Detroit Tigers, 20-24, closer to Minnesota in the standings than to Cleveland.
The last time the Tigers won 2 consecutive games their starting 2nd Baseman was Brandon Inge.
Things are not well in Tigertown.
Justin Verlander, for one, is not particularly pleased.
Even Chris Perez got his digs in, saying that “good teams win baseball games.”
It’s clear what the problem is (though not so clear how to fix it): the Tigers just aren’t scoring runs.
The Tigers have scored 3 runs or fewer in over half of their games, in which their record is 6-17 (.261…somehow they have thus far avoided being shut out). The 3-run mark is where losing teams stop–over the league as a whole, teams are 50-227 (.181) when scoring 3 or fewer runs (that record jumps up to 54-32 in games with 4 runs).
You’ll notice the Tigers have actually been outperforming the averages in their low-scoring games, thanks to some brilliant starting pitching. It could actually be much worse.
It’s clear Earl Weaver ball (waiting for the 3-run home run*) isn’t working. For one thing, the home runs aren’t’ coming: the Tigers need a home run from each hitter in the lineup tonight to reach league average. And even when they do get one–like Avila’s the other day–that still only leaves them at that 3-run mark, unless they can do something else.
(*Weaver actually said that the key to winning was pitching, fundamentals, and the three-run homer).
Tonight Drew “No Run Support” Smyly (15 runs in 8 starts) looks to turn the tide. This looks like a good chance to do it: Smyly will be facing the 0-3, 4.73 Anthony Swarzak. And as bad as things have been, at least Detroit has yet to lose to a guy who believes that The Sasquatch (Bigfoot) exists, and intends to find one.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Prince Fielder. When Fielder steps into the batters box in the 1st inning, Swarzak yells, “I’ve found one!!” rushes from the mound, and attempts to tackle “Bigfoot” Fielder. The Tigers pound the Twins bullpen following Swarzak’s ejection.
Tonight’s Return of Raburn Lineup: