2014: The 3rd Inning (7-11)

Tigers and Zubaz don’t mix.

So the Detroit Tigers are now:

SP Verlander
SP Scherzer
SP Ray
SP Porcello
SP Smyly
RP Nathan
RP Alburquerque
RP Chamberlain
RP Coke
RP Miller
RP Reed
RP Krol
C Avila
C Holaday
1B-DH Cabrera
2B Kinsler
SS Romine
SS-P Worth
3B Castellanos
IF-OF Kelly
RF Hunter
CF Jackson
LF-CF Davis
LF J. Martinez
DH-1B V. Martinez


 

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 “It’s great to be alive and to be a Tigers fan.” 

Game 37: Scherzer v. Lester. Tigers 1, RED SOX 0. Never behind, up 1.
NICE PLAYS: WORTH-KINSLER-CABRERA, 1B Napoli, KINSLER
MISPLAYS: 3B Middlebrooks, 2B Pedroia (2)
BASERUNNING NEWS: CASTELLANOS is caught stealing 2B, the news being that there was an attempt.
THE BIG HIT: Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, 0-0 in the 1st, HUNTER scores KINSLER with a single off Lester.
THE BIG OUT: Men on 1st and 2nd, 1 out, Tigers up 1-0 in the 7th, KROL retires pinch-hitter Pierzynski on a 6-4-3 DP.
GOOD HITTING:
BAD HITTING: Sizemore, AVILA
GOOD PITCHING: SCHERZER, Lester, KROL, Badenhop
BAD PITCHING:
OBVIOUSLY: Pretty impressive to hold onto a 1-0 lead for 9 innings at Fenway.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Nothing but outs from CHAMBERLAIN and NATHAN.
HUH?: A 47-minute rain delay doesn’t faze SCHERZER or the Tigers.

Game 38: Porcello v. Lackey. Tigers 6, RED SOX 1. Never behind, up 5.
NICE PLAYS: 1B Napoli, 2B Pedroia-SS Bogaerts-Napoli, KINSLER (2), KINSLER-ROMINE-CABRERA, CABRERA, Pedroia, 3B Holt, CASTELLANOS (2), CF Sizemore
MISPLAYS: ROMINE, P Mujica
BASERUNNING NEWS: DAVIS at 2B makes pitchers nervous. Mujica’s pickoff attempt would have been great if the 2B ump played for the Red Sox and had been closer than 12 feet from the bag.
THE BIG HIT: None on, 2 out, Tigers up 1-0 in the 3rd, CABRERA hits a HR off Lackey.
THE BIG OUT: Bases loaded, 2 out, Tigers up 2-0 in the 4th, PORCELLO retires Pierzynski (4-3 groundout).
GOOD HITTING: CABRERA
BAD HITTING: ROMINE (golden sombrero), Pierzynski, Sizemore
GOOD PITCHING: PORCELLO, Capuano
BAD PITCHING: Lackey
OBVIOUSLY: PORCELLO with curveball/sinker working + defense is an unbeatable combo.
DON’T OVERLOOK: V. MARTINEZ and AVILA both beat the shift with hits, and both score.
HUH?: A slow roller down the 1B line in the 8th by Victorino led to a near-collision with PORCELLO, and Victorino was called out (and didn’t like it), though the ball had ultimately rolled foul. Whether it was interference or touching the ball (he didn’t, I don’t think), the out was good.

Game 39: Sanchez v. Peavy. Tigers 6, RED SOX 2. Down 1, up 4.
NICE PLAYS: 2B Pedroia, 1B Napoli, 1B Napoli-P Peavy, ROMINE, SANCHEZ-3B KELLY, C Pierzynski-3B Holt, KINSLER (2), CABRERA, CABRERA-CHAMBERLAIN
MISPLAYS: AVILA, KELLY
BASERUNNING NEWS: The Tigers had relentless legs, and it showed up in 3 of the runs. Fenway singles turned to doubles, a nice slide by CABRERA, a SB for J. MARTINEZ. The Red Sox pilfered a pair from AVILA, but it came to nothing.
THE BIG HIT: Man on 1B, 2 out, 1-1 in the 3rd, V. MARTINEZ HR off Peavy scores CABRERA (who had just scored KINSLER).
THE BIG OUT: Bases loaded, 1 out, 4-2 Tigers in the 5th, SANCHEZ makes a great snag of the line drive from Sizemore and doubles Victorino off 3B with help from KELLY.
GOOD HITTING: KINSLER, CABRERA
BAD HITTING: Sizemore
GOOD PITCHING: ALBURQUERQUE and the rest of the pen
BAD PITCHING: Peavy
OBVIOUSLY: The Tigers offense was relentless, squaring up Peavy right away and hitting safely in all 9 innings.
DON’T OVERLOOK: 4 scoreless (1 H, 0 BB) innings from the Tigers bullpen committee of 5.
HUH?: HUNTER’s home run to LF off Tazawa was clean out of the ballpark. A foul popup near the stands pops out of Pierzynski’s mitt and into the hand of Holt. Nice. Funny play where V. MARTINEZ bounces to 1B with HUNTER there, who draws Napoli into a bit of a rundown. Napoli seems to think that HUNTER is the 3rd out, but shouts from Peavy and other teammates and the slow runner save his bacon, as he guns to 1B just in time.

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Game 40: Smyly v. Kluber. INDIANS 5, Tigers 4 (10). Up 1, down 1. Walk-off loss.
NICE PLAYS: ROMINE, 2B Aviles-3B Santana-1B Aguilar, SS Cabrera-Aguilar, LF DAVIS-ROMINE-KINSLER, CASTELLANOS-CABRERA
MISPLAYS: AVILA, RF Raburn, P Kluber, SMYLY, ROMINE, CASTELLANOS, Santana, CF Bourn
BASERUNNING NEWS:
THE BIG HIT: None on, 2 out, 4-4 in the 10th, ALBURQUERQUE yields the game-winning HR to Brantley.
THE BIG OUT: Bases loaded, 1 out, 4-4 in the 9th, CHAMBERLAIN gets Aviles on a 5-3 DP started well by CASTELLANOS.
GOOD HITTING:
BAD HITTING: Aviles
GOOD PITCHING: Shaw, Atchison
BAD PITCHING: SMYLY
OBVIOUSLY: Both a bad game (very sloppy and yet no official errors) and a good game (rallies back and forth all evening, including an 8th-inning, game-tying, pinch-hit HR for J. MARTINEZ off Allen).
DON’T OVERLOOK: Detroit was 1 for 8 RISP.
HUH?: HUNTER saw 15 pitches in his 0-fer 5 PA and struck out 3 times. Wild pitch on an intentional walk for Kluber.

Game 41: Verlander v. Bauer. INDIANS 6, Tigers 2. Up 1, down 4.
NICE PLAYS: KINSLER-WORTH-CABRERA, CABRERA-WORTH, HUNTER (2), 2B Aviles-SS Cabrera-1B Swisher, LF Brantley-Aviles, SS Cabrera, Swisher-Cabrera-P Bauer, Swisher, 3B Chisenhall
MISPLAYS: CABRERA, CASTELLANOS, JACKSON
BASERUNNING NEWS: KINSLER was out by a mile trying to get to 2B on Brantley, but did make an interesting dance move (or maybe it was martial arts) after being tagged out. The Indians, meanwhile, were flying around the bases.
THE BIG HIT: Runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out, 1-1 in the 2nd, Aviles 2-run double off VERLANDER.
THE BIG OUT: Men on 1st and 2nd, 1 out, Tigers down 5-2, Bauer retires CASTELLANOS on a bang-bang 3-6-1 DP, nicely finished off by the pitcher himself, safe call at 1B overturned.
GOOD HITTING: AVILA, Bourn
BAD HITTING: CASTELLANOS
GOOD PITCHING: Shaw
BAD PITCHING: VERLANDER
OBVIOUSLY: Cleveland took Detroit to school all the way around.
DON’T OVERLOOK: How it could have been worse (14 baserunners, 116 pitches for VERLANDER in 6 innings), or the importance of the Francona challenge on the big out play in the 6th.
HUH?: AVILA home run off Bauer hit the top of that tall wall in left-CF, quite the blast.

Game 42: Scherzer v. McAllister. INDIANS 11, Tigers 10 (13). Up 4, down 2. Balk-off loss.
NICE PLAYS: C Santana-1B Swisher, RF Murphy (2), CABRERA-SCHERZER, KINSLER-WORTH-1B KELLY, Swisher, LF DAVIS-HOLADAY, CASTELLANOS-KELLY, DAVIS-AVILA
MISPLAYS: 3B Chisenhall, JACKSON, SS Cabrera, WORTH-JACKSON, HOLADAY, WORTH
BASERUNNING NEWS: A couple exciting plays at the plate, but neither involved Detroit baserunners. Brantley stole twice and scored twice, while J. MARTINEZ had to settle for being thrown out at 2B rather easily.
THE BIG HIT: Man on 2nd, 2 out, Tigers up 9-7 in the 9th, Murphy hits a 2-run HR off NATHAN, 9-9 in the 10th, KROL facing Bourn, Chisenhall tries to score on the shallow fly to LF and is thrown out at home by DAVIS, double play and inning over.
THE BIG OUT: Runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out
GOOD HITTING: V. MARTINEZ, Brantley, Murphy, Aviles
BAD HITTING: JACKSON
GOOD PITCHING: Tomlin, Atchison, KROL
BAD PITCHING: SCHERZER, McAllister, NATHAN, Axford
OBVIOUSLY: A crazy one that ended crazier. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
DON’T OVERLOOK: It was a battle until the end. Scherzer took the Tigers out of it and then kept them in it, and was in line for a strange win before the blown save. Big-time clutch from DAVIS (bat and glove) and AVILA (13th inning home run) should not go forgotten.
HUH?: Way too much going on. ALBURQUERQUE’s flinch to balk in the winning run. CABRERA and soon AUSMUS getting ejected in the 6th – over a check-swing strike one call. Two balls lost in the sun by WORTH (one of those runners scores.)

Robbie Ray

 “I hate baseball.

Game 43: Darvish v. Ray. Rangers 9, TIGERS 2. Never ahead, down 9.
NICE PLAYS: RAY-CABRERA-ROMINE, AVILA-ROMINE, KINSLER-AVILA, 3B Beltre-2B Sardinas, KINSLER
MISPLAYS: JACKSON (2), KINSLER (2), CABRERA, ROMINE (2)
BASERUNNING NEWS: At least the Texas base-stealing was shut down in the brief time it mattered. CABRERA was fleet and positively athletic scoring from 2B, even if the HUNTER RBI was a double.
THE BIG HIT: Runner on 1st, none out, 0-0 in the 2nd, Rios doubles in a run off RAY.
THE BIG OUT: Men on 1st and 2nd, none out, Tigers down 5-0 in the 3rd, Darvish gets CABRERA to line out sharply to 3B, and KINSLER is doubled off 2B.
GOOD HITTING: Choo, Choice, Beltre
BAD HITTING: Sardinas
GOOD PITCHING: Darvish, COKE
BAD PITCHING: RAY, REED
OBVIOUSLY: Detroit dug themselves a big hole early, and the “homecoming” defense was beyond bad.
DON’T OVERLOOK: 5 innings of scoreless relief is never a bad thing.
HUH?: Comic relief provided by the remarkably successful debut of WORTH the knuckleballer. Texas lost CF Robertson early (batting .150 and caught stealing, tough times) when he collided with RF Rios, both hustling after the ball and sliding for it, Robertson sliding face first into Rios’s knee. Why wasn’t SMYLY – obviously available – brought in when it was 5-0 rather than 9-0? AUSMUS?

Game 44: Baker v. Sanchez. TIGERS 7, Rangers 2. Down 2, up 5.
NICE PLAYS: 1B Moreland, P Baker, SS Andrus-2B Odor-Moreland, AVILA-ROMINE, Andrus, KINSLER, Odor-C Chirinos, CABRERA-ROMINE-KROL
MISPLAYS: Andrus
BASERUNNING NEWS: DAVIS was ridiculously far off 1B when he got picked off by Baker, but his blazing speed in scoring the Tigers’ 4th run from 1B more than made up for it. KINSLER parlayed advances into runs twice, and running for home on contact worked on the HUNTER groundout. Next play reads odd – V. MARTINEZ out at home (from 2B) on a groundball to 2B? Odor ranged far to knock the ball down and overran it, would’ve been an IF single for JACKSON. V. MARTINEZ rounding 3rd tried to read the play, hesitated, and then just couldn’t beat a quick recovery and easy throw home by Odor.
THE BIG HIT: Man on 1st, 1 out, Tigers down 2-0 in the 2nd, JACKSON hits a 2-run HR off Baker.
THE BIG OUT: Runner on 3B, 1 out, 2-2 in the 3rd, Baker retires HUNTER on a flyout to LF too shallow to score CABRERA.
GOOD HITTING: KINSLER
BAD HITTING:
GOOD PITCHING: SANCHEZ
BAD PITCHING: Baker
OBVIOUSLY: Great start from “Sanchie” plus a lot of runs for 10 hits and 2 for 10 RISP.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Sanchez allowed 2, then ended the threat en route to retiring 14 of his last 15. A nice 3-6-1 DP ended the game.
HUH?: ROMINE, batting a cool .176, belts one out to RF off Baker, his first career HR. The Tigers struck out only twice (AVILA both).

Game 45: Martinez v. Sanchez. Rangers 12, TIGERS 2. Up 1, down 11.
NICE PLAYS: CASTELLANOS, AVILA-CASTELLANOS, LF DAVIS, PORCELLO, AVILA-ROMINE, CASTELLANOS-KINSLER-1B KELLY, KELLY-P WORTH, 2B Odor
MISPLAYS: CABRERA, AVILA, JACKSON, LF Choice
BASERUNNING NEWS: Nothing like ROMINE (scoring from 1B) and DAVIS (RBI double) running the bases simultaneously. Unfortunately, the recently blazing DAVIS was caught out badly stealing 3B. Two good AUSMUS challenges that reversed safe SB calls on very close plays. A good Washington challenge ends the Tigers 7th and any hope of consolation runs on a line out DP with bases loaded.
THE BIG HIT: Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Tigers down 2-1 in the 4th, Odor 2-run triple off PORCELLO.
THE BIG OUTS: Man on 2nd, 1 out, 0-0 in the 1st, PORCELLO strikes out Moreland and AVILA throws out Choo attempting to steal 3B, double play.
GOOD HITTING: Odor, Murphy. Martin
BAD HITTING: CASTELLANOS
GOOD PITCHING: COKE
BAD PITCHING: PORCELLO, KNEBEL
OBVIOUSLY: It started well enough. It didn’t blow up. It just snowballed until it was wretched.
DON’T OVERLOOK: The tipping point may have been the Gimenez double in the 4th, where the relay from RF to the plate wasn’t bad enough to call a bad play but not good enough to make it more than an almost close play on Beltre at the plate.
HUH?: Well, everyone looked good in the Negro League uniforms, anyway. WORTH pitched for the 2nd time in 3 days, knuckleball not nearly as sensational.

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Game 46: Lewis v. Verlander. Rangers 12, TIGERS 4. Never ahead, down 10.
NICE PLAYS: AVILA-ROMINE, CASTELLANOS, SS Andrus, SS Sardinas-2B Odor-1B Moreland
MISPLAYS: KINSLER, CASTELLANOS (2), Moreland (3), VERLANDER-KINSLER, CF Martin, ROMINE
BASERUNNING NEWS: DAVIS was excitement in the first, stealing, drawing a balk, coming home on a grounder. AVILA had a good lead and a great jump and still got caught handily stealing 2B.
THE BIG HIT: Men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, Tigers down 3-1 in the 2nd, ROMINE doubles off of Lewis to score JACKSON with help from bumbling Martin.
THE BIG OUTS: Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, Tigers down 3-2 in the 2nd, Lewis retires DAVIS (lineout to SS) and KINSLER (flyout to CF).
GOOD HITTING: Moreland, Andrus, Rios, Chirinos
BAD HITTING: KINSLER, Martin
GOOD PITCHING: REED
BAD PITCHING: VERLANDER, KROL
OBVIOUSLY: The Tigers stunk and got stomped.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Detroit could have made it a slugfest against mediocre pitching but didn’t (2-12 RISP), and the defense added insult to injury.
HUH?: 11 hits and 6 walks for Tigers hitters, 4 runs.

Game 47: Smyly v. Milone. ATHLETICS 10, Tigers 0. Never ahead, down 10.
NICE PLAYS: SS Lowrie-1B Blanks, JACKSON, CASTELLANOS-CABRERA, 3B Donaldson, CASTELLANOS, CF Crisp, Lowrie, CABRERA
MISPLAYS: ROMINE, Lowrie, CASTELLANOS, HOLADAY
BASERUNNING NEWS: Lots of trotting around the bases for the A’s.
THE BIG HITS: 0-0 in the 2nd, Moss and Blanks hit solo home runs off Smyly.
THE BIG OUTS: SMYLY retiring Donaldson-Cespedes-Lowrie in order in the 1st, working out of a 1st and 3rd, none out jam.
GOOD HITTING: Norris, Blanks, Donaldson
BAD HITTING:
GOOD PITCHING: Milone. KNEBEL, Otero
BAD PITCHING: SMYLY, COKE
OBVIOUSLY: Demoralizing early, it got worse.
DON’T OVERLOOK: The COKE demolition was set up by a 4-pitch walk, another defensive miscue by HOLADAY (interference with the batter), and a botched routine play by CASTELLANOS.
HUH?: 4 home runs in the span of 30 pitches off SMYLY? Really?

Game 48: Scherzer v. Gray. Tigers 6, ATHLETICS 5. Down 2, up 2.
NICE PLAYS: 3B Donaldson-1B Moss (2), Donaldson, AVILA-3B KELLY, P Gray-Moss, ROMINE, 3B KELLY (2), LF J. MARTINEZ (2), CF Crisp, RF Reddick (2), C Jaso-2B Sogard, SS Lowrie-Sogard-Moss, CABRERA-CHAMBERLAIN, KINSLER, CABRERA-NATHAN
MISPLAYS: JACKSON, LF Cespedes, KINSLER, C Norris (2)
BASERUNNING NEWS: AVILA put down a nice bunt that took a good play by Gray to beat. DAVIS (inserted by AUSMUS to pinch-run for J. MARTINEZ) wins the game in the 8th with legs and smarts, capitalizing on C Norris and P Abad.
THE BIG HIT: Runner on 3rd, 2 out, Tigers up 4-3 in the 4th, Jaso hits a 2-run HR off SCHERZER.
THE BIG OUT: 2-0 Tigers in the 1st, none out, Crisp on 2B is caught stealing 3B by AVILA-KELLY on a very close play (challenged, and the out stood).
GOOD HITTING: Jaso, J. MARTINEZ, Callaspo, CABRERA
BAD HITTING: Crisp
GOOD PITCHING: NATHAN, ALBURQUERQUE, CHAMBERLAIN, Gregerson
BAD PITCHING: SCHERZER
OBVIOUSLY: A thrilling game that felt like playoff baseball.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Great defense on both sides prevented more runs than the pitching did.
HUH?: A misunderstood signal from AVILA led to the strange run-scoring balk in SCHERZER’s 4th-inning disaster. This miscue was outdone by the A’s battery in the decisive 8th.

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Game 49: Sanchez v. Kazmir. ATHLETICS 3, Tigers 1. Up 1, down 2. Walk-off loss.
NICE PLAYS: 3B Donaldson-2B Sogard-1B Moss (3), CF DAVIS, LF Cespedes, CABRERA-WORTH-SANCHEZ, CABRERA, CF Crisp, Cespedes-Sogard
MISPLAYS: C Norris, CASTELLANOS
BASERUNNING NEWS: CABRERA put on a nice show trying to evade the tag at 2B in the 8th and fooled the ump, but not replay.
THE BIG HIT: Men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, Tigers up 1-0 in the 9th, Donaldson 3-run HR off NATHAN to win it.
THE BIG OUT: Tigers up 1-0 in the 9th, SANCHEZ gets the first batter Callaspo to ground out 4-3.
GOOD HITTING: Donaldson
BAD HITTING: KINSLER
GOOD PITCHING: SANCHEZ, Kazmir
BAD PITCHING: NATHAN
OBVIOUSLY: Couldn’t quite finish it off, but SANCHEZ was brilliant. As was Kazmir, with big help from his defense.
DON’T OVERLOOK: CABRERA running into the 3rd out in the 8th (or the Melvin challenge that got the safe call overturned), or how the Jaso single that set up the walk-off went right through CASTELLANOS, hard-hit though it was.
HUH?: A Tigers CF leaves his feet to make a catch!

Game 50: Porcello vs. Chavez. Tigers 5, ATHLETICS 4. Down 1, up 3.
NICE PLAYS: SS Punto-2B Sogard-1B Callaspo, PORCELLO-AVILA-CABRERA, LF J. MARTINEZ (3), RF Reddick, CABRERA, KINSLER-ROMINE-CABRERA, CASTELLANOS, ROMINE
MISPLAYS: Reddick (2), CASTELLANOS, CABRERA
BASERUNNING NEWS: ROMINE blazed home from 1B to score one run, as did CABRERA for another, thanks to a double buried in the RF corner by V. MARTINEZ. Conceding the run in the 3rd (CABRERA out 6-3, KINSLER scores from 3B) proves to be costly for the A’s.
THE BIG HIT: Man on 1st, 2 out, Tigers up 1-0 in the 4th, Punto 2-run HR off PORCELLO.
THE BIG OUT: Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Tigers up 5-4 in the 9th, NATHAN gets pinch-hitter Lowrie to ground out to 1B.
GOOD HITTING: Punto, V. MARTINEZ
BAD HITTING: Sogard, J. MARTINEZ
GOOD PITCHING: KROL
BAD PITCHING: Johnson, NATHAN
OBVIOUSLY: Not easy, but all the more impressive for that. Getting to the 9th with a 3-run lead was a good plan.
DON’T OVERLOOK: All kinds of clutch everything from Detroit, but especially the run-saving, inning-ending catch by J. MARTINEZ.
HUH?: PORCELLO walks 6 after having walked 9 all season.

Game 51: Verlander v. Iwakuma. Tigers 6, MARINERS 3. Never behind, up 4.
NICE PLAYS: SS Miller-1B Smoak, ROMINE-AVILA, AVILA-ROMINE, HUNTER, KINSLER, C Zunino-Miller, JACKSON
MISPLAYS: 2B Franklin, AVILA (2)
BASERUNNING NEWS: CABRERA at 2B draws a pickoff throw from Iwakuma and is probably out except for Franklin, but give credit for drawing the error. CASTELLANOS is an embarrassingly easy out at 3B trying to advance on an errant pitch, and ROMINE is surprisingly easy meat on his attempt at 2B.
THE BIG HIT: Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, tied 2-2 in the 5th, V. MARTINEZ follows the intentional walk to CABRERA with a 3-run HR off Iwakuma.
THE BIG OUT: Man on 3rd, 1 out, 0-0 in the 2nd, Verlander gets a ground ball from Ackley and ROMINE guns down Seager at home plate.
GOOD HITTING: V. MARTINEZ, CABRERA, Seager
BAD HITTING: Ackley
GOOD PITCHING: VERLANDER
BAD PITCHING: Iwakuma
OBVIOUSLY: Felt like a solid, back to business win versus a top shelf pitcher, and a return to top shelf form for VERLANDER.
DON’T OVERLOOK: How the Tigers just said “no” to the momentum shift in the 4th and turned it right back around, strike ‘em out-throw ‘em out DP and then a 3-run answer next inning.
HUH?: Seattle’s Robinson Cano is nursing an injury and out, possibly for the series.

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Game 52: Smyly v. Young. MARINERS 3, Tigers 2. Never ahead, down 2.
NICE PLAYS: CABRERA, LF Gillespie (2), ROMINE, AVILA-CABRERA, RF Chavez, SS Franklin-2B Bloomquist
MISPLAYS: CABRERA, HUNTER, C Buck
BASERUNNING NEWS: A seemingly inconsequential steal of 2B by Gillespie in the 4th made a big difference, as did ROMINE’s inability to get a bunt down on Rodney in the 9th.
THE BIG HIT: Man on 1st, none out, Tigers down 3-2 in the 9th, KELLY singles off Rodney, WORTH (pinch-runner for AVILA) to 2B.
THE BIG OUTS: Runners on 1st and 2nd, none out, Rodney retires ROMINE (K), DAVIS (K), and KINSLER (groundout) in order, game over.
GOOD HITTING: Bloomquist
BAD HITTING: KINSLER
GOOD PITCHING: Young, REED, ALBURQUERQUE
BAD PITCHING: SMYLY
OBVIOUSLY: An exciting game with many late-inning chances.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Defense (Seattle v. Detroit) made the difference, particularly as the Mariners’ 3rd run in the 4th never should have been.
HUH?: Smyly threw 105 pitches in 4 innings and went to 3-2 counts on 9 of 20 batters faced, and yet walked only 1.

Game 53: Scherzer v. Elias. MARINERS 4, Tigers 0. Never ahead, down 4.
NICE PLAYS: 3B Seager-1B Smoak, CASTELLANOS, WORTH-HOLADAY, SS Miller-Smoak, P Elias, WORTH, JACKSON, WORTH-CABRERA, Seager-2B Bloomquist-Smoak
MISPLAYS: HOLADAY, HUNTER, WORTH, CASTELLANOS
BASERUNNING NEWS: No Tigers baserunners to speak of, but WORTH-HOLADAY did nail Bloomquist at home plate, who tried to score from 3B on a double steal (it actually went 2-6-2, no putout at 2B).
THE BIG HIT: Runner on 2nd, 1 out, 0-0 in the 1st, Saunders RBI double off SCHERZER.
THE BIG OUTS: Men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, Tigers down 1-0 in the 3rd, SCHERZER strikes out Saunders, and then with Smoak at the plate, Bloomquist at 3B is out at home on the double steal attempt.
GOOD HITTING: Chavez
BAD HITTING:
GOOD PITCHING: Elias
BAD PITCHING:
OBVIOUSLY: Elias was unhittable and Scherzer wasn’t.
DON’T OVERLOOK: Three 1-2-3 innings for SCHERZER. Three hits for the Tigers (all singles).
HUH?: AUSMUS said afterward that the team played “flat.” Yes.

Game 54: Hutchison v. Sanchez. Blue Jays 5, TIGERS 3. Never ahead, down 5.
NICE PLAYS: CABRERA-3B KELLY, SS Reyes-1B Encarnacion, CABRERA-SANCHEZ, NATHAN-KELLY
MISPLAYS: 2B Lawrie, AVILA, ROMINE
BASERUNNING NEWS: Reyes is nearly picked off 3B in the 9th by NATHAN-KELLY in what could have been a game-changer, but the safe call withstands an AUSMUS challenge. SOP derailed: With a runner on 2nd, the adroit CABRERA fields a groundball at 1B and without hesitation throws to 3B to cut down the lumbering Francisco with ease. Big-time play in a scoreless game.
THE BIG HIT: Men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, 0-0 in the 9th, Bautista RBI single off NATHAN.
THE BIG OUT: Men on 1st and 3rd, none out, 0-0 in the 9th, NATHAN retires Melky Cabrera on a popup to SS.
GOOD HITTING: Lawrie, J. MARTINEZ
BAD HITTING:
GOOD PITCHING: SANCHEZ, Hutchison
BAD PITCHING: ALBURQUERQUE, NATHAN, Delabar
OBVIOUSLY: A scoreless duel for 8 innings, another SANCHEZ gem wasted, another bullpen meltdown, but also some last-chance rally excitement with the 3-run bomb from J. MARTINEZ off Delabar.
DON’T OVERLOOK: The misplay by ROMINE in the 9th, possibly the difference between difficult and debacle.


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DEFENSIVE SCORECARD (in terms of outstanding plays one way or the other, X = good, O = not)

SS WORTH XXXXOOXXXXO +5
2B KINSLER XXXXXXXXXXXXOOXXOOXOXX +13
1B CABRERA XXXXXXXXOXXOXOXXXXXXXXXOXXOXXX +20
3B CASTELLANOS XXXOOXXXXXOOXXOOXOXO +4
SS ROMINE XOXXXOXXOOXXXXOOXXXXXXO +9
P SANCHEZ XXX +3
3B KELLY XOXXXXX +5
P CHAMBERLAIN XX +2
C AVILA OOXXXXXXOXXXXXOOXO +6
LF DAVIS XXXX +4
P SMYLY O -1
RF HUNTER XXXOO +1
CF JACKSON OOOOOOXOXX -4
P SCHERZER X +1
1B KELLY XXXX +4
C HOLADAY XOOXO -1
P RAY X +1
P KROL X +1
P PORCELLO XX +2
P WORTH X +1
P VERLANDER O -1
LF J. MARTINEZ XXXXX +5
P NATHAN XX +2
CF DAVIS X +1

scrap18

Luke Putkonen’s rehab is now halted, “clunkiness” in elbow, an examination for possible surgery scheduled. *** A Red Sox fan at Fenway Park (or maybe it was a Tigers fan, who knows) informs Joba Chamberlain that UPS is hiring. *** Signed to a minor league contract during spring training, LHP Nate Robertson’s comeback bid with the Mud Hens ends with his release. *** Lingering left side soreness for Rick Porcello (which didn’t affect his 8-inning dominance of the Red Sox) calls for extra rest and keeps Robbie Ray around for another start, leading to Justin Miller being sent to Toledo as Anibal Sanchez comes back from the DL. *** Brad Ausmus thinks Andrew Romine (.187 and falling) may be pressing a bit. *** Taking BP before a game, Ausmus hits one over the Green Monster as pitcher Lamont gets too much plate (“I put it right where he wanted it,” Lamont said). *** A jubilant team gets decked out in Zubaz (Joba Chamberlain’s idea) following the Boston sweep. There’s a problem with the airplane that delays the flight on to Cleveland until the next afternoon, and Drew Smyly is left all alone overnight in a strange town. Next thing you know, it takes the Tigers 15 games to win their next 4, and the legend of The Curse of the Zubaz is born (even though it may eventually reveal itself to be The Curse of Joba’s Beard). **** An impressive 11-game road win streak comes to an end in Cleveland. *** Tigers are grading out well so far in controlling base-stealing, improved over 2013. *** SS Eugenio Suarez makes the jump from Erie to Toledo (Danny Worth and Romine are batting under .200 combined). *** Ray returns to Toledo, and top prospect Corey Knebel is called up to join the bullpen. *** No surgery for Putkonen, just more rehab. *** Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler are hitting doubles at a torrid pace. *** Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter are in the midst of great slumps that will take their BA’s down 30 points over 18 games. *** Justin Verlander keeps his chin up after the Texas demolition: “It’s not me and it’s never been me. Look forward to the next one and go out and give us a chance to win.” *** After Game 46, Victor Martinez had hit safely in 25 of his last 28 games, batting .366 with nine doubles, nine home runs and 22 RBIs. *** Ian Kinsler (batting .330, 2nd in the AL) gets his first game day off May 26. *** The Tigers pitching staff endures a 6-game stretch of 61 runs allowed in 56.2 innings. This overlaps 8 games of the team batting .174 (15-for-86) with RISP and stranding 75 runners, and coincides with 9 errors in 6 games (which only hints at the actual defensive performance). *** Rajai Davis bruises his shoulder on a great catch (in CF) but misses only one game. *** 4 weeks after signing Joel Hanrahan, not a lot of progress, still in arm strengthening phase. *** Though 8 starts and 43.1 IP, Sanchez has yet to allow a HR. The emergent ace (41 K, .183 BAA) hasn’t had one bad start, but has had some short ones (and of course some missed ones). *** Detroit’s offense limps away from this “inning” with 13 hits (and 28 strikeouts) in the final 3 games. *** Closer Joe Nathan has regressed to horrid during this period (16.88 ERA in 8 games), but Ausmus isn’t the only one defending him. Chamberlain: “You can’t replace him. He’s just one of those guys. He’s our leader. He continues to lead in so many ways.” Hmmm. *** Believe it or not, aside from Phil Coke, Nathan, and some bad numbers from the fringe guys, all of which makes the bullpen look terrible by the composite statistics  the core group of Chamberlain, Alburquerque, Krol, and Reed has in fact been quite OK overall, which is not to say consistent. And yet the only truly trustworthy arm has been Chamberlain, who seldom enters with runners aboard and is apparently cemented in his 8th inning role. 4 losses charged to the bullpen in the last 18 games (3 courtesy of Alburquerque) magnifies the sense of bad bullpen, but it’s a mixed bag at this point, and the recent tailspin actually has less to do with the bullpen than anything. *** Davis has been a pleasant surprise as more than the role player he was originally intended to be, with 16 of 19 in SB, 288/339/423, 17 RBI, and good play in LF. *** An impressive May: Cabrera drove in a run in 19 out of 29 games for the month, and plated multiple runs 11 times. *** Eugenio Suarez is off to a good start with Toledo and puts on a show in a game attended by Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland. *** Still in rather limited action, J.D. Martinez is starting to make some noise with his bat (1.183 OPS and 8 RBI in 29 PA this period). *** Nathan has become a lightning rod, thanks to his performance, throwing teammates under the bus (the comments become more careful but don’t mask it), and Ausmus’s insistence on him as one and only closer guy for closer guy situations. It’s not working, and he draws significant disdain from the home crowd in the Game 54 loss to Toronto.

smyly-ouch

31-23, 1st in the Central, 3rd in the AL, on pace for a 93-69 season…

RESEARCH MADE POSSIBLE BY: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL and BASEBALL REFERENCE .
PHOTO CREDITS: JACKSON: Pat Sullivan/AP; RAY: Paul Sancya/AP; KNEBEL: ? SMYLY: Associated Press.

8 Comments

  1. Coleman

    November 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Another great post Loon, as much as I’d like to forget the Zubaz Inning.

    • Smoking Loon

      November 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks. Aside from the Zubaz story itself, which is funny, it wasn’t an inning I approached with relish, or even mustard. I had a strange premonition things were about to go south.

  2. Coleman

    November 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Alan Trammell is back in the D, as Special Assistant to Dombrowski!

    http://bit.ly/1A57ypN

    • Smoking Loon

      November 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Veddy interesting.

  3. Smoking Loon

    November 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Special request:

    Does anyone remember the opponent (one of the games above, I’m pretty sure) when:

    Miguel Cabrera has the ball at first base. There’s an opposing runner caught between 2nd and 3rd. Cabrera charges the runner… and just keeps charging with no throw until the runner is safe from the rundown that would have nailed him. I don’t know if there was a reason, or if this was just a mental blunder on Cabrera’s part, or what.

    It seems to me that I saw this game recently and forgot to make a note. Now, for the life of me, I can’t find the game the play was in. Help! It deserves mention in the season chronicle.

  4. StorminNorman$

    November 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

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

    this writer predicts a quiet (FA) off-season for DET

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    November 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Great posts Loon….yes the Zubaz delayed flight followed by extra innings/walkoff losses in Cleveland was a changer. I forgot about AJax’s and Hunter’s slumps that along with pitching holding runs was certainly the cause. My scorebook had lots of scribbles during those games.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      November 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Nothing like a walk-off balk to get the blood going!