Game 2011.54: Twins at Tigers

The Twins.  We all know what happens when we play the Twins:  balls are lost in the lights, infield squibs take strange hops, umpires don’t see batters hit with pitches, etc.  Yesterday, luck was finally reversed, as the umpires reversed a fan interference call that gave the Tigers the winning run, and detonated Ron Gardenhire’s head.  The Twins are officially having an awful year.

Tonight Mad Max Scherzer steps up for the Tigers.  His last outing was rather forgettable.  At least I wish it were.  Not to worry, though:  that was actually his evil twin, Matt Scherzer.  You can tell because the twin has the blue eye on the left side.  Or wait, is that Max?  Anyway, the Twins will be without their leading hitter, Jason Kubel.  Those Twins, with the .237 team average, without their leading hitter in the lineup, do you hear what I’m saying Max?

Lefty Brian Duensing takes the mound for the Twins.  Duensing pitched 2 innings against Detroit on May 10 following the hail storm delay, and gave up 2 runs, 2 hits and 4 walks.  He throws a lot of off-speed stuff, and I’m sure the Tiger plan of attack will be to take a lot of pitches, right? Right?

  • Answer: 1
  • Question:  How many hits does Raburn have at Comerica in May?

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game:  Miguel Cabrera

The state of Florida has returned Mr. Cabrera’s driver’s license, and he celebrates by driving in a few runs.

Today’s Everyday-Except-Today Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Casper Wells RF
  3. Brennan Boesch DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez C
  6. Jhonny Peralta SS
  7. Brandon Inge 3B
  8. Ryan Raburn LF
  9. Danny Worth 2B

Game 2011.53: Twins at Tigers

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Summer is here, and no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with some Tiger baseball.  And Twins.

Spring ended on a pretty nice note, as Justin Verlander was back to his dominant self and shut down the Red Sox machine 3-0, the AL-leading 8th Tiger shutout of the season.  Verlander was pulled with 2-out in the 8th, because he was at 135 pitches and seemed to lose the strike zone, but it should be noted that his 135th pitch was 100 mph.  100.

With the streaky Tigers this season, a win has usually meant more are coming (as has a loss).  Normally, the Twins have not exactly been the best team to start a win streak against, but this year is not a normal year for Minnesota.  Their team batting average is a woeful .237, they have an AL-worst 3.43 runs per game (Detroit is at 4.23, league average is 4.26), their team ERA is a league-worst 4.77 (Detroit is 4.26, league average is 3.86).  So, not surprisingly, they also have a league-worst record at 17-34.

In the brief 2-game series the teams already played the Tigers battered the Twins pitching for 19 runs in 2 games.  But the Twins will start this series off with the one bright spot in their rotation, Nick Blackburn, who is 3-0, 1.72 for the month of May.  The Tiger least likely to get to Blackburn might be Jhonny Peralta, who is 3 for 20 lifetime against him.

The Tigers offer the Twins a Penny for their thoughts, as Bad Brad Penny returns after his 3 shutout innings against Tampa Bay were disappeared by the rain.

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game:  All U.S. Service members who have given their lives serving the country.

Today’s Memorial Day Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Andy Dirks LF
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta SS
  7. Alex Avila C
  8. Ryan Raburn 2B
  9. Brandon Inge 3B

Game 2011.52: Red Sox at Tigers

Speechless and kinda sick to my stomach after game 1.  Beckett v. Verlander II sounds fun, more later.

(game will be televised on FSD)

Minor League Wrap 5.28.2011

Toledo vs. Durham (Rays): PPD – rain

Erie 1, Reading 2 (Phillies)

Erie took a 1-0 lead into the 8th before Reading scored their two runs and hung on for the win. Casey Crosby (LHP) started and posted the following line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Zach Simons (RHP) became the losing pitcher after allowing 2 R in 1 2/3 innings. Chance Ruffin blew a save after allowing inherited base runners to score. Ruffin walked 3 in an inning and a third.

Rawley Bishop (1B) had the only Erie RBI on a solo homer. Bishop also drew a walk in four plate appearances.

Lakeland 0, Palm Beach 2 (Cardinals)

Drew Smyly was the losing pitcher after giving up 2 ER in 5 innings. Victor Larez (RHP) pitched a terrific 3 innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 4 in 3 innings.

Despite being blanked, Lakeland managed to produce 6 hits and 2 walks. Jordan Lennerton (DH) lead the kingdom of the blind going 1-3 with a double and a walk.

West Michigan 1, Lake County 3 (Indians) Game 1

Brennan Smith (RHP) took the loss but still pitched an 8-inning complete game. He allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks. He also K’ed 4.

No RBIs for the ‘Caps but Castellanos and Nowlin each had 2 hits.

West Michigan 5, Lake County 2 – Game 2

Patrick Cooper recorded the win after 5 innings as the West Michigan starter. He gave up 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits. Notably, he didn’t walk a batter and struck out 6. Logan “Tom Selleck” Hoch (LHP) got his first save of the year after 2 scoreless innings of relief.

Robert Brantly (C)  had three hits in 4 ABs including 2 doubles. He also drove in a run. Castillow and Gulliver added an RBI each and James Robbins (1B)  went 2-4 with a double.

Game 2011.51: Red Sox at Tigers

Lots going on today.

First of all, in a move that reeks of DD desperation (and rightfully so), Scott Sizemore was traded yesterday to the athletics for LH reliever David Purcey. Considering Sizemore was once a top organizational prospect and is now gone after just over 200 ABs in the bigs demonstrates that there were some serious evaluation problems up and down the chain.  David Purcey is in his 3rd year in the bigs and looks to have finally figured out how to pitch at this level.  He was having a pretty decent ’10 campaign (1.21 WHIP, .210 BAA) until an injury ended his season after 34 IP. Detroit is his 3rd team already in 2011 as he was dealt to Oakland after being DFAd from Toronto early this season.  Though he had pitched well for the A’s, they have a plethora of worthy relievers (and Bailey is coming off the DL soon) which made Purcey expendable.  Apparently, the A’s have coveted Sizemore for some time.

I make the point about desperation because 1) DD is not under contract for 2012, 2) DD is admitting that the bullpen needs help as he has not been able to develop talent internally, nor has Benoit panned out thus far and 3) Sizemore is not the answer at 2B.

I also make the point about desperation because Ryan Raburn, who seems to have tree limbs for hands at times, will now be the regular 2nd baseman.  Whether this move came from the top, or it is Ol’ Smokey’s own doing, a fellow  2012 contract-less Jim Leyland is also beginning to realize that time is of the essence.  Lowe’s article in Today’s Freep contains a very scary chart which displays the offensive output for each of the four different 2B starters this season.  Read it at your own risk.

In today’s exciting news, Andy Oliver makes his 2011 debut after an impressive 9 starts in Toledo. Covering 9 starts with the Hens, Oliver had a 3.31 ERA , 1.26 WHIP, and 8.53 K/9.  The 2009 second rounder will fill in for Phil for at least two starts over the next week.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the rotation if he pitches well.

In other roster news – Wilk & Perry down to make room for Purcey & Oliver.

Tonight’s reasonably composed lineup:

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Brennan Boesch, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Ryan Raburn, 2B
9. Brandon Inge, 3B


Minor League Wrap 5.27.2011

Toledo 3, Durham 7 (Rays)

Durham won late with two runs in the 8th and two more in the 9th. Ramon Garcia (LHP) started and went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. Matt Hoffman blew a save after giving up an ER in 1 2/3 innings. Brendan Wise wound up with the loss after Durham tagged him for 2 more ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in 1.1 IP.

Ryan Strieby went 2-4 with a HR, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Argeniz Diaz (3B) added the other RBI after going 2-4. Diaz also scored a run and drew a walk. Max St. Pierre (C) went 0-4 with 3 K’s.

Erie 11, Reading 7 (Phillies)

This game only lasted 5 innings but each team exploded offensively. Mark Sorensen (RHP) must have been praying to the baseball gods because despite the following line he was the winning pitcher of record: 5 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

After 11 runs in 5 innings, this game had many potential “bat of the night” candidates.

Brandon Douglas (2B): 3-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI. Michael Bertram (DH): 2-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB. Finally, Justin Henry (LF): 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI.

Lakeland 3, Palm Beach 2 (Cardinals)

Lakeland trailed 1-2 heading into the 8th inning when Jordan Lennerton (1B) drove in 2 on a bases-loaded single. Lakeland pitching allowed this one to be within striking distance. Jared Wesson (LHP) had a terrific start: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Tyler Stohr (RHP) struck out the side in one inning of relief and Kenny Faulk (LHP) picked up his 12th save of the year after a scoreless ninth.

Lennerton produced all 3 Lakeland RBIs on 2-4 from the plate. Gustavo Nunez (SS) went 1-4 with a run scored.

West Michigan 6, Lake County 3 (Indians)

Kyle Ryan (LHP) pitched extremely well as the West Michigan starter: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. For the year, his ERA is a respectable 3.74. Ramon Lebron pitched a scoreless 8th and Bruce Rondon (RHP) recorded save #7 as he held down the 9th.

Nick Castellanos (3B) had a solid night with the bat: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Jeff Rowland (LF) went 3-4 with a run scored. Luis Castillo (CF) went 2-3 with a run scored, 2 RBI, and 2 BB. Robbins (1B) homered and had 2 RBI.

Game 2011.50: Red Sox at Tigers

Thank goodness yesterday’s game was rained out.  Wait, scratch that.  It actually counts.

Though the Tigers are still over .500 and stand comfortably in second place, they are 6.5 games behind the Indians and are hitting about as well as the Gas House Gorillas.  In fact, the first few innings in that clip look eerily similar how Max Scherzer did yesterday.  Rosenberg put together a piece today in the Freep on some of the aforementioned troubles, but here was the strongest line (not that it’s news to us): “They are getting below-average production from second base, third base and — perhaps most critically — all three outfield positions.”

The red hot Red Sox have won 11 out of 13 and are now tied atop the AL East.  Their bats are booming, plating more runs in the past two games than the Tigers have in their last 10 games (and that includes 13 in the short sweep over Tampa Bay).  The elder statesman of the Majors, Tim Wakefield, takes the mound celebrating his 44th year and 298th day birthday.  Wakefield has been a spot starter for the Red Sox, posting a 4.50 ERA for the year.  In his 3 starts he’s had two decent ones, allowing 1 ER in each though he never made it out of the sixth, and got drilled for 6 ER in 4 1/3 innings against the meek Twins on May 6th.

The Tigers counter with Rick Porcello, who has been phenomenal for over a month now, posting a 1.59 ERA and .98 WHIP over his past 6 starts.  A win tonight would match Porcello’s career best of 5 consecutive wins.

Today’s Miggy at DH/VMart at 1B for the first time all year lineup is:

1. Jackson cf
2. Santiago 2b
3. Raburn lf
4. Cabrera dh
5. Martinez 1b
6. Peralta ss
7. Avila c
8. Wells rf
9. Inge 3b




Game 2011.49: Red Sox at Tigers

Just 24 hours ago and the Tigers were cruising toward finishing off a sweep of the Rays:  they had put up 2 runs already and threatened more, and Brad Penny was mowing through the Rays lineup.  Then the clouds let loose, that bit of a game became a daydream, and we awake here instead looking at a Red Sox team that just put up 2 touchdowns against Cleveland, and has already swept a short series against the Tigers.

Of course it’s more than likely the whole downpour/partial-game-unhappening could happen again today: early weather reports show a small but well-timed window without rain today.

If they do play, Max Scherzer will have his hands full with a Boston lineup which has won 10 of its last 12, while outscoring its opponents 74-41.  And the hottest hitters have been the lefties:  Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and, finally, Carl Crawford.  Scherzer will counter with Comerica magic: he is 3-0, 0.77 at home so far this season.  The Tigers will face Alfredo Aceves, added to the Boston rotation when Daisuke Matsuzaka ran off to Japan with a sore arm.

Kevin Youkilis is day-to-day with a sore hand, so we may or may not see a rematch of Kid Rick vs The Youk on Friday, weather complications pending.

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game: Brandon Inge

Inge’s job is to provide the hockey gear for the rain delay, as Brad Penny, fresh from a sharp 3-inning outing which never happened, gets another chance to put a few shots on goal. When the game resumes Inge, having read that Avila’s recent show of power is due to a heavier bat, attempts to bat with the warmup donut still on the bat and strains an oblique.

Today’s Singin’ in the Rain Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Don Kelly LF
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta SS
  7. Alex Avila C
  8. Scott Sizemore 2B
  9. Brandon Inge 3B

PPD Until June 13: Rays at Tigers

The Tigers have the brooms and the tarps handy, as they look to sweep the 3-game series with the Rays, weather permitting.  Last night the Tigers pulled off the rare feat of overcoming both a subpar performance by Justin Verlander and a Tiger Clown Show.

This afternoon manning the broom is Bad Brad Penny, who is looking to overcome a subpar performance of his own, as his 5 walks led to 5 Pittsburgh runs.  He will be faced by Andy Sonnanstine, who has transitioned from the bullpen, but is yet to make it past the 5th inning of any game.  That and the fact that the Rays’ bullpen has been well-used this series bodes well for Brutus’ chances to wield the broom.

On a side note, reading a Rays blog it is clear that Rays fans really, really don’t like Kelly Shoppach.  Laird was a fan favorite last season by comparison.  Shoppach’s failure to block Boesch from scoring was seen as the main cause of the first loss in the series, and when he was later hit by a pitch one fan said, “good, he needs to get hit with a pitch every at bat for the rest of the season.”  Ouch.

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game: Alex Avila

Alex was the hero in last night’s game, and gets another RHP to jump on today.  And he is not Gerald Laird or Kelly Shoppach.

Today’s Back-to-Back Kelly Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Don Kelly 3B
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Andy Dirks LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Scott Sizemore 2B

Minor League Wrap 5.24.2011

Toledo 2, Pawtucket 3 (Red Sox)

After Matt Hoffman (LHP) blew a save opportunity, Lester Oliveros (RHP) took the loss when he allowed an ER in the top of the 10th inning. Andy Oliver started and threw 2+ innings. He gave up an ER on 4 hits.

Will Rhymes (DH) lead the ‘Hens with a 3-5 night including an RBI. Ryan Strieby (1B) had the other RBI and went 2-5. Ben Guez (RF) went 1-4. Since his promotion from Erie, Guez is hitting .353 in 51 ABs.

Erie 1, Richmond 5 (Giants)

LJ Gagnier (RHP) started for the SeaWolves and was the losing pitcher. Here’s his line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Cory Hamilton (RHP) didn’t allow a run in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Brandon Douglas (2B) went 1-3 with a  walk and a run scored. Bishop and Pounds had 2 hits each. Bryan Holaday (C) had the ‘Wolves only RBI on 1-4 from the plate.

Lakeland 0, Bradenton 9 (Pirates)

Trevor “Mr.” Feeney (RHP) got beat around big time as the Lakeland starter. In a losing effort he allowed 9 hits, 8 ER, and 2 walks in 4 innings. A platoon of relievers held Bradenton to one more ER over 5 innings.

Not only was their starter hit around, the Lakeland offense also took the night off as they were two-hit by Bradenton pitching. Corey Jones (2B) had the most productive night as he went 1-2 with a walk. Daniel Fields (CF) went 0-4 with 3 K’s.

West Michigan 2, Bowling Green 10 (Rays)

In another example of bad starting pitching, Josue Carreno (RHP) made it through just one inning as the West Michigan starter. He allowed 6 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. Patrick Cooper (RHP) had the only good night on the slab: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

Ryan “Green Eggs &” Hamme (RF) put together a solid evening of offense: 2-3, 2 runs, 1 HR, 1 RBI, and a walk. Gulliver, J (2B) had the other RBI for the caps. Hernan Perez (SS) continued his sizzling year going 2-5 with a double. His average remains an impressive .340.

Game 2011.48: Rays at Tigers

Detroit is off to a new streak, winning their 2nd consecutive yesterday vs. Tampa Bay, 6-3.  Although who could have predicted how the win would come about:  Phil Coke with 4 great innings, Phil Coke with a hurt ankle (what is it with Tiger ankles anyway?), Charlie Furbush dominating in his first MLB appearance, Andy Dirks with his first career HR, Brennan Boesch diving around Shoppach at the plate, and all sorts of 9th-inning roller coaster excitement.

Update:  Phil Coke has been placed on the 15-day DL with a bone bruise in his right foot, and Adam Wilk has been called up from Toledo to take his roster spot, although presumably to join the bullpen.  The plan is to call up Andy Oliver to take Coke’s next turn in the rotation according to Jason Beck.

Today looks to be the more standard fare, with ace Justin Verlander taking the mound against Wade Davis.  Justin is looking to rebound from a merely good performance, and get back to his how-are-we-supposed-to-hit-that? ways.  Tampa Bay is notoriously better against RHP than they are against LHP, so he has a bit more work to do than Cokebush did last night.

This will also mean the Rays starting lineup will feature hot-hitting former Tiger Matt Joyce, savior of kittens.

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game:  Andy Dirks

With another RHP in the lineup, and batting behind Victor Martinez, Dirks will be the man on-the-spot with runners on base.

Today’s Where Hasn’t Kelly Batted Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Don Kelly 3B
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Andy Dirks LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Scott Sizemore 2B

Minor League Wrap 5.23.2011

Toledo 2, Pawtucket 12 (Red Sox)

Surprisingly, this game was 3-2 heading into the 9th inning.  In the top half of the 9th, Toledo relievers Ortega and Weinhardt, combined to give up 9 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks. Starter Duane Below (LHP) wound up with the loss despite a quality outing: 8 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

Omir Santos (C) led the way with the bat: 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Danny Worth (3B) went 2-4 and Timo Perez (LF) had the other RBI.

Erie 6, Richmond 3 (Giants)

Casey Crosby (LHP) improved to 2-2 on the year after earning the win. Crosby pitched 6 innings and gave up 7 hits, 1 ER, and 3 walks while striking out 5. His ERA for the year is a respectable 3.46. Jared Gayhart (RHP) had a poor outing in relief: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  Rob Waite (RHP) got his first save of the year after a scoreless 9th.

New acquisition, Adam Calderone (RF) went 2-4 with an RBI. Despite recording 6 total runs, Rawley Bishop (1B) had the only other RBI for the ‘Wolves.

Lakeland 5, Bradenton 2 (Pirates)

After trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 8th, Lakeland put up a Rod Allen crooked number “5” and held “Dallas” Bradenton scoreless in the 9th for the win. Even though he wound up with no decision, Victor Larez ( RHP) pitched well: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 B, 4 K. Tyler Stohr (RHP) earned the win after throwing two scoreless innings.

Julio Rodriguez drove in 2 and went 1-4 from the plate. Fields and Plagman got the 2 other RBI for the Flying Tigers. Notably, Daniel Fields (CF) went 2-4 with a double, triple, and run scored.

West Michigan 2, Fort Wayne 4 (Padres)

Dan Gentzler (RHP) blew a save opportunity in the 9th and caused this one to go into extras when Fort Wayne put up the difference in the top of the 10th. Gentzler took the loss after staying on into the 10th. Starter Antonio Cruz (LHP) looked good: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 B, 8 K.

PJ Polk (RHP) had a terrific night from the plate: 3-4, 1 run scored. Perez and Castellanos had an RBI each. Robert Brantly (DH) went 0-5 with a K.