Game 2014: 38 Tigers 6, Red Sox 1

A 4-game winning streak, a 9-game road winning streak, 25-12, a 6 1/2 game division lead. There is a lot of baseball left to be played; it is still early in the season. If the season were a 9-inning baseball game, we’d just be starting the top of the 3rd. The winning won’t last forever, without a losing streak here and there. It’s baseball. One more tonight would be nice though.

I used to look up this stat reluctantly last season, coming as it did with sighs and grumbles. But the 2014 Tigers so far have excelled in one-run games, the latest being the 1-0 victory last night. So far this year, the Tigers are 8-4 in 1-run games, as opposed to a 20-26 record last season. Feel free to offer your thoughts on the difference between this year and last (small sample size is a fair caveat).  On the other end of things, the Red Sox are at 5-10 in 1-run games (the 10 1-run losses leading the league), which is one reason they can be under .500 with team hitting and team pitching near the top of the league.

Perusing the League Leaders, one sees a bunch of Tigers right now:

  • Max Scherzer leads the AL with a 1.83 ERA
  • Victor Martinez leads the AL with a .333 BA (how’d that happen? That actually surprised me).
  • Joe Nathan is tied for the AL lead with 11 saves (see parentheses above)
  • Rajai Davis leads the AL with 14 stolen bases. The Tigers have 36 SB as a team. In 2013 they had 35.

Tonight’s Trivia: Who was the last Tiger to lead the AL in stolen bases?

And how about that Tiger bullpen? So far on the East Coast road trip: 4 games, 12 innings, 0 runs.

The bullpen should get another workout tonight, with Rick “Six Great Innings” Porcello on the mound vs. John Lackey.

Tonight’s game is on the MLB Network, unless you live in the wrong place, in which case you get Orioles-Royals.

Tonight’s One-Run Wonders Lineup:

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

Postgame

Well the Tigers keep rolling along. Last night was one of those rare games, even during this winning streak, where there were never really any moments when it seemed like the Tigers might lose.

Thumbs Up:

Rick Porcello. Porcello is now 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA and an impressive 1.03 WHIP. He made one mistake pitch to Bogaerts, and got in one jam (that he calmly got out of with a ground ball), but otherwise it was smooth sailing. He even made it through 8 innings, which is what I get for being a wise guy and calling him 6-inning Rick.

Doubles. Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Jackson, Avila, and Davis. No manufacturing runs last night.

The bullpen. That makes 5 straight games without a run–and Phil Coke pitched.

Rajai Davis. Davis kept daring Mujica to pick him off at 2nd, refusing to shorten his lead after one pickoff attempt, then two, then three. The fourth went into center, Davis went to 3rd, and came home on a sac fly. That was fun to watch.

Thumbs Down:

Andrew Romine, or Golden Sombreromine as we can now call him. Right-handed, left-handed, it didn’t matter, he didn’t look like he would have hit anything in 10 at bats. And he booted one in the field.

91 Comments

  1. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    ….WEST COAST…we are getting Tigets.Red Sox …..can’t beat that…in fact a rare Tigets saturday game on TV out here. Even Direct TV package I still get blacked out on Tiger FOX Saturday games….

    I KINDA like the rest of the AL Central in the battle to get above .500 which should be a battle all year looking at everyone else pitching….

    I know this streak of ours has to end but lets keep enjoying it while it lasts…one at a time

    Anytime we have Avila back there you know we have a chance!!!

  2. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    IMO the reason for the difference in 1-run games between last year and this is due to the change in the offensive approach to the game. There is a more balanced attack this year compared to the fairly one-dimentional “slugging it” in the previous era which could result in a feast or famine. Of course the pitching, despite some great fails by the bullpen, has had a lot to do with it too, but the pitching was good last year remember. It’s early of course, and things could change, but I look forward to continued success with the new style of play over the long haul. The ability (need?) to scratch for runs on occasion keeps the team much more “in the game” for the whole game. There will always be mental lapses, but they seem to be fewer and farther apart this year.

  3. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Nothing like having Avila up when a ground ball to 2nd scores a run. He’s got that down to a science.

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      I disagree. I say he ran into one.

  4. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    BOSTON continues to use the stratedgy of loading the bases to get to Avila…but he showed them….ha!…now he is 0-8 against Lackey with 1RBI….

  5. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    A lot of high pitches and no ground balls the 1st 4 hitters doesn’t portend well for Rick.

    • Coleman

      May 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      That’s more like it.

  6. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Rick Porcello and those ground ball outs – I like.

  7. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Another defensive area we seem to have improved in..(research dept)..we are usually right at the top in WP and PB..doesn’t seem as many. As much as we rag on AA his defensive catching has improved a ton. So we are not moving lot of runners into scoring position…it seems!

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      2 PB, 7 WP so far after 37 games (~25%). Last year 14 and 63 after 162 (~45%). So the frequency is less this year.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm

        7 PB, 22 WP through 38 games of Avila/Pena in 2013.

  8. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Wow did that travel about 275 feet for a dinger!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Yeah, funny. A month ago in some other ballpark, we would’ve been remarking on how Miggy wasn’t driving the ball to the opposite field like he used to, not celebrating a HR.

  9. PHToy in HK

    May 17, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Regarding 1-run games: How many of the 1-run wins came when the BP blew a multi-run lead?

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      A quick check says 2.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 11:02 pm

        Vince is correct.

        4 games where the bullpen turned a lead (multiple run lead in 3 of the 4) into a 1-run game:

        April 2: Tigers 2, Royals 1 (10)
        April 5: Tigers 7, Baltimore 6
        April 9: Tigers 7, Dodgers 6 (10)
        May 11: Twins 4, Tigers 3

        Major culprits: Nathan, Nathan, Nathan, Chamberlain. Nathan got a save and a win for his efforts.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 17, 2014 at 11:09 pm

          Oh, I guess that April 2 game was a 1-run game to begin with, wasn’t it? Well, just one more instance of a bullpen with a lead creating extra drama.

  10. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Romine batting .179 vs RHP before tonight.

  11. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    The new and improved Ricky pitches himself out of a mess…….excellent!!

  12. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    A lot of guys swing the bat And look like the can hit….Romine looks like a hitter UNTIL he swings..then…nothing!

  13. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    This is some nice stuff right here Hunter- Kinsler- Cabrerra- And a shot by Martinez

  14. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    A report says Prince is out for the next two games, neck,….does that break the streak or no because of injury????. ( research dept)

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      The streak is over. Maybe he can concentrate on playing baseball when he gets back.

    • Coleman

      May 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Wait–Fielder has a neck?

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 10:22 pm

        Life goes on, bro.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 17, 2014 at 10:23 pm

          He’s over stats.

  15. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Avila beats the shift?! Am I seeing things?

    • tbran

      May 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      He ran into one; as the saying goes.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 10:25 pm

        Seriously, I think he intended it. V-Mart beating the shift earlier looked more unintentional.

  16. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Ausmus needs to take Romine’s left-handed bat away from him.

    • Coleman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Maybe he’s batting left with his right-handed bat.

  17. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Ha ha ha why and the h#ll do you shift on a guy who can only K and hit a two hopper to second….who scouts these people????

  18. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Tack on an extra run due to the threat of Davis’ speed forcing a throwing error.

    • Coleman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      That plus the dependable sac fly…that’s a 2014 run.

      • Vince in MN

        May 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm

        That’s SF no. 20. We had 47 all last year.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

          The throwing error by Mujica on his 4th consecutive pickoff attempt at 2B – priceless. The only way it could have been better is if Davis had scored right away on that error. Red Sox fans must have felt “game over” at that point.

  19. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    We might have to peek at the SC Fly RBI…record..we have a lot of those already in our 2014 Manufacturing a Run Category!

  20. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    One mistake to Bogaerts, but another strong 6 innings by Kid Rick. Maybe he can do it for 7 this time?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Don’t Bogaerts that pitch, my friend.

  21. tbran

    May 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I’m thinking that the pitchers are figuring out Castellanos. Hate to say it but it’s looking that way lately with the swings are balls way out of the zone. Hope he can adjust he’s got promise.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Yes, everyone’s seeing it. He must know it as well. There’s hope.

  22. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Notice for the last three week Castellanos goes after every breaking ball regardless of where it is. Pitchers have that figured out for sure…he sees no fastball after strike one!

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Peavy, a RH, going for BOS tomorrow – time for a Kelly start at 3B. Worth definitely should get the call for SS.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm

        Castellanos is having trouble with the breakers, but man is he looking good on defense for the past week or two or three. Really good.

  23. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Golden Sombreromine

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Good one. We could also call him Rominus. He appears to be heading down the Gonzalez Trail.

  24. tbran

    May 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Romine is now being fitted for his sombrero. Yikes.

  25. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    You see Avila jogging back to the dugout… a double a RBI, and two ground balls…he is worn out..its a lot easier with 3K’s….day off tomorrow no doubt!

  26. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    A punch and judy hitter gets the golden sombrero – pathetic. Even if they don’t hit for high average, those guys are supposed to put the ball in play.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      That’s what I’m thinking. Romine would have to be an absolute vacuum cleaner at SS to almost compensate, and tonight he wasn’t. For a while there I wasn’t missing Iglesias. Now I am. 7 consecutive strikeouts for Tigers shortstops.

  27. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    My guess is the New A lineup tomorrow with Worth and Holaday in it

  28. tbran

    May 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    A Coke sighting. Are we Coke proof?

    • Coleman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Let’s hope

  29. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I will say this again ..its amazing how bad Romine looks when he actually swings..he loooks like an AL pitcher batting in a NL park!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself. Sad.

  30. Vince in MN

    May 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Coke in. Here we go. I hope Nathan is loosening up.

  31. Coleman

    May 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Ingellanos! Two good plays at 3rd tonight.

  32. tbran

    May 17, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    This is an impressive team.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Yes.

  33. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    5 in arow this week..RICKY another great outing….Miggy finally over .305….Coke an actual scoreless inning……it doesn’t get any better than this!!!!

  34. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Castellanos just saved Coke’s Tigers career. We could live to regret this.

    • Vince in MN

      May 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Since he got three consecutive LH out, I am sure the perception will be that he is “back”.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm

        The velocity is certainly back. Otherwise it seems the same. Eventful, nervous innings no matter what the score.

  35. Kevin in Dallas

    May 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Somebody give me an Old Milwaukee…

    • Smoking Loon

      May 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Why an Old Milwaukee?

      • Kevin in Dallas

        May 18, 2014 at 12:25 am

        Because it doesn’t get any better than this!

        • Vince in MN

          May 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm

          I think somebody needs to give Old Milwaukee a Coke.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm

            Good one, Kevin. Right over my head.

            Coke adds life. That’s certainly true in a way.

  36. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    What about that Rick Porcello? I wanted him to come back out for the 9th (nothing to do with Coke, either).

  37. jud

    May 17, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Not only is Rick in the top 3 in almost every piyching catagory but he is in the top five in several in the American League!!!

    are the Tigers this good or are we catching everyone at the right time….or A little of both???….Peavey can be tough on the Tigs..lets see if we stay scorching HOT!!

  38. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    We can’t let Avila’s 12-pitch, down 0-2, draw a walk off Lackey go unremarked upon. That was good.

    An exciting moment that came to naught was V-Mart’s last at bat. He crushed it. I thought it was gone off the bat, but it ended up in Sizemore’s glove. Woulda been sweet to absolutely bury the Red Sox.

  39. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Answer to Coleman’s trivia question: Brian Hunter, in 1999. About Hunter:

    December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug Brocail, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      May 18, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Ahh….Lima Time! Thankfully how quick we forget!?!?

      • Coleman

        May 18, 2014 at 11:14 am

        C.J. Nitkowski and Ausmus were later traded back to the Tigers. Nitkowski was one of the first MLB players with his own website, and chronicled his time bouncing around in Japan with this new “blog” thing starting I think in 1997. He still is a fellow-blogger:
        http://www.cjbaseball.com

  40. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Speaking of losing streaks, the Tigers have yet to lose more than 2 in a row. If that keeps up, the worst they could finish is 68-94. Which I guess goes to underscore the fact that it’s still early.

  41. Smoking Loon

    May 17, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Did anyone ever run across this understated bit of comedy (subject: Don Kelly)?

    2011: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 0 K in 0.1 IP

    2012 Projections: N/A

    Expected Role: Late-inning fireman

    While Don Kelly’s .000 BABIP likely will not sustain itself, his 3.03 FIP could be indicative of good things to come. Kelly’s obviously not going to throw as hard as Dotel and Benoit or Valverde – his fastball only averaged 84.5 MPH – but he offsets it by keeping hitters off balance by mixing in a 71 MPH curveball. The lack of a third pitch will keep him relegated to bullpen duty, but the track record is there for him to be successful in that role. The xFIP is a little uglier because the 100% fly ball rate didn’t yield any homers, but the curveball should induce a few more grounders in the future, negating that issue. It’s difficult to make any conclusions because of the small sample size, but I expect good things from Kelly going forward.

    An added bonus for Kelly – he’s a very capable defender for a pitcher and fields his position well. Expect him to be a key contributor in the Tigers bullpen going forward, and a nice compliment to the flamethrowers the Tigers house in the back of their bullpen.

    • Jim EggersUSMC

      May 18, 2014 at 2:09 am

      If Don is the late inning fireman, can I be his Lefty partner? Always better to have two on the hose…

    • Coleman

      May 18, 2014 at 4:06 am

      They left out that he has a pretty good bat for a pitcher too. Maybe they should run him out there in the National League games.

  42. jud

    May 18, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Rick Porcello is younger than Stephen Strasburg…..and has about 70 major league wins…..

    • StorminNorman$

      May 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

      good point/perspective…but Frederick Porcello can’t hold a candle to all the hype SS has rec’d.

      If (and that’s a big ‘if’) Porcello can maintain his current effectiveness (sub-3.00 ERA), he’ll command a large raise (over his current $8.5M) at season’s end, when he becomes ‘arbitration eligible’ (in ’15) and FA eligible in ’16.

      Considering that JV is due $28M per/yr ’15-’19 and Sanchez is due $16.8M per/yr ’15-’18 – if Porcello were to sign a multi-yr deal, he could get $14M-$18M – and then if you factor in a $30M Scherzer contract… that would be $90M-ish per yr committed to four starting pitchers!! I’m not sure if that’s sustainable – even for Mr I.

      Enjoy the ride in ’14.

      • Vince in MN

        May 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

        Scherzer gone in ’15, Porcello gone in ’16.

        • Coleman

          May 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

          It came out after the Fister trade that Fister had turned down an extension, which may be one of the reasons he was dealt instead of Porcello. Except that doesn’t make sense, because they were on the same contract schedule (arbitration in ’15, FA in ’16). But it brings up the question of whether they have already tried to extend Porcello, and what the result of that was.

        • StorminNorman$

          May 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

          I suspect, “you are correct Sir!”

          • StorminNorman$

            May 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

            that is of course, if they both don’t experience any health/injury issues and continue to pitch well

  43. StorminNorman$

    May 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....305180083/
    oh how time has changed the view of the K… Dimaggio’s K numbers don’t seem possible

    • Vince in MN

      May 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      It’s a different game now. The modern era is as different from DiMaggio’s time as DiMaggio’s was from the “dead ball” era.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

        It is a different game. But assuming that strikeouts are more prevalent now than in DiMaggio’s day and have been for decades (I’m not positive about this), does anyone have a theory about why?

        • Coleman

          May 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm

          One factor has got to be bullpens. They didn’t have them then. How many strikeouts do relief specialists get in innings 7-9? How many do starters get in innings 7-9 with pitch counts around 150?

          • Smoking Loon

            May 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm

            That’s probably the big reason. It’s also interesting to ponder the effects of expansion, the fact that ballplayers today are simultaneously better athletes and much less “the cream of the crop” in terms of MLB roster spots, and whether pitchers who throw harder and batters who hit the ball harder and farther is a situation that supports more extreme outcomes like the HR and the K, and for that matter, the BB. I wonder if there have been fewer balls in play over time.

            Another question is strength versus reaction time. It would seem easier to increase pitch velocity with greater strength and better mechanics than it would be to significantly improve your reaction time as a hitter. The arms race there ultimately favors the pitcher. Maybe they’ll have to lower the mound again, or move it back. My theory is that more pitchers today are throwing harder, but that may not be true at all. That would be a hard contention to prove, I think.

  44. StorminNorman$

    May 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    CLE down 13-3 against OAK, about to get swept at home… DET should go into CLE w/intention of putting them deeper into the AL Central basement.

    CWS about to lose 2 of 3 against HOU.

    I know its really early, but thus far, KC looks like the team to contend w/DET for AL Central crown

    • Vince in MN

      May 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      KC was expected to take a step forward this year, but so far it hasn’t happened, as their hitting woes continue. The Twins and WSox are in rebuild mode and CLE didn’t do much in the off-season and realistically are worse than last year. The Tigers may fall back to earth a bit yet, but I don’t see a legitimate contender in the division either. In retrospect CLE was probably playing over their heads last year, riding a wave of Francona magic, and this year I don’t see that happening with the Royals. But, it is a long season and it ain’t over til it’s over. Who knows, maybe the Twins will be the surprise team in the division this year, they are playing pretty good right now.

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