Game 2013.160: Tigers at Marlins

93-66, 2013 AL Central Division Champions. No small sigh of relief there.

Wednesday, the Tigers clinched with a gutsy 1-0 win over the Twins. Couldn’t watch (I was sick, still am), but I’ll catch up with it after the postseason, no doubt. Must have been the nail-biter of the season.

They really had us going there, didn’t they? I can’t be the only one who had “collapse” in the back of my mind after Monday’s loss to Minnesota. A team that can come back to win from 6-0, bottom of the 9th should be capable of anything, but “anything” didn’t include giving away the next game, at least as I saw it. Now things are back on track and Tigers are in the postseason – through the front door. Not only that, but there’s also a real chance they can wrest home-field advantage for the ALDS from the A’s.

There have been grumblings (including mine) about how far the Tigers are likely to go in the postseason. This team doesn’t just have an “Achille’s heel.” It has at least 4 or 5 glaring weaknesses that I can think of offhand. However, they’ve been able to overcome them more than once for significant stretches of the season; how else would they be 93-66 right now? I think I’ll enjoy, for now, the fact that Detroit is ALDS-bound,  and save the major postseason worrying for when the postseason has actually begun. Don’t let that stop you from voicing your worry, though. I would worry if you did.

Three in NL Miami are up next to close out the regular season, day game on Sunday for the finale. I don’t think I’ll look up the forecast for this series. The options for Miami are either “nice” or “hurricane.” Haven’t heard anything about a hurricane, but I’d be the last to know. The 59-100 Marlins are a no-name, rebuilding team reputed to have loads of future potential, so let’s hope that potential stays at least a week in the future. The Tigers definitely have something to play for here. Will they? Messrs. Porcello, Sanchez, and Verlander would certainly appreciate it, as would we. Be advised that the Marlins have a better home record than the Twins and the Mets do. (But not by much.)

93-66, 27 games over .500. 14 wins are the difference between ho-hum and on top. Every win counts the same as any other in the standings, but it goes beyond subjectivity to suggest that some wins were more important and/or impressive than others. Specifying which is where it gets more subjective. I’ll give you my take on “The Big 14” in a bit, but first I’ll let the early-bird commenters think on it and make their own suggestions (and get an early start on all the other stuff there is to talk about – there’s plenty, no?).

OK, I tried hard, but could only narrow it down as far as “The Big 19.” Tell me which five don’t belong:

April 17: Tigers 2, MARINERS 1 (14)

A Hunter throw, a Fielder relay, a Pena tag and hold through collision, and a hard-earned victory is preserved.

April 26: TIGERS 10, Braves 0

A thumping of a good team that wasn’t swinging like one at the time (tough luck). Sanchez! Quite the morale boost at the time.

May 2:  Tigers 7, ASTROS 3 (14)

Laugh about the Astros now, but the first two games weren’t easy. Imagine a team that comes through in the clutch like this more often.

May 17: Tigers 2, RANGERS 1

A ray of hope in a dismal series. Porcello.

May 23: TIGERS 7, Twins 6

Impressive come from behind from a team not known for it.

June 1: Tigers 10, ORIOLES 3

On a 4-game skid, on the heels of the Valverde implosion, Tigers put the hammer down on a team they find hard to beat.

June 23: TIGERS 7, Red Sox 5

They stole this one, and considering what lurked around the corner, larceny was just what the doctor ordered.

July 8: Tigers 4, INDIANS 2 (10)

Only up on CLE by 2.5 going in, winner of 3/4 going out, a classic winner’s win. “We’re comin’ to get ya. See? Told ya.”

July 14: TIGERS 5, Rangers 0

Strong shutdown of an intimidating opponent. Verlander. Bastille Day. (Extra points if your next thought was “Caress Of Steel.”)

July 31: TIGERS 11, Nationals 1.

A torching of one of the better lefties in the game.

August 4: TIGERS 3, White Sox 2 (12)

Bouncing back from a blown save and keeping a monumental streak rolling.

August 5: Tigers 4, INDIANS 2

The traditional August 5 Chris Perez Beatdown.

August 17: TIGERS 6, Royals 5

Miggy Moment of the season… so far.

August 29:  TIGERS 7, A’s 6

Did one swing of Torii Hunter’s bat save the season? Maybe it did.

September 2: Tigers 3, RED SOX 0

Preserving a shred of dignity against the mighty BoSox. Fister.

September 6: Tigers 16, ROYALS 2

10 earned runs off of (or on) James Shields. Need I say more?

September 19: TIGERS 5, Mariners 4

Stepping up in the late innings to pick up your starter. Imagine that.

September 21: TIGERS 7, White Sox 6 (12)

The miracle game.

September 25: Tigers 1, TWINS 0

The clincher. Scherzer. What was that about one-run games?

9 of these were road games. Hint. Also, if you look into them (as opposed to looking into every game of the season, as I feel like I’ve done about 10 times over by now), you might start to bristle a bit at the term “Sunday lineup,” as I do. Lotta contributors here.

Go contributors! All of ya!

38 thoughts on “Game 2013.160: Tigers at Marlins”

  1. Tigers will be the most experienced team in the entire playoff. They’ve had a lot of playoff sucess. Time to take advantage of all that experience, even though everyone is 0-0…

  2. Don’t we still have a chance for home field going into the first round ….. so why the Sunday line-up.

  3. with the starting four pitchers the Tigers will put out there home field advantage in the first two rounds doesn’t amount to much. Tigers play in your yard and you get Sherzer and Verlander against you!!

    1. Good one.

      With the current 5 teams in playoff system, I think finishing with the best record in the AL or NL would best be rewarded, ideally, by getting an automatic bye for the ALCS/NLCS, but the downside to that is that it would amount to being sentenced to almost 2 weeks off. Not a reward. Nothing I can think of along these lines works as far as scheduling goes.

      An alternative wild card scheme: Have teams 4-7 square off in one-game playoffs immediately after the season, Games 163 and 164, if you will. Me, I think even 5 teams in is a bit generous, but if you’re going for that “keep the fans engaged late in the season” thing, go for broke. This season it would be TBR, CLE, TEX, and KCR squaring off over 3 days. None undeserving, pretty cool little mini-playoff thing.

  4. I disagree with Loon’s assessment of Miami as a team of nobodies. They are, in fact, Giancarlo Stanton surrounded by a team of nobodies.

    1. And is Placido Polanco a nobody? Past his prime though he be, no. It is better to characterize him as the veteran mentor for the youthful nobodies on the team.

      1. Yeah, Vince, I realized my error as soon as I started watching the game. Nice to see Polanco again. Stanton is a major dude, and the significance of some of the other names came back to me, too. Just haven’t been paying any attention to the Marlins all season, except to check if they’re doing better or worse than the Astros. Grudge purposes, don’t like their owner.

  5. Pinch running for Fielder in the 2nd inning! I get it – Leyland is going to manage this one like a little league game – everybody gets to play today.

    1. When he’s on, Alvarez throws world class breaking balls. He’s just not on for long enough so far. Maybe he’s got bullpen in his future, though the long-standing trend is for “big arms” there.

  6. Once again, Leyland pushing all the wrong buttons and the Tigers showing no sense of urgency going into the playoffs…Leyland starts Alvarez, who can’t throw strikes, loads the bases, then he brings in everyone’s playoff bullpen “saviour” Rick Porcello, who promptly gives up a bases-clearing double. This is Miami, for goodness sake. Looks like Leyland and the Tigers have given up on home field advantage with Oakland! As inconsistent and poorly as they played this year, the Tigers were set up to get home field advantage in the playoffs. They had Oakland coming in for 4 games, 3 with Boston and ending with three of the worst teams in baseball…Chicago, Minnesota without Maurer, and Miami. How’d they do? They were nearly swept at home by Oakland, lost 2 out of 3 at Fenway, lost 2 out of 3 to Chicago. Now they trail 3-0 to Miami. Meanwhile Boston and Oakland are winning like they are on a mission! I’ve followed the Tigers since 1966. I’ve seen the great teams of ’68 and ’84 (Those were teams on a mission!) and the all the great Tiger coaches over the years. This team has the most raw talent of any Tiger team. Yet the coaching and leadership are some of the worst I’ve seen. Beginning in 2006, the team has not lived up to they’re great potential. Yet every year they just continue to throw money at the problems. When they lose in the first round this year, I hope that Mr. Illich puts the hammer down on Leyland and all his cronies. After 8 years and all the talent that money can buy, we should have had another champion here!

    1. you act like they’ve had the best roster in MLB year-in and year-out. that has certainly not been the case.

      playoffs can be strange…who would have thought last years’ 88 win team would have gotten as hot in the playoffs as they did? I am just going to enjoy playoff baseball, not jump off the roof if we don’t win the WS. The stretch from 1988-2005 cured me of taking things for granted.

  7. want a recent indication of the Tiger offense..Oakland scored 30 against the Twins , Cleveland will score at least 30 and the Tigers managed 8 against the same Twin pitchers this month…

  8. Hernan Perez might not be able to do that thing where you “hit,” but he sure does some good stuff with the glove out there.

  9. It’s a sad commentary…for a team that went to the WS last year and lost in a sweep to a team they should have beat, to celebrate just making the playoffs!

  10. I can see where this series is going. Talk about a clown show. I’ll come back when the playoffs start. In the meantime, I’ve better things to do.

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