Detroit Tigers, 41-42, 4 1/2 games behind Chicago.
Well, here we go again. The Tigers have their 9th shot at getting to the .500 mark since May 15, and are 0-8 so far at it.
They will have to do it against the Royals, who will go all-lefty on the mound for the 3-game series. The first lefty up will be Jonathan Sanchez, future topic of Worst Trade lists (the Royals traded Melky Cabrera, who is tied for the NL BA lead at .356).
Sanchez has had trouble finding the plate: he has given up 40 BBs in 46 innings, including 6 each in his last 2 outings. The Tigers have had recent success with an aggressive approach at the plate. It will be interesting to see if they change this up against the struggling Sanchez, or continue to whack away.
Detroit sends out Drew “Four-Inning” Smyly, who pitched against the Royals in April and held them to 1 unearned run in 6 innings.
Justin Verlander says cheer up fans, the 2nd half will be better.
Yesterday’s game had a little of everything: a rain delay, two consecutive outs at the plate (nice throws by Cabrera and Raburn; nice plate-blocking by Laird), a little 3 Stooges action on a pop bunt, in which Fielder almost took out Laird (I guess that makes Laird Larry); dodge ball on the mound, which led to an early exit for Porcello; big hits by Jackson and Cabrera and a really big hit for Fielder (if you wait long enough, the 3-run homers will come).
But with everything that happened, Jim Leyland said the key to the game was the clutch relief performance of Darin Downs, who relieved Porcello after he took a line drive off of his bicep. Downs must have felt some sympathy for Porcello. Nicknamed The Pitcher Who Lived, Downs suffered a fractured skull from a line drive in AA in 2009.
Stat of the Day: Detroit passed Minnesota, and is now only the 2nd worst team in the league in bases-loaded hitting (.219 BA, .531 OPS).
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Austin Jackson. AJax is hitting .400 with 6 RBI over his last 6 games, which doesn’t match what Cabrera has done in the same span, but Cabrera gets funny sometimes when he is at DH. Jackson stays hot against the all-lefty menu.
Today’s Clown Show Alert Lineup: