(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.
35-31, 1st in AL Central (2.0 GU on MIN)
(Photo courtesy of Chris Lee/MCT)
Honestly, the trip to St. Louis really sucked. After looking like garbage in Pittsburgh, I was counting on the pitching of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson to lead us back to our winning ways, with at least 2 of 3 against the Cards. Yea right.
Verlander gave up five total runs and eight hits in four innings of work, which was one of his shortest outings of the season. For Jackson, the story was different, but the same tune he’s heard all year: lack of run production.
Honestly, I could sit here and blab a ton about the stats and about how “Verlander was due for a bad night” and how Jackson tied his career high in strikeouts. I could tell you all about how Rick Porcello is quickly becoming one of the best young pitchers in the game and how excited I was when the bats finally did come alive last night.
But I won’t talk about those things. Why? Because they don’t matter. What does matter is the fact that this team is horribly inconsistent, scoring five runs over the first two games of the series, and then almost matching that total in the first inning of the third game. Yes, sometimes teams go through funks. That happens. But this team is in a permanent funk for the most part. When you expect them to excel, they choke. When you expect them to choke, it’s a 50/50 chance that they choke even harder or that they fight it and come to play. And then when they hit the road, it becomes the ultimate crap shoot.
Look, I know that we are all looking for something to cling to (at least I am) when it comes to this team. For me, that something is a win streak here and there amidst winning each series they play. Will that always happen? No. But it NEEDS to happen more often than not if we want to have a legitimate chance at the postseason. This team needs to win the games that they SHOULD win (coughcoughPIRATEScoughcough) and compete hard in the games that will define their mettle. Look, I know we aren’t even at the All Star break, but this team looks like they are headed for a big breakdown at some point. Every night the lineup looks cobbled together at best. The pitching staff could implode at any minute. Add to it that Magglio Ordonez is now on the bench indefinitely and Dontrelle Willis is back on the DL with his “anxiety problems”, and anyone that calls themselves a baseball fan can see that there are problems brewing. This does not look like a championship caliber team right now.
On Deck: Milwaukee Brewers
- Record: 37-29 (1st in NL Central, 1.5 GU on St. Louis)
Friday, June 19
- Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-7, 5.56 ERA, 44 SO)
- Brewers – Braden Looper (5-3, 4.62 ERA, 44 SO)
Saturday, June 20
- Tigers – Alfredo Figaro (0-0, –.—ERA, – SO)
- Brewers – Dave Bush (3-3, 5.31 ERA, 58 SO)
Sunday, June 21
- Tigers – Justin Verlander (7-3, 3.39 ERA, 110 SO)
- Brewers – Yovani Gallardo (7-3, 2.93 ERA, 85 SO)
Tigers 5, Rangers 3
22-16, 1st in AL Central (2.0 GU on KC)
(Photo courtesy of Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press)
- With Magglio Ordonez out to be with his wife (best wishes, Mags!), rookie Wilkin Ramirez got the opportunity to suit up with the big boys tonight. Despite striking out twice, Ramirez came in with a bang. A 433 foot bang. Ramirez launched a monster blast into the center field greenery in the sixth inning, giving Tigers fans a preview of what the future holds. Not to mention that his blast jump started a four run sixth for the boys. Well done young man. Looking forward to many more of those shots.
- Justin Verlander continued his winning ways, despite struggling to get out of the fifth inning. Following four hitless innings, Verlander was rushed onto the mound in the fifth following an inning ending TRIPLE play (yes, TRIPLE play) and it showed. JV wound up tossing 41 pitches in the fifth frame, but was able to escape with one run of damage against him after David Murphy grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning. All-in-all, not a bad outing for JV. Final line goes like this: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO.
- Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn also got back into the HR column tonight, while Fernando Rodney picked up his seventh save in as many tries.
- Bonus thought: Last Tiger to homer in his major league debut? Reggie Sanders in 1974.
- Bonus Bonus thought: Kevin Millwood is on the bump for the Rangers tomorrow. He pitched against the Tigers on April 12, going seven innings and allowing no runs and four hits, while striking out six, but wound up with a “no decision”.
Probable starters for 5/21:
- Tigers – Edwin Jackson (3-2, 2.42 ERA, 41 SO)
- Rangers – Kevin Millwood (4-3, 2.93 ERA, 32 SO)
Twins 14, Tigers 10 (13 Inn.)
17-15, 1st in AL Central (Tied w/KC)
(Photo courtesy of Associated Press)
- Damn you and your walk off grand slam, Joe Crede!
- In his first game back in the rotation, Dontrelle Willis looked like…Dontrelle Willis. It was not a great return, with Willis going only 4.2 innings, while giving up four runs on eight hits. However, Willis did *kinda* get over a shaky start, and was able to throw strikes on 53 of his 87 pitches. He still has some work to do, though, and it will continue to be a roller coaster ride as he works his way back into big league form.
- The “bizarro” moment of the night had to be the sequence between home plate umpire Paul Schrieber, Magglio Ordonez and Tigers skipper Jim Leyland. After being called out on strikes, Ordonez stood at the plate to argue the call. Schrieber then put his hand on Ordonez’s back, apparently gesturing him towards the Tigers dugout. Leyland erupted, charged the field, was ejected and continued to yell at Schrieber. Leyland was obviously upset that Schrieber had touched a player, while it is explicitly prohibited for players or managers to make contact with an umpire. After the game, Leyland challenged reporters to “have the guts to write what they saw on the field.” Joe West, umpire-in-chief for the series, had no comment
Probable starters for 5/14:
- Tigers – Justin Verlander (3-2, 4.50 ERA, 56 SO)
- Twins – Scott Baker (1-4, 6.83 ERA, 21 SO)
Tigers 4, Yankees 2
11-8, 1st in AL Central (1.0 GU on KC)
(Photos courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press)
- It took awhile, but someone finally tracked down the real Justin Verlander and did away with the imposter that we had seen of late. Verlander went seven scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, but striking out nine en route to his first win of the season.
- Also from the “WB” category, Magglio Ordonez’s bat decided to show up again, as Ordonez popped his second home run in three games. Granted, this one BARELY got over the wall, but nobody said it had to be pretty. On the flip side, Ryan Raburn still looks like a wreck in left field, badly misplaying a ball last night and just generally looking confused. he also went 0-3, bringing his batting average to a whopping .000 on the year. Yet for some reason Jeff Larish got sent down yesterday to clear room for Clay Rapada. Go figure.
- I love pictures like the one below. Why? We are 19 games into the season, yet I look at Bobby Seay after he struck out Matsui last night, and I get pumped. It’s great to see intensity this early in the season. Let’s keep it up.
Probable starters for 4/28:
- Tigers – Edwin Jackson (1-1, 2.77 ERA, 17 SO)
- Yankees – Phil Hughes (0-0, –.—ERA, 0 SO)
Sat: Tigers 9, Royals 1
Sun: Tigers 3, Royals 2
10-8, 1st in AL Central (1.0 GU on CHI/KC)
(Photo courtesy of Charlie Riedel/AP)
- After losing on Friday, the Tiggers bounced back to take the series from the Royals and put their claim on first place in the AL Central. On Saturday, Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird led the charge, going five for seven at the dish. Inge would tag in Josh Anderson on Sunday, going a combined 4 for 6, with his seventh home run of the season, tying him for second most in the majors.
- How about a big “Welcome Back!” for both Joel Zumaya and Magglio Ordonez. Zoom-Zoom made his return to the Tigers’ bullpen on Saturday, and was called on for an inning of relief work during the 9-1 win. Despite giving up two hits, Zumaya got through the inning unscathed, and it had to feel good for him to get back on the big league mound and face some big league hitters. Not to be outdone, Ordonez must have found his bat hiding somewhere in those curly locks, as he finally got around to hitting one over the fence on Saturday. While his “extra-base” woes are far from solved, it sure was nice to Ordonez turn and drive one deep.
- Zach Miner looked shaky again during his start on Saturday, but was able to pull it together and go five innings while giving up only one run on three hits. I’m still not sold on Miner as a long term solution in the rotation, but as long as the Tigers give him run support and strong efforts from the bullpen, he should be ok. Armando Gallaraga bounced back nicely from his last effort, going six strong innings, issuing only one run on three hits, while striking out seven. He continues to dominate the Royals, giving up only four runs in his last three starts against the club from KC.
Probable starters for 4/27:
- Tigers – Justin Verlander (0-2, 9.00 ERA, 25 SO)
- Yankees – CC Sabathia (1-1, 4.81 ERA, 12 SO)
**For the love of god Verlander, let’s win a game, eh? Those 25 strikeouts mean diddly poo until you get a “1” in that W column. Why not tonight?
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)