Game 2013.92: Rangers at Tigers

50-41, 1st place, 2.5 ahead of Cleveland.

Onward and upward after a series against the White Sox that was, shall we say, insulting. Now come the Texas Rangers, a formidable opponent that matches up favorably (in their favor, that is) against the Tigers just about any way you look at it. The optimist’s view would be that this is one of those rise to the occasion opportunities.

Ah, the bullpen. When will that third trustworthy arm emerge?

But wait, there’s good news to cheer about. Miguel Cabrera. Max Scherzer. Matt Tuiasosopo. Victor Martinez. Torii Hunter. Yes, the Detroit Tigers are a good team. As frustrating as it can be when the offense is in a funk, or the starting pitching gets a bit soft, or when a bit of defensive or baserunning clown show darkens our view of a team rather average in these respects, the Tigers are a good team. The only thing standing between them and October baseball, aside from catastrophic injuries, is 71 more games with that bullpen. If you think Sanchez was left in too long, all that amounts to is saying that you wish Alburquerque or Coke or Putkonen or (had he been available) Downs would have given up the slam instead. That’s one way of encapsulating the bullpen situation. Another is: Evan Reed. Evan Reed?

Big series ahead. Let’s start it off right. Time for Doug Fister to shake off those first-inning blues and for Justin Grimm to be brought down to earth at Comerica.

Lineup to come, unless the ever-adroit Coleman or new challenger Vince beat me to it.

Tonight’s Bacon Hat lineup:

CF Jackson
RF Hunter
3B Cabrera
1B Fielder
DH Martinez
SS Peralta
LF Dirks
C Avila
2B Santiago


  1. Coleman

    July 11, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I found it hard to get too worked up over the whole inside pitch/ejections deal. That is, until I read the umpire explanation: he said he deemed that Sale’s pitch was not intentional and the Putkonen’s was, based partly on THE REACTION OF THE BATTERS:

    “There was no reaction from Fielder. He said nothing. There was no reaction from anyone else,” Fairchild said. “The only reaction I saw was from Sale, who made a motion like, `Damn, it got away.”

    In other words, not only did Ramirez not get ejected as he should have for trying to charge the mound (Leyland was rightly worked up about that), but he was actually rewarded for it, since apparently the batter’s reaction is how an umpire can tell if a pitch was intentional or not. That is just SO wrong.

    • Vince in MN

      July 12, 2013 at 1:38 am

      Porcello’s retaliation pitch from last week, the one he is getting suspended for, certainly played a role in the ump’s decision. I’m sure they are all briefed asap on this sort of thing and now that the umps “know” that our pitchers are intentionally throwing at batters, they are going to find it even when it isn’t there.

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      I agree with Coleman.

      I find the tradition of retaliation and all the posturing that goes along with it tiresome. Doesn’t make the game more entertaining for me.

      • Coleman

        July 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        Strangely enough, Hawk Harrelson was sympathizing with Leyland, and arguing that nobody should have been thrown out of the game.

  2. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    If total runs tonight are in single digits, I’ll eat my hat. Of course, I’m wearing a hat made out of bacon. But still…

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      July 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Good predict as Tigers and Rangers always bang the ball when they get together whether Motown or Cowtown.

      • Smoking Loon

        July 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

        Do 11-1 or 11-11 count as single-digit?

        • Coleman

          July 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm

          Apparently the double-digit thing was far too conservative.

  3. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    If one wanted to find a grey lining in a silver cloud that inning, it would be that Dirks looked foolish against a guy who can’t get put lefties in general and today couldn’t get out anyone. He has Boesched. Time to try Tui full-time.

    • Coleman

      July 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Now it’s a strike out and a pop up. What happened to Dirks?

  4. judpma

    July 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    who are these guys

  5. judpma

    July 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I don’t think Grimm has it today…just sayin

  6. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    +1 Brookens (hint: Hunter–send. Martinez–hold).

    • Kevin in Dallas

      July 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm


  7. judpma

    July 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Dirks even has the Avila-Boesch look of wonderment as he drags his bat back to the dugout aftervhis easy outs..

  8. Vince in MN

    July 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    It seems like Fister has to have one scary inning every start now. Things could have gotten ugly in the 4th.

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      It seems like Fister is becoming Porcello and Porcello becoming Fister.

      • Coleman

        July 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

        You mean Mr. Ground Ball Guy? I mean Fister of course, who is leading the team in ground ball at bats.

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    July 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    You know guys – perspective is interesting.

    If you never watched the Tigers, you would have thought the Rangers were going up against the ’27 Yankees listening to the sports talk guys in Dallas today. The Rangers’ starters have been in quite a funk (injuries are partly to blame) and the thought of Scherzer/Verlander to close the series is pretty daunting to the casual Tiger observer.

    As good as we think the Rangers are, their fanbase feels the same about the Tigers. I’m sure that perception is pretty consistent around the league.

    We’ve got something special in Detroit, we have for a while. There’s always room for improvement (and it’s definitely our job to point that out), but make sure we enjoy it for as long as we can. This Miggy/JV combo won’t last forever, and it’s definitely one we’ll tell our grandkids about.

    Now back to worrying about a 5 run lead against a team with Nelson Cruz on it.

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm


  10. Smoking Loon

    July 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Hey, that Miggy not catching the catchable foul pop was bad news on two levels. One, just plain bad, and two, he must be in much worse shape than he’s letting on.

  11. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Watch out, Rondon may have a 2nd pitch.

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      How sweet it is. Rondon blowing away Cruz. The shape of things to come, I hope.

      • Coleman

        July 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        Could tonight have been a turning-the-corner moment?

        • Smoking Loon

          July 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

          Magic 8-Ball says “Ask again later.”

  12. Vince in MN

    July 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    9 pitches, 9 strikes from Rondon. Excellent.

  13. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Smyly doesn’t look so bad himself.

  14. judpma

    July 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I could get used to this Rondon kid…..

  15. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Dirks in full Boesch mode.

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Too much BP. It’s wearing him out.

      • Coleman

        July 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

        Oh well, Leyland will insist on the RH/LH platoon. If only we had another LH OF with a better OPS than Dirks. Oh, wait, we do–Don Kelly.

        • Smoking Loon

          July 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm

          If only we had a guy who hits RHP better than Dirks and Kelly both. Oh wait, we do. I guess his hair is too long. Or something.

          • Coleman

            July 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

            It’s not the hair. Coach gets hand cramps writing his name out on the lineup card.

        • StorminNorman$

          July 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm

          Breakdown vs RHP
          Tui – .333 BA – .400 OBP 1.104 OPS
          Dirks .250 BA – .310 OBP .661 OPS

          yes Dirks has a lot more AB’s against righties than Tui, but Dirks is only hitting .209 against LHP – he’s fortunate he’s got JL as a Mgr…

  16. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Wow, why Joaquin with 2 outs and a 5-run lead? Leyland must think this game is hugely important.

    • StorminNorman$

      July 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      I agree, why “waste” your closer, who you might need in game 2 or 3 of this series. I understand ‘an out is an out’ and ‘a win is a win’, but why tax the few reliable bullpen pieces with a 5 run lead…and two outs?

    • Smoking Loon

      July 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      It’s a step forward from the “reliever must finish inning” thing. I like it. More intelligent bullpen management.

    • Vince in MN

      July 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Smokey just wanted to say “amen” to this game. Benoit only threw three pitches, so he’ll be able to come back tomorrow if needed. Unless Leyland thinks he is too tired to pitch in two consecutive games. But with the break coming up starting Monday this shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe even three days should be considered. Are you listening Smokey?

  17. Smoking Loon

    July 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    70 more games like this one, please. Early lead, good bullpen. Very relaxing.

    • StorminNorman$

      July 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      dream on… something tells me this team will keep it tense and exciting well into September…with some sprinklings of greatness and realized potential throughout the process

      • Smoking Loon

        July 13, 2013 at 11:18 am

        You’re right, of course. I’l reduce my demands to 35 more games like that one on the condition that I also receive 10 games even better.

        • Vince in MN

          July 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

          You mean 35 games where Leyland is removed from any critical decision making. I’ll go along with that. It’s the rest of the games I worry about.

          • Smoking Loon

            July 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

            That, and also 35 (or up to 45) games where neither Coke nor Alburquerque pitch.

            • Vince in MN

              July 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

              Those count as critical decisions, no matter what the score. Then there are the lineup decisions, like who starts in LF, that could be considered somewhat important if not critical.


              I’m going back to bed now.

  18. judpma

    July 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    by Mumbles thinking now neither Smyly nor Benoit will be available tomorrow!!!..5 run lead….its not like he used Al or Coke!!!

  19. Coleman

    July 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    BTW, I know a lot of you thought Anibal shouldn’t have still been in to pitch the grand slam ball to Phegley. But Leyland explains that that was the right call. Why? Because if it wasn’t, he would have taken him out, so therefore it was clearly the right call. Well that explains it.

  20. StorminNorman$

    July 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Interesting tidbits:

    Over his past three starts, Doug Fister’s opponents have gone 1-for-15 in at-bats ending with a curveball. The Rangers are hitting .195 as a team against the curveball, which ranks 23rd in MLB.

    …the ‘curveball’ (Ranger) stat is something DET pitchers should be aware of

    • Coleman

      July 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Yes, and the Tigers are not fools so they would throw more curveballs. But the Rangers know they are not fools, so clearly they will be expecting the Tigers to throw curveballs. And since the Tigers are not fools, they will clearly anticipate this and not throw curveballs..

      • Smoking Loon

        July 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

        I think Doug Fister has the best curve on the staff.

  21. JimEggersUSMC

    July 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

    All in all, a fun way to spend a Friday. I am back home after the trip to Montana and Wyoming. Canoed down the Missouri, broke broncs in Cody (umm maybe they were trail horses) went to a shootout where I met a man from D-town who said just another nite for him, and watched some baseball. Had the emotional task of joining my bride at Heart Mountain, where her Dad and family were interred during WWII. I was mad and sad at the same time. So, if and it is a big IF, the Tigres were to play like this every nite, would we be happy or nervous or a little of both?

    • Smoking Loon

      July 13, 2013 at 11:06 am


      • JimEggersUSMC

        July 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        yeah, me too, it was like watching BP that counted…