51-41, 1st place, 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Very good win last night. Only a couple things marred the enjoyment: 1. Will someone please explain why Miggy didn’t catch the foul ball that dropped 10 feet away from him, and am I making too big a deal out of it? 2. What Ortiz did to the Tigers in relief of Grimm would have been less amusing without a 7-2 lead.
Torii Hunter, aptly described by M. Impemba as the wily veteran, constantly amuses us with Wily Veteran Things, most recently two clever, heads-up slides that avoided outs and scored a run. I was high on Hunter to begin with, and he started the year at a torriid pace, but his stock dropped with me after that. I was seeing “solid” numbers that weren’t really translating into W’s. Obviously, he’s been back on track for a while now. I’m acknowledging it.
Bruce Rondon just pitched 4/3 innings like the phenom he was supposed to be. Coleman voiced what many of us were thinking – we might have just witnessed the start of something big. The Tigers Volunteer Fire Department might be about to upgrade from a couple of fire extinguishers and a bunch of leaky buckets to a by golly fire truck.
Prince Fielder legging out that IF single last night is but one of many reasons you can’t get too down on the guy for an extended slump. If the dude in the following paragraph could get down to 1B like that, I would have held my tongue about sitting him. Actually, the way he can play 1B, maybe I should have. He can’t help being a DH and having limited opportunities.
Now that Victor Martinez is starting to silence us critics, we turn our attention to a few other things set to low heat on the debate stove.
Left field. Andy Dirks is a plus defender in LF and can play all over the OF. He was a good hitter with a model swing as recently as early in the season. I like him, don’t really get what’s going on with him at the plate. On the other hand, I was enthralled by Matt Tuiasosopo from the beginning, even before he started to hit in ST. I liked his demeanor and his hustle. He also reminded me of Freddie Mercury, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not only can Tui hit, but even more impressively, he’s been able to do what he does off the bench, and consistently, and even upon returning from a DL stint. I consider that mighty impressive. Tuiasosopo is average in LF, with a good arm. On the bases, well, he’s certainly not Dirks’s equal. Overall, logically, statistically, it looks like LF should be a timeshare unaffected by silly platoon crap that doesn’t apply. Right? Well, you know how things work in LeylandWorld. It’s hard to win a job, and it’s hard to lose a job, and a position that doesn’t get settled by a trade or free agent signing tends to remain unsettled. Clearly, LF isn’t going to be handed to Tuiasosopo any time soon, and who’s to say that it should be? But man, can that guy hit, and here’s the thing: Aside from Cabrera, Detroit simply doesn’t have that kind of power from the right side (or aside from Fielder, anywhere else). So why the fascination with any LHB LF (without similar power) for “balance”? Does AJax need a lefty for balance? Incidentally, when was the last time there was a fixture in LF for the Tigers? Certainly not during the Leyland Years. The muddle may continue through 2014 or 2015 or…
Ramon Santiago. Why? Hernan Perez, make yourself at home. Oh wait – that’s in my world.
Phil Coke. I like the guy. Don’t really want to see him pitch any more, at least not for the Tigers. Could he maybe become assistant to the bench coach, or something? He’s a very entertaining figure, don’t want to throw away all the talent. Where’s Jose Ortega? Is Evan Reed gone yet?
Tonight it’s Max Scherzer on the hilly mound toeing the rubbery slab, and how can you not have a good feeling about that? Is it jinxing it to say 14-0? I don’t think so. It’s what we’re all thinking. The Rangers missed Scherzer last time around, and this only adds to my good feeling. The last time out against Holland was a loss, a wild one, but he was hammered. It was Miguel’s 3-HR game, and Matt Tuiasosopo drew 4 walks (which I suspect is nearly as rare as a 3-HR game). I like Tigers chances. Kevin aptly points out the importance of perspective in that Rangers fans have “fear of Tigers” much as we suffer from “fear of Rangers.” Let’s continue to shift the balance of fear in a southwesterly direction. Max!!!!
National game tonight, which means radio for us TV-less MLB.tv folk.
Tonight’s “Hammer Time, Der Kommisar Scherzer’s In Town” lineup (stolen from Vince below, who beat me to “stealing” it from Jason Beck by 18 minutes):
1. Austin Jackson, cf
2. Torii Hunter, rf
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3b
4. Prince Fielder, 1b
5. Victor Martinez, dh
6. Jhonny Peralta, ss
7. Matt Tuiasosopo, lf
8. Brayan Pena, c
9. Hernan Perez, 2b