Game 2011.117: Tigers at Indians

Last July 16 the Tigers, in a virtual tie for first with Minnesota, came out of the all-star break on a 3-day trip to Cleveland, were swept, and never came near first again.  And Detroit hasn’t won at Cleveland since.

During this Cleveland trip Detroit has seen its Central lead slip from 4 to 2, with one more game left at Progressive field.  Could this be a deja-vu sweep, and if so can the Tigers recover?

One doesn’t have to go far for a bit of optimism.  Because…Justin Verlander.  (Of course last year’s series featured a Verlander start also–he gave up 3 in the 1st inning and lost.  But that wasn’t 2011 Verlander).  Feeling pessimistic? Verlander’s career record in Cleveland:  4-8, 6.31.  An interesting matchup will be Verlander vs rookie 2B Jason Kipnis, who has never faced him.  Kipnis went 5-5 last night and is hitting .364 over his last 10 games.  Tiger fans gaze out to 2nd with a sigh of envy…

Facing Verlander will be Fausto Carmona, perhaps best known to Detroit fans as the guy who played a knuckle tune on Gary Sheffield’s head.  Carmona is having a lackluster 5-11, 5.19 season.

Boesch will sit out the game with a sore thumb (no indication how much more time he will miss if any), which means we get to play Raburn Roulette in LF.

ESPN covers the Tigers today in its daily look at playoff contenders. Terry Foster says the Tigers will win the division–if Leyland changes the batting order. (Still, he can’t resist leaving Jackson in the leadoff spot).

Player of the Pre-game:  Austin Jackson

He has already struck out 39 times this season leading off, nobody else comes close (27 is next highest).  Add to that an OBP of a meager .267, and it may be time to try moving him elsewhere in the lineup.

Today’s Special K Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Ryan Raburn LF
  3. Magglio Ordonez RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta SS
  7. Carlos Guillen 2B
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Wilson Betemit 3B

16 thoughts on “Game 2011.117: Tigers at Indians”

  1. I should add the Jackson strikeout and OBP totals only refer to his actual leadoff ABs.
    So yeah, over 1/3 of Tiger games have started out with a strikeout.

  2. “Raburn Roulette”…hilarious… and true.

    Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Tigers will remain in the mix in the AL Central into Sept… sure Cleveland improved by bringing in Jiminez but they still have more holes/concerns than the Tigers. Me, i’m still more concerned about CWS than i am CLE.

    I’m sticking with my prediction that 86-76 will win the division.

  3. As for AJax and his ongoing SO problem – i recall another Tiger CF that also had a SO problem (as well hitting lefties) and just look at what spending some time with the hitting coach has done for Mr Granderson: .275 BA 32 HR 93 RBI .367 OBP .583 SLG and .275 BA against lefties also

    …oh that’s right, he’s been working with a hitting coach other than Mr McClendon for the past 2 yrs

  4. That’s why strikeouts are bad…instead of 2 strikeouts, we get a routine grounder to 3rd and a nub in front of the plate, and it leads to a run.

    1. Agreed – unless of course Maggs is up with runners on 1st and 2nd (less than two outs), i’d take the SO rather than the GIDP

      But your point is well taken – putting the ball in play makes the other team work

  5. This is more like it. Is it just me, or does this sound like a home game? Tigers fans are representing tonight at Progressive…

  6. JV 98 pitches through 6, obviously the bullpen is going to be a huge factor… for both teams

  7. CWS gonna likely win again. I’d love to see JV close out. I dont feel like a ride on Valverdecoaster tonight.

    1. The Valverdecoaster is in kiddie mode right now. No big hills/drops causing our stomachs to rise up into our throats before the thrilling finish. His last two saves have been 1-2-3 and very routine at that. Saturday night in KC it was strikeout, strikeout, popup. Tonight it was strikeout (on a beautiful pitch to Hafner), pop up, routine grounder to 2B. Those are the kind of saves that make one feel all warm and fuzzy before settling in for a good night’s sleep.

  8. That is the type of game a division leader needs to win down the stretch. JV was good, but Benoit and Valverde came up huge tonight – let’s hope that’s a taste of more to come from Benoit.

    Need to pick up 2-3 wins in Baltimore – Penny, Scherzer then Fister… then home for 3 games against the Twinkies, then 3 more against the Native Americans

  9. as close to a must win as there can be in August… Some clutch hitting…Some good starting pitching…And some very good Bullpen pitching…..good win!

  10. Cabrera has been smoking balls as of late. I’m gonna predict a huge week coming up. Say 3 HRs and 10 RBIs.

    1. I hope your prediction is right. We need Cabby to switch into beast mode. He’s been excellent this year, but we really haven’t seen him have one of those 12 RBI weeks and now would be as good of a time as any.

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