Game 2014: 28 Tigers 11, Astros 4

Thanks to a real gem by Max Scherzer and a couple of clutch hits by Rajai Davis and Victor Martinez, the Tigers are now on a 6-game winning streak, and have the best record in MLB. How about that?

What better time to debut new 22-yr old left-hander Robbie Ray, the main piece of the Doug Fister trade (Fister is scheduled to make his own season debut on Friday).


As we predicted yesterday, Jose Ortega was optioned to Toledo to make room for Ray, which was indeed the predictable move, no matter how much we want Phil Coke to disappear. In case you don’t remember Ortega, he last pitched in the last Tiger loss, which was oh so long ago.

In case you missed yesterday’s postgame, I pointed out that Victor Martinez is quietly putting together a team MVP type of season. Among his accomplishments: he has been the hardest player in baseball to strike out, with what is now 4 Ks in 113 plate appearances. What I didn’t know was that the called 3rd strike he took last night was his first called 3rd strike since May 21 2013. Wow  (courtesy of tweet from Jason Beck).

Tonight’s You Can Call Me Ray Tiger Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V. Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF
  6. Jackson, CF
  7. Castellanos, 3B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Worth, SS

J.D. gets the start against his former team.


That makes 7 in a row, and the Tigers are still in single digits in the loss column. Despite the 9th inning foolery, the game was great for Detroit on both sides of the field. Robbie Ray pitched well and was composed. He only gave up 5 hits, 2 of them infield hits, and nothing hit really hard; an awful lot of routine outfield flies and, even better, only one walk. Nothing like a rookie who is not afraid of the strike zone. Yes, it was just the Houston Astros, but last time I checked they were a Major League Baseball team. Thumbs up Robbie The Railroad.

Miguel Cabrera also had his best game of the season, with the rare long ball (3), on 4 hits, 1 of which was an RBI single through the right-side hole created by the shift. I don’t foresee an awful lot of shifting on Cabrera in the future.

Let’s do this again tomorrow, shall we?


  1. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Corrected lineup:
    1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-4, double vs. Oberholtzer)
    2. Torii Hunter, RF
    3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
    4. Victor Martinez, DH
    5. J.D. Martinez, LF
    6. Austin Jackson, CF
    7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
    8. Alex Avila, C
    9. Danny Worth, SS

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks–I thought maybe Ausmus was being innovative with the 8-man lineup (actually just some cut-and-paste trouble).


    May 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I have noticed that the circus has not come to town anywhere as often as last year.

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      I think you are right…the defense may not be very good, but they don’t clown show it, like a pitcher who gives up a lot of hits and walks but gets out of it without many runs.

  3. jud

    May 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I have to work tonight so I have to TIVO…you guys keep an eye on this youngster for me will ya!

  4. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Good job getting out of that one kid!

  5. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Who tries to steal 3rd with Cabrera at bat? Does this mean there is no faith in Cabrera?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Torii with a little psychology there. It worked.

  6. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    The best hitter in baseball is at bat with a fast runner in scoring position (even a single gets him home) and you have the runner try to steal third – dumb. With another player at bat maybe, but not Cabrera. So it ends up costing an out and a run.

    • Vince in MN

      May 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Jackson’s steal of 3B with Worth up was a good play, and not just because it worked.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      He’s not the best hitter in baseball right now. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, too bad. It was the 1st inning.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 6, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        OK, he’s the best hitter in baseball again. Volatility in the market.

  7. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    R3L2O success…these guys seem better at this so far than last year’s version.

    • Vince in MN

      May 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Fewest strikeouts in baseball, they are putting the ball in play. Don’t know what the reason for this is (Joyner?), or if it is just a temporary fluke that will even out later, but so far it is a good thing.

      • Vince in MN

        May 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm

        The way I look at it is that, in general, for every four more ABs where a ball is in play instead of a K, one of those should be a hit.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 7, 2014 at 12:35 am

          Or 3 of 10, since the current league BABAIP is .297.

          Teamwise, the Tigers are striking out at 83% of league average, while their BABIP is 107% of league average. In 100 AB, they strike out 3.3 times less than average and get 1.05 more hits out of that. Their BABIP% is 103.8% of league average. So you’d figure that their BA should be something like (3.46 x 3.8 + 100) or 113% of league average. It’s actually 112%. All this before this evening’s 18 or 39 hits, whatever it was.

          There’s probably something wrong with the above, but I like the way it looks.

  8. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    2nd and 3rd with one out and Cabrera up, shouldn’t Ausmus try a double steal here?

  9. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I like Altuve.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

      He’s magnificent.

  10. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Victor again!

  11. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    One run wasted by trying to steal 3rd, one run gained by stealing 3rd.

  12. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    How is that not an error on Kinsler?

    • Vince in MN

      May 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm


      • Smoking Loon

        May 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        Astros broadcasters and I had the same question. Additionally, how is that an earned run against Ray?

        • Vince in MN

          May 6, 2014 at 9:28 pm

          No error, run is earned. Technically Fowler advanced two bases on a ground ball (it hit the ground, think of it as bouncing before Kinsler fielded it) which resulted in a force out at second base. Since the lead runner did not reach second safely, there is no error. If Carter had run to the dugout and not touched first base, the Tigers could have gotten credit for a GiDP.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 6, 2014 at 9:32 pm

            It didn’t bounce, except off of Kinsler’s glove on a thoroughly catchable ball. In my initial confusion, I thought the infield fly rule was in force.

            • Vince in MN

              May 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm

              It is treated the same way as if say, Kinsler knocked down a line drive, recovered enough to make a play at second. The umps have to call the infield fly. In this case the ball was well into the outfield, so that was unlikely.

              • Smoking Loon

                May 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm

                I should clarify that the charged run isn’t my beef. I’m not much on earned versus unearned – they’re all runs. Also not much on charging them to whoever – to me, if you allow them to score, they are yours.

                Thing is, Kinsler dropped an airborne ball that was playable for an out right there. That is an error. The batter reached first base on this error. The runner at third scored on this error. Kinsler had no “fielders choice” in these matters once the ball was dropped. Getting the force at second doesn’t erase the error. In my view. It was a bad play by the usually excellent Kinsler. For which he ends up with a chance and an assist, but no error on a clear error. It doesn’t strike me as being the same as when an IF bobbles a ground ball and the defense settles for one out or the other instead of a DP.

                If Kinsler’s throw is dropped by Worth at 2B, all safe, is there still only one error on the play (Worth’s)? If Kinsler’s throw sails away, is he charged only with a throwing error on the play?

                I see two chances for Kinsler, one error, one assist.

                Say an OF drops a fly ball and then throws out the batter at 2B. No error? What is it, a groundball out to CF, 8-4 putout? Or a single for the batter, hit against charged to pitcher, batter out advancing, all credit to the CF for his great assist?

              • Vince in MN

                May 7, 2014 at 7:05 am

                Basically, there is never an error charged on a play that gets a force out (the batter reached 1st base on a force out at second, not an error), so also 8-4 in your above outfield example is correct (no error). If Worth drops the ball, one error, on Worth (or Kinsler if the ball sails into left field). It IS the same as if an infielder bobbles a ball and only gets a force on what should have been a DP – no error charged there either.

  13. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    A little Klown show on the Carter popup.

  14. Smoking Loon

    May 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    In 3 batters faced, Reed induces more DPs than the rest of the bullpen combined in 27 games.

  15. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Nice hitting there by Miggy beating the shift.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Yeah, Victor almost beat it, too. All this shift stuff we’re seeing… seems to get beat a lot.

  16. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Was just watching the end of the Giants-Pirates game, Marte just got thrown out trying for a walk-off inside-the-park home run. Then the call was overturned. I’m guessing that’s a first.

  17. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I think Ray did pretty well tonight. He seemed to start losing it a bit in the 5th and pulling him in the 6th after what will surely become known as the Kinsler Drop was a good idea. If we can get a decent 5+ innings out of him over another start or two until Sanchez is back, that should bode well. Of course he will be facing real major league hitters next time out, so we’ll have to see how he handles the tougher competition before getting a real idea of his readiness.

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Agreed. He has good composure for a youngster.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm

        He pitched like it was just another start. Good job.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 6, 2014 at 11:33 pm

          I also agree with Coleman that Ray shouldn’t be given an “Astros markdown” for his performance.

  18. tbran

    May 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Big Gene would’ve sent both Castellanos and Ingvilla home on that one.

  19. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Anybody think we still need to rush right out and sign Stephen Drew? Frankly I am surprised there are still some rumors floating out there. The Worth/Romine tandem seems perfectly acceptable to me.

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      I was just thinking that Worth is doing pretty well for a guy who gets no playing time. And Romine has been great with the glove, and can manage to get himself on base, and can run when he does. And we have Iglesias coming back someday (presumably). I am not really interested in Drew.

      • Vince in MN

        May 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm

        Danny Worth, firstbaseman, may not be such a hot idea though.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

          The Drew rumors are not such a surprise but more of a tiresome thing to me. I don’t have any interest in Drew irrespective of the eventual return of Iggy Stardust.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 6, 2014 at 10:50 pm

            Yes, Worth at 1B seemed an odd choice. Rajai unavailable to the OF for some reason?

  20. tbran

    May 6, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    With a lead of this size, I’m expecting to hear that Coke is warming up in the pen.

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      This one is Coke-proof

  21. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I kind of like Darin Downs – a decent LOOGY. I wish we would have kept him instead of Coke.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Didn’t really understand letting Downs go myself. Unfortunately, I think the situation might have ended up the same.

  22. Vince in MN

    May 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Is this the part of the game where, with a ten run lead, our bullpen comes in to throw batting practice?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      You are correct sir. Always disappoints me to see this.

  23. Coleman

    May 6, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Justin Miller, also known as Right-handed Phil Coke.

  24. tbran

    May 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Kind of the Tigers to throw some BP to the “Stros” but this is ridiculous. This guy is Coke-esque.

  25. tbran

    May 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    After this outing, we ought to rename Miller “Tab.”

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Ha ha. He can’t be *that* bad. Let’s call him Diet Coke (yes, many people like Diet Coke… then again, many people feel Miller should stick around for a bit, so let’s roll with it).

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Well then we’ve got to call Smyly Mountain Drew.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 6, 2014 at 10:46 pm

        He does seem a bit caffeinated when he’s out there, though not in an obvious way. He’s not in 4 Red Bulls and a carton of No-Doz Grant Balfour territory.

    • PHToy in HK

      May 6, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      I prefer Coke Zero – this name can be interpreted in several different ways.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 6, 2014 at 11:37 pm

        Well, in any case, I don’t think we can start calling him Miller High Life just yet.

        Al-Al can be Fresca. (Anybody remember Fresca?) He quenches your thirst, but not without an aftertaste.

        • Coleman

          May 6, 2014 at 11:41 pm

          I guess Putkonen is the most obscure reliever, so he can be Mr. Pibb.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 7, 2014 at 12:52 am

            I like it. Vernor’s awaits an assignment.

  26. jud

    May 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I am glad Cabrerra paid attention to all the ragging we , ok me, did on him last night and actually put in some major effort tonight…now lets keep it up!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 6, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      It didn’t really seem like more effort. It was just happening for him, which usually looks pretty effortless. I see more effort at the plate in the games where he “doesn’t show up,” so to speak.

  27. jud

    May 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    I saw Ray three times in spring training..twice in games and one back field pretend game..he pitched just like he did tonight..I kept thinking he is a cross between Fister and Smyly even though he is quite a but shorter than both. He definitely has Fisters build….he is the real deal…not because of tonight, but you can see how he carries himself..nice variety of pitches and speeds like Smyly and Fister both….DD maybe you did really good!!!

    • Coleman

      May 6, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      I think every statement Dombrowski has ever made about the trade has said that Ray was the guy they wanted. He wasn’t rated as a top 100 prospect, but somebody saw something they liked. Maybe these guys know what they are doing.

  28. Kevin in Dallas

    May 7, 2014 at 1:06 am

    We may not have another streak like this all season. Enjoy it.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 7, 2014 at 1:25 am

      We may not need to. It could reach 25. Yes, 37-9 sounds doable.

  29. Jim EggersUSMC

    May 7, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Love the way this season is going so far, I will be “under the knife” tomorrow for a liver biopsy.( Today was the 10th anniversary of my transplant, and this chick I hang with had a birthday too) Soooo, I will dvr the day game, and when I regain my senses will watch it and enjoy life.

    • jud

      May 7, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Hope all goes well Jim!

      • Smoking Loon

        May 7, 2014 at 1:28 am

        Likewise, Jim, hope the news is as good as it can be.

    • Coleman

      May 7, 2014 at 2:08 am

      Best wishes Jim, hope it’s all safe and sound.

  30. jud

    May 7, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Did that Houston shift help the Tigers get 18 hits OR keep them from getting 25???

    • Smoking Loon

      May 7, 2014 at 1:34 am

      I saw it going both ways. I find some of the more extreme shifts questionable.

  31. Smoking Loon

    May 7, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Avila scorched it to the left side 3 times, hard pull. That was impressive, virtually unprecedented for the season and not something I recall him doing a great deal of anyway, certainly not in 2013.

  32. jud

    May 7, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I think Capt Mumbles is cringing at this RFTL2O success this year thinking what a waste of a bunch of outs!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 7, 2014 at 1:33 am

      It would be interesting to hear him comment on how Ausmus is doing. I don’t know if anyone would be bold enough to put the obvious questions to him. He does have 3 consecutive ALCS and 1 WS to show for the most recent efforts versus a 19-9 start, in spite of our critique, so…

  33. jud

    May 7, 2014 at 1:53 am

    His accomplishments were outstanding, no doubt. That being said how many of those accomplishments were in spite of him calling the shots . And how moch more with his roster could have been accomplished with someone else calling the shots….He didn’t have 1800 wins and 1800 losses by bad luck. Good manager yes!..Great manager I don’t think so….

  34. jud

    May 7, 2014 at 1:59 am

    But Asmus sure has a lot to do to catch up to Ole Smokey!!!

  35. Kevin in Dallas

    May 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I think we need to tap the brakes on all the Robbie Ray for Cy Young talk so far. Couldn’t have asked for more, but I’m not ready to declare the Fister trade another Dombrowski domination yet.

    Also, I just saw that Donkey is batting 5th. Ausmus is just playing with the Astros now.

    • Coleman

      May 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      If you read that article, I think the real point of it is that the Lions suck.