Game 2014.85: Rays 7, Tigers 3

David Price vs. Rick Porcello tonight. This is your typical pitcher’s duel setup, meaning that the final score will be 9-8 or something.

Game preview

Detroit Tigers on BBREF or MLB

Tampa Bay Rays on BBREF or MLB

Let’s be fair. In spite of a couple eggs laid just lately (and not goose eggs), the starting rotation has carried (and dropped, and carried again) the Tigers to the good record they have. That’s how baseball works. It’s harder than it used to be to slug your way out of a bad pitching staff. But with a couple bad starts, or at least failed ones, fresh in our minds, let’s wallow in…


It’s no surprise that you’d have a losing record in failed starts, but 2-17? Wow. Gotta pick ’em up a little better than that, eh? The flip side is that Detroit is 46-19 (.708) in games where the starter gave the team a fair to excellent chance of winning. Let’s put that in our pipes and smoke it.



TONIGHT’S LINEUPS: Victor against Price could be will be was sorely missed.


NOTABLE (PREGAME): Yesterday, if you happened to take a (long) nap during the 5th and 6th innings, you saw a pretty good game, aside from a rather persistent defensive clown show. So forget it – I guess there was no good game any way you slice it. Sanchez ruled through 4, and then the wheels came off. And would someone tell me why he had such a hard time putting away Ryan Hanigan (!) with 2 strikes?? That was the first sign of trouble. Let’s make a note of this. Chris Archer. Look at his face – dude’s 10 years old, man. (In truth, I knew going in as many of you did that Archer is no unknown and made a splash in 2013, though I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that he’d made 44 MLB starts, is 25, and had a career 3.38 ERA.) I don’t know whether Archer was that good or Tigers hitters were that bad, but since he was at about 30 pitches through 8 innings and made a great play on Jackson’s line drive, I’ll tip my cap. Were there any scoring chances of the runners on variety? (OK, yes – see yesterday’s postgame box link.) This is that rare game where I could rant and rave about a quicker hook for Sanchez and how the Tigers seemed to be phoning it in and how ashamed they should be. I feel kind of ashamed for having watched all of it. Well, no, not really. What I should feel ashamed of is holding out hope for that one big inning, I suppose. More fool me… Ian Krol threw 11 pitches with one strikeout in a scoreless inning for West Michigan on Friday… LHP Pat McCoy has looked pretty good so far, and even if he was up for a look and not much more, it’s unfortunate that he did something to his hamstring yesterday under those circumstances, 9th inning of a dismal game. McCoy was slow to the bag, sure, but couldn’t Miggy have at least tried to take that one himself?

POSTGAME OK, maybe it wasn’t such a terrible game. A lot of hard-hit balls off a true Cy, a lot of bad breaks, 3.1 innings of shutout ball from the pen, a HR each from Hunter and J.D. (his 7th this year in the 9th inning!), and a wee bit of drama along with the lightning, thunder, and rain at game’s end. When your starter gives up 7 runs, it’s pretty much out of reach, and Porcello’s scoreless streak came to a sad end.


SERIES WRAP: Taking 1 of 4 from the Rays at home was disappointing, to say the least. Call it a team effort. Now 48-37, the Tigers have a day to lick their wounds and regroup for the tall task ahead – Dodgers and Royals.

DET hitting v. TBR

TBR hitting v. DET

DET pitching v. TBR

TBR pitching v. DET


SP Scherzer
RP Boxberger
C Avila
1B Cabrera
2B Forsythe
SS Zobrist
3B Longoria
LF J. Martinez
CF Jennings
RF Hunter
DH V. Martinez

* Stats, facts, graphics, and assorted coolness courtesy of  and  and and

124 thoughts on “Game 2014.85: Rays 7, Tigers 3”

  1. I’lll guess that Jackson is out and Davis (CF) leads off, Holaday catches, and Suarez is back in at SS. J.D. at DH and Hunter in RF. That’s the guess.

    Oh, wait. That leaves me with no LF. Drat. Forget it. Jackson will have to “get it going” against David Price. Hopefully not leading off.

    1. You are prescient re: Jackson

      1. Davis, LF (7-for-29, 2 doubles, walk, 9 K’s)
      2. Kinsler, 2B (8-for-31, 3 doubles, HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
      3. Cabrera, 1B (1-for-14, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
      4.J.D. Martinez, RF (3-for-7)
      5. Hunter, DH (6-for-19, double, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
      6. Castellanos, 3B
      7. Suarez, SS
      8. Holaday, C
      9. Jackson, CF (2-for-14, 8 K’s)

      1. My prescience with Jackson was pretty easy. (Authentic, though.)

        With our new editing capability, we can all be prescient now. I’m calling the final score right now. It’s going to be

        Miggy (not much v. Price) is going to go

  2. What about Tulowitzski? What would it take to get him? I doubt the Tigers are in on him, but that would sure solve the SS problem – for years to come. I think Dombrowski does better when he goes for the blockbuster deal than when he tweaks.

      1. A blockbuster including a CF could be good (presuming we included Jackson). Who do you think is available that would be an upgrade over AJ? I’m assuming we would be dealing with a rebuilding club that would also want a prospect or two. As I mentioned before, my thinking was to use Jackson as trade material for relief help (Benoit?) and fill the CF position from within (Carrera). That would seem easier to accomplish than a big trade.

        I don’t think Avila is a critical part of the picture one way or another. I expect he’ll stay, and that’s fine. I think we can live with his weak offensive contribution in return for decent D and handling the staff. Switching catchers mid-stream may have more negative impact than adding a bit of O, and anyway, who is out there? No, I think we should be able to bitch and moan about his offense, but at the same time just accept him as the number 1 C and say “that’s baseball”.

        The reason I mentioned blockbuster was on seeing the Tulo headline today, otherwise a major deal really hadn’t been in my thinking. It’s not like we “need” Tulo, Su is doing OK, but it is an interesting idea given our SS troubles this year.

        1. No disagreement with anything you say, except that I find the idea of “big star” in CF or at C more compelling than SS right now. I have no idea of any realistic possibilities. Just seems like the splashiest thing that could happen.

          1. CF “stars” are slim pickings. The top 5 are all on contenders, so they are out as candidates I assume. After that, Kemp has been rumored to be on the block, but then LAD have an excess of outfielders, so that doesn’t help us. Slight chance Fowler from Houston could be had (in a blockbuster deal only probably), but I think we may be drifting from the “star” category now, although he would be a definite upgrade on Jackson with his .377 OBP. On the other hand BJ Upton could probably be had from ATL and he is a “star”, although not playing like one.


            1. BJ Upton! Now there’s a guy who’s gotta have an extensive sombrero collection. I think Anibal Sanchez once struck him out twice in the same AB.

  3. Another way of looking at the Bad Start list is that it is “only” 19 games out of 84, while a large portion of the other 65 are QS (couldn’t find the team total). What is really worrisome is that Verlander leads the list with 6. Smyly, our No. 5 is next with 5 (including his last two – was he still sick), and no one else has more than 3. Most of the damage was done during the horror of mid-May to mid-June. There were 8 crash and burn starts just between May 20-31. Hopefully there won’t be another period like that. I mean there can’t be, right?

    Just for fun the other day I tried to figure out if J-Mart had a chance to get into the batting race. It looks like he would have to average 4.1+ plate appearances playing all the remaining games for the rest of the year to get included. A long shot it looks like. I guess we’ll just have to take what we can get.

    1. I don’t think J.D. is going to sustain that BA, but the BA is gravy.

      May 14* to June 17 was truly the Age of the Bad Start. Slicing and dicing in yet another way, the bad stretch was really 13-19. Getting off easy, when you think about it. How would the Rays or the Royals have done?

      *Although that JV start was kind of borderline. I didn’t let the W distract me, though. It certainly wasn’t a good start.

  4. I did some checking, and although it seems like it could (should?) be more, Jackson has only “won” two golden sombreros this year; both in the last week however, so plenty of time to add to his collection.

    1. Yes, only 2 this season. But 6 already in a not-long career. I think he is streaky in K’s just like everything else. He really doesn’t belong in a conversation with someone like Rob Deer, but there he is.

  5. I’ve been thinking about the coming glut of outfielders when Andy Dirks makes his return. I have an idea who might be left without a seat when the music stops.

    First a little background. The Tigers were built to “Win now” – we all recognize that. It seemed more plausible before Rondon’s arm, Dirks back and Iglesias shins simultaneously blew up. I think this still has to be the organization mind set.

    This is especially true when “Win now” is translated as “Win in 2014” not just short term in a general sense. In 2015 Scherzer, Victor Martinez and Hunter are almost certain to be gone. I think these factors might incline the organiztion to act in a more cold-blooded way than they might otherwise.

    Back now to the outfielders:
    Jackson: “Only true CF” per Ausmus. Even though he’s hopeless in the clutch his glove saves him.
    JD Martinez: Just keep killing the ball and it’s all good.
    Davis: Who else has anything like his wheels (or has a walkoff Grand Slam lately?)
    Kelly: Say what you will but he’s doing what’s expected of him – failing manfully at the plate and killing himself if that’s what’s required to make a catch.
    Dirks: LH bat and 2013 Gold Glove finalist – look it up.
    Hunter: Brutal play in RF and rally snuffing GIDP.

    I think I gave my point away there but the thing is – Hunter sees it, too. Remember this? 6/24/14 Free Press “Drew Sharp: Torii Hunter willing to take a lesser role if Tigers keep winning.

    Hunter desperately wants a ring and if it takes platooning in RF to get it – that’s OK. He sees this Tigers team – flawed as it is – as his last best chance. I think he’s afraid the Tigers might DFA him in favor of the other outfielders.

    It this likely? Most years, probably not. This year, just maybe.

    1. Very interesting take there. A lesser but still important role for Hunter, yes, but I would be stunned if the Tigers let him go in 2014 through any means. That’s not an estimate of likelihood, but only what my reaction would be. My jaw will be on the floor if that happens.

      1. I don’t think it will happen either but the point is that Hunter sees the possibility and has acted as he can to
        reduce the chance.

    1. There’s hope that it will be Meh Start #16. Fingers crossed for Porcello in the 6th.

      3 bad pitches, 3 runs (1st inning). Sometimes that’s how it goes.

      1. Nope. Bad Start #20 it is. Anyone see the Tigers picking this one up? I don’t.

  6. Like the house by the side of the road. Even though we complain about AJ’s Ks, his pct. is no worse than last year (yet). The fact that he is having his worst offensive season since we got him probably makes it seem worse than it is.

  7. So far Holiday is the only one with any plate discipline as Price has throw only 29 pitches through three. Way to make him work boys.

    1. Thanks! I guess that worked out well since Jackson turned into Mad Max and some loose change.

    2. Dan & Jim tell us that Price is getting hit at .400+ with power on first pitches. So the aggressive strategy isn’t a bad thing. Just not working out so far. Hope for the long ball. Price has given up 17. Oh, for Victor.

  8. Sweet 3-6-1, Cabrera is so good on these but… another run nicked in. 4-1 just seems like a river too wide. I’m not getting that hitting vibe off this team. Dodgers and Royals coming up. Yeesh.

    1. I’d settle for no more runs from the Rays and call it an OK game. I’ve reached the bargaining phase of my denial.

  9. Tigers know KC lost so this becomes a swing just to swing game that we see so often ….making up 3 -4 runs just requires too much effort…

    1. Well, maybe, but they’re up against David Price, you know. An authentic Cy. The Tigers have never scored more than 2 off Price.

    1. And there’s why Rick isn’t ready for the All-Star team. Ausmus took the ball a bit late yet again.

        1. It’s making me wonder why lately. The deference to veterans I’m just a first-year manager thing should be over. Is Jeff Jones whispering in his ear? Waiting for the perfect matchup to fit the plan? Just get the guy out of there.

          1. He may have been biased by Porcello’s last two starts. Earlier in the season RP doesn’t stay in that long. Whatever the “reason”, poor judgement leaving him in that long.

  10. Ricky just got done throwing back to back CG’s… he hasn’t run out of gas in awhile…the way the Sluggos who are all out of gas on a regular basis are hitting, today doesn’t matter much

    1. I would say Porcello totally ran out of gas tonight, just as he used to. I’m only listening, though. Maybe someone who watched can corroborate.

      1. Ricky said after his back to back CG..lot depends on the weather if his sinker is sinking…last two game awesome…today it didn’t sink from the first swing on…I don’t think it had anything to do with running out of gas…his ball didn’t move all game long watching him.

          1. I have nothing against Krol per se, but bringing him back after 1 rehab appearance, and in low A yet? That’s the “gotta have a LOOGY” meme in its most pathetic ineptitude.

            1. But he’s not even a LOOGY. He’s faced as many RHB (and has been scorched), and Al-Al is better than Krol against LHB.

              1. I can’t pretend to understand the thinking of the brain trust that runs this team. It’s all a mystery to me. I think I’ll stop trying to figure it out from now on and just observe in stunned silence, limiting myself to the occasional “that’s baseball”, “gotta tip your cap”, “we need to get _____ going”, and so on.

  11. Good to see Krol picking up where he left off. Healthy and rested crappy pitching is what I like to see.

    1. The last 3 have been no fun. A loss doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. I like a good game, win or lose. These have been lousy games.

    2. 4th in league in Runs scored, but a Jeckyl and Hyde offense, 10th in ERA, 12th in fielding pct. Does this seem like a team destined for the World Series? I know, anything can happen, right?

      1. It really doesn’t, but the 2012 team was plenty flawed. I’d really like something better than 88-74 this time, WS or no.

        Go Torii!

  12. Wow, Hunter nails a guy at the plate. Even on a short throw, some kind of reward for hanging around this long, eh?

  13. Tigers could end up with a losing record at home….They no longer can defend all that turf at Comerica…12th in fielding with Cabrerra, Kinsler, Avila, doing very well..Suarez, Castellanos being ok…

  14. And the Tigers 3rd run falls down between 3rd and home. That and a number of hard hit balls for outs all game. I don’t think that makes it better, but it should be noted.

  15. Good example of that Heckyl and Jeckyl offense is Cabrerra..he is hitless in 6 of his last 10 games….we just haven’t seen that from him much. Yet he has 7 hits in that stretch

  16. How would you have like to have spent $3-400 attending the 4 game series watching the Sluggos in Detroit….yawn!!!!!

    1. I think, from what I can see on TV, that fans at the game enjoy themselves no matter what, which is as it should be. We more distant spectators are the ones who suffer. At much lower cost, thank goodness.

  17. That lightening gave the fans more to cheer about than the Tigers did in 27 innings….Pathetic!

  18. On the plus side:
    1. Monday is an off day;
    2. Tuesday the Dodgers come in for ONLY two games;
    3. Thursday we go to Kansas City, where we can work to improve our very important road record and hopefully “right the ship”.

        1. So, 6-4 in their last ten. That’s pretty good, right? If they keep it up at that clip, they will finish with over 90 wins. I feel better now.

          1. Well, they’re only 20-20 over their last 40. At that rate, they’ll only finish with 86.5 wins.

              1. Strictly speaking, kind of, Detroit is on pace for 91.5 wins or so. Feel better again, Vince.

                Not one stolen base in 4 games. Tells the story of the last three, I guess.

  19. Oddly enough, of the 16 ML teams that have winning records, 8 of them have better road than home records: DET, BAL, NYY, KC, SEA in the AL; PIT, LAD, SF in the NL.; and by significant amounts.

    1. Kinda puts a new spin on that All-Star Game WS home field advantage thing. It’s incentive to lose now.

    1. I believe that when the A’s went “all in” by trading for Samardzija & Hammel that applied some pressure on DD to make a move(s)… now if that means bullpen help or a veteran SS…that remains to be seen.

      If money and giving up prospects weren’t an issue there’s been some rumors about the Rockies possibly listening to offers for Tulowitzki… but his remaining contract makes little economic sense for DET.

      If Benoit is relatively cheap (prospect-wise) DET should consider it… but Benoit does come with the Game 2 Ortiz baggage.

      JL used 4 pitchers in that infamous 8th inning of Game 2 ALCS… not to dwell on the past, but I’m still convinced that is the inning that lost the ALCS (and possibly the WS) for DET

  20. Baseball the strange game The Rays the hottest team in baseball hit every pitcher the Tigers threw at them go home and can’t touch the Royals…0 runs 4 hits..tonight.

  21. Someone will say ..ya but they faced James Shields and I counter with they sure didn’t have any trouble with Sanchez and Porcello and anyone else we threw at them!

    1. i know what you mean, and Shield last 3 outings, he got hit pretty hard by MIN, LAD & SEA

      …strange game

  22. Every time Verlander gets shelled, I wish that Max had signed that extension. It’s not going to be good when he leaves.

  23. At the Rangers game, Altuve got a hit right as I walked in. Fitting.

    Is it illegal to score from 2nd in a single? Just checking.

      1. And what a difference Hunter’s GIDP made (hero to goat in the same inning). Hopefully that won’t come back to bite.

    1. If you are allowed to lead off before the ball is pitched. But that rule may not be in effect tonight.

  24. How did a clean cut guy like Jamie Wright ever get to pitch for the Dodgers?

  25. Who would have thought this game would be happening as is???..don’t get tired of scoring runs boys!!!

  26. I tuned in late but from the looks of things I’m assuming the Upton girl switched dug outs after the 1st half of the 1st inning?

  27. The Tigers are using their patented station-to-station offensive strategy tonight.

    1. The Dodgers outfield is GOOD, Vince. The Tigers wouldn’t have scored more than 7 being stupid about it.

  28. When was the last time JV had four 1-2-3 innings in the same game? And it is only the fifth inning.

  29. The dog was left out on good behavior. Last I heard he was going to make a comeback and run for Mayor of Denver or Seattle on a “I was framed” by the Indians platform.

    1. It was a very good play by Davis. It’s almost like he deked Ramirez. He sure deked me. I couldn’t understand why he kept running in, thought the bases were loaded after the ball dropped.

  30. tonight’s game is kind of a microcosm for DET’s season …a roller coaster ride

    …the baseball Gods definitely shined a bit of sunshine on DET’s offense tonight.

    1. The way those fly balls were dropping in in the early big innings, you have to wonder about the Dodgers’ OF positioning. Coulda been a lot of luck, too. That was my first thought.

  31. Avila should where goalie equipment…I’ve never seen any catcher take as many foul tips as him

    1. Yeah. I think he is in serious athletic decline, losing eyesight and reflexes both. I think catchers are supposed to have protective instincts that ward off many of the little instances Avila is having, foul balls bouncing to hit him in sensitive areas, mask hits catching him completely off guard, etc., and he’s losing them. I’m serious. We’ve watched this going on for the better part of two seasons now. He’s got to go. I don’t even want him as a backup in 2015.

  32. not to be Debbie Downer and focus on a negative (with so many positives tonight), but ‘lead off hitter’ AJackson the only DET hitter w/o a hit tonight…meanwhile the #9 hitter (and the guy I think should be leading off) is 3 for 3 w/3 RBI, batting .287

    1. Every time I think the same thing about Davis, he makes me look bad. AJax wasn’t bad tonight, not at all.

    1. A real mop-up guy would pitch at least 3 innings. There is no long man on this staff, but then again, in the age of 7+ bullpens, I guess those days are over.

      1. Any guy who regularly comes in in lopsided situations, even if for only 1 inning, qualifies as a mopup man these days.

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