Game 2014.73: Tigers 8, Rangers 2

DET at TEX

Coming off of a road sweep of a division rival (nice), a revenge sweep (nicer), and a weekend sweep followed by a day off (nicest of all) (sorry, that was only one sweep total, but check back in a week), Detroit (40-32, 1st Central, 2nd AL) is in Tejas for a three-game series with the Rangers (35-40, 4th West, 11th AL). All night games. There is a chance for some revenge here as well: Last time out against Texas, the Tigers should have been arrested for pitching while blind. What a demoralizing home series that was, surely one of the two lowest points of the season to date (lucky me, I drew both).

Here are your handy quick reference guides for the upcoming series:

Tigers on BBREF
Tigers on MLB
Rangers on BBREF
Rangers on MLB
The all-important RE24/WPA rundown
Fascinating team comparison
What have you done for me/them lately?

Detroit hasn’t won a season series with Texas since 2011. They later lost the series that mattered that postseason, and have gone 7-14 vs. the Rangers since. The Tigers are clearly the better team these days. So what’s it gonna be?

Fun fact: Since 2006, the Tigers have losing records against only 5 of 29 opponents.

Even as things were going downhill for the Tigers there for one tough month, I found it hard to jump on the pessimist bandwagon wholeheartedly. It’s not that I was going out of my way to look on the bright side, but only that I wasn’t seeing lack of effort, poor managing, the need for an overhaul, or the end of anyone’s careers. The only extraordinary thing about 9-20 was the number of pitching collapses (I count 11). 8 games where the starter put the team in a very deep hole! (Check my facts. I still find 8 hard to believe, but I’m tired of looking.) You might say that the team record was 9-12 without those 8 forfeits. Underachieving, yes. Catastrophe by W-L, certainly. Crisis of confidence? Only to a fan. Do you really want the team to dwell on the losses and hang their heads, be “ashamed”? Of course not. Brush it off, look ahead. They do it. We can do it, too.

Tough month in the rear view mirror, up ladders and down chutes, Detroit finds themselves exactly where they were about a year ago. 40-32, with a refreshingly different team overall. Smokey Jr.? Come on, people.

Now, even aside from the 4-game win streak, good news abounds. Evan Reed is DFA, and Ian Krol is resting his crappy pitching. Blaine Hardy’s left arm has started off on the right foot, and Phil Coke had an outing that didn’t need to be qualified in any way. We’re going to get looks at McCoy and Smith as we did with Knebel – interesting for a fan, no? (The next best thing to having a good bullpen is making an effort to get one together.) The hitting is starting to click on enough cylinders, I think.

The Avila Thing: Is the general feeling that Holaday could actually replace Avila as the starting catcher? I’m afraid the overall gain could be slighter than you think. More Holaday, sure, I’m down with that.

The Outfield Thing: Is J.D. MarTinez the latest incarnation of Marcus Thames and Matt Tuiasosopo?

No one’s replacing Torii Hunter in RF, but could more frequent rest be a perfect fit for a more flexible plan?

Aside from effort, there’s not a whole bunch of anything coming from Austin Jackson. Would they trade him? There are other options in CF.

Rajai Davis in CF more often? In the choice between a lineup featuring either Jackson-J.D., Jackson-Davis, or J.D.-Rajai, is it still mix and match or more one or the other? There seems to be a bit more to like in one of them, doesn’t there?

What’s on the Andy Dirks horizon, and might that not crowd things in a good way? Odd man out? Jackson. Kelly, Dirks himself?

Anyway… Drew Smyly vs. Colby Lewis in the first game. Smyly has been superb lately. Things are lookin’ good for a good ballgame. Lineups to follow… I think.

Tonight’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Lineup:

LF Rajai “Heartbreaker” Davis
2B Ian “Pan Am Highway Blues” Kinsler
1B Miguel “Ten Dollar Man” Cabrera
DH Victor “El Diablo” Martinez
RF J.D. “Enjoy And Get It On” Martinez
3B Nick “Avalon Hideway” Castellanos
CF Austin “Asleep In The Desert” Jackson
C Alex “It’s Only Glove” Avila
SS Eugenio “Snappy Kakkie” Suarez

P Drew “There Ain’t No Cause For Alarm” Smyly

53 Comments

  1. jud

    June 24, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Nice thing about the two game lead is its 4 up in the loss column..If this was the end of the year. The Tigers would only have to win 1 of 4…thus its a 4 game lead not 2

  2. PHToy in HK

    June 24, 2014 at 3:59 am

    “Fun fact: Since 2006, the Tigers have losing records against only 5 of 29 opponents.”

    So who are the 5?

    • StorminNorman$

      June 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      does this include post season? if so, i’d say SF, NYY, BOS, STL & LAA

      • Coleman

        June 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        Detroit owns the Yankees in the postseason.. I’m guessing Texas is on the list LAA has to be the worst though.

        • Smoking Loon

          June 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          Answer (regular season only): Angels, A’s, Red Sox, Yankees, and (3 games) Marlins.

  3. Coleman

    June 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    The good news: the Tigers pick up a left-handed reliever from the Pirates. The bad news: it’s Daniel Schlereth.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....ereth.html

    • Coleman

      June 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      “Click to Edit – 10079 minutes and 16 seconds”

      I guess editing is working…I’m going to watch the countdown clock and try to sneak one it at the last second. Only 168 hours to go!

      • Vince in MN

        June 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm

        The ability to rewrite history is so cool. I’m hardly ever wrong now, but in future I will be perfect ;)
        Once you edit, does that extend you time to edit again?

        • Smoking Loon

          June 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

          What’s really fun is being able to edit someone else’s posts.

          • Coleman

            June 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

            Wait…how do we know you really said that?

            • Smoking Loon

              June 24, 2014 at 6:54 pm

              *I’m* not even sure I said that, but fortunately, I can take it back even if I didn’t. I think. Or if whoever said it thinks.

    • StorminNorman$

      June 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      http://www.freep.com/article/2.....th-pirates

      the freep says there’s no indication what DET had to give up to land Schlereth… as in, ‘not sure if it was two six-packs of Strohs and two koozies, or just one six pack (tall boys)…’

      • Vince in MN

        June 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Cash considerations according to MLB Trade Rumors. The only question is why? If it is just roster filler for Toledo, I still think they could have done better than that.

        • Smoking Loon

          June 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm

          Tigers are gearing up for a reversal of the Scherzer trade (they see the writing on the wall). Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson are headed back.

  4. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Loon doesn’t see bad managing from Smokey Jr! C’mon Loon!

    • Smoking Loon

      June 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      I don’t, Vince. Things to question, second-guess, and disagree with, sure. I hold the players accountable for their play. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I have yet to hear a well-reasoned critique of Ausmus, and the suggestion implicit in “Smokey Jr.” strikes me as absurd.

      • Vince in MN

        June 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        The way he handles the pitching staff seems pretty much the same to me, except that maybe Ausmus actually goes to the bullpen more than Leyland did. I won’t even start on how Ausmus has managed the rotation (particularly the Aces). There have been many well-reasoned critiques in past game posts, and not just by me. Pitch counts, matchups, roles, order, how long a pitcher is left in, and so on, have been discussed and commented on by others in depth on many occasions IMO. And that’s only the pitching part of the game. Also, ‘Smarty’ isn’t exactly a complimentary nickname.

        But you’re absolutely right, Loon. I agree with everything you say. Thank you for your sage words of wisdom.

        • Smoking Loon

          June 25, 2014 at 12:02 am

          No, *do* start on how Ausmus has managed the rotation and how it has differed from how every manager in baseball manages their rotation. We have time. I’d love to see it. I’d post it in lieu of my own article.

          Point out even ONE negative comment about Ausmus in all of 2014 that doesn’t amount to this: Ausmus did this, I would have done that, therefore Ausmus is a bum. It’s not that I have some kind of “editorial” objection to this. I find it objectionable as a reader. Irrational… predictable… boring. Depth? Discussion? “Ausmus sucks.” “Yeah, totally.” That’s some in-depth discussion.

  5. Coleman

    June 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Torii says he is OK with reduced playing time/platooning if it helps the team win. He’s gonna want 2-3 years after this season, and I really hope the Tigers say no thanks.. That being said, it’s hard to dislike the guy. Wonder what he would say to 1 year as a platoon player + a job in the organization after?

    • Smoking Loon

      June 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      It is hard to dislike Torii and hard to want him gone. Among other things, this guy can still hit the ball clean out of Fenway Park.

  6. Coleman

    June 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Speaking of which, for all the talk about Max, what is Victor going to cost to keep?

    • Smoking Loon

      June 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Max’s departure will defray some of the cost. On the other hand, it’s possible that Victor would want more years than the Tigers were willing to give. An older, strictly-DH guy is a luxury and a risk. Maybe the Tigers don’t want to go there long-term. I think a lot of direction depends on whether that elusive WS title happens this year or not.

    • Vince in MN

      June 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      90 games to go. Then we’ll see.

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    June 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    It’s pouring over here. Definitely going to start in a delay.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Uh-oh.

  8. Mark

    June 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Schlereth. One of the few people in history to give up 2 grand slams in a single game. Welcome back!

    • Coleman

      June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      “Record-Setting Schlereth.” Says his PR guy.

  9. Jim EggersUSMC

    June 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Home after my 1800 mile trip, and scoring at home alone ( the Mrs is in Montana, retreating, which is something Custer should have thought of) Violating the loyalty oath: watching the college world series and dvring the Tigers… rationale: this could be the last College game of the season, and the Tigers have some 90 to go….

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Man Jim, you love your baseball. My Longhorns were eliminated on Saturday, crazy game.

      • Jim EggersUSMC

        June 25, 2014 at 12:38 am

        26 years ago I told my then girlfriend /neighbor that I loved her more than baseball, and now I am still stuck with her…

        • Coleman

          June 25, 2014 at 1:12 am

          and with baseball.

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        June 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

        I am holding my head high in front of my Texas family as the Ole Miss Rebels whooped up on Texas Tech and TCU before dropping out to Virgina.

  10. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    So far, this is the Smyly of about five starts ago. I hope he gets his command back soon or it could be an early (and costly) evening for him and the Tigers.

  11. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Incredibly, the Rangers have 15 players on the DL. Every position is accounted for except LF.

  12. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    J-Mart Again. A good start on going for another POW.

  13. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    June 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Let’s hope JD-Mart is tuning up for his return to Houston.

  14. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Two consecutive ABs where Kinsler made an out on ball 4. Normal. What a hacker.

  15. Kevin in Dallas

    June 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    You guys like this comment editing functionality?

    • Vince in MN

      June 24, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Yes. Brings back the old days. 160 hours might be a bit much though. Way back when I think it was 30 minutes, maybe less.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        June 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

        I’ll call you in a week and let you know.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      June 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks Kevin. Something I certainly need.

  16. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    And again the IBB to Miggy fails.

  17. Coleman

    June 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Drew Smyly, last 5 starts, 4 earned runs.

    • Vince in MN

      June 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      A little wobbly today, but he toughed it out for 6 innings with acceptable results. The boot by Su was critical and extended the inning by about 10 pitches, but I don’t think those kind of situations perturb Smyly too much. Even when he isn’t mechanically in complete control, he doesn’t seem to be negatively affected mentally and keeps his composure.

  18. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Top of the 8th: two out none on, pitcher dealing and the manager (Washington) decides to change pitchers because he can. 4 batters later, the Tigers have two more runs. This kind of bullpen management is DUMB! Ausmus does this kind of stuff too and it is just as dumb when he does it. Even if this “strategy” worked, it really doesn’t make any sense. It is still DUMB.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 25, 2014 at 12:08 am

      How about taking out Soria with 2 gone in the 9th? There should be a delay of game penalty in baseball.

      • Vince in MN

        June 25, 2014 at 7:43 am

        Yep. DUMB! Two innings in a row for Washington.

  19. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    June 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Vince, this change is for you!

  20. Vince in MN

    June 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Perfect situation to bring Smith in after his poor showing in his 1st MLB game on Sunday.

    • Vince in MN

      June 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      OK Smith, I guess you have earned another shot the next time we have a 7-run lead.

    • PHToy in HK

      June 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      I like that he gave up 1 earned run in 1 inning and his ERA still dropped by 9.

  21. Kevin in Dallas

    June 24, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Hard to complain about the game, though Cabrera brought a bag of nothing with him tonight. That’s okay, he’ll get ‘em tomorrow.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      June 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Yep, I recall last year’s Tiger’s third game in Arlington and what he did.

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