Game 2014.155: Tigers at Royals

Yesterday’s 3-2 victory had a bit of everything going, turning points and momentum shifts all over the place, the baseball gods frowning upon first one and then the other team. It was really something. Good thing the Tigers won, or I’d be sickened by it and unable to speak of it.

It scher was a maxtastically pitched game (Zer Kommissar was in town) on both sides of the shields, one of those james we’ll long remember for about a week. The play that changed everything was the confusing and controversial one that, when the dust had cleared, amounted to no controversy and confusion whatsoever. Salvador Perez didn’t tag up, his bad, our good. Someone saw this and cried out at the injustice! (Who?) (Hernan Perez is our hero, as you know by now.) Even so, a small book could be written on it, complicated as it was. Why did Kinsler throw, why didn’t Suarez catch, etc. etc. etc.. It still took a lot to turn a mere second chance into a win, though. Pressure pitching from Scherzer, the 4-pitch walk to Suarez, a Shields wild pitch, the huge pinch hit from Collins, a bloop from Rajai, and then some bullpen rollercoaster. Oh, and Hunter’s earlier solo shot to start off the scoring didn’t hurt. (Does he have to go?)

Now it’s Rick Porcello vs. Jeremy Guthrie. I think Porcello has been quite good lately, but unlucky. Give him some runs, and maybe we have a sweep and a 3.5 game lead with 7 to play. That is a COMMANDING lead, a clinch waiting to happen. But don’t put it past the Royals to win that suspended game in Cleveland. Those guys are built for that sort of improbability.

Speaking of luck, as in “Luck” (W-L as compared to pythW-L), if the AL playoff picture was based on it, it would be the Orioles vs. the White Sox in the wild card game for a chance to face the Yankees (Royals and Angels would be the other two teams). Some say that the Luck “stat” reflects on a team’s manager. If that is so, Bob Melvin and Legendary Lloyd are really bad, and Brad Ausmus is pretty good. You do have to like Ausmus’s moves in yesterday’s game. Also noticed as I looked over that sort of team stats (before yesterday’s game):

* Last 10, Last 20, Last 30 – Detroit is AL Top 3 in W-L

* Tigers are 48-38 (2nd AL behind the Orioles) against >.500 teams (and now 49-38)

* If pythW-L determined playoff qualification, it would be a Los Angeles-Seattle wild card winner to face Oakland (plus DET & BAL)

* On the AL playoffs scene, Detroit really sticks out like a sore thumb in Runs Allowed; not what we would’ve expected

After game one of this series, I wanted to joke about how Raul Ibanez’s contract must stipulate that he plays not for one team, but for any team that happens to be playing the Tigers. (So there you go.) I mean, how many times have I seen him bat against the Tigers for how many teams (10? 20?) in 2014 alone? But anyway, you know, I’ve always thought Ibanez kinda looked like a guy who breaks kneecaps with baseball bats for a living, the non-baseball player kind. So I was amazed at what an articulate and mellow sort of guy he showed himself to be in the in-game interview during the broadcast of Saturday’s game. Just goes to show ya.

It has occurred to me that if circumstances were such that the Tigers had to choose between keeping either Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez, I (in my imagined role as the decision-maker) would be hard-pressed to let Victor go. The consummate professional hitter, the guy who NEVER gives an at bat away. It’s got to be a good influence, on top of the actual game results. When did the Tigers start winning, really winning? 2011. I rest my case.

Aside from the fact that Alex Avila is a nice guy for whom we wish nothing but the best, his continued absence due to lingering post-concussion-like symptoms is not good news. If he’s really out for the season, he will be missed. And now I hear that Anibal Sanchez might be back soon but then only in a relief role, an idea that does not impress or encourage me at all.

I’m here to tell you that I’ve liked Tyler Collins since ST 2013. I want him on the team in 2015. But where? Can he play 3B?

We see more and more why it’s good to have Andrew Romine around and why he’s drawn so many starts lately. And then we’re reminded why it’s good to have Eugenio Suarez around and why there ought to be a special DH-for-SS position in baseball. As long as Romine could pinch-run for Suarez as a special PR-for-DH-for-SS.

I stand corrected on an earlier comment about Joe Nathan. 7 blown saves is not only bad, but tied for MLB-worst. Part of the reason for that, of course, is that most closers won’t get a chance to blow 7 saves. Track record (and megabucks investment in it), don’t you know. Faith and sticking with a guy can pay off sometimes. Sometimes not. We’ve given up on Nathan, but then again, we also gave up on Phil Coke. We must also remember that leads and games almost blown… were not blown. Joe got the three outs with zero runs yesterday. Just because I don’t know how doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it.

All right. A win today and a sweep and we can breathe. But not celebrate. A small toast, maybe. Then it’s back to business, the serious, grueling, blood sweat and tears business of willing the Detroit Tigers to win. I don’t think we get enough recognition for that. Someone oughta say something.

37 Comments

  1. Smoking Loon

    September 21, 2014 at 12:18 am

    This is the series of doubled names. 2x Coleman, Martinez, Davis, Perez, Collins. Unfortunately, all 10 couldn’t be in the game at the same time. But:

    Collins could be replacing Coleman, who had just come into the game and walked Martinez after Coleman had allowed a single to Martinez after which Perez had gone to the mound and Perez had come in as a pinch runner, to pitch to Collins with the bases loaded while Davis warms up in the bullpen as Davis at 3B breaks for home when Perez catches Perez off guard with a surprise throw to 2B.

    But the throw from Perez is wide, Perez is safe, Davis was bluffing, and Davis continues warming up. The next pitch from Collins is a grand slam for Collins.

    • Snydes

      September 21, 2014 at 12:45 am

      Wow. Just, wow.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 21, 2014 at 12:45 am

      It was, after all, Perez who alertly noticed that Perez hadn’t gone back to 3B to tag.

  2. Kevin at another wedding

    September 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Really enjoyed the post this morning, Smoking Loon.

    I read that the umpires didn’t get a video review of the tag. But they likely saw the unofficial replay on the KC video board, and definitely heard the crowd groan when the crowd saw it. I wonder if the umpires would have reversed the call without those factors.

    • T Smith

      September 21, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Doubtful. Yost reportedly went out and asked which ump specifically “saw” Perez missing the tag (since he was called safe on appeal), to which they basically stuttered and skirted the question. The implication is none of them saw what everybody knew.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        Thanks, Kevin. This was my “Sunday paper” edition. Had more blab in me than I thought.

        I’m glad the reversal went the Tigers’ way as it should have, but yes, there are some disturbing things about what happened.

        A. The appeal play – the throw to 3B – came before Ausmus came out, right? The safe call on that was one blown call, all right. Proof that the 3B ump missed EVERYTHING to begin with. And since Perez obviously didn’t break for home until well after the ball had left Kinsler, there can be no excuse for thinking that the appeal was that he left early. Does the appealing team have to announce what they’re appealing in particular?

        B. Either Ausmus failed to articulate his point about MISSED BASE or the ump ignored or completely misunderstood it. I find the former hard to believe. I get the impression that the ump just didn’t listen, and further (from later comments of his) that he’s something of a dim bulb.

        C. New York was asked the completely wrong question, so of course they gave the completely wrong answer.

        D. I don’t believe that any of the umps saw anything or that none of them saw (and heard) the replay. Essentially, this was replay without the command center. I can’t complain that the call was wrong, but the method was (by rule) completely wrong, which brings us to…

        E. The distinction between leaving early on a tag play and a missed base as far as reviewable calls go has been revealed to be stupid. Does it not make sense that either *anything* or *nothing* that can be appealed with a throw to a base should also be reviewable or not?

        I am most bothered by the umpire’s failure to comprehend the appeal and by his failure to listen to Ausmus. But at least what most needed to be addressed – reversing the safe call on appeal – got addressed. Evasive weaseling notwithstanding.

  3. StorminNorman$

    September 21, 2014 at 10:58 am

    great stuff Loon!

    In a game where injustice can prevail (ie., the hard hit line drive is hit right at someone, but the blooper or dribbler finds a hole…or the starting pitcher throws a 1-hitter and loses, etc) – I’d like to award the MLB game “hold” and “save” to Ausmus and Hernan Perez respectively…instead of Chamberlain & Nathan.

    Hernan Perez gets the “save” because he wasn’t even playing, but was engaged in the game enough to notice that KC Perez didn’t tag on the cluster-cuss of a line drive to Kinsler. And Ausmus gets the “hold” for his actions to get the review AND for appropriately assigning credit (in the post-game interview) to HPerez for seeing that KCPerez didn’t tag.

    I’d also like to give an honorary “save” to Ned Yost for pinch-hitting Ibanez (a guy batting .167 and 0 for his last 7)…when I saw him pinch hitting I immediately thought DET had a chance to win this over-the-hill vs over-the-hill matchup (Nathan v Ibanez)…and also Yost for bunting Aoki (there best hitter as of late) twice w/men on early in the game

    at least yesterday, DET “ate the bar” (BL: “sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well the bar eats you”

    • T Smith

      September 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

      +1 my thoughts exactly when Ibanez came to the plate. If there was anyone Nathan could handle in that situation it was going to be a fellow geriatric…. (Francona did the same with with Giambi for the last out in one of the games in the last CLE series)…

      • Coleman

        September 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

        He had to bring SOMEONE in to pinch-hit, for Willingham’s own protection if nothing else. Even a mannequin would have been better than Willingham, who was about to be tarred and feathered by the KC fans.

        1st at bat: whiffs with a runner on 3rd and 1 out (after Aoki bunt)
        2nd at bat: pops up (on 1st pitch) with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out (after Aoki bunt).
        3rd at bat: whiffs with a runner on 2nd and 2 outs.
        4th at bat: whiffs looking on a fastball down the middle

        His first two at bats cost the Royals the game as much as Tag-Up-Gate did. I imagine in the parallel universe of Royalsweblog he was, shall we say, a tad unpopular.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 21, 2014 at 11:24 pm

          Thank you, Stormin.’

          Good call on Willingham, Coleman. I’d forgotten his contribution. He’s nothing without the walk-up music by The Outfield he used to have with the Twins. (Or did it play and I just missed it?)

  4. jud

    September 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Good stuff today Loon. ! And someone should give us a little recognition for all the blood sweat and tears we put in on a daily basis. On the other hand if the Tigers would listen to us they would be 154-0!!!! And this would be a lot easier!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Thank God we are perfect!

      • Smoking Loon

        September 21, 2014 at 11:21 pm

        Thanks, jud.

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Royals head on to Cleveland after this series to finish and play a game on Monday. Cleveland has a lot to play for as they are 3 1/2 back in the WC. A KC loss and Indians win today and a 2-game sweep tomorrow by the Indians can change that. Advantage to the Tigers for such enthusiasm by the Indians.

  6. StorminNorman$

    September 21, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Jason Beck reports: “Sanchez threw 45 pitches to hitters including Collins, Moya, Avila. Looked fine. If he feels OK tomorrow, should be activated midweek.”

    • Smoking Loon

      September 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      I notice a discrepancy. One of the “hitters” mentioned was Avila. Maybe someone put the Josh Willingham mannequin in the left-handed batter’s box by mistake.

  7. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Tigers do better against Guthrie the second time around.

  8. Coleman

    September 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    The Royals have not been at all good with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 out this series.

  9. Coleman

    September 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    JD Martinez actually gets to 1st base pretty quickly.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Yeah, I’ve noticed. Wonders never cease with that guy. If I ever mention the strikeouts, just tell me to shut up. J.D. has been a godsend.

  10. Coleman

    September 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Clownsas City.

    • Vince in MN

      September 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Or Clownassmus City, depending on your view.

  11. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Again, the baseball gods smile on the Tigers.

  12. Coleman

    September 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Lots of baseball left. Unfortunately, also lots of bullpen left.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 21, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Some good bullpen from DET today, anyway. It could have gotten uglier.

  13. jud

    September 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    A win there would have made life easy…..but when have the Tigers done anything easy!…lets move on to the Sox

    Let the real games begin!!!

  14. Vince in MN

    September 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Hat tip to KC. They were fighting for their life today and convincingly outplayed the Tigers. A loss may well have sunk their chance at taking the division. Now the race remains a lot more interesting, at least through mid-week. On the plus side, I think Ausmus has found his new 7th Inning Guy in Soria.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      I don’t think KC played that great. No hat tip from me. Porcello handed this one to ’em. He should have taken himself out.

      • Vince in MN

        September 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

        Actually Ausmus handed it to them by leaving Porcello in too long. Compounding the problem by relieving P with “Can’t Throw A Strike” Johnson could have turned it into a blowout, but you are right, KC didn’t take advantage there. On the other hand, since the Tiger bats were still recovering from Friday night’s engorgement, it didn’t really matter. Pretty much a whole team fail (getaway day game?). 2 good innings from AlAl was nice and like I said, we have our 7th Inning Guy now too. Hurrah.

  15. jud

    September 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    91…, very difficult for KC to get there (Tigs 5-2)
    90..could end up a tie with KC who would need 6-2, Tigs 4-3
    89 …hope for a wild card
    88…see you next season

  16. Smoking Loon

    September 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Lousy stinking lousy Porcello. I hate that guy.

    Seriously, it’s been a long time since I saw such horrid pitching from him. He shouldn’t even have been back out for the 4th. Big -1 for Ausmus, who was obviously aware (Hardy warming in the 3rd) that Ricky didn’t eat his Wheaties this morning. The backbreaker triple from Aoki was painful. Shouldn’t have happened.

    I’ll also heap some scorn on the offense and the horrid (word of the day) defense in Coke’s inning. Hunter, Martinez in LF, Holaday. Ick.

    I wanted that sweep badly.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 22, 2014 at 11:28 am

      You are right in that Porcello stayed in too long. However I am sure the dilimma that Ausmus was facing was whether Porcello was pitching as good as the bullpen would do? Unfortunately a strong bullpen showed up yesterday making us think that Ausmus let Little Ricky stay in too long.

      Tonight’s game is important with two un-tested pitchers going to the mound. Hopefully Rock Lobster’s maturity will continue and will be helped by strong Tiger bats including Cabrera’s stick that was kinda missing at KC.

      Like Loon, the wind went out of my sail in game 3 as I wanted it bad too. 3 1/2 up with seven games to go and a Magic Number of 5 would have been nice. That along with an Indians’ win on today’s suspended game finish would be very nice. Inasmuch, I feel the Tigers and us have lots of work and suspense to go thru before I pop the champaign and drink from my Dad’s 1968 Tiger mug.

  17. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Here’s the result of the Indians v. Royals suspended game:

    Atchison pitching for the Tribe:

    1st batter (unknown), Base hit (Gore PR)
    2nd batter, Hosmer, KS while Gore steals second
    3rd batter, Escobar grounds out 5-3
    4th batter, Aoki base hit single with two strikes and Gore scores (Dyson PR)
    5th batter (unknown), Dyson steals second, Unknown batter pops up to shortstop. BALLGAME!

    TIGER’S MAGIC NUMBER IS 6! TIGERS ARE UP 2 GAMES!!!!

    PS: Thank you Cleveland!

  18. StorminNorman$

    September 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    thanks!!! nobody (espn or yahoo) online has reported the outcome of this suspended game… I was beginning to wonder if it was rain delayed or something.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Stumbled across it on XM radio (channel 176). I was sweating BBs when Dyson stold 2nd as he was the tying run.

      Yahoo now shows Tigers up two games!

      Avila in the line up tonight!

  19. Coleman

    September 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Post should be up presently, technical difficulties here.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      No technical difficulties with Torii!