings, but got touched up for six runs (three earned) on eight hits in the middle frames. Reliever Eddie Bonine fared no better, giving up four runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings.
  • Brandon Inge homered again tonight, bringing his total to six this season. It’s good to see Inge producing with the bat, but the team is still inconsistent when it comes to hitting. Magglio Ordonez still does not have an extra base hit this year, and there are some grumblings that maybe he should get moved up or down in the lineup in favor of Curtis Granderson moving down.
  • This one is especially frustrating, as both Kansas City and Chicago lost today and a Tigers win would have put them squarely on top of the AL Central. Yes, it’s early, but for a team that finished last in the division last year, it would be a great early boost to sit alone on top of the division, especially after a trip out West. The Tigers will have a chance to distance themselves from KC, as they start a three game series against the Royals tomorrow. It won’t be easy though, as they open against the red hot Zach Greinke, who is currently on a 34 inning scoreless streak.

Probable starters for 4/24:

  • Tigers – Rick Porcello (1-1, 3.75 ERA, 7 SO)
  • Royals – Zack Greinke (3-0, 0.00 ERA, 26 SO)

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TT: Wild West Shootout

Tigers 12, Angels 10

8-6, 1st in AL Central (Tied w/CHI)

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(Photo courtesy of Hector Mata/AP)

  • Well then. Talk about an interesting game. A hugely back and forth affair saw the Tigers finally emerge with a five run seventh to claim an insurmountable* lead and get a win over the Los Angeles Orange County Angels of Greater Anaheim and Parts of Other Smaller Regional Cities. How bizarre was this one? Juan Rincon got the “W” for the Tigers with a “one run on two hits, two walks AND a wild pitch” performance. Yea.
  • While the pitching was atrocious on both sides of field, the Tigers got the pop back in the bats with an 18 hit performance, which included homers from both Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge. Props also to Adam Everett, who somehow wound up going 3 for 4 last night even though none of his hits could have cleared the fence on a softball field.
  • Dear Fernando Rodney of last night: Please give us back the Fernando Rodney that is not you. Watching you do everything in your power to give away the win is not good for my heart. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with coming in and not giving up runs. I promise. So if you can just drop off the preferred ‘Nando at the clubhouse door tonight, it would be appreciated. Thanks.

*When “Oh $**T Fernando Rodney” takes the mound, no lead is insurmountable.

Probable starters for 4/23:

  • Tigers – Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.14 ERA, 13 SO)
  • Angels – Matt Palmer (0-0, –.—ERA)

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