Game 53: Yankees at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers have one last chance at their first 20 win month since August 1979. They are also scrambling to set up a split of this series, and avoid only their second 4 game skid of the season. And it won’t be easy.

The Tigers will send out Nate Robertson to try and shut down the injured Yankees, and give the bullpen a reprieve. Meanwhile, the Yankees will counter with Mike Mussina who for years has owned the Tigers.

Now there have been several pitchers who owned the Tigers for years, but Detroit has fared better as of late with their new additions. However, even Pudge, Ordonez, and Guillen don’t have overly impressive numbers against Mussina.

This will also be the Tigers first tilt on national TV with ESPN2 picking up the game. I’ll be in attendance, as will the boy, who has brought the team luck in his two games so far this year.

POSTGAME Another frustrating performance by the Tigers. I know you need to “tip your cap” when the opponent outplays you. It’s just thats too much hat tipping in one week. And at some point the hitters have to take responsibility and not tip their hats. Case in point: In the sixth inning with the Yankees leading 2-0, the Tigers put runners on first and second with nobody out. Mussina was out of the inning 3 pitches later after a failed sacrifice and double play. The next inning was completed in 7 pitches. Late in the game with the Tigers in the game, Mussina recorded 6 outs on 10 pitches. Curtis Granderson seemed to be the only hitter who actually worked Mussina each at-bat totaling 17 pitches for the night.

And it wasn’t just the hitting, a lot of the fielding isn’t there either. Whether it’s missing cut off men, a bad route to a fly ball (Granderson mis-played Alex Rodriguez’s triple), or as we’ve seen this week the inability to turn a double play, things are getting sloppy.

It’s one thing to lose to the Yankees, and Mike Mussina. It’s another thing to lose to the Yankees sans Jeter/Damon/Matsui/Sheffield. Now they still have a lineup featuring Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Jason Giambi which just serves as a reminder of how freakishly talented the Yankees are. But if you are going to beat them, now is the time to do it.

The one bright spot for the Tigers of course was Nate Robertson. He pitched quite well and deserved a better fate. More importantly, he gave a tired bullpen the night off while keeping his team in the game.

10 Comments

  1. Kyle J

    May 31, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Useless stat from ESPN.com:

    Reversal of fortune: The five teams that went into Tuesday’s games with the five best records in the major leagues all lost: the Tigers, White Sox, Cardinals, Mets and Red Sox.

    Tuesday was just the seventh day on which that — the top five teams in the majors each losing — has happened over the past seven seasons.

    Bad we lost, but good we’re included in the stat.

  2. Jerry

    May 31, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    Nate Robertson’s inability to get fellow lefty Jucin Giambi out hurt the Tigers drastically this game.

  3. Luis Frontera

    May 31, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Jim,

    I am a big fan of your column. I like your genuine insight on the game. What is your opinion on Pedro Cotto of the West Michigan Whitecaps A ball team for the Tigers. One month ago Cotto was in the bench as a 5 year mior leaguer hitting .154. His career had been plagued by injuries. Still you have to wonder why the organization kept him aboard after those struggling years and now i can see why. Now he is the second leading hitter in the Midwest League. I have been to some of their games and it is amazing, this guy is a genuine line drive machine. He sprays the ball all over the field and has stayed as their leadoff hitter. He is not a blazing fast runner but he can play the three outfield positions. I know Pedro doesn’t have a homerun yet in his pro career. However he had never gotten regular playing time and looks more confident each game and even starting to pull the ball. He had a 13 game hitting streak and failed to get a hit in the 14th game and then has gotten hits in something like his last 8 or 9 games. True is Pedro is not considered a prospect. However it seems that he does something special every game to help his team win, like making a play, moving a runner, getting on base. Please understand my excitement, Pedro is a good guy to root for. He is not a prospect but….Have you heard of him and what do you think.

    Luis Armando Frontera

    Grand Rapids, Michigan

  4. Joey

    May 31, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    The Tigers are looking really bad right now. This stretch is becoming rather disturbing.

  5. Dave

    May 31, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Yeah, 3 shutouts in 4 games. They need to shake this off before it becomes a problem. I have faith, though.

  6. Tim D

    May 31, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    Well, Mussina really made them look bad. I thought Robertson pitched his butt off trying to keep them in the game and give the pen some rest. Mussina had that back door thing he throws right on the black, and then he had the righthandrs going for the high cheese. He really looked good. Tough to break a streak against that kind of pitching. Tough also to ask Verlander to be the stopper but that’s what he is, right now. We need a win against New York. Boston coming in, then off to Chicago. Let’s get it going guys.

  7. Dave

    May 31, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    Oops… jumped the gun. The Tigers didn’t get shutout – but they didn’t look good. They’ve gotta shake this off. The hitting just isn’t looking good over the last few days. These things happen; just can’t let it become an ongoing thing.

  8. Steve

    June 1, 2006 at 7:13 am

    I know the four game losing streak looks bad, but let’s have some perspective here:

    1. We are 15-5 in our last 20 games.
    2. We are 1.5 games ahead of Chicago for FIRST PLACE.
    3. We still hold the best record in baseball: In June!
    4. This is baseball. Two years ago the Tigers played a double header against the Royals: We lost 26-5 in the first game, and won 8-0 in the second. Short sample periods like this are statistically insignificant.

    My point is, not time to panic yet, fellas! If we believe we really are a good team, a four-game losing streak is slightly frustrating, but not disturbing in my opinion.

  9. Jeff M

    June 1, 2006 at 7:31 am

    My point is, not time to panic yet, fellas! If we believe we really are a good team, a four-game losing streak is slightly frustrating, but not disturbing in my opinion.

    I don’t think anyone’s getting off the bus; It’s just that this 13 game stretch is by far the biggest test so far and the early returns look pretty bad. That said, as long as they muster atleast 5 or 6 wins, I’ll be content. I’d prefer to see them win 7 or 8, but that isn’t looking likely anymore.

  10. Kyle J

    June 1, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Four game losing streak is disconcerting. Of the three games vs. the Yankees, though, the only one that really disappoints me is the extra inning loss. Both Johnson and Mussina were clearly on their games; would have been tough to beat them.

    If we get a win tonight and win 2 of 3 against the Red Sox I’ll feel pretty good.