77-69, 2nd place, 3 games behind CWS.
The Tigers literally threw the game away yesterday afternoon when an errant toss from Omar Infante skipped by Prince Fielder and the tying and winning runs crossed home for Cleveland. That singular play, no more than 10 seconds long, offers a candid perspective into the team’s late season struggles.
1) The Tigers could not convert on a seemingly routine double play. This has happened time and time again this year. While failure to convert double plays are not classified as errors, they extend innings and demoralize pitchers. As Lee Panas of Tiger Tales pointed out in great detail last night, the Tigers have a significant double play problem, and that has largely contributed to costing the team an estimated 36 runs this season. I highly recommend reading the post. On the flip side, the Tigers have grounded into a major league leading 143 double plays.
2) The Tigers 2B made an error. Tigers 2B have committed 14 errors this season (3 worst than league average), and Omar Infante’s 16 (between Miami and Detroit) are tied for 2nd worst in the majors. We specifically went out and got Infante to improve all-around play at 2B, and he’s simply stayed the course. Perhaps the bag is cursed?
3) Fielder could not scoop the throw, much less get in front of it, which would have saved a run. The Tigers overall poor team defense continues to plague the team in subtle ways.
4) The White Sox scored in a bases loaded 1 out situation. Boesch struck out with the bases juiced and two outs to end the 3rd. It wasn’t a 1 out situation, but the Tigers’ inability to score with the bases loaded has been a problem all season.
5) Al Al walked the first batter he faced, which setup the Infante error. Tigers relievers average 3.31 BB/9, the AL average is 3.27/9. Considering that the Tigers are 9 games under in 1 run games, reliever walks are no small matter. Even one additional walk every week relative to playoff teams can lead to a few losses over the course of the season. Of all other playoff contending teams, only the Yankees have a losing record in 1 run games (TB does too, but I think they are toast).
Righty A.J. Griffin opposes Scherzer tonight. Griffin typifies the Athletics organization and their success this year, as the June call-up is 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA and a microscopic .91 WHIP. All the 2010 draft pick has done is throw 10 QS out of 11, and he left early in the only non-QS due to injury. Griffin has been even better in away games, posting a 4-0 record and 1.15 ERA in 5 away starts.
Looks like Avila’s sprained jaw has him out of the lineup tonight.
Tonight’s Berry Good Lineup:
1. Jackson, CF
2. Berry, LF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Young, DH
6. Dirks, RF
7. Peralta, SS
8. Infante, 2B
9. Laird, C