Game 2013.72: Red Sox at Tigers

40-31, 1st place, 4 games ahead of Cleveland, winning streak at 1.

Matt Tuiasosopo was supposed to start in LF yesterday, but was held out because of “intercostal” something or other. Is that a religious injury of some kind? I’m not sure what this means for the upcoming games, but I don’t like it. Meanwhile, Avisail Garcia was “sent down” to Toledo to make room for Jose Alvarez. I’m not sure if he actually goes to Toledo physically or not. Could be that they just “send down” Alvarez and “bring up” Garcia again now, and repeat the whole silly process for the next Alvarez start. Maybe they’re both staying in a Detroit hotel room with a “Toledo” sign on the door.

The starters have been a bit wobbly lately. 10 strikeouts notwithstanding, even Scherzer’s last outing was wobbly. Time for Judge Doug Fister to restore some order in the courtroom here.

WPA and RE24 have some limitations. Defense counts for nothing, and I don’t see them being analogously applicable to pitching as with some other stats (BAA, for instance). However, they are magically delicious when it comes to a game by game analysis of offensive impact and productive at bats. If you note nothing else from the list below, please note that every position player is on it, starter to bench. It is not opinion but fact that Don Kelly was the unquestionable offensive star of Game 27 against the Astros, as unlikely as it may seem that Kelly would ever be such, and you may look up the box score and full play-by-play if you doubt it. Of course, some names will be harder to miss than others. Looks like a couple of guys are earning those big paychecks. Behold the magical deliciousness:

OFFENSIVE WPA/RE24 HEROES (thru 67 games, bold = win) + OPPONENT

GAME 1 FIELDER (MIN)
GAME 2 CABRERA
GAME 3 JACKSON
GAME 4 FIELDER (NYY)
GAME 5  CABRERA
GAME 6 TUIASOSOPO
GAME 7 CABRERA (TOR)
GAME 8 PERALTA
GAME 9 AVILA. FIELDER
GAME 10 FIELDER (OAK)
GAME 11 FIELDER
GAME 12 JACKSON
GAME 13 CABRERA (SEA)
GAME 14 TUIASOSOPO
GAME 15 FIELDER
GAME 16 CABRERA (LAA)
GAME 17 FIELDER, CABRERA
GAME 18 FIELDER
GAME 19 INFANTE (KCR)
GAME 20 INFANTE, HUNTER
GAME 21 MARTINEZ, TUIASOSOPO (ATL)
GAME 22 INFANTE
GAME 23 JACKSON, CABRERA
GAME 24 FIELDER. DIRKS (MIN)
GAME 25 CABRERA, FIELDER
GAME 26 CABRERA
GAME 27 KELLY (HOU)
GAME 28 AVILA
GAME 29 CABRERA
GAME 30 FIELDER, DIRKS
GAME 31 PERALTA, FIELDER (WSN)
GAME 32 TUIASOSOPO
GAME 33 AVILA, CABRERA (CLE)
GAME 34 INFANTE, PERALTA
GAME 35 PENA
GAME 36 DIRKS (HOU)
GAME 37 SANTIAGO, MARTINEZ
GAME 38 TUIASOSOPO, GARCIA
GAME 39 KELLY, CABRERA (TEX)
GAME 40 CABRERA
GAME 41 HUNTER
GAME 42 FIELDER, CABRERA
GAME 43 CABRERA, DIRKS (CLE)
GAME 44 CABRERA
GAME 45 CABRERA (MIN)
GAME 46 CABRERA, DIRKS
GAME 47 PENA, HUNTER
GAME 48 GARCIA
GAME 49 MARTINEZ, PERALTA (PIT)
GAME 50 AVILA
GAME 51 CABRERA, KELLY
GAME 52 FISTER (yes, batting)
GAME 53 CABRERA (BAL)
GAME 54 PERALTA, TUIASOSOPO
GAME 55 FIELDER
GAME 56 FIELDER, TUIASOSOPO (TBR)
GAME 57 AVILA
GAME 58 MARTINEZ
GAME 59 HUNTER (CLE)
GAME 60 FIELDER 
GAME 61 KELLY
GAME 62 CABRERA (KCR)
GAME 63 CABRERA, KELLY
GAME 64 PENA, FIELDER
GAME 65 FIELDER (MIN)
GAME 66 FIELDER
GAME 67 JACKSON, HUNTER
 

POST-GAME: Red Sox 10, Tigers 6. As the score might indicate… we will have nothing to say about missed opportunities and Fielder going 0 for 5 with 13 double plays. This one’s on the pitching. Fister was fooling no one. Not terrible, but bad enough to be gone in the 4th, by which time it was 6-0 Boston. Balls just kept finding holes through the infield. This will happen to groundball pitchers, especially on this team. Jon Lester was not sharp, either, though the Tigers kept finding ways to beat themselves against him. The drama in this one boiled down to two innings. Tigers 5th: Down 6-1 and seemingly on the road to hopelessness, Dirks homered to Belle Tire, and Cabrera took a Lester change-up deep for 3 runs, and suddenly it was a ballgame again, 6-5 Red Sox. Red Sox 8th: With the Tigers down 7-5, men on 2nd and 3rd after Phil “I Told You So” Coke was brought in for a second inning against all reason, new arrival Alburquerque came in and actually pitched well. And yet 2 more Boston runs scored, first on a close play at the plate (I think Saltalamacchia was safe) that drawn-in Peralta and Pena weren’t quite equal to, and then on a mere squib of a WP and another play at the plate that Al-Al and Pena weren’t quite equal to. There were good defensive plays. In the 3rd, Miggy charged – see what can happen when you CHARGE a tapper, Miguel? – and made a great barehand and throw to nail Pedroia at 1B (though a run scored from 3B). In the 5th, Hunter’s bullet throw from RF doubled off Mike Napoli at 1B (yet another close play). There was bad, as in Garcia, formerly known as “CF Of The Future,” muffing an altogether routine single in the 9th and allowing a run to score from 1B in the process. All in all, though, it was a game where the Tigers were a day late and a dollar short on defense. Downs got a big DP in relief of Fister and an impressive 3-pitch K on Ellsbury, and was OK in his long relief, despite giving up what seemed at the time a crucial run. Coke had a nice 7th and should have said goodbye thereafter. Evan “White Flag” Reed (good call, Coleman) pitched the 9th and had your average white flag inning, again demonstrating the Tigers surplus of eminently hittable pitchers with “great stuff.” Shane Victorino was a one-man wrecking crew, reaching 5 times with 5 RBI. Cabrera deserved a better outcome on a fine 4 for 4 evening himself.

ALL-STAR TEAM

C Pena
1B Napoli
2B Pedroia
SS Drew
3B Cabrera
LF Dirks
CF Ellsbury
RF Victorino
DH Ortiz
P Breslow

RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: Jose Iglesias

DFA: Avisail Garcia