Game 2016.105: Astros at Tigers

What a win that was last night. I was certain the Tigers had a 1-0 win going into the 9th, and i was just as certain they had a 2-1 loss on their hands in the bottom of the 9th, especially after the inning began with a Martinez weak grounder and a Saltalamacchia pinch-hit strikeout. But Justin Upton had a great at-bat and got a walk (how often does that happen?), and Tyler “Do You Really Wanna Demote Me” Collins found a curve left over the middle of the plate (a few inches higher and I think he hits that one over the centerfielder’s head), then, most improbably of all, McCann takes one over the shortstop to tie the game. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how Iglesias would win the game, even if they thought he would win the game. He hit a hard slice down the right field line that was about 10 feet from winning the game, but he ended up with a fairly routine grounder to first, then ran like a maniac, while the pitcher stepped at the bag like Sparky Anderson trying not to step on the 3rd base chalk line, and there you have it. Even better than the game was watching the players afterwards; Verlander in particular was having a moment of real joy. It reminded me of watching the Royals last season.

It used to be Miggy and Victor pulling the team along behind them, but now something else is driving the team.

When is the last time the Tigers got 2 runs from hustle?

Verlander gets the game ball. Once again he was dominant, and the two runs scored mostly on two slow grounders to short. The pitch Correa hit was below the strike zone and so outside it was in the other batter’s box–McCann slid over in block mode. He was clearly winded in the 9th, but the guy has no quit in him.

Meanwhile the Cleveland Indians have gone and thrown down the gauntlet, emptying their minor league system for Andew Miller and Jonathan Lucroy.

Today’s Let’s Not Get Pelfreyed Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Maybin, CF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Aviles, RF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.104: Astros at Tigers

That’s four in a row for the guys with the D on their hats (I’ll take a moment to think how easily it could have been 7, if a couple of plays in Chicago had gone differently. OK, now I can move on). They didn’t gain any ground on Cleveland, because, hey, Oakland A’s, but they didn’t lose any either. And since this series and the last were against Wild Card contenders, they have moved up in the Wild Card standings (currently a half game behind Houston, and 2 out of a spot). I’m with Craig Monroe on that though, the heck with the Wild Card, these guys can win the division, as long as they can get over the idea that they can’t beat Cleveland–7 head-to-head left at the end of the season.

Jason Beck raises the possibility that Tyler Collins might stick around even after JD Martinez makes it back; the Tigers have been carrying an extra reliever for 2 months, and that doesn’t seem as necessary now—when Lowe and Molleken made an appearance last night it was kind of an “oh yeah, I forgot we had those guys” moment. I like the idea, especially since Maybin seems pretty fragile. With Romine as the best backup infielder and Collins as the best back up outfielder, what would the point of Aviles be?

Today’s good news: Justin Verlander is on the mound. In the month of July he is 3-0 with and ERA of 1.60 (4th best in the AL), and a WHIP of  0.950 (tied with Michael Fulmer for 4th best in the AL). His 37 strikeouts are 3rd best in the AL. If the season had started in July Verlander would be on the top of the list of Cy Young candidates.

Today’s Let’s Keep Streaking Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Maybin, CF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Collins, RF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.103: Astros at Tigers

Continue reading Game 2016.103: Astros at Tigers

Game 2016.102: Red Sox at Tigers

The Tigers got started early yesterday, only to be Pelfried shortly thereafter. But the bats came through again and the bullpen held it together just enough to eek out a win and guaranty a series victory. A sweep would be icing on the cake, but I like our chances with the pitching matchup.

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Mike Aviles, RF

8. James McCann, C

9. Tyler Collins, CF

Game 2016.101: Tigers at Red Sox

Ausmus pulled the right strings last night – resulting in a 2 run HR by the #2 hitter, and a 4 out save by F-Rod. Verlander was great again, and we know he can be even better on some nights.

Maybin still out with a back sprain (is he old enough to get those?).

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Mike Aviles, RF

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

9. Tyler Collins, CF

Game 2016.100: Tigers at Red Sox

The Tigers went from a great series to a bad one in the span of about 4 hours. Poor defense and a very hittable bullpen were the culprits, as a series win was ripped from this team in true 2016 fashion.

The Tigers move on to Boston to take on the heavy hitting Red Sox. The Red Sox are dominating the majors, with 547 runs scored, nearly 50 more than the second place Rockies, and 61 more than the 2nd place AL team – the Blue Jays. BoSox team OPS is .835. Yes, team.

JV on the hill tonight. It may be time (not quite safe, but time) to call JV an ace again. Over his last 30 starts he’s striking out more than a batter an inning and has a WHIP of 1.08. This month covering 4 starts he’s allowed 5 ER in 27 2/3, with 32 Ks and a WHIP of .90.

I can’t wait to get JD and Victor Martinez back.

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. 2B Ian Kinsler

2. SS Jose Iglesias

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera

4. DH Victor Martinez

5. 3B Nick Castellanos

6. LF Justin Upton

7. RF Mike Aviles

8. C James McCann

9. CF Andrew Romine

Game 2016.99: Tigers at White Sox

The last game of this oh-so-entertaining series gives Anibal Sanchez a chance to convince us that his last outing was not a mirage, against the tough Jose Quintana. Whenever yesterday’s game finishes. The Tigers should definitely have an advantage when it comes bullpen time.

Yesterday’s game featured another big hole in the middle of the batting order (but hey, that one’s not over yet!). Today they get another good chance: Cabrera is hitting over .370 against Quintana, and Victor (who may have been the only guy in the park sad not to see Sale) is hitting .424 against him.

Today’s Let’s Play Two! Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Iglesias, SS
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Aviles, RF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Romine, CF

Game 2016.98: Tigers at White Sox

The Tigers take the first two of four, and now go for the creosote game of the four-game series.

As frustrating as this season has been as a Tiger fan, how would you like to be a White Sox fan? In the offseason the team added a bona fide home run crown threat in Todd Frazier (he is currently 2nd in the majors with 28), and added Mat Latos and James Shields to a rotation that already included Jose Quintana and bona fide Cy Young contender Chris Sale, who takes the mound tonight (currently 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.01 WHIP). Then in the first 30 or so games they run out to a 6 game lead on the division. Then…it all fell apart. They lost 11 of their last 14 in May, and haven’t recovered.

They seem to be hexed in this series as well: Mike Pelfrey somehow managed to crawl through 5 1/3 with only 1 run, despite giving up 8 hits and a walk. The Tigers had to hit the bullpen early, but the rain bailed them out and gave Pelfrey the W. Then last night, after being the first team to really hit Fulmer and taking a 5-4 lead, Cabrera came out of a month long slump and the Tigers pulled out a 2nd one. Now the word “sell” can be heard murmured in Chicago, even in conjunction with the word “Sale.”

As for the Tigers, If Victor Martinez can break his slump also, the team will have a rather formidable 1-5 in the lineup. Victor and his binoculars are a ridiculous 18-for-36 lifetime with a 1.453 OPS against Sale. If I were a White Sox fan I would have a bad feeling where this is going.

UPDATE: The Sox snakebite continues (or, perhaps, something else is up). Sale scratched for Albers, with “flu-like symptoms.” throwback uniform rage.

Today’s Miggy’s Back Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Maybin, CF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Aviles, RF
  8. Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.97: Tigers at White Sox

Rain, rain, go away. But we like that thing you did yesterday.

Tonight we get Fulmer, the serious Rookie of the Year candidate, and best Tiger rookie pitcher since Mark Fidrych, unless I’m forgetting somebody. The two couldn’t be more different though; Fulmer doesn’t even have a nickname yet. I was trying to find a new picture of Fulmer for the game post, something more exciting, and…there’s not much there. He doesn’t even show up in the top results in Google image search for “Mike Fulmer.” He only has two expressions, and he’s saving the second one for later. Still, where would the Tigers be without him this season?

If you believe in WARcraft, here are the most valuable Tigers this season:

  • 4.1 Ian Kinsler
  • 3.6 Michael Fulmer
  • 2.7 Justin Verlander

Today’s Glass Half Fulmer Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Maybin, CF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Collins, RF
  8. Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Collins is back.

Game 2016.96: Tigers at White Sox

The less said about yesterday’s game, the better.

That’s not true. Verlander was incredible; he has re-established himself as the ace of the staff, with better stuff than we have seen from him in 3 years. The scene on the mound where Brad went out and Justin held his ground was priceless. Verlander said that as soon as Brad walked out to the mound without signaling he knew he was going to be able to hold the mound. This is good stuff we are seeing from JV this season; let’s appreciate it.

Tonight we get Pelfrey.

Tonight’s Not Entirely Serious Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Maybin, CF
  3. Don Kelly, 1B
  4. Don Kelly, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Saltalamacchia, C
  8. Aviles, RF
  9. Iglesias, SS

 

Game 2016.95: Twins at Tigers

Looking forward to watching JV dominate this afternoon. Got the game on in the office. Let’s go Tigers.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Cameron Maybin, CF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Mike Aviles, RF

8. James McCann, C

9. Andrew Romine, SS

 

Game 2016.94: Twins at Tigers

I’ll go ahead and jinx it, the Tigers have yet to lose to the Twins this year.

I could recap Sanchez’s recent starts, but it wouldn’t be pretty. The guy the Twins are throwing out there, Tommy Milone, hasn’t been much better. Maybe Cabrera sprinkles in an XBH tonight?

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Cameron Maybin, CF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Mike Aviles, RF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS