Game 2014.21: Twins 5, Tigers 3

The Tigers got their Central Division road trip off to a great start with a 10-6 win in last night’s opener. The Tigers pounded out 15 hits, including multiple hit games by Rajai Davis, Torii Hunter, Nick Castellanos, and Miguel Cabrera.

Detroit will try to keep the bats hot against Minnesota starter Phil Hughes (1-1, 6.43), who has had his problems with the aforementioned Miguel Cabrera, to put it mildly. Cabrera is a career 14-for-25 (yes, that’s .560) with 5 home runs against Hughes. I’m going with Miggy as my Player of the Pregame pick, and maybe we can put to rest the conversation about his slump.

The Tigers hand the ball to Anibal, who is still looking for his first W of 2014.

Alex Avila is day-to-day after bruising his shin sliding into an out at home in the 2nd inning last night, and will be replaced in the lineup by Bryan Holaday. Holaday had a couple of bad throws last time out, one of which he was interfered with on. That was the last time since 2006 that a game ended on a strikeout/interference double play (and by the way, interference calls are not challengeable).

What Holaday did do well, according to Max Scherzer, was calling a good game. Max raved about Holaday’s “great plate-sequencing.”

“He’s a young catcher who does his homework,” Scherzer said. “He’s really prepared. I really can trust him.

Today’s Plate-Sequencing Lineup:

  1. Kinsler 2B
  2. Hunter RF
  3. Cabrera 1B
  4. V. Martinez DH
  5. Jackson CF
  6. Castellanos 3B
  7. Romine SS
  8. Holaday C
  9. Davis LF

Postgame

In the first inning Miguel Cabrera continued his dominance of Phil Hughes by doubling in Torii Hunter. When he hustled to take third and was sacrificed in by Victor Martinez, this game had the look of one of those good ones. It was not to be. Hughes mowed through the Tiger lineup for the next 5 innings: in inning 2-6 he gave up one hit and no walks, with 5 strikeouts.  When the hapless Jose Ortega couldn’t find the strike zone, the game became another chapter in the blowpen saga, but the reality is that the bats couldn’t get going either. There were last hurrah attempts in the 8th and 9th, but the Twins held on.

Anibal Sanchez’ 3rd inning injury, originally called a blister, is now being called a laceration, and has landed him on the 15-day DL. Justin Miller boomerangs back from Toledo to replace him on the roster. I am assuming that this also means that Drew “Back in the Starting Rotation” Smyly will take Sanchez’ next start.

Thumbs Down:

  • Sanchez/Ortega/Coke. The Tiger pitchers were playing coy with the strike zone, and ended up walking 8 batters in 7 innings.
  • Bryan Holaday. I won’t blame his “sequencing” for the pitching woes, but his arm went wacky again, this time leading to a run on a bunt attempt.
  • Brad Ausmus. It’s not the obvious issue, which is why go to Ortega instead of Smyly. I assume as soon as Sanchez went down, Smyly became a Starter again. But why pinch hit Alex Avila for Holaday to lead off the 8th inning? I’m sure Jim “never pinch hit for the catcher” Leyland will do some advising on this. But pulling the catcher to put in a slowster .220 pinch-hitter to lead off just didn’t make sense, and of course that left Avila to end the game with a hapless at bat against the lefty closer.

Thumbs Up

  • Torii Hunter. In the 8th with 2 on Hunter caught replacement 3rd baseman Florimon napping at 3rd and put down a perfect bunt single, loading the bases for Miguel Cabrera (who should probably get a thumbs down for the resulting at bat). It was a brilliant play and well-executed.
  • Al Alburquerque. Really? He did give up a bomb that could have cost the game if Cabrera had managed to get a run home. But his slider was devastating (4 strikeouts in 6 batters), and he didn’t walk anyone (and the Twins lead the AL in drawing walks). There is a glimmer of hope for Al-Al.

46 Comments

  1. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Hollady has been catching ang hiting just fine. Throwing needs a lot if improvement..Doesn’t matter how good he does sitting behind Daddys boy!

  2. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Nice start!!! Run those bases!!!

  3. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    We don’t need this!!!…Sanchez!

  4. Brad in ct

    April 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Why is Sanchez out?

    • TIGERS RULE

      April 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Blister on the middle finger of the throwing hand.

  5. TIGERS RULE

    April 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Get Ortega out of there, NOW!

  6. Coleman

    April 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Glad we scored early.

  7. TIGERS RULE

    April 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Things are about to go from bad to worse!

    • TIGERS RULE

      April 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Looks like this might be this weeks throw away game.

      • Coleman

        April 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Nobody throws one away quite like Phil Coke.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm

          Because there’s always something to be said in his defense. He refuses to have a clean meltdown.

  8. StorminNorman$

    April 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Thus far DET’s bullpen has been more of a “blower upper” than a “fixer upper”…pretty sad

  9. Mark

    April 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Coke is ok with it. The first 3 runs he gave up weren’t his.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      I can see that. Also, Ortega was totally thrown off his game by inheriting a 3-2 count from Sanchez. I’m blaming Sanchez’s finger for this one. Lousy finger.

  10. TIGERS RULE

    April 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Another managing snafu by Smokey Jr. ….. Smyly should have been brought in when Sanchez went down, especially when you have no one else left in the blowpen!

    • Smoking Loon

      April 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Yes, why NOT Smyly? I’m sure there’s an explanation, not sure if I’ll buy it.

      • TIGERS RULE

        April 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        There is NOT a valid explanation, other than incompetent management.

  11. StorminNorman$

    April 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    last 50 pitches by DET bullpen, just 14 strikes

    • Smoking Loon

      April 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      At this point the Tigers don’t even have a bullpen. They might as well invite fans from the stands to pitch after the starter exits.

  12. Coleman

    April 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    If this is the last time we see Phil Coke take the mound then it is all worth it.

    • StorminNorman$

      April 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      oh i’d love to see Coke on the mound again numerous times…for some other AL Central team.

  13. StorminNorman$

    April 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    4 runs and only one hit (and that a single)…that’s gotta look weird to fans at other stadium’s box score listings

  14. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I never lost confidence in Coke. He’s my new hero. At least until the next pitch he throws.

  15. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I am amazed that opposing teams have yet to figure out the simplest and most effective strategy against Alburquerque: Don’t swing. At anything. Ever.

  16. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Miggy two terribke pitches swing at both……wow…

  17. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Cabrera is in a big slump of judgment. Big fail there. He’s swinging early at anything and everything.

  18. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Ortega..36 pitches 11 strike…why did he get to throw 25 frickin balls…poor managing…
    Why not Smyly..immediately…poor managinf….
    Using Coke at all…poor General manager work!!!!

    the management group is getting worse and worse

  19. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Hey lets bring Ortega up..
    Ok send Coke down…oh no that might hurt his feelings..
    Lets send Miller down…why he is doing ok…well we don’t care about him…
    Lets bring Ortega up he is throwing 96..just that every pitch is a bal…well thats ok if its 96!!!

    stupid stupid stupid and stupider!

  20. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Ah well. Something to be said for a 9th inning with chances.

  21. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    This totally sucks…give runs away constantly…can manufacture runs but can’t score any…hey Asmus the party is over…you u better get better…you talk a good game but thats about it!!! How about managibg a good game…DD you are pAying for your sloppy work you did and you are paying for the sloppy work you didn’t do tgis off season!

  22. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    That play by Coke on the tapper down the 1B line – nice play all around. That should be in an instructional video.

    In spite of everything, this one remained within reach. That the Twins didn’t just blow it wide open has to be something of a disappointment to their fans. I’m sure we’d feel that way if the Tigers had escaped 5-3.

    Watching Al-Al riddle batters for strikeouts, I reflected, not for the first time, that it’s going to look good in his stats but not take the HR by Pinto (in this instance) back. Seems to be the Al-Al story for 2013-2014. Slider still great, runs still score.

  23. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    When you have the worst blowpen in all of baseball then you take Miller who wasn’t much of the problem and send him down and keep all the slugs who are the problem…DD this is on you!

    • Smoking Loon

      April 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Miller didn’t impress me with the actual pitching, though I can’t complain about the results. To give someone else a try, sending Miller down was really the only option. As in options. Aside from Krol, maybe, who is certainly not going to be sent down to Toledo to make room for the latest tryout.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        Anibal even got Miller back for you, jud. What a guy.

  24. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Castellanos looked like felt a bit too invincible at the plate today. Could be Kelly at 3B in tomorrow’s ever-popular Sunday lineup.

    • Coleman

      April 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      They may be saving Kelly for the bullpen.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        Or Castellanos.

  25. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Accoaeding to Asmus Coke piched great…after he gave up all the runs…so now you see the bigger problem….Asmus the evaluator!!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      April 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      I don’t have a big problem with that. Once he started throwing some strikes, I guess it would be fair to say that Coke did pitch fairly well. Not in time, though. I don’t expect a manager to act like a fan and throw a guy off the team in a fit of pique or go out of his way to criticize the performance. It’s not like Ausmus is going to announce publicly that Coke has used up his last chance, even if/when that is so.

  26. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    21 games, and while things haven’t always gone our way, the closest thing to a bad game was the 11-6 drubbing by the Angels, and even that wasn’t so bad. The bullpen’s recurrent ineffectiveness is surprising. Dumb luck alone would seem to make some kind of really encouraging outing inevitable soon. It can’t go on like this, can it?

    I think the Tigers are one Miguel Cabrera away from starting to really roll.

    • Jim EggersUSMC

      April 27, 2014 at 1:59 am

      Maybe he is just waiting for the “Triple Crown” races to start… next Saturday…

  27. jud

    April 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    No matter how bad things look a lot of the time at least there always seems to be a Verlander or a Scherzer coming up soon…..

    • Coleman

      April 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Especially on a Sunday.

  28. Smoking Loon

    April 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Anibal Sanchez has yet to put anything together beyond “almost,” so I’m not much concerned by a short time without him. I’m glad he cooperated with my plan to get Drew Smyly back in the rotation, though it’s unfortunate that he didn’t get my last-minute memo about wanting Smyly in the bullpen now.

  29. jud

    April 27, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Miller wasn’t great, but he wasn’t that bad…..he comes back up Fine…The more options to throw out there on a given night the better ..someone has to be able to get batters out..

  30. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Thumbs up for Coleman’s postgame. The bunt by Torii Hunter is definitely one of those things that gets overshadowed in a game like this, but it was great and deserves mention.