Game 2013.74: Red Sox at Tigers

41-32, 1st place, 3 games up on Cleveland, winning streak at 1. Now it’s time for Justin Verlander (vs. Doubront) and the most satisfying series win of the season. Some bench guys are going to get starts today. Count on it, and don’t complain about it. The bench has been good. Tub is Love, and Bench is Good. Considering Miggy’s stats in JV starts, it might be a good time to give him a day off. But I wouldn’t count on it, and that I would complain about.

If we update this:



And then update this:



And then tote up all the “best in wins” and “worst in losses,” we might come up with something like this:


PENA 0-0

If we instead looked at “best in losses” and “worst in wins,” we’d get a look into where team results mask the individual contribution:


PENA 3-3

Much of all that won’t surprise you, but some of it should. For instance: Infante, Hunter, Garcia… all overrated offensively.

If JV is ordinary today, let us hope for more of the extraordinary from the Comerica Strong bats.

POST-GAME: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5. Wow, what a game. Dramatic, start to finish. Couple things: A. 1B Victor Martinez made the defensive play of the year on Jacoby Ellsbury in the 6th, knocking down a ball scorched down the 1B line, getting back on his feet and to the ball quick as a cat, and then scooping the ball from the ground to 1B and into Smyly’s glove without looking, facing away from the play. SENSATIONAL. B. The Tigers sure caught a break in the 8th on RF Daniel Nava’s catch-and-drop that was called an error, huh? But here’s the thing. To the unaided human eye farther away than 10 feet from Nava, that was an error. Not only did Nava not get back on Garcia’s flyball well enough to make a normal catch, but he was pulling the ball out of his glove (and dropping it) before he’d even established that he’d made the catch. 2B ump Mike DiMuro may have blown the call, in retrospect, but what made this possible is that Nava blew the play.

The Tigers kept giving Verlander the lead, and he kept giving it back. Both Felix Doubront and Verlander struggled with their command on this steamy day and took only 5 innings – as long as either lasted – to go over 100 pitches. After that, it was a battle of the bullpens. The centerpiece of Detroit’s 2-run 1st was Cabrera’s blast to dead center (HR everywhere else, ground rule double at Comerica). CF Ellsbury prevented further damage by robbing Peralta of a RCF gap double with a great catch. 7 Red Sox hitters came to the plate in the two-run Boston 2nd that set the always-in-trouble tone for Verlander’s outing. The Tigers 2nd was a gutsy one. After Infante’s CS/pickoff left the bases empty, 2 outs, Holaday and Jackson came though, and Holaday came in to score on C Ryan Lavarnway’s lazy PB. 3-2 Tigers. The Red Sox 3rd was on the defense. How Peralta and Infante weren’t charged with throwing errors I have no idea, but their clown show helped make it 3-3. With help from Verlander’s strike three called a ball on Mike Napoli. In the 4th, another bluff from crafty Hunter prevented Lavarnway from scoring from 1B on the Ellsbury double, which was big until the next AB, when he scored for a 4-3 Boston lead anyway. In the Tigers 4th, with the bases loaded, RF Victorino bounced off the RF corner wall while making a great catch on Hunter’s deep (just foul) flyball. The post-5th battle of the bullpens was close and tense for a while. Smyly was in a spot of trouble in the 7th, two on and none out. Napoli flied out to Garcia, and Dustin Pedroia had the nerve to tag from 2B. Garcia had him nailed on a perfect throw to 3B, but Cabrera never had it and lost it on the tag, yet another uncharged Tigers error. But Smyly pitched out of the jam. It all started to fall apart for the Red Sox in the 7th. Strange play there. Jackson on 1B, Hunter hits a soft liner that 2B Pedroia drops. Pedroia picks up the ball and runs toward 1B, Jackson retreats to 1B, Pedroia throws to Napoli who tags Jackson at the bag, shortly followed (or preceded?) by Hunter crossing 1B. It ends with Hunter out, Jackson still at 1B. Evidently, Pedroia should have gone to 2B, lost the force there by failing to. Or maybe it was Napoli not tagging Jackson before Hunter got to 1B. I don’t know. Anyway, Tigers load the bases but only tie the game at 4-4 by virtue of an Andrew Miller HBP on Peralta. Remember the great catch by Victorino? He hurt his back. That’s why Nava comes in and strikes out with Ellsbury on 2B against Benoit to end the Red Sox 8th, and that’s why Nava was in RF to make the (official) two-base error that began the Tigers winning 8th. Karma! After Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected arguing the Nava call, his bullpen collapsed. Miller, Wilson, Breslow. Hunter knocked in the go-ahead run with a sac fly, and Fielder came through with a based-loaded single to make it 7-4. The Benoit 9th was not relaxing, but it ended. He struck out Ortiz. He allowed a run. Hunter ended the game in style with a tumbling catch of Stephen Drew’s liner to RCF. Lost in all the excitement: A truly horrid day from Martinez at the plate. Back at it already.


C Holaday
1B Napoli
2B Pedroia
SS Drew
3B Cabrera
LF Garcia
CF Jackson
RF Hunter
DH Fielder

P Smyly

RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: Jacoby Ellsbury

DFA: Daniel Nava


  1. StorminNorman$

    June 23, 2013 at 9:57 am
    informative piece on Pena & Fister’s “Viking relationship” (that’s what it says)…

  2. Coleman

    June 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Today’s Holaday Celebrate Lineup:
    Tonight’s Lineup:
    1. Jackson, CF
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 3B
    4. Fielder, DH
    5. Martinez, 1B
    6. Peralta, SS
    7. Infante, 2B
    8. Garcia, LF
    9. Holaday, C

    Bryan gives Brayan a rest, Garcia gets in the game, and Victor digs his glove out of his locker.

    • Coleman

      June 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Ah, if only there were an edit button…that’s what I get for trying to post the lineup from a phone.

  3. Kevin in Dallas

    June 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Happy Sunday everyone.

    Good 1st from JV tonight, I’m curious to see what he does the 1st time through. Nice bounce back after the BB.

    Heard a nice piece on the value (or lack thereof) of bunting this morning on the Ticket. Full analysis coming during one of my posts this week.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Yeah, uh, not looking good.

  4. Doug of troy

    June 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    A little ridiculous scoring that grounder a hit. Just as bad as that grounder to Cabrera that was a hit with Porcello pitching. Tiger fielders make tiger pitching vulnerable to big run scoring innings.

  5. Bill

    June 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Is rod allen drinking today? He is getting players names mixed up. He Just thought peralta would get an error on ball pedroia beat out. He seems very confused. He said holladay has a great personality. 5 minutes later he said he meant Pena.

  6. Bill

    June 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Sheesh! JV not fooling anyone!!

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    June 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    What an ugly two innings this has been, pitching, offense and defense.

  8. judpma

    June 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Verlander back among the normal human being pitchers lately.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Yes, it’s tough to believe. Frustrating. This is going to be a long game.

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    June 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Verlander’s ERA could be 4+ this close to the AS break.

    Really disappointing stretch for him. A few weeks ago I wrote that I wasn’t worried b/c his peripherals looked good. Well, they’re getting worse. And I’m starting to get worried (for the short term).

  10. jud

    June 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    the only thing worse than the Tigers lacksidasical clown defense is the job the ” official scorer ” is doing…the Tigers have 0 errors…..pleeeease!!!!!

  11. StorminNorman$

    June 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    about 15 minutes ago, Jason Beck tweeted: “In this game, Verlander has thrown an 89mph fastball and a 99mph fastball. Verlander is weird”

  12. Coleman

    June 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Victor “Web Gem” Martinez!!

  13. StorminNorman$

    June 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    TOR about to sweep BAL and win their 11th in a row – they’re up 13-4 on BAL in the 8th

    • StorminNorman$

      June 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      DET has a 4-game series in TOR 7/1 – 7/4

  14. mcb

    June 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    It’s not who ya play. It’s when ya play ’em!

  15. Coleman

    June 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you, Andrew Miller, we needed that.

  16. Doug of troy

    June 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    It’s nice that the Red Sox couldn’t figure it out and tag Jackson first before touching first and getting the double play. Brand new game!

  17. Doug of troy

    June 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    The Red Sox are putting on quite a clown show!

  18. judpma

    June 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    clown show..umps…then clown show Red Sox.clutch hits………all before Martinez comes up, who must be so tired from playing first returns to normal 0-5 stranding 6

    amazing what Prince does after Miggy walks every time…I mean amazing!

  19. tbran

    June 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Good to see Napolie representing the Amish. They are largely unseen in MLB.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 24, 2013 at 1:26 am

      Post of the game.

  20. tbran

    June 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Oops, back to bcak Amish with Gomes at the plate.

  21. judpma

    June 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    hey!! who do you (expletive) think I an going to (expletive) close with!!!!

  22. Kevin in Dallas l

    June 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    An absolute gift. Lets remember this one when a call doesn’t go our way.

    JV gets bailed out again by the pen. Makes up for the blown game two outings ago.

    Not a pretty game for JV, but a good team win, and a GREAT series win. I’ll take it.

    See you guys on Tues.

  23. Kevin in Dallas

    June 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Hunter’s reaction after the last catch pumped me up.

  24. jud

    June 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Kevin +1

  25. JimEggersUSMC

    June 24, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Back home after a great weekend plus in the Seattle area. Watched Mr. Cespedes do some serious yard work against the M’s Friday nite, had some great meals with the bride, saw the Doctors who had good news, and fun with the family. I too was disappointed that the Tigers game on Saturday was not shown, but FOX has MLB by the short and curlies as I understand their deal. (An offer they could not refuse??) Watched the highlites from today’s tilt, bad call went our way, and V-Mart’s play… WOW!

  26. StorminNorman$

    June 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

    • Leyland confirmed that Verlander is scheduled to close out the Tigers’ first-half schedule with a start against Texas on Sunday, July 14, two days before the All-Star Game. By rule, if he pitches that game, it would rule him out from pitching in the Midsummer Classic two days later. He could still be named to the All-Star team and take part in the festivities, but he can’t play. By contrast, Leyland confirmed that Max Scherzer could pitch an inning in the All-Star Game if he starts on Saturday, July 13, as scheduled.

    • JimEggersUSMC

      June 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Max has earned the appearance in the ASG, he has been outstanding.

  27. StorminNorman$

    June 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Avila 0-8 in his Toledo rehab… maybe he should try Lakeland or Grand Rapids next?

  28. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    June 25, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Well gentlemen….I officially got my record back to .500 Sunday afternoon after witnessing the 7-5 victory firsthand. The Tigers are now 2-2 in games that I’ve attended at Comerica this season.

    Observation from Section 133: A thing that I have noticed about JV moreso than any other Tiger starter this year are the huge number of fouled off pitches. These don’t seem like much on the surface, but they really start to add up (see Sunday’s effort with 112 pitches needed to get thru 5 innings). I don’t know if there is anything that JV can do about reducing the # of pitches fouled off , but it has got to be really frustrating for JV to see pitch after pitch get sprayed into the stands.

    Observation #2: JV may need to go inside a bit more. Just about everything that JV misses on is outside (not by much). He is really making a concentrated effort to work on the outer edge of the plate. Consequently it seemed as though the Red Sox were aware of this and some of them really hung out over the plate and/or crowded the plate during their at-bats versus JV. In other words the at-bats may be getting a little too comfortable for our opposition when JV toes the slab this year. Wondering if JV should take a page out of Fister’s book and plunk a guy or two next start just to start putting it in the back of the hitter’s minds because it seems as though guys are having very comfortable at-bats versus JV in comparison to the last two seasons. At the very least a bit of chin music would seem quite warranted at this point for JV.

    P.S. Its a shame that the Tigers didn’t take the lead while Smyly was still the pitcher of record. He was by far the best pitcher for either side on Sunday. In truth that victory belonged to Drew.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      I’ve noticed the apparent increase in foul balls off Verlander for a while now, too. Maybe Kevin will have something on this for us if he does an updated in-depth on JV.

  29. Kevin in Dallas

    June 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Good stuff, Jerry. I’ll look into it.