Game 2013.135: Indians at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 78-56, 1st Place (6.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

The last time I did a post, the Tigers were 5.5 games ahead of Cleveland. After going 4-4 in the meantime, they have somehow increased their lead to 6.5 games.

The Tigers of course, as we know–and if you don’t know, well then, good for your blood pressure–came within 1 strike of suffering an historic 4-game sweep at home. The last time that happened: 2004, when the starting pitchers were the esteemed rotation of Maroth, Knotts, Robertson, and Johnson. Omar Infante was there (5-for-9 in the series), as was Torii Hunter, on the Twins (5-for-16). Yes, those were different times: total attendance for that 4-game series: < 90,000.

But the sweep was not to be: the Twins pitcher decided to grant ball four to both Jackson and Fielder (props to Loon for that one, although you missed the “Grant” angle…just saying), with 2 outs and 2 strikes Victor “Mr. August” Martinez lined a single to center, which brought Torii Hunter to the plate with the potential winning run. The potential became the actual, as Hunter, swinging for the fences, actually cleared the fence (how often does that happen?). Torii’s old teammate from the last Tiger home sweep (Balfour was on the Twins in 2004…maybe Torii still knew him well?) F-Bombed his way off the mound, and the Tigers somehow got out of that series with the A’s on an upbeat note. Phew.

*****

The Tiger starters, somehow–all four of them–were ridiculously bad that series. It’s not that even the best pitchers don’t have bad outings; they do. And Max himself has been saved by a couple less than stellar outing by ridiculous run support. But bad outings by all four starters, on the best starting rotation in baseball, in the same series? How does that happen? Is that one of those (cringe) “that’s baseball” things?

Or is is something else? Leyland has been very good about pulling all of the starters this season as soon as is reasonable (well, less with Verlander); yet they have thrown a lot of pitches. Is it late-season fatigue? I heard murmurs that maybe the Tiger pitches were tipping pitches (Verlander has had this problem in the past). But all four of them? That doesn’t make sense. Were the A’s stealing signs? Doubtful (if all the big bombs came with a runner on 2nd, that theory would make more sense). It may have just been that the A’s–not a great offensive team, but a very disciplined one–were just well-prepared. They have that video stuff nowadays. They certainly seemed to know what pitches were coming. Or it could just be that the Tigers ran into a team with a whole lineup that was hot at the same time…it happens.

At any rate, going into this key Cleveland series, the Tigers are somehow on an upbeat note. Complete absolution, as Tom in Lakeland says.

*****

Yes, of course Cabrera is in the lineup tonight. As if. Word on the street is that Tuiasosopo has been working out at 3B.

*****

Jose Iglesias still has the reigning Web Gem. But is that play as good as the one Victor Martinez made back in June?. Yeah, that’s a repeat comment. But still true!

*****

Cleveland has just picked up Jason Kubel (.220, .612….278, .786 career vs. Detroit), to replace Ryan Raburn (DL, achilles). But can he pitch?

*****

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Victor Martinez

The first two months of the season, Victor was the biggest problem in the lineup, according to me. He was though, really. Leyland and crew obviously had faith he would come around. They could not have been more right. After a first half hitting .258 (.693 OPS), Victor has put up these numbers in BA and OPS:

  • JUL:  .390 / 1.010
  • AUG:  .383 / .917

Victor is easily the 2nd-best bat on the team right now, there is no competition.

Tonight’s Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Kelly, LF
  7. Avila, C
  8. Infante, 2B
  9. Iglesias, SS

33 Comments

  1. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    hey Prince for 20 mil think you can at least try to get to these ground balls

    • TIGERS RULE

      August 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hey, leave the man alone …… he has woman problems.

  2. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    and Victor just keeps pounding out the hits…wow

  3. Coleman

    August 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Maybe we could try to sneak in an at bat by that Prince look-alike dude, I mean who would challenge that?

  4. Coleman

    August 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    The Bourn Clownundrum.

  5. Coleman

    August 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    And now they are intentionally walking Don Kelly. Oh stop it, you’re killing me!

  6. Vince in MN

    August 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    When was the last time Don Kelly got an intentional walk?

    If Cabrera’s injury is to his side, he probably won’t be able to swing a bat.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 31, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Kelly’s IBB a career first, apparently.

      You’re probably being facetious, but I think that Cabrera would be able to swing as long as he had arms. He might even be able to do it without hands.

  7. Vince in MN

    August 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Victor hit .390 in July. Only .383 in August so far (not counting tonight).

  8. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    now that was one wierd rally!!!

  9. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    one thing I do like is the Tigers seem to step it up a bunch when Miggy isn’t ib there to carry them

    • Smoking Loon

      August 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      I’ve noticed that, too. Kinda cool.

  10. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    hey Mumbles I bet you actually expected ALAL not to walk that first guy…….stupid

  11. Vince in MN

    August 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Bases loaded. LH batter up. Leyland is the only manager in the world who would bring in Albaquirky in that situation.

    • PHToy in HK

      August 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      With a very predictable outcome – leadoff walk.

      • Smoking Loon

        August 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        Well, it was 5-1 at that point. Not that I’m saying this had anything to do with Leyland’s decision.

  12. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    atta boy Al….once in awhile it works..were proud of u for at least one batter

  13. Vince in MN

    August 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Smyly in. Better late than never.

  14. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    as many defensive shortcomings as Prince has…he is excellent at handling those crappy throws..

  15. Coleman

    August 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Uh oh. Gameday says “Bruce Rondon replaces Bruce Rondon.” They’ll never get away with that.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 31, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      But it worked.

  16. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    every manager in baseball would gave PH Tui for Kelly except Mumbles..Reason he didn’t……because it would have been the smart thing to do!

    • Vince in MN

      August 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Strategy is not his forte’.

      • Smoking Loon

        August 31, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        3B (and using up Kelly for the game besides with Cabrera already down)had everything to do with it. Believe me, I wanted Tui. But the Tigers were up 3. I got it.

  17. Vince in MN

    August 30, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    KC lost.

  18. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Tigers must lead the league in WP runs. Thats about the 10th one this year

    • Smoking Loon

      August 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      About the only positive from the baserunning.

  19. Smoking Loon

    August 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Good game post read, as always, Coleman.

    As far as not catching the “Grant” in “Balfour” goes, well, that’s why I’m still Kenny Bania to your Jerry Seinfeld.

    I got a kick out of Balfour also being on the sweeping 2004 Twins. In a sport as obsessed with record-keeping as baseball, striking parallels are a commonplace, but it still takes memory and/or research to dig them up. Both appreciated. That’s gold, Coleman. Gold!

    Curtis Granderson made his major league debut with the Tigers the day the Twins completed that last 4-game sweep in Detroit.

  20. judpma

    August 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    whats it look like Detroiters??….its hot out here in LA….

  21. Coleman

    August 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Justin Morneau to the Pirates.

    • StorminNorman$

      August 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      didn’t think the Twinkies would pull the trigger on the MN icon

      • Coleman

        August 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm

        Morneau probably begged them.

      • Vince in MN

        August 31, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        They’ve been shopping him all year, but until the second half he wasn’t hitting enough to warrant the salary. The Twins aren’t big spenders per se, and since they are in rebuild mode they need to clear salary off the books. If they are smart they will move Mauer (the real icon, who is on the Concussion DL) to 1B, and move somebody else into the catcher spot – Herrmann looks like a good bet to take over that role. The Twins have enough position players in the system to compensate for the loss of Morneau next season, although starting pitching is still iffy – funny because that used to be their strength.