Game 52: Tigers at Rays

PREGAME: The Tigers will try and take the series against the Rays. But to do so they’ll have to find success off a good pitcher. And it’s not Scott Kazimir. I know, it’s weird.

I must confess, I didn’t know anything about James Shields until I went to type this up. All his number look pretty good. He fans 7.8 per nine innings and walks only one fourth that many. He’s allowed only 59 hits in 74 1/3 innings. The only slight blemish is 9 homers which still isn’t bad. Plus he’s efficient, last through at least 7 innings in each of his last 7 starts. Who knew?

The Tigers will send out Nate Robertson who is getting torched lately. He’s allowed 37 hits over his last 4 starts spanning 20 1/3 innings and he’s walked 7 while fanning only 8. He thinks he’s figured out the problem which would be timely.

: Things looked so good when the Tigers picked up 2 hits on 2 swings and ultimately plated 3 runs in the first inning. But James Shields started doing what he’s been doing all season and shut down a pretty good offense.

  • This is the first game in a while that offense was really shut down. Sure they’ve had some low run totals, but in the other games they were still hitting balls hard and getting baserunners. Tonight it was one inning of offense and 8 innings of nothing. And aside from Granderson’s triple and Thames single those were the only hard hit balls. Even in the rally they were turf hits.
  • And Shields was efficient enough that he could stick around the whole game. You’d like to see the hitters run up the pitch count, but he was throwing strikes. They just couldn’t manage solid contact.
  • Nate Robertson started off great. He was getting swings and misses and not a lot of solid contact. But then the pitch counts started running up and the baserunners started to accumulate. And again he couldn’t get out of the 6th inning.
  • Plus he allowed 2 more homers bringing his total to 5 in the last 2 games.
  • A couple of the runs came across as the result of miscues. The first was when Marcus Thames misplayed a grounder in the hole. Thames looked simply devastated on the bench after a wild pitch and a double scored the first run. Without the misplay Nate gives up 2 less hits, throws fewer pitches, and saves a run.
  • The other run Nate got himself into with a wild pickoff throw that there was nothing Thames could do about that allowed the runner to advance to 3rd.
  • Magglio’s hit streak came to an end. It’s also the first game in a while where he didn’t have a hard hit ball. Ordonez still drew a walk, but never made solid contact. This includes fouling off a couple of hittable fastballs in his first at-bat. I’m not knocking him at all and it’s only one game. I just hope he’s not slowing down because he’s been amazing to watch. Plus if Guillen is out, Ordonez probably won’t see as many good pitches.

Game Time 7:10pm