Game 2014.78: Astros 6, Tigers 4

DET at HOU

The Tigers, thanks to 9th inning heroics by Ian Kinsler, now have a chance to take the Astros series today, despite the Cabrera-Martinez heart of the order still being 0-for-Houston (0-for-18).

The game did not start promisingly, with Max being dinged for 2 runs in the first, but Max, along with Jeff Jones and Bryan Holaday, figured out they were sitting on his off-speed stuff and changed the game plan (Good camera work catching the confab, by the way). 6-innings later Scherzer had 13 strikeouts in his pocket and had the Tigers still in the game.

In a “that’s baseball” moment, I admit I was grumbling about Kinsler swinging for the fences, when a simple single would tie the game or give them the lead. Oh. Sometimes when you swing for the fences, they actually go over (413 ft.). And we needed the extra run, since Joe Nathan was a good sport and gave Houston a home run too.

Where would the Tigers be this season with an injured (or even uninjured) Prince Fielder instead of Ian Kinsler? If you are a believer in the WAR rating, Kinsler is the most valuable player on the Tigers this season. Of course, if you want to watch him this afternoon you are going to have to peek in the dugout (see below).

Lost in all of the excitement last night was the interesting move Bo Porter made in the 8th. With Cabrera-Martinez-Martinez due up, the Astros sent out their Closer, Chad Qualls, using the logic that he wanted his best guy pitching to Detroit’s best hitters. It didn’t work: while Qualls got through the 8th, Williams got beat in the 9th, but I like the move.  I wouldn’t have used it yesterday, since Cabrera and Martinez were struggling and all the action was coming from the bottom of the order, but under normal circumstances it might be a good move. They could have always left Qualls in for the 9th too, but two innings for a Closer is apparently still illegal.

Today’s Go Deep, Take a Seat Lineup:

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

Austin Jackson gets a shot at the leadoff spot…ah, the good ol’ days. Ian Kinsler gets to watch from the bench and contemplate last night’s game-winner, as a bag of lettuce roams his spot out at 2nd.

Drew Smyly takes the mound with a 1.44 ERA over his last 4 starts. Scott Feldman will try hard not to poke the sleeping Cabrera bear.

Postgame:

Well Feldman apparently did let sleeping bears lie, as Miguel Cabrera finished hibernating his way to a perfect 0-for-Houston. The rest of his cohorts at the top of the lineup didn’t do much better. For the series, the 1-4 spots in the lineup went a combined 7-for-49 (.143). And 5 of those 7 hits belonged to Ian Kinsler, who sat out today’s game (that adds up to 2-for-39, .051 with Kinsler’s numbers removed).  Ausmus tried Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot to “get him going” (yes, he really said that), and Jackson promptly ran off to the golden sombrero table at the local flea market.

It came out after the game that Drew Smyly was seriously ill yesterday, but said he was good to go today. He wasn’t. The illness explains the uncharacteristically quick hook by Ausmus.

Houston’s “8th Inning Guy” did so well against Ian Kinsler that Bo Porter let him pitch the 9th too, giving him a save of over 1 inning. Brad Ausmus filed an official protest for illegal use of relief pitchers.

The Tigers head back to Detroit to take on the Oakland A’s, otherwise known as the Best Team in Baseball.  With Oakland’s league-leading team ERA of 3.18, the Tigers could be in for a very long week if the top half of the order continues to struggle.

austinjacksongoldensombrero2

(Photo from The Golden Sombrero, who sadly stopped tracking golden sombreros in 2012).

17 Comments

  1. TIGERS RULE

    June 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Another incompetent decision made by Smokey Jr., taking Kinsler out for Romine. Kinsler is one of our hottest hitters right now and we need all the offense we can muster, because we are certainly not blowing our opposition out of the water.

  2. Coleman

    June 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Altuve is putting on quite the show this series.

  3. jud

    June 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Hey your scouting report on how to pitch Altuve……sucks!!!!
    I can understand he is hitting .340….but against the Tigers he is hitting .900 or 1.000 or 1.200 .
    Thanks for the early clown show. Its just like they have played in all but one inning this series

  4. TIGERS RULE

    June 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Playing like a bunch of minor leaguers so far today!

    • TIGERS RULE

      June 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Everything points to a throw away game!

  5. jud

    June 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    At least the Tigers will be able to quit earlier today and not waste any energy trying to score…see u tomorrow!

  6. Coleman

    June 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Oh yeah, THAT’s why Jackson got bumped from leadoff.

  7. Coleman

    June 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Jackson will get a shot at the ol’ sombrero in the 9th.

    • Coleman

      June 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Success!

      • StorminNorman$

        June 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm

        …and the icing on the sombrero for AJackson today, was that his other AB was a GIDP (w/runners at 1st & 2nd and nobody out)… not the type of “production” a team wants from the leadoff spot

        HOU totally outplayed DET in this series, DET was fortunate to steal that one yesterday… not a good way to close out a road trip against a last place team…seeing as OAK is on tap for DET

        • Coleman

          June 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

          Couldn’t resist the photo in the post game. So why didn’t they have Jackson bunt the runners over to 2nd and 3rd? Can’t waste getting your 8 & 9 guys on base with no outs like that.

        • Coleman

          June 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm

          I wish I had Photoshop skills. I’d add some icing to that thing!

  8. jud

    June 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Who ever came up with the idea to lead Jackson off…should quit baseball!!!

    Miggy and Victor in their paychecks Friday hauled in $1.5 mil take home for two weeks to go 1-25 this weekend…..nice gig!!!!

  9. StorminNorman$

    June 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....306300127/

    sure he’s 42, but KC signs Ibanez in hopes of tormenting DET & the AL Central

    • Vince in MN

      June 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Lots of roster changes in KC the last couple of days – 3 guys DFA’d! plus the Ibanez signing. GM Moore has been getting a lot of heat lately. There is a whiff of panic about all this.

  10. StorminNorman$

    June 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....r-martinez
    VMart not in the lineup for at least tonight…

    • Vince in MN

      June 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      DPJaKKKKson batting 9th though, so there is that. Will this prove to be the magic slot to get him going?