Game 2016.57: Blue Jays at Tigers

The Tigers are fresh off a sweep, and Mike the Unhittable Fulmer, also known as the bane of autocorrect, is on the mound. with the formidable task of beating the Blue Jays on his plate.

The last series was a good one in many way, and to quote a famous commenter on these pages, the “Tigers, for the most part , looked like a real baseball team, with a real manager that did baseball things.” This just a good weekend, or is this a turnaround? Stay tuned.

Tonight’s On A Roll Lineup:

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

Game 2016.53: Yankees at Tigers

Tonight the Yankees come into town for the rubber game of a one-game series, weather permitting (light rain is forecast). Actually it is a make-up game that was rained out April 10, but it really is the rubber game of the series; the Tigers won the first game of the series behind Jordan Zimmerman, then Pelfrey got bombed in the 2nd to even it out. But that was so long ago that it seemed like a good idea to have Justin Upton bat 2nd.

Matt Boyd makes his 2nd start of the season, after making a decent showing in Oakland (6 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts), before the bullpen spoiled the day. No such bad luck last night, as Michael Fulmer was just brilliant drawing a Roy Oswald comparison from his manager. His last 3 starts Fulmer is 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA, and has a 16-inning scoreless streak going. He may turn out to be a good one, and all for the price of 1/2 a season of Yoenis Cespedes.

The last time the Tigers won in Anaheim? Max Scherzer got the win, and Joe Nathan picked up the save.

Tonight’s Yankee starter, Michael Pineda, has been having a rough time of it, with an 8.85 ERA over his last 4 starts, giving up 30 hits over his last 20 innings.

The game will be starting fashionably late, at 7:40.

Today’s Hit Pineda Like a Piñata Lineup:

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

This was originally scheduled to be an off day after the long flight back from California, so it’s not surprising a regular or two would have the day off. Still, this lineup misses a lot without Kinsler.

Game 2016.52: Tigers at Angels

Let’s get out of this place, the sooner the better!

Anibal Sanchez checked out early enough last night, he was done after 3. Brad Ausmus said afterwards, “I don’t think he’s real confident on the mound right now, so we’re going to have to make an adjustment with Sanchy.” I was pondering what sort of adjustment that Brad would come up with, when I saw that he went for a big one: Sanchy has been demoted to the bullpen. Well, now that’s an actual adjustment! Interesting. I was looking for the ol’ 15-day DL forearm strain discovery thing, which they have done with Sanchez a couple of times. Not that he hasn’t actually been injured, but it is pretty easy to park a struggling pitcher on the DL. But nope, this time, the full demotion.

At any rate, the move earned Brad the “get thee to the bullpen” game day post picture (but I will entertain suggestions that the move didn’t come from him).

That demotion means the “temporary” stater Michael Fulmer is probably going to be around for a while. Fulmer had a brilliant 7 2/3 innings last outing with only 3 hits and 1 walk. But then again, we are in Anaheim.

The Tigers head back home after tonight’s game for a one-game fatigue series with the Yankees.

Today’s Escape From LA Lineup:

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

Game 2016.51: Tigers at Angels

Justin Verlander had another strong start last night, but then in the 8th inning it unraveled for him, and the bullpen and his defense didn’t help matters, and then of course, it’s Anaheim, where the rallies only blow in one direction.

You would think they way the Tigers fare in Los Anaheim that the Angels must be a great home team, but they are actually only 11-16 at home. Must be us.

Tonight the Tigers face lefty Hector Santiago, who didn’t even make it through 3 innings in his last start, giving up 5 runs in 2 1/3 (hey wait, when a pitcher does that, aren’t you supposed to leave him any anyway?). Maybe Santiago’s leftiness will wake up JD Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, who have been struggling a bit of late, with Martinez hitting only .192 over the last 7 games

Today’s Stop Monkeying Around Lineup:

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

Game 2015.50: Tigers at Los Anaheim

Well, as Jud and others have pointed out, Anaheim has been a house of horrors for the Tigers. Last season the Tigers went 1-6 against the Angels; 2014 was a respectable 3-4, but that followed up a 0-6 2013. The good news is that the Angels are struggling this year at 22-28, with a thin .704 team OPS (Detroit is at .755), and with a fat 4.27 team ERA (Detroit is even fatter, 4.47).

The good news is that fat ERA has lately been in spite of, not because of, tonight’s starting pitcher Justin Verlander, whose last 4 starts have been vintage Verlander:  1.19 ERA with a stingy 0.82 WHIP. That, combined with the Angels offensive woes, should add up to a strong performance. OK, actually, Verlander will get bombed, because: rally monkeys.

Today’s Lettuce Win This Game Lineup:

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

Game 2016.46: Phillies at Tigers

Maybin and Cabrera are still putting on a show, Justin Verlander was in vintage form, and the Tigers have their brooms out for the Phillies.

Since it is the day game after a night games, this will be a short one. Unless I can get Romine to give me a breather.

Today’s lineup:

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

Kinsler still out with flu-like symptoms.

Game 2016.45: Phillies at Tigers

The Tigers have begun to win games again, and their turnaround coincided with the arrival of Cameron Maybin, the focus of much of the current buzz about the Tiger team (the team is 6-1 since his return). His speed (his 4 stolen bases lead the team, and he flagged down a long warning track fly), and his bat (currently at .583) have been a big spark on the field. He won’t keep hitting this well; over a 10 year career he is a .254 hitter. But beyond his production, his personality has also drawn rave reviews, from everyone from Justin Verlander to Ian Kinsler to James McCann.

Maybin has also made many fans wonder if he isn’t better suited for the top of the order. Brad Ausmus says that isn’t happening. Brad added that scoring runs in the bottom of the lineup is good, which is hard to argue with, since scoring runs any time if pretty good.

Today’s Lineup (Updated)

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

Game 2016.44: Phillies at Tigers.

It’s interleague time, the good kind this time. Most National League teams don’t carry a DH type of guy; they have an extra Romine type of guy. So when it comes time to pencil in a DH, there is usually some .230 hitter batting 7th, which gives the home team an advantage. OK, theirs is long-in-the-tooth Ryan Howard, who does have some power, but is batting all of .161. The Phillies on the whole have been having trouble using those wood things you swing at the baseballs: their team OPS is a ridiculously low .651. In other words, they are team Anthony Gose. Their starting pitching though has been another story, and they have been managing to win without scoring much.

Tonight seems like it might be the night. Everything’s all right. Mike Pelfrey might get that W, that has eluded him for so long. Cabrera is fine and in the lineup; Upton is a late scratch, but…Moya.

Today’s Lineup:

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

 

Game 2016.40: Twins at Tigers

You can’t tell anything about a baseball team until 40 games have been played.

-Sparky Anderson

Well, after today’s game it looks like we will be able to tell a thing or two about the 2016 Tigers.

Last night was the first time in a while that all parts of the game seemed to be clicking at that same time: the Tigers were hitting, fielding, running the bases; the bullpen did its job, and Mike Pelfrey finally picked up that elusive first W. Just kidding! Kyle Ryan got the W in relief, and Pelfrey’s last win is still August 12th, 2015.

Hit of the game has to be the Iglesias hit in the 7th. With the game tied, one out, and runners on the corners, James McCann whiffed, leaving two outs. Maybin steals second (that’s legal?) and Iglesias brings them both hone with a clutch single. The wheels fell off for the Twins after that, but I think if the Tigers had left that inning with a 2-2 ties, the game would have finished very differently.

Brad Ausmus is back today, looking to broom the lowly Twins out of town.

Today’s Lineup:

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

With the series ending with the day game after the night game, I thought we might see some lineup foolery (Aviles, anyone?), but other than giving McCann a much-needed rest, Brad’s giving us the full-strength regular mix.

Update: the original lineup that was released had Martinez at DH; now it’s Moya.

Game 2016.39: Twins at Tigers

Well, that was certainly more exciting than I thought it was going to be last night. It looked like the Twins were cooked when Kinsler took the first pitch of the game deep and led off an 8-run first inning, especially with Zimmerman on the mound. But…Tigers.

Brad got a little excited also, and went all Earl Weaver out there. He said 7 or 8 players were upset about the strike zone, and he was speaking for them.

Tonight is the Pelfrey game of the series. The last time Pelfrey won a start Brad Ausmus was in grade school or something. He is the current whipping boy du jour (aside from Brad of course), but he really did pitch well enough to win last time out.

Today’s Lineup:

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

Maybin got off to a great start. Of course Gose did last season too. How about Moya as a late inning PH for McCann? There are worse things than having a lefty with power on the bench.

Game 2016.38: Twins at Tigers

The Tigers may have gotten lucky on a checked swing call, but for a change they jumped on their break, putting the next two pitches over the fence, leaving the Orioles rather bitter about the whole thing.

The ongoing saga of the recovery of Cameron Maybin has finally ended with Maybin landing in tonight’s lineup. To make room for Maybin the Tigers have shipped out Anthony Gose. This seems like the right move: Gose has been contributing very little, even, frustratingly, on the base paths, while Moya’s bat has added some spark to the lineup, enough to make up for a bit of shakiness with the glove. Because it seems like the right move, I was mildly surprised. I was also ready to give the Upton/Moyà combo another spin, but apparently it is an unwritten rule or something that a guy has to start his first day back.

Good news for the home stand: the Tigers get the 10-26 Twins. More good news: the rotation has come back around to Zimmerman’s spot.

Today’s Lineup:

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

Game 2016.33: Tigers at Nationals

Last night was the sigh of relief game of the series.

Tonight we bounce onto the rubber game with a classic matchup, ex-Nat Zimmerman vs. ex-Tiger Scherzer.

Tonight’s We Can Still Take This Series Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. V Martinez, 1B
  5. Upton, LF
  6. McCann, C
  7. Gose, CF
  8. Iglesias, SS
  9. Zimmerman, P