After two resounding losses to the Angels and three consecutive overall, the Detroit Tigers are on their heels trying to salvage one win in the series and end their road trip on a positive note with a positive record (for the trip and the season both). We don’t want to see .500 again, do we? And we sure don’t want to get to the point where we do want to see it again.
Today RHP Doug Fister goes up against LHP C.J. Wilson. Have the Tigers beaten a southpaw yet in 2013? I’m thinking not. Fister was brilliant last time out. Wilson had a decent albeit labored outing against the Astros in his last start. In 67 PA, current Angels have put up an OPS well over Fister’s career OPS-against, but 19 of those PA belong to Josh Hamilton, whom Fister has had in his pocket to date. (Beware: This usually spells trouble.) Wilson, despite a marginally significant current Tiger .714/career .674 OPS-against, has done well against the Tigers he’s faced the most. (Don’t be surprised to see Santiago at SS, and maybe even a day off for V-Mart.) He’s a bit generous with walks, but stingy with home runs.
Alarm status on Tigers hitting has been officially upgraded to Code Funk, after 9 runs in 5 games. Let’s look at these 9 runs. 5 were driven in by Miggy. 2 scored on infield outs. 2 were walked in. Hmmm. What does it all mean? I don’t want to look at the RISP numbers over this stretch. Really I don’t.
Being humbled by C.C. Sabathia and humiliated by King Felix is one thing. Being humbled by Tommy Hanson and humiliated by Garrett Richards is quite another.
Why don’t we move on to a cheerier subject, such as the Tigers bullpen? This problem has been overshadowed by the hitting woes, but it’s still there. I often wonder why stats such as inherited runners scored and first batters faced (each inning) reaching aren’t more front and center for relievers. Drew Smyly and Darin Downs have turned in some good work, but I guarantee you the aforementioned stats aren’t pretty for the rest of the pen. I was going to work up the stats for you, but two ugly games have left me exhausted. Perhaps by the time of my next series the issue will have gone away. That would be nice. In the meantime, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit appear to be making their inexorable way down Valverde Road, and perhaps Brayan Villarreal could go to Toledo and stay there for a while.
And now the Redemption Game starting lineups, courtesy of that inveterate baseball savant…
POST-GAME: Angels 4, Tigers 3, in 13 innings. Tough loss. Taking back a lead is not the Tigers’s strong suit.
TURNING POINT: After Tigers hitters leave the bases loaded in the first two innings, the bottom 3rd becomes outright Clown Show, with 2 Fister HBPs, a Pujols “double” that was clearly a Cabrera error good for 2 haunting runs, and a botched DP throw by Infante (Fielder gets a share) good for 1 haunting run more. TURNING POINT: Top of the 5th, Prince golfs a 2-run shot to RF off of Wilson to turn back the clock with one swing. TURNING POINT: Top of the 9th, Cabrera and Fielder draw what are essentially intentional walks to load the bases with 2 outs to get to Martinez. Martinez battles, but Frieri gets him to pop out harmlessly to left. Big time fail. GAME-LOSER: The 3-1 breaking ball Coke (not Jim Leyland) threw to Trumbo for the walk-off HR. Cokey has to deal with his 2nd walk-off of the year. He was way good for the 2 innings prior, though.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout
HONORABLE MENTION: Al Alburquerque, Doug Fister, Prince Fielder, Jerome Williams, Ernesto Frieri, C.J. Wilson
NOT SO GOOD: Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera
Minus some generous official scoring, by my count Cabrera has 5 errors at 3B this year. 2 today, including the first very costly one.
Tigers hitting failing to turn threats into runs is the THE story now, and the bullpen was good today – Alburquerque especially was in otherworldly 2011 form – but here are those bullpen stats I mentioned just the same, updated through today’s game:
INHERITED RUNNERS SCORED (8 OF 17 TIMES, 12 OF 24 RUNNERS SCORED OVERALL)
ALBURQUERQUE: 2 OF 4 TIMES, 3 OF 7 SCORED
VILLAREAL: 3 OF 4 TIMES, 3 OF 4 SCORED
COKE: 1 OF 3 TIMES, 1 OF 3 SCORED
DOTEL: 1 OF 2 TIMES, 3 OF 5 SCORED
DOWNS: 1 OF 3 TIMES, 2 OF 5 SCORED
BENOIT: 0 OF 1 TIMES, 0 SCORED
FIRST BATTER FACED IN AN INNING RESULTS IN REACH OR ADVANCE (23 IN 80 BF); WITHOUT SMYLY, 22 IN 62 — FIRST BATTER OBP = .275; WITHOUT SMYLY, FIRST BATTER OBP = .339
ALBURQUERQUE: 4 IN 11 BF (5 K, 2 BB, 1 H, 2 WP ON SAME BATTER)
VILLAREAL: 5 IN 8 BF (3 K, 3 BB, 1 H, WP, SB)
COKE: 2 IN 11 BF (4 K, 0 BB, 2 H)
DOTEL: 4 IN 7 BF (1 K, 0 BB, 4 H)
DOWNS: 4 IN 11 BF (5 K, 3 BB, 1 H)
BENOIT: 4 IN 12 BF (3 K, 2 BB, 2 H)
SMYLY: 1 IN 18 BF (9 K, 0 BB, 1 H)
PORCELLO: 0 IN 2 BF (0 K)