Game 2013.57: Rays at Tigers
Detroit Tigers: 31-25, 1st Place (2 ahead of Cleveland).
Despite leaving all of 12 runners on base (including failing to score with bases loaded and nobody out), the Tigers offense was in Feast mode against the previously 8-0 Matt Moore, knocking him out after 2 innings on their way to a 10-1 victory. Anibal was again in Ace mode, although he didn’t need it with all the run support. Not that that mattered to Sanchez: “No matter how many runs we score … I don’t want to allow any runs,” Sanchez said. “If we make a lot of runs, the other team can do it, too, so we have to keep the same game.”
But runs they did score, and the Tigers have now scored 10+ runs a league-leading 8 times (and have given up 10+ only 3). Perhaps that is why oddsmakers have the Tigers down as favorites to win the World Series. If only they could do something about those 1-run games (6-9).
Of course the big news in baseball, and for the Tigers, is the brewing story reported by ESPN’s Outside the Lines that as many as 20 MLB players are facing suspensions of up to 100 games for performance-enhancing drug use, including Detroit’s own Jhonny Peralta (the leaked names are listed here).
Peralta’s name originally surfaced in connection with Biogenesis–whose Director Tony Bosch’s cooperation with MLB has set the current scandal in motio–in February. At the time Peralta released this statement: “I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Period,” Peralta said in a statement released by his attorney, Barry Ross. “Anybody who says otherwise is lying.” Peralta has given a “no comment” in response the the current story.
As well as the scope and solidity of the investigation (the alleged drug provider providing names), the unique aspect here is the rumored threat of the 100-game, 2nd Offense suspension for those involved, using a strange argument that lying about not using performance-enhancing drugs constitutes another PED offense. I suspect that the 100-game suspension threat is being used as a bargaining chip for encouraging cooperation with the investigation (in return for “reduced” penalties).
At any rate, I suspect this will be a long process: there will be insinuations, more leaks, investigators assigned, depositions, suspensions, appeals, testimony, lawsuits, who knows what. There is a good summary of various legal angles the players could take here, just for starters.
So what does this mean for the Tigers and Peralta? Even if Peralta is found guilty by MLB, I have a hard time imagining he would get the 100-game version suspension, and have a hard time imagining the process working itself out by the end of the season. What is certain is that the scandal will create an unending distraction, which at the very least will include a lot of media attention, and may include Peralta having to meet with investigators or even testify. In addition to having his name on The List, I think it would be naive to not think that there will be assumptions made about Peralta’s turnaround this season, playing almost 200 OPS points higher this season than last, and more than 100 points above his career average. Whether or not Peralta can keep his focus amidst these distractions will be a big story this season.
Either way, I agree with Jason Beck about one of the big issues the story raises–the Tigers don’t have a Plan B at shortstop, either on the team on in the minors.
Speaking of legal matters, as the Tigers prepare for their upcoming three-game series with Cleveland, Indians closer Chris Perez has narcotics agents investigating a delivery to his home.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Jhonny Peralta. Jhonny tries to keep his focus on the field, and keep up the hitting.
Today’s Lookin’ to Feast Lineup:
- Dirks, LF
- Hunter, RF
- Cabrera, 3B
- Fielder, DH
- Martinez, 1B
- Peralta, SS
- Avila, C
- Infante, 2B
- Garcia, CF