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?

–┬áMike 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