Game 2014: 27 Tigers 2, Astros 0

Detroit finished off its road trip in grand style, sweeping the White Sox and Royals in back-to-back series. Now without so much as a day off in between, the Tigers return home for a 7-game stand before heading out to the East Coast, also without a day off in-between. This will give the Tigers 13 total games in a row without a day off.

Home stand schedule and prospective starters:

Astros at Tigers

Monday        May 5    7:08     Max Scherzer vs Jarrod Cosart

Tuesday       May 6    7:08     Robbie Ray (L) vs Brett Oberholtzer (L)

Wednesday   May 7    7:08     Rick Porcello vs Brad Peacock

Thursday      May 8    1:08     Drew Smyly (L) vs Dallas Keuchel (L)

Twins at Tigers

Friday         May 9     7:08     Justin Verlander vs Phil Hughes

Saturday     May 10   1:08     Max Scherzer vs Kyle Gibson

Sunday       May 11   1:08     Robbie Ray (L) vs Samuel Deduno

The interest in the current Astros series of course (besides featuring two lefties for each team) is the debut of Robbie Ray, the key piece in the Doug Fister trade.

As Ray comes up of course, the key question is who will go down? It’s got to be Phil Coke, right? The story linked above points out that dumping Coke will leave the Tigers with only one lefty reliever in the bullpen, but if Ray stays, won’t Smyly be back in the pen? Besides, Coke doesn’t get out lefties any better or even as well as any of the right-handers, so I don’t consider him a lefty in the bullpen. At any rate, it would be logistically easier to simply demote Jose Ortega or Justin Miller; I expect Ortega to get the short straw this time. (The team has already made room on the 40-man roster by outrighting Jordan Lennerton to Toledo).

At 26%, the Astro–otherwise known as Bud Selig’s gift to the American League– have the 3rd highest swing-and-miss percentage in all of baseball.  Look for Max to light up the K column of the scoreboard.


When Prince Fielder was traded, there were some people (not here, to our credit) who wondered where the RBIs would come from, and who suggested that everyone would just walk Cabrera without a Big Batsman behind him.

The season is now exactly 1/6 of the way over, and the 1/6 MVP of the Tigers is Victor Martinez, who is quietly picking up the slack from the denatured Miguel Cabrera, and who turns out to be the one they all pitch around–Martinez is now 2nd in the AL with 7 intentional walks (2nd only to Prince Fielder, who has been intentionally walked more than any .690 OPS batter in history).

At any rate, in addition to leading the team with a healthy .901 OPS, Martinez has been the hardest man in baseball to strikeout–only 3 strikeouts in 109 plate appearances–and has been about perfect with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 out. Tonight he added a huge insurance home run to tilt the scales in Max’s favor in a great pitching battle, and here are the Tigers with a 6th consecutive win.



  1. Vince in MN

    May 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen. Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen. Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen. Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen. Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen. Ray will not stay. Smiley will not go to the pen.

    Repeat mantra as needed.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Ray for a few days. Drew a starter stays. Coke has reached N/A. JH months away.

      • Vince in MN

        May 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        Nice haiku.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm

          Thanks, but I think haiku is 5-7-5. I’ll work on it. I was going to make “Game Haiku” a regular feature, but it sort of fell off the table.

          • Vince in MN

            May 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

            Baseball haiku should be 4-6-3.

            • Smoking Loon

              May 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

              Good call.

              Twelve left on base
              Max Scherzer on his game
              Equals win

  2. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Ray is with the Tigers for one and possibly two spot starts, and that is all. I doubt that the Tigers have any intention of making Smyly a reliever again, now or later. It’s not the left-handedness of Coke that needs to be replaced, but there are lefties to call up from Toledo. Putkonen will be back, and that is probably the deadline on releasing Coke, though it may happen sooner, in which case Ortega and Miller might get a couple more chances to compete for the final spot. Unless the Tigers are set on a 2nd lefty. Crosby, Hardy, Robertson?

  3. Sky

    May 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I have been gone a couple of years, trying to catch up on the conversation. For what is worth I am in Houston where there is no baseball.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      They’ll be fine. Not every team has to go through rebuilding under new ownership while getting kicked over into a stronger league.

    • Coleman

      May 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Welcome back! At least they are in the AL, which means the Tigers will be coming to town.

  4. Sky

    May 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I don’t remember the last time I saw the Tigers clicking so well in so many parts of the team. Is it just me?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      No, they’re clicking. Mostly.

    • Coleman

      May 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Except the bullpen. But when you’re scoring a bunch of runs that doesn’t matter.

    • Vince in MN

      May 5, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      The “new look” is a big improvement IMO. At season’s end they may not have scored as many runs as previous Leyland editions, but they have a much more flexible/balanced offense now, with lots of ways of putting on the pressure and wearing the opposition down; they run, they steal, and they can put plays on that were virtually unheard of before this season. No more waiting for the 3-run homer, which was OK during the regular season, but that one dimensionality pretty much doomed them in the post season (over and over) and I think management finally decided to take a more nuanced approach. The defense may not be as good as hoped with the loss of Iglesias and Dirks, but is still an improvement over last year, and the starting staff is still one of the best, if not the best, despite the Fister trade. The new approach seems to be working and I for one think they are more fun to watch now too. We’ll still have plenty to worry and complain about (bullpen especially, so far), but it should be a good ride this season. Join the party and welcome back.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

        Yup, totally.

  5. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Last time Scherzer faced Houston in Detroit, J.D. Martinez hit a 3-run HR off him, AlburCokey blew the 5-5 tie, and Jose Veras got the save. Only 3 current Tigers were in the lineup. Altuve didn’t play for the Astros – I’m not sure if it was because of that RF collision in a previous Astros-Tigers game where he hurt his jaw or some other injury.

  6. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I suspect that Bryan Holaday might be behind this somehow.

  7. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    My gosh Cabrerra..hit the frickin ball!!!! Half swing no finish ground ball. To first…and everyone says Miggy is back…theres proof hes not even close to being back..

  8. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Tigers have been scoring at a rate of 3.5 per 9 inning while – key word *while* – Max is in the game.

    • PHToy in HK

      May 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Didn’t he have the most run support for a starter in the AL last year? Maybe things are just averaging out….

      • Smoking Loon

        May 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm

        Yeah, stats like that are kinda random, but fun to pull up. In the short run they just tend to confirm or deny memory of recent observations.

  9. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    May 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    In their last 10 games Tigers have scored 6.9 runs per game. Before that in their first 16 games they scored only 3.9 runs per game. So all pitchers were being abused.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      The abuse of Max continues.

  10. Coleman

    May 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    At least I was right about Max’s Ks. Unfortunately, he drew Cy Cosart.

    • PHToy in HK

      May 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Now would be a good time for Ty Cabrera to do something good.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm

        He’s a GIDP machine so far.

  11. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Miggy has more awful at bats this year than the last 4 years added together!

  12. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Mad Max was dealin right there..strike em out throw em out!!!

  13. Vince in MN

    May 5, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks Mr Gonzalez for helping our gassed pitcher get out of that inning.

  14. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    For $30 mil I guess I don’ t expect a guy to take a night off. Miggy did that tonight…3 crappy swings and a called third that was the 5th pitch of the at bat in the same place…..that was so little effort he should have sat…at least try!!!

  15. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Victor….nice insurance run!!!!

  16. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    May 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Glad to see the Fox TV crew talking good about Trenton native Bass. I grew up in next door Grosse Ile but we never played mighty Trenton in sports.

  17. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    One heck of a close play, but I think they got it right.

  18. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    A tip of the cap to Cosart. 16 groundball outs including the 2 double plays. Not to take anything away from Max, but he wasn’t facing the Detroit Tigers. But a tip of the cap to Max, too. He’s pretty good.

  19. Smoking Loon

    May 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    The Tigers might be scouting the Astros again (Veras, J.D. Martinez). Who will they be after this time?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 1:21 am

      Cosart and Bass, maybe.

  20. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Just how good is the Tigers starting pitching lately……Wow!

    Robbie Ray will atempt to get us to forget…whats-his-name tomorrow!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      I can’t remember his name, either. But he hasn’t started a game yet. Ray will beat him to it.

  21. jud

    May 5, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I am really digging this single digit in the loss column…..lets keep it for awhile longer!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      It does have a nice look to it. Let the others have their digital symmetry. I like bucking this fashion trend.

      Rebel Tigers, your record’s best
      Rebel Tigers, your pen is a mess
      Rebel Tigers, how could they know?
      Hot team, I love you so

      • Coleman

        May 5, 2014 at 11:43 pm

        Iggy played shortstop
        jamming good with Prince and Miggy
        and the Tigers from Mars…

        oh never mind I forgot about the memo about not doing fake lyrics this season.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 6, 2014 at 1:08 am

          I didn’t get that memo. I must be exempt.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 6, 2014 at 1:14 am

            His was a blast
            Off Anthony Bass
            Came on so loaded, man
            Well-hit, Wearing-White Man

  22. Coleman

    May 5, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    The great thing about a 6-game winning streak, DTW-wise, is that all the post headers across the top have the Tigers first in the score.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 1:19 am

      I like that part, too. Of course, if things should change for the Tigers, we control the scores here. Worst-case scenario, we shift to an alternate-universe Tigers blog where things are going much better. I know just the GM who could help us.

  23. jud

    May 6, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Tifers Tigets your the best
    Your nine losses tops all the rest
    Do keep up this winning!

  24. jud

    May 6, 2014 at 12:15 am

    My phone letters are so small I goof constantly as you well know….let me try that again

    Tigers Tigers you’re the best
    Those nine losses top all the rest
    Each win is a test!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 1:16 am

      I hereby sentence you to listen to “Rebel, Rebel” by David Bowie.

  25. Smoking Loon

    May 6, 2014 at 1:27 am

    This was a really good game. It’s too bad there’s not a way to both know that the Tigers will win and have some suspense at the same time, but this game was sort of like that, the next best thing.

  26. Smoking Loon

    May 6, 2014 at 1:40 am

    What I’d like to know is: Who outfighted Jordan Lennerton to Toledo?