Game 2014.44: Tigers 7, Rangers 2

Down a game in the series, Detroit (27-16, 1st place Central, 2nd place AL) is back at it against Texas (23-24, 3rd place West, 10th place AL), with Anibal Sanchez (who has fared poorly v. the Rangers) facing Scott Baker.

Reliever Corey Knebel is called up from Toledo – talk about a fast track to the majors – while starter Robbie Ray returns there to work on his curveball. Luke Putkonen (on the DL) will not require surgery, but the rehab path looks to be slow and uncertain for him. Meanwhile, injury-riddled Texas has been dealt a couple more blows with the loss of Prince Fielder for the season and the same possibility facing them regarding Jurickson Profar, not to mention OF David Robertson’s injury Thursday.

The silver lining in Thursday’s 9-2 drubbing by the Rangers would seem to be the revelation of Danny Worth’s knuckleball. A clean inning from any Tigers pitcher is something of a novelty these days, so welcome to the pen, Danny. Four straight losses and four straight collapses of the team’s greatest strength leave you wondering how long this can go on. Rough stretch, but 6-4 on a rollercoaster still beats a 5-5 of one step forward, one step back, doesn’t it? That six-game ride was fun. Let’s get back there.



  1. Coleman

    May 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      May 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Interesting…I recall the Tiger great Shane Halter pitching a complete inning in the last game of 2000 when he played every position in a game. However he only faced one batter as a pitcher. See:

      My memory flounders!

      • Smoking Loon

        May 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Great link, OTFiM. Just for the halibut, let me say that it’s roughy enough for me to remember the first out of an inning later in the same inning, sometimes. Give yourself some credit. We should send you a thank you cod for your floundering.

  2. StorminNorman$

    May 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    as for Worth’s pitching debut…he might be on to something there… he certainly hits like a pitcher 😉

    for all you Balfour fans…both of you – …i doubt there will be many that are concerned about Balfour’s fragile feelings… especially with his 5.89 ERA and 18 walks — most by an AL reliever

    • Smoking Loon

      May 23, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Balfour has a point about the booing, though. I think it’s a drag for fans to boo their own team.

  3. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    One huge difference between Balfour abd Coke with both faltering is Coke is at least a good guy and a good team mate where Belfour is like Pierzinski. They asked Ozzie once that everyone hates Pierzinski how about his team matea and Ozzie replied “oh no his team mates just hate him a little less”….

  4. StorminNorman$

    May 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    this Knebel RHP has been impressive since joining the organization – 0.90 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 50 innings across three levels since being selected 39th overall less than one year ago… but the big question is, “how will he do at the MLB level?” If he does well and Hanrahan is ready is a few weeks, that could seal Coke’s fate w/ the Tigers. – JSamuelson (along w/a wave of DET fans) suggest its time to say goodbye

    • Vince in MN

      May 23, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Now that we have Worth to pitch in blowouts, Coke has no longer role.

      I expect this will just be a cup of coffee for Knebel, as the bullpen has been getting a workout the last few games and needs a breather.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        I don’t think Coke is going anywhere. I was going to preface that with “I hate to say it, but,” except that I can hardly put guessing right above team success. Maybe we were all wrong, maybe he’s coming around. Great story, great for the team if it happens. I won’t hold grudges.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm

          And yet I can’t argue with Samuleson’s reasoning, all of which has been put forth here for a while now.

  5. StorminNorman$

    May 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    vs RHP Scott Baker
    Tigers lineup
    LF Rajai Davis
    2B Ian Kinsler
    1B Miguel Cabrera
    DH Victor Martinez
    RF Torii Hunter
    CF Austin Jackson
    C Alex Avila
    3B Nick Castellanos
    ss Andrew Romine
    P Anibal Sanchez

    I really like putting Davis at leadoff and Hunter in the #5 spot…profoundly better than DKelly batting 5th

  6. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Scott Baker a very average pitcher, has as many wins Vs the Tigers as any active MLB pitcher..He is smart enough to know there are two ways to beat the Tigers. The hard way…and that is be as good as Durvish, Sale, Price, Hernandez….Or the easy way. Just don’t throw a lot of strikes. So many less than average pitcher beat the Tigers that way because the Tigers never have enough patience…thats how guys like Jimenez, Baker, and many others let Detroit beat themselves. The Tigs will swing whether you throw strikes or balls.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      I don’t the Tigers have a problem with patience. Observationally, by comparison with the opponents, I think the Tigers overall are superior as batters. I think that stats beyond the most obvious hitting results stats would support that theory. Tigers hitters do get stymied and stifled by good pitching reasonably often, just like their opponents fare at the hands of good Tigers pitching. The W-L record suggests that one of these is happening more often than the other.

      Walks are nice. Hits are better. And the Tigers are certainly good at making contact and getting them.

  7. Coleman

    May 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Um, another one? Maybe tomorrow we should start the bullpen guys then bring in the starter.

  8. Coleman

    May 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Getting Jackson on track would be huge right now.

    • Vince in MN

      May 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      We say that every year. Several times every year in fact. Am I the only one that is getting tired of Jackson’s propensity for The Slump.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        Vince is right. We keep waiting for a star. Well, he’s a solid player. Above-average defense getting to and catching the ball and above-average speed taking the extra base or two, no better than average at everything else. A .260 kind of guy prone to streaks and slumps with overrated power and underrated susceptibility to fatigue and injury. And yet, the kind of CF you *don’t* replace without acquiring a bona fide star to take his place. Looking at the big organizational picture of the Tigers’ outfielders, I’d have to say that Jackson will remain a fixture for some years to come.

        • Vince in MN

          May 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

          Unless they can pull a Granderson type trade.

  9. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Hey Austin…bout time!!!

  10. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Kinda funny tat I don’t appreciate Romine’s Defense cause his offense is so bad…but he is very good!!

    • jud

      May 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      In fact his swing is so bad I ask myself how he got to the major leagues. And yet watching him play D his mechanics are excellent!

      • Smoking Loon

        May 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        According to the radio guys, Romine has been working on his plate approach under instruction for some time during 2014, and says he now wants to get back to his original approach. Go for it. Good result tonight.

        • jud

          May 23, 2014 at 10:53 pm

          I am all for his approach tonight!

  11. Vince in MN

    May 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Romine: even a blind squirrel…

    • StorminNorman$

      May 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      …runs into…and acorn every now and again

  12. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Hey Baker…when Romine takes you deep its time to look for a job out of baseball…just sayin!

    • Vince in MN

      May 23, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Except for all Texas’ pitching injuries this season, Baker wouldn’t even be in their minor league system. The Rangers have really been hit with the injuries this year.

  13. Coleman

    May 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm


  14. Vince in MN

    May 23, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Great job by Sanchez tonight on only 99 pitches.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 24, 2014 at 2:04 am

      That’s Verlander through 3. Sanchez is just plain lazy.

  15. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Avila on pace for 170 K’s…when he looks down to third for the sign he squints to see it….can he see?????

    • Smoking Loon

      May 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      How do you think he does it? I don’t know! What makes him so good?

      • StorminNorman$

        May 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

        …don’t see no lights a flashin…plays by sense of smell

    • StorminNorman$

      May 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      my father mentioned that he thought Avila needs glasses last year…

      • Smoking Loon

        May 23, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        I think he wears contacts. Don’t know it for a fact.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 23, 2014 at 11:10 pm

          “…don’t see no lights a flashin…plays by sense of smell”

          You nailed it, StorminNorman. That was the first line that occurred to me by way of reply to mud, except that I couldn’t remember the first part (went to look it up eventually). I was going to write “plays by sense of smell,” but didn’t think anyone would get that by itself. So of course I went with something even more obscure, or at least more easily mistaken for a baffling non sequitur.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm

            Sorry, jud. Stupid spellcheck turns you to mud every time. Your name is mud, so to speak. Maybe you should change it for my typing convenience.

  16. jud

    May 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Sanchez..thanks we needed that to end the funk!!!

  17. Smoking Loon

    May 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    The very picture of the good win, after a bit of an ominous start. Sanchez pitched like Sanchez and the offense just kept coming. Nice job by bullpen Al-Al and Krol, nice game-ending DP, great game for Kinsler, home runs for Jackson (!) and Romine (!!!!). well-called pitchout nails Rios. Feels like 28-12, wish we could write off the last four.

    Had switched to radio by the time Martinez was a dead duck at the plate, so I don’t know if was some kind of mistake or purposeful aggression. If the latter, I can see it, even with SlowMart on base, with the play as called on radio. There’s always a chance, with the score as it was, and maybe with who was on base, that the defense is sleeping, making assumptions, conceding the IF single and forgetting about the lead runner.

    Anibal Sanchez stops the bleeding. Hurray!

  18. Smoking Loon

    May 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm

  19. Kevin in Dallas

    May 24, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Ian Kinsler is now leading the AL in batting average.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 24, 2014 at 2:02 am

      Yes, but how many consecutive games has he played in? Let’s get our priorities straight.

  20. Vince in MN

    May 24, 2014 at 10:21 am

    It’s kind of amazing that at this early in the season, .326 is enough to lead.

    • Coleman

      May 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Maybe the pitching in the AL is good this year? Very strange though. Over in the NL, Tulowitzki is cruising along at .377. Kinsler’s .326 would only be 6th.