Game 2014.18: White Sox 6, Tigers 4

YOU SAID IT

Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi April 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm

I think he meant “Julio.”

Andre Rienzo vs. Drew Smyly in the penultimate game of the series. May the real Drew Smyly please stand up. No more talk about “rust,” now.  May the sweet swings of Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila continue, so that we can move to worrying about/picking on someone else for a change. May the bullpen not be plagued with sudden and retroactive elbow inflammations like they were last night.

Interesting times, interesting opportunities for new additions J.D. Martinez, Danny Worth, and – it now appears – Justin Miller. Andrew Romine is suddenly getting on base and making a difference when he does, and his defense at SS, well… do you suppose it could get to the point where the Tigers have to make a decision down the road? You know what I’m taking about. That’s optimistic at this point, but Worth mentioning. (Although it’s not Worth I’m alluding to.) I might have to get over my dislike of Rajai Davis’s approach at the plate. He’s getting on base somehow, and when he does, watch out, cause it’s a whole new ballgame that we Tigers fans must still have a hard time quite believing. And Nick Castellanos, man, is that guy gonna be good. He’s already good.

These White Sox series are killers, especially weekday ones. I’m blacked out of (live) Sox games on mlb.tv, can’t watch live (but love listening), and there’s just no time to watch the game after the game and also write on a deadline. Be my eyes. Tell me what you’ve seen this series, and what you’re seeing.

POSTGAME: You could say that Drew Smyly and Andre Rienzo pitched to a draw. The Tigers got a lot of bang for very little buck against Rienzo, as they continue to struggle against right-handed starters. They haven’t really put the hurt on one yet, have they? Smyly had another long 1st inning and overall couldn’t be called unhittable, was indeed often hit hard, but he settled down and started to rack up the Ks. Say what you will about pitch count – I say it was a mistake to lift him after 6. You can’t trust this bullpen with a 2-run lead for 3 full innings. You just can’t.

Nascent Tiger killer Jose Abreu hit another one out to CF, but the real question is how you can let negative-BA Paul Konerko go 3 for 4. The Tigers offense only had two lively innings, but we can take heart in how fast they can go from 0 to 60. It seemed to take about 10 seconds for 4 runs and the lead in the 4th, with a nicely set up 2-run single from J.D. Martinez (first RsBI as a Tiger) and a first-pitch two-run HR for Austin Jackson. However, the White Sox also have an offense capable of quick explosion, and explode they would.

The game turned on Evan Reed’s walk to Tyler Flowers to load the bases in the 7th. Missing with four straight fastballs – to Flowers – sorry, folks, that puts Phil Coke last night to shame. Ian Krol would have been better served risking the walk to Marcus Semien. Instead, he served up the grand slam. I was deflated, but didn’t feel like it was over. Justin Miller ended the parade of bullpen failure over the last two games with quiet effectiveness (and maybe a bit of help from the Sox and the home plate ump), and now the bottom of the 9th could mean something.

And it did. The Tigers didn’t even score, let alone win, but how close they came made it all worthwhile. Clutch hitting, smart baserunning, and outs that were hit hard, including J.D.’s home run bid to CF. Also worth remembering, amidst the gnashing of teeth over the bullpen, are the fine plays over the first 3 innings to erase baserunners, two involving Smyly and one a very athletic CS at third courtesy of Alex “The Bat” Avila.  Gotta call it a good game.