Game 2014.26: Tigers 9, Royals 4

1st place Detroit (16-9) wraps up the series (and the road trip) against still 2nd place Kansas City (14-15). Mention of anything related to brooms is strictly prohibited until the game is concluded. A Royals fan would bristle at the suggestion.

We have intercepted the encrypted message, and our code-breakers have deciphered it as follows:

THE LINEUP

LF Rajai Davis
2B Ian Kinsler
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
RF Torii Hunter
CF Austin Jackson
3B Nick Castellanos
C Alex Avila
SS Andrew Romine

P Justin Verlander

POSTGAME: Didn’t seem like either side played well at all today. I don’t know what’s so hard about hitting a guy holding a stick from 60 feet away, especially when he’s standing still, but time after time after time, the ball-throwers kept missing badly, except for once. Fortunately, the judges awarded more points to our side. But seriously… or even more seriously…

YOU SAID IT

Vince in MN May 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

If not everyone on offense is exactly “hot”, nobody is really “cold” either. Everyone is contributing something right now.

Ab-o-lutely.

17-9 and way out in front, homeward bound on a 5-game roll. Bring on the Astros and let’s see us some Robbie Ray, and hope that they don’t do him the disservice of slotting him in so that his (potential) second start is against the Orioles or the Red Sox.

65 Comments

  1. jud

    May 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    JV gets the A team ..that hasn’t happened since opening day, seems like!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      For what it’s worth, the “A team” has started 3 times in 25 games. 2-1, 21-13.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

        The “Alex Gonzalez A team” was 2-1, 13-11.

  2. jud

    May 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Although one could make a valid arguement that if its the A team Holaday should be catching the way he has been going…

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      That “A team” is 1-1, 8-7.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        Thus, all the various A teams have gone 5-3, scoring 42 and allowing 31. The various B teams have gone 11-6, scoring 79 and allowing 68.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

          A teams are 3-1 in one-run games. B teams are 3-1 in one-run games.

  3. TIGERS RULE

    May 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Can anyone remember the last time Miggy hit a dinger?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      I think so. Without looking it up, I believe it was against the White Sox in Detroit. Had HR & 2B that game, HR was to RF. I think it caused me to chortle “Miggy is back.” He’s not all the way back, obviously, but I’m pleased to see that the squandering of RBI opportunities is on the decrease.

      • TIGERS RULE

        May 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        Just being sarcastic.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        I think I noticed in 2013 how poorly Miggy was hitting in JV starts. What about this season?

        .417, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 4 doubles, 3 BB, 0 GIDP in 6 games. 10 for 24.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

          But you’re still right, TIGERS RULE. Over a week, 8 games, *should* be considered a long time for Cabrera. The long flyball outs, productive though they may be, *still* aren’t going out or getting down, by and large.

  4. Jim EggersUSMC

    May 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I have been watching Miggy and I think I have an educated guess as to what he is doing “wrong”. If any of you golf, you know that if you pull off the ball, it will not elevate, you hit a bouncer or a low line drive. That is what I see him doing. Reason: “core” surgery is still having an effect on him when he swings, thus pulling off the ball. Of course, as my wife says: what the hell do you know!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      I can go for that, but on the other hand, there’s too much elevation and not enough drive to the opposite field for Cabrera right now. What’s your theory there?

  5. jud

    May 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Exactly what I thought Jim and Loon….too much elevation and not enough drive!!

  6. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Kinsler makes it hard to criticize him for being too pull-happy. Hunter makes it difficult to criticize him for being a hacker. Torii didn’t cash in there, of course, but I wouldn’t blame it on hacking. (But there will be a hacking AB at some point today, no doubt about it.)

  7. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I find Aoki very annoying at the plate.

    I wonder if Hunter gets “out of zone” credit for his catch. He should. Reports of his demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

  8. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Nick is the new Magglio.

  9. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I have a hankering for a no-hitter from Justin, not in spite of but because of Butler and Perez in the lineup against him.

  10. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Andy who?

    I’m not listening, but I’m sure someone said that Hunter’s bat died a hero. Gotta keep scratching ‘em in against Vargas. He’s good, I’ll take it.

  11. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Anyone catch Alex’s smooth moves on the second pitch to Aoki? I think he could catch in his sleep. He’s been known to bat that way.

    JV has walked Aoki twice. Wonder why he’s being so finesse there. Probably a good reason, but you just want to see him blow away guys sometimes.

  12. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    If not everyone on offense is exactly “hot”, nobody is really “cold” either. Everyone is contributing something right now.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Good observation.

  13. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, nice 4th inning, 3 runs after 2 quick outs. Romine and Davis get it started – great combo to have on base at the same time – and Miggy delivers. In between, Kinsler’s hustle pays off again.

  14. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    The K on Butler was a Verlander Classic. I don’t think there was anything accidental about the first three missing. The walk to Gordon wasn’t quite so classic, but if he has Perez in his pocket today, things are looking good. On paper, it’s going to look like JV didn’t have command. Pitch count is good, I’d say command of what he wants to do is fine.

  15. jud

    May 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Holy Avila!!!!

  16. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Perfect call on the SB by Jackson. I wasn’t predicting it, just hoping hard. No doubt that it flustered Vargas, you could see it.

    Avila is looking mighty credible at the plate these days. He swung at ball four once, but got what he was after next. Sweet.

    Can’t figure Romine out, other than to say he’s inconsistent (thinking ofhe first 2 AB). First he’s looking helpless, then he’s lining singles to the outfield. He’s got a job for the next 10 years if he can do more of the latter.

    I think Dyson is going to win today’s defensive CF contest, but I think Tigers hitters often have much to do with these results.

  17. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Go Justin, 5 innings, pitch count negligible. Nice play Romine on the foul popup to run down the 3rd out, gotta battle the sun over there today, looks like.

  18. Only Tihger Fan in Mississippi

    May 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    At the game and it is a beaut!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      It woulda been great to have you witness the no-no. Ah well. Great game anyway. Glad you’re there. Feel free to bring us an in-person report by and by.

  19. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Vargas out, Collins in for the 6th, 3 up and 3 down, so what. Still time to tacky-tack and buggy whip the KC bullpen. How many times was there any hope of that in 2013? I want to see some more bunt singles, stolen bases, and 3-run homers. For Detroit, that is.

    Maybe it would disincline opponents to IBB Martinez if Jackson was batting #5 rather than Hunter?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Racky-tack. Where is spellcheck when I need it?

  20. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Holy cats, has JV thrown even one strike to Aoki today? Geez.

  21. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I don’t know about JV and Infante, but that near-HBP wiped out *my* composure.

  22. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Rats. Leave it to Butler. Way too much plate.

  23. Coleman

    May 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Billy Effin Butler, who would have guessed?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Before Butler ruined it, I wanted to joke that JV appeared to take great comfort in Aoki’s constant presence at 1B.

  24. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Inning of the funky ABs. Castellanos coulda had a walk, but in the end, he done good battle. Avila got a bad call on the check swing, but he didn’t have to swing through the next one, eh? Castelannos was lucky to have not struck out, while Avila was unlucky *to* have, sort of.

  25. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    OK, maybe Justin’s command isn’t so great. He lost interest in the complete game shutout pretty suddenly. This Royals 7th is a bit of a shame for the perfectionist.

  26. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I am not pleased. Not at the point where a 4-run lead seems safe, not even hardly.

  27. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Alciedes Escobar saved a much bigger inning.

    Even before the WP made it men on second and third, the situation with Miggy up was one where KC should have been very afraid to pitch to him. Teams aren’t now. Instead, Victor gets the IBB, and… Torii makes ‘em pay! More of that please, until Cabrera is again the most dangerous hitter on the planet.

  28. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Verlander looked kinda done in the 7th, true, but when the lead got bigger, I was still half-expecting to see him back out there for the 8th.

  29. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Country Breakfast is Country Strong. Hate that guy.

  30. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I think the bullpen has given up more doubles than the starters in fewer innings.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      But Krol is forgiven. Only one XBH is what we call a clean inning.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        May 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

        Starters: 130 hits in 157 innings. 37 doubles.

        Relievers: 80 hits in 77 innings. 19 doubles.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 4, 2014 at 6:30 pm

          More per inning, then. I was afraid it was as bad as I exaggerated. But this is:

          HOME RUNS
          Starters: 10 in 157 innings
          Relievers: 10 in 77 innings

  31. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    9th inning. Holland falls off the mound. If you bunted to his right, you’d get a hit every time.

  32. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Avila doesn’t want to raise expectations too drastically.

  33. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Woo-hoo! Keep that average above .225, Romine, and no one gets hurt.

  34. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    OK, that was ugly, Rajai. 4 for 6 would’ve looked much more impressive in the box score.

  35. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    The ever-popular Alburquerque leadoff walk.

    • Vince in MN

      May 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      31-pitch inning from AlbKK, pretty ugly. Having a 6-run lead makes bullpen management so much easier though.

      KC looked mightily over-matched in this series.

  36. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Coke can take Alburquerque with him. I like a bullpen that prevents runs. Rumor has it that in the major leagues, you need a fastball. How he escapes without getting bombed is a little too nerve-wracking for me.

  37. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I know Jarrod Dyson was being played shallow, but as long as that ball hung up there, was it *that* hard to get to, find, and catch? Too leery of the approaching wall? Another data point in favor of Hunter no longer being master of his domain. The idea of moving Hunter to LF and Davis to RF may not be realistic. Davis does has an arm, but his throws home leave something to be desired.

  38. TIGERS RULE

    May 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    If jud and I notice that Miggy is not taking a full swing in his AB’s, it must be apparent to others. He has not fully recovered from his surgery!

  39. Smoking Loon

    May 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Why does Coleman always get the Astros? I smell a rat.

    • Coleman

      May 4, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      You do what you gotta do. I’m looking for that 2nd consecutive Game Post League ring.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

        You sound as ruthless as Torii Hunter. We’re taking it up a notch here. It’s go time.

        Um.. just noticed that you get the Astros in June as well.

        Kevin, I’m feeling a little under the weather. I can probably make it through the upcoming Houston series – Coleman offered to swap with me – but after that I might be incapacitated and unable to resume until May 16.

        And if that doesn’t work.. well, Coleman, you get Boston/Oakland/Boston after the Astros, first 7 on the road. Good luck with that.

  40. jud

    May 4, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    on the bright side AVILA Went 1-5 with only 3 K’s…Monday Rod and Mario wil be lavishing praise on AA……And further on the bright side Romine can hit .225 all year if he keeps making the plays he is making at SS so far….as far as Miggy goes he still ain’t right, but he is knocking in runs and playing solid D…..

    Last year the Astros’s were the Tigers take off point for a great season…so maybe again!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Didn’t realize Avila struck out three times. Home runs make you forget.

      Yeah, I think the Tigers jumped from 15-11 to 19-11 first time out against Houston last season. Counterfeit victories for Coleman that cost me the crown, as far as I’m concerned. Those were exhibition games against a AAA team. Relative to the Game Post League only, of course.

  41. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Last time Scherzer faced the Astros in Detroit:

    http://www.baseball-reference......5150.shtml

    Many items of interest. Most striking to me is that, while Houston has obviously gone through some personnel changes in the meantime, the Tigers lineup that game… well, have a look.

  42. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    May 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Just back from the three game series at KC. We were planning to leave around the 7th inning during yesterday’s game to make the 10 hour drive back home. However, the baseball gods would never forgive me for leaving in the middle of a Verlander no-hitter so we stayed until the 8th inning; we got home at 2AM this morning. I must also say the KC fans are a class act and wonderful hosts so I strongly recommend a weekend at Kaufman Stadium for all. They are very good natured with Tiger fans and we do have our friendly jabs back and forth through out the game. However…if you think being a DTW fan following the Tigers is a tuff job, try being a Royal fan. Because of the pre-season press on the Royals, they were all hyped up for a great season that to date has been a failure. Many are ready to become 2014-only Tiger fans. Also…should you make it to Kaufman Stadium, take time to visit the Royals Hall of Fame which is free of charge. Lots of good stuff including George Brett’s pine tar bat!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for the report!

      The Royals have a good team and are still to be considered Detroit’s chief rival in the AL Central, in my view. I sure enjoyed three “easy” wins and hope for more, but Kansas City isn’t going away.

  43. Vince in MN

    May 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....erton.html
    This opens up a spot on the 40-man for Ray. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Coke is still on the 40-man.