Game 2013.138: Tigers at Red Sox

80-57, 1st place, 7.5 games up.

Happy Labor Day Everybody! Hope your weekend has been as enjoyable as mine. We’re BBQing with friends today; they are slated to come over after the Tigers game ends. So there’s about a 50% chance that I’ll be in a really crappy mood when they get here.

Well, the Tigers/Indians series has come to a merciful end for the Indians, with the Tigers eeking out a 15-4 series win. Last night would have been the cream on the brulee, but you can’t win them all. And it sure looked like the Tigers might get a chance to make something happen in the 9th. That’s what good teams do.

Anyway, before we place all the blame on Benoit, the Tigers were 1-7, 0 RBI, with RISP. Is there any team that scores less from 2B than the Tigers? Can someone look that up?

As for JV – after a long first inning which had all of us reaching for the Tums (2 BB, 35 pitches), JV righted the ship and went on to pitch 7 brilliant innings of 4 hit 2 BB ball. In fact, over the final 6 innings he only allowed 4 hits on 81 pitches while striking out 5. He’s still got a long ways to go to reestablish himself as the ace of this staff, but yesterday couldn’t have gone much better for him.

There were a few rumblings regarding Benoit on the old DTW yesterday afternoon, and I’m here to say that I think those criticisms were awash in emotion and passion, but little cause for real concern. Last night was Benoit’s first loss of the season, and he’s still a perfect 17 for 17 in save situations this year. In light of the fleeting nature of the closer position, I’m incredibly pleased with where the Tigers sit.

On to the next series.

The Tigers head to Boston for a 3 game set before a much anticipated off-day on Thursday. Boston is currently 1.5 games ahead of Detroit and the only other team in the AL with 80 wins. This series will play an important role in determining home field advantage for the playoffs.

Fister and Lester matched up back on June 21st in Detroit. It wasn’t pretty for either. Fister was drilled by Boston to the tune of 11 H and 6 ER in 3 1/3; while Lester gave up 5 ER on 9 hits in 5 2/3, but it was enough for the win.

On paper, other than David Ortiz, the Red Sox lineup looks to be pretty ho-hum. But they can all hit a bit and is as a team, the Red Sox have the second best offense in the Majors behind Detroit. In fact, Detroit (.793) and Boston (.784) enjoy handsome team OPS leads over the next highest – Bal at .752.

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A few notes:

- The Tigers are now 3 games under .500 in games that JV starts.

- Has anyone else wondered just exactly what Nelson Cruz was on during his Reggie Jackson performance in the 2011 ALCS?

-¬†Mike Aviles’ pre-swing routine makes me want to bean him from my couch.

- Dotel has been shelved for the season.

Cabrera is out of the lineup again today, and it’s not even clear if he’s avail to pinch hit. Though DD said that he expects Cabrera to return at some point in time this series. Rain in the forecast, but likely not until later today. We should be good for the 1:35 PM start.

Today’s All Out Of Sorts Lineup:

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

34 Comments

  1. Coleman

    September 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Speaking of guys left on 2nd, there’s another one for you Kevin. Leadoff double, ends the inning standing on 2nd.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      September 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      0-3 RISP so far.

      • Coleman

        September 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        Make that 0-5. 2 Doubles, still no runner has reached 3rd.

  2. StorminNorman$

    September 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Fister playing with fire…

  3. StorminNorman$

    September 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    going into today AJ is hitting .300 against RHP, and .194 vs LHP
    …so much for the righty vs lefty strategy

    • Vince in MN

      September 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      That only applies to bench players.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm

        Selectively, one might add.

  4. Vince in MN

    September 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Boston: “You guys ar having trouble scoring, let us help you out”.
    Detroit: “No thanks, not gonna fall for that old trick”.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Good one.

  5. Vince in MN

    September 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    There goes the no-hitter.

  6. Coleman

    September 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I guess we need a home run to score.

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    September 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    0-8 now RISP. You gotta think we’ll luck into one sooner or later.

    • Coleman

      September 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Finally! I thought Ellsbury was going to Coco Crisp us there.

  8. Coleman

    September 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    AlburCokey alert.

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    September 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    That play by Avila was top-notch.

    Smart base running by Hunter there. This is playoff baseball.

  10. Coleman

    September 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Good pitching today, and good win.

    • William

      September 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      good win. playoff-type atmosphere, even if it was daytime!

  11. judpma

    September 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    what a day ……COKE got a guy out…how can you possibly lose a game like that!!!

  12. judpma

    September 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    and Victor scored from first on a hit that did not leave the yard…how can you lose a game like that!

  13. judpma

    September 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    and did I mention Coke got a guy out!

  14. scott

    September 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    once we’re done with this series, nothing but chumpy teams left on the schedule.
    6 vs KC
    6 vs WSox
    3 vs Minn
    4 vs Seattle
    3 vs Miami
    22 games total. a .667 win pct would be 14-7…..so I’ll settle for 14-8 leading into the playoffs. 12 away games + 10 home games left [after Bosox series]……..

    • William

      September 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      CLE down 0-5 to the Orioles in the 8th inning. Masterson pitched one inning and was pulled with shoulder soreness. obviously, not good news for the Tribe’s playoff hopes if it’s anything serious.

      • Coleman

        September 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm

        Cleveland lost; the Royals beat King Felix and the Mariners.

    • Coleman

      September 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      KC isn’t chumpy; we are 6-7 this season against KC.

      • William

        September 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm

        KC and CLE still play each other 6 times. someone’s magic number is guaranteed to be reduced each game!

        • Smoking Loon

          September 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

          This is counteracted by DET and KC playing each other 6 times as well. I think all of this works in Cleveland’s favor.

  15. Smoking Loon

    September 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Kevin is right to gently call me out on my reaction to Benoit’s blowup against Cleveland. Uncensored fan reaction to great disappointment there.

    Without Benoit – without Benoit and Smyly – I’m not sure you call what the Tigers have had a bullpen at all. A glance at their numbers and one at the team bullpen stats – you don’t have to do any serious calculation to see how much worse the team numbers are minus Benoit and Smyly.

    Relief pitchers have it tough in terms of fan perception and criticism. Success is taken for granted unless it’s spectacular. Failure, even slight failure, lingers in memory. A couple games ago, Veras held the lead in the 8th. He also gave up two runs to narrow it to 6-5. Guess which of these two facts I’ll remember better.

    Today’s bullpen work was quite good indeed, all in all. Veras was OK and ultimately better than OK (but made me nervous). Rondon was really good (and still managed to make me nervous). Coke didn’t have time to make me nervous. Given time… well, it goes without saying.

    I guess I can’t be satisfied until I see a Tigers bullpen that doesn’t make me nervous. I don’t know if that’s really possible.

  16. Smoking Loon

    September 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    What, no reaction to the tag-Victorino DP turned by Iglesias?

    The Tigers regained the upper hand in the shutout department. 10-9. So they’ve scored 5.44 RPG in games in which they’ve scored, and given up 4.17 RPG in games in which the opponent scored, Not the most useful stat, but there you have it.

    • BobS

      September 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      Yeah, I’m surprised it took this long for someone to comment on that play. Iglesias is the real deal defensively, certainly the best glove the Tigers have had at SS since Deivi Cruz, and with some hitting skill as well. He is in the running for the best defensive SS in baseball who isn’t Andrellton Simmons.

  17. Smoking Loon

    September 2, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    The Tigers are 5 games ahead of their 2011 pace. It was on this day 2 years ago that the Tigers began a 12-game all AL Central winning streak.

  18. Coleman

    September 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Chris Perez convicted: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_.....juana-case

    And they really threw the book at him: $250 fine and ordered to speak to youngsters about drugs, which has always seemed one of the odder punishments to me. “We find you guilty of illegal drug use–now go talk to the kids!” He must have plea-bargained and ratted out his dog.

  19. StorminNorman$

    September 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports......er=ya5nbcs
    at the risk of sounding presumptuous, here’s the playoff schedule… and the first word that comes to mind is “chilly” (as in temperature in late Oct)

  20. StorminNorman$

    September 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Miggy-included lineup vs Lester
    1. CF Austin Jackson
    2. RF Torii Hunter
    3. 3B Miguel Cabrera
    4. 1B Prince Fielder
    5. DH Victor Martinez
    6. 2B Omar Infante
    7. LF Matt Tuiasosopo
    8. C Brayan Pena
    9. SS Jose Iglesias

    • StorminNorman$

      September 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Lester, a lefty, has been pretty good lately.

      vs LHP starters
      DET 21-19
      SLT 16-21
      TEX 27-15 (best record vs lefty starters)

      vs RHP starters
      DET 60-38
      STL 63-37 (best record vs righty starters)
      TEX 52-43