Game 2013.112: Tigers at Indians

by Smoking Loon on August 6, 2013 · 81 comments

in 2013 Season,Game Post

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66-45, 1st place, 5 games up on the Tribe.

Well, that was nice. Justin Verlander started out looking a bit uh-oh, but put together the strongest 8 innings we’ve seen from him since… when? Velocity, command, breaking ball working – what more can you ask? Justin Masterson actually pitched as well or better than Verlander most of the game. All it took was that 5th inning, and my favorite part was that both hit – and hurting – Tigers batters eventually scored. Gotta love Ramon Santiago busting it from 1st to 3rd after taking a pitch on the knee. Don Kelly had himself a game. First time I saw Jose Veras as a Tiger, and the breaking ball is as advertised. A few pretty good plays on foul pop-ups, and Miguel Cabrera even managed to snag one.

The Tigers starting pitching has been very good all season, and remarkably free of injuries, and now it’s on one of those epic rolls we’ve seen more than once over the past three seasons. I like the way the rotation was reset after the break, even if I don’t know if that really matters. You know, mixing up pitcher type game to game. With a starting five like the Tigers have, does it matter so much who follows who? I don’t know. Maybe. It’s not something immediate like batting order, which may be a bit overrated itself. Still… I like the way the rotation was reset after the break.

Pitching, pitching, pitching. Pitching wins. Perhaps all the more so with a guy like Jose Iglesisas at SS. We’ll see. Certainly all the more so when part of the pitching is the bullpen. It’s all clicking now. Even in the games where the Tigers hitters are mostly baffled by the opposing starter, as they have been the last two games, they’re pulling it out, one way or the other. Big difference from earlier in the season, when Detroit always seemed to be running on three, even when winning. I hope that there’s either a lot of this magic left in the tank or that they save some of it for the postseason. You’d hate to see the Tigers become the 2013 version of the 2012 Yankees.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves with “postseason.” 51 games left. A lot can happen. The Cabrera situation remains troubling to me. It’s nice that he can still hit. But you still have to run after you put the ball in play. Miggy is hobbled and playing. Tell me how this is good. Tell me how this is not going to end badly at an inopportune time. Maybe I’ll believe you. Meanwhile, the Tigers have a few other guys who can hit home runs and doubles for a couple weeks. Who can move around at 3B, run the bases, get down to 1B in under 2V (two Victors, standard unit of measure in snail racing). Hear me now and believe me later.

When were the Tigers last 21 games over? September 10, 2011 (Brandon Inge walkoff HR against G. Perkins and the Twins), in the middle of reeling off 12 straight, and it only got better after that (12-5 finish).

How were the 1968 Tigers doing at this point? 70-41, 1st place AL, 6.5 up on the Orioles. 1972 Tigers? 59-52, 2nd place AL East, 1.5 back of Baltimore. 1984 Tigers? 73-38, 1st place AL East, and yet “only”  9 games ahead of a superb Toronto team. 1987 Tigers? 65-46, 2nd place AL East, 1.5 behind the Blue Jays. 2006 Tigers? 75-36 (BETTER THAN 1984!!), 1st place AL Central, 9 games ahead of the White Sox. You may notice something all these Game 111′s – including last night’s – have in common.

Pitching, pitching, pitching. Doug Fister up next. The unknown rookie opposing him. Uh-oh. Time to break another habit.

When was the last time the Tigers had a starting rotation this good? Prior to last season with the addition of Sanchez, let’s say. That’s the question of the day. 2006 was kind of flukey, wasn’t it? I think you have to go back farther. Will 2013 prove flukey? How long does any starting 5, or 4, or even 3, stay strong together? Even in the olden days, it probably wasn’t that long. Enjoy it now. You’ve gotta believe that it’s capable of carrying the next two games, eh? And don’t stop there.

 
 

{ 81 comments }

KW August 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I give up–what do all those games have in common?

Smoking Loon August 6, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Well, at first glance I thought it rather amazing that the Tigers had won all six of them. I took another look… duh. Maybe I should fall back on the answer “The Tigers played in all of them”? “The opponent was another MLB team?” “The game was played in August”?

In the one game the Tigers *did* lose, the teams combined for 13 runs… in a 13-inning game… with both teams putting up 13 hits each. I guess that’s some consolation.

In a further mystical coincidence, the Tigers won 5-1 last night while also going 5-1 in the six games I made reference to. Wooooooo! Uncanny.

judpma August 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Royals are sneaking up on the Indians. I still believe they are the better team for that run to second place…..meanwhile lets keep it going Tigers!

Smoking Loon August 6, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I think you’re right about the Royals.

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 8:15 am

Great quote from Masterson last night re: the Donkey -
“If I was Superman, he’d be my Kryptonite,” Masterson said. “There’s always a guy. He salivates when I’m up there.”

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

regarding Loon’s question: “When was the last time the Tigers had a starting rotation this good?” — my answer would be “never”…based on the 1-5 starter’s production to this point of the season. One could argue that over the past two months JV has been their “worst” SP – which is a distinction every other MLB team would love to have.

A lot can happen in the remaining 51 Aug & Sept games that can make DET’s starting pitching look even better or worse – [i.e. injuries (to DET pitchers or opposing hitters), a/o whether the team your playing is competing for playoff spot or have (figuratively) 'given up'] – all factor into the rigors associated with a 162-game schedule and Aug & Sept games.

Staying healthy or getting healthy (Cabrera, Fielder, Infante, Dotel?) will be crucial.

Dennis the Menace August 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

I agree Norman. Health is the key to success from here to October.

Dennis the Menace August 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

Gentlemen, we can talk all we want about problems, mystical coincidences and so forth. I can tell you that the bottom line will be what you see now, this team being to put all of its pieces in place for the playoff drive. I met Mike Ilitch once and complimented him on his choice for Drombrowski for his GM. He told me personally that he waited for the opportunity to snatch him up from Florida after they won the world series and jumped at the chance when it happened because he knows how to build winners. This could be the year so lets see how true that can be.

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

“could be the year”…for Mr. Ilitch (and all he’s done for the Tigers, Detroit & MI) and DET fans everywhere, I sincerely hope so. ’84 was magic, but it’s almost 30 yrs ago.

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm
Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

The Tigers released Valverde today.

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I guess in the end, it turned out to be the slow way of tearing off a Band-Aid.

Thanks for the memories PGrande, good luck, vaya con dios

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The indians extended Raburn 2 years. Good luck with that, but on the other hand maybe Raburn has found a niche being a part-time/platoon player/super sub, and having a manager that knows how to use him.

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I hope the headline was intentionally ambiguous:

Ryan Raburn signs extension with Indians; Tigers’ Jim Leyland ‘thrilled’

bada bing August 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm

That was a seriously impressive first inning for Salazar. He looks like he has some great stuff.

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Rule of Brookens:
Send–Martinez, Avila, Fielder, Pena, Tuiasosopo
Hold–Jackson, Hunter, Infante

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm

2013 DDAH #s (Dead Duck at Home):

3 Fielder
3 Martinez
3 Tuiasosopo
2 Dirks
1 Pena
1 Kelly
1 Hunter
1 Infante

PHToy in HK August 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

15 DDAHs in ca. 110 games. This seems like a big number to me. Any historical stats for comparison?

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:59 am

That’s 2nd most (Red Sox are “first”).

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

after Pena got thrown out, I heard Gene Lamont’s inner dialogue say, “see…”

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Do we see Bonderman tonight? Fister not looking too sharp.

Smoking Loon August 8, 2013 at 12:30 am

I was thinking the same thing. Fortunately, it didn’t go far south. I wasn’t happy to see Fister out for the 6th, to be honest.

joe August 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm

donkey dgaf

Doug of troy August 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I thought Babe Ruth was dead!

Kevin in Dallas August 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Saw that one coming from a mile away.

That one is on Francona.

Lets go Tigers!

joe August 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

one of the best things ever right there.

miguel was tipping his cap striking out earlier. strikeouts.

sits on the kids fastball. welcome to the bigs.

joe August 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

why wasnt the infield playing in?

Smoking Loon August 8, 2013 at 12:31 am

Good question. A haunting one for most of the rest of the game.

joe August 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

kelly, pena, dirks. quite the triple threat.

TIGERS RULE August 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Squeeze bunt would have been the play to call for AJax ….. but of course our great manager has no creativity or grey matter!

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm

I’m not sure Jackson can be trusted to bunt.

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Should have had Fielder bunt, he isn’t good for much else lately.

Kevin in Dallas August 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Well, we’ve definitely had our chances.

Perez is just young. Infante back soon.

Fielder is a concern, but lets not get greedy on a 10-0 run.

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm

11 in a row…15 of 16… impressive – and very timely to go on this type of run

Doug of troy August 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm

When was the last time you saw a player strike out on a ball that hit him .

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

how hot is that blonde behind the batters box?

Kevin in Dallas August 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Looking into this now.

Smoking Loon August 8, 2013 at 12:33 am

Oh, great. NOW I find out about this. But wait – I have mlb.tv…

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

C’mon B.O.O.Bs

Smoking Loon August 8, 2013 at 12:34 am

Response to Marrakesh Red or just coincidence?

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

she could feed my wild side

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Bondo!

Kevin in Dallas August 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Bullpen has been nearly perfect since Smyly left. If not perfect.

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi August 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Plenty of game left Kevin as Cy Bondo roars!

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi August 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Squeeze time?

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm

last chance

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi August 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Squeeze the Prince?

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi August 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Well done Prince!

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Prince runs into one.

Kevin in Dallas August 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

This is awesome. Just poured whiskey & pop #1 of the night.

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm

a lot of baseball tonight!
feels good to watch a game like this one.

Marrakesh Red August 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm

whew

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 11:54 pm

that was freakin tense!!!

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Bonderman came through big time.

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 11:54 pm

if it hasn’t been said, Bondo was huge tonight

i’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see that coming

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:08 am

No way we win that game if we had to go with 3 innings of Evan Reed!

Vince in MN August 8, 2013 at 12:10 am

Or 1 inning of AlAl.

Smoking Loon August 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

Yah mon. No confidence in that guy anymore. He just makes me nervous, every time.

Coleman August 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Joaquin Jones.

Vince in MN August 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Nothin’ to it!

StorminNorman$ August 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm

bullpen is pretty taxed… Scherzer will need to log at least 7 or 8 innings tomorrow

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:05 am

We may see 2 innings of Coke.

Vince in MN August 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

Veras only threw 10 pitches tonight, AlAl 12.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

I forgot Veras closed yesterday, was thinking they’d rest Benoit tomorrow and close with Veras. And then there’s AlAl,.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

This game was big for Detroit, but even bigger for Cleveland. This home series has gone horribly wrong for them. Like the chances to finish off the sweep tomorrow.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:05 am

A sweep would be icing on the cake, but 2 late inning comebacks and a JV domination over their ace has killed their spirit I’m sure. Wish tomorrow’s game was an afternoon game.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:06 am

Yeah, it’s always a killer to lose a long extra inning game and then get hit with a day game follow-up…easier to get back out there when you’re riding the W.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:10 am

Lost in all of this: the Indians have one hell of a young arm in Salazar.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:18 am

I was listening when Cabrera came up. I had missed most of the middle innings until then. Once Hunter blooped that single, I thought that Francona would go and get Salazar. Dan and Jim were surprised that he pitched to Hunter.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

In the earlier at bat, before he struck out, Cabrera fouled back a 100 mph fastball about shoulder high, and the Indians announcers commented that not too many guys could get a bat on that pitch. I was thinking it was just a matter of time…glad they left him in for a 3rd AB (his fastball was “down” to 96 or something, and he left it belt high…good luck with that! Kid still has great stuff though, I was impressed.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

Yeah, the standing O from the Indians fans was cool.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:28 am

OK, not all good news: Infante scratched from rehab (ankle pain)…it may be a while before we see him again.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:29 am

Way to kill my night. Time for W&P #3.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

You can’t fool me. You were fixing that one before you read my post.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:28 am

How about Bondo?

Do we have the best bullpen in the AL? Veras was a tremendous pickup.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:45 am

Dombrowski is a trade deadline wizard. (Evan wizards drop their wands on an Aubrey Huff / Jarrod Wasburn) once in a while. How awful was that?).

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:29 am

Note, the Rangers are almost having as much fun as the Tigers right now. Angels misery makes me happy.

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

I’m even enjoying–this might be a first–the White Sox win streak, since they are burying the Yankees (welcome back, A-Rod!)

Coleman August 8, 2013 at 12:36 am

The Royals have now blown by the Yankees in the WC standings.

Kevin in Dallas August 8, 2013 at 12:41 am

“This win streak goes to 11.”

Can’t believe it took me this long to think of that.

judpma August 8, 2013 at 2:10 am

Bondo…..ya gotta give the guy credit for staying on task for all these years….great for him and the Tigers!

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