Game 2013.15: Tigers at Mariners

9-5, 1st place, 1 game up.

Nice work, friends. Based on this morning’s chatter, there are a lot of tired DTW guys today.

On a night when more Tigers donned a golden sombrero (4) than crossed home plate (2), a Brayan Pena out, his 5th of the night, brought home Don Kelly (pinch running for VMart) in the top of the 14th for what would prove to be the winning run. Though not without some drama…Pena was the difference in the bottom of the 14th as well as the final link in a Hunter –> Fielder –> Pena relay on an Ackley double which even had Gene Lamont questioning why there was a play at the plate. Fielder’s throw was a good bit up the line and Smoak was still smoked. A better throw and Pena could have been in a better position to cushion the Smoak train. Smoak wasn’t even close. He may have made it to the RH batters box. The collision was fierce, but Pena held on.

As a result, your Tigers are on a modest 4 game win streak, have already clinched their 4th straight series win, and can get their first sweep of the season today.

We frequently like to call out the bullpen on here, so let’s give them credit when it’s due. The bullpen followed-up Scherzer’s brilliant 8 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 ER and 12 K performance with an equally sparkling 6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB and 7 K combined effort.  (Admittedly, the SEA staff was even better – .79 WHIP; and how about that Wilhelmsen?)

On to today’s game.

Hisashi Iwakuma was signed by the Ms in Jan of 2012 out of the Japan League. He was pretty darn good in his first year in the Majors, posting a 3.02 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 146 innings. He doesn’t throw particularly hard (he can touch mid 90s but generally throws 89-90), but he’s got good control (2.43 BB/9) and a nasty sinker which had an 18% swinging strike rate last year. He was even tougher at home last year – going 7-3 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He’s only thrown 3 innings against the Tigers, so no significant match-up data.  The Tigers will have their work cut out for them today.

JV is JV. Lifetime he’s 9-6 vs. the Ms with a 3.41 ERA and 94 Ks in 103 IPs. Kendry Morales may have JV figured out (7-18 for a .389 average), not much else to list here.  Verlander is 49-17 with a 2.84 ERA in 84 day games, which is an active players best .742 winning percentage.

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A few notes:

- Prince Fielder is the only Ms opponent to strike out 4+ times in back-to-back games.

- The 40 Ks last night are the 2nd most in the live ball era (43 between the A’s and Angels in 20 innings in 1971).

- Would you be willing to give up Avisail Garcia for Houston Street? I wouldn’t. I think that the Tigers can find a closer internally.

- I wrote a bit yesterday about the success of the top of the lineup. AJax and Hunter are getting on base at incredible rates, and it stems from their historic contact rates. Note that Hunter’s first walk of the year came on Tuesday. There were two great posts on Fangraphs about this yesterday. Check it out.

- Happy 30th Miguel Cabrera! Could he be chasing Hank Aaron?

Today’s I’m Surprised that JL Isn’t Resting More Regulars Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Dirks, LF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH
6. Peralta, SS
7. Avila, C
8. Infante, 2B
9. Kelly, LF

15 Comments

  1. Coleman

    April 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Here is another note: the Tigers struck out at least 16 times in 2 consecutive games (21 Wednesday, 16 Tuesday), becoming only the 4th team in MLB history to do so. The other 3 teams to do so lost both games; the Tigers WON both games. Don’t try that at home.

  2. Vince in MN

    April 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    The OFL (Overall Futility Line) could well be high again today. I’ll keep my calculator handy.

  3. Kevin in Dallas

    April 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    # of GIDP Tues & Wed…0.

  4. StorminNorman$

    April 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    prior to last night’s game, as a team, DET was below the league average in both K’s and GIDP… but leading the league (by far) in batting average.

  5. Kevin in Dallas

    April 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Way too many hits off of JV. This is unacceptable.

  6. Coleman

    April 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Lets play 15 today!

  7. Vince in MN

    April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    What happened to Iwakuma, he only threw 70 pitches?

    • Jim Eggers USMC Rifle Expert1971

      April 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Has (or had ) a blister,according to M’s Radio post game

  8. judpma

    April 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I would have taken my chances with Pena on crutches batting there instead of automatic out Avila…..but Mumblse is consistent..he never never never pinch hits for someone who cannot possible get a hit in that situation because ” he is due”

  9. Coleman

    April 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Uh oh, that 1 run lead may be insurmountable.

  10. judpma

    April 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Hey Avila way to block off the back of the plate by standing behind it……brilliant!

  11. judpma

    April 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Well you can’t win them all. And if your not going to win you might as well stink up the joint in the process

  12. Jim Eggers USMC Rifle Expert1971

    April 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I am now dry and warm in my palace (econolodge) after what was a gut check ball game. I arrived very early, there was no BP ( as predicted) and the guys from the pen who worked last night came out and played some long and short toss. I asked Drew S. if he had another 30 pitches in him, and he replied maybe 5. Got a nod and a thank you from Max as I complimented his work last night. Seattle (and Spokane) media barely acknowleged his effect on last night’s game. I asked Jim L. how Father Tom was and he mumbled( for real! ) OK.. My fave fan of the day is a guy wearing a Leyland jersey, dark glasses, gray wig, and a fake smoke. JV was dealing, and Iwakuma was getting some defense. As you know, the M’s moved in the fences but balls die iin the left center and right center alleys still. Miggy’s ball was a HR anywhere else. A friend of mine who worked for the contractors building Safeco told me they had studies done to determine wind flow(offshore breezes from the Sound) and they did not factor in the stadium superstructure so created a vortex ( swirling ) that knocks balls down as they move south to north. Any who, JV was gutting it out, Wedge was smart to put in the PH, and that was that. I told the Tigers fans sitting next to me that the M’s will be golfing when the Tigers are in the post season, but they were slightly inconsolable. I am in discussions with the bride for a trip east to Boston to see our daughter who is in Law School there, and btw, thank God there was no school Monday. I believe the Tigers are in Boston sometime late summer/fall. Would kill three birds, see my girl, go to the Cathedral of Boston, and see the Tigers again.

  13. Tom in Lakeland

    April 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for being on location out there. Good report

  14. StorminNorman

    April 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

    agreed…thanks Jim