My Detroit Sports: My Tigers Weekly #9

It has been a difficult week in Tigers baseball. We’re just past the halfway point in the season with 82 of 162 games in the books. Detroit is 36-46 and on an 9 game losing streak, including a 4 game sweep at home against the Oakland A’s. Things aren’t looking any better in the clubhouse after the unexpected firing of pitching coach Chris Bosio. There are no details surrounding his dismissal beyond that he made a comment which merited his termination. Baseball is a 162 game grind. Things are never as good as they seem during the high points (Rally Goose!) or as bad as they seem during the low points. There’s always a game the next day.

The Tigers got off to a good start on Fathers Day weekend against the White Sox. In the first game, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead behind a John Hicks home run and a Victor Martinez 2 RBI double. After getting the first out in the 6th, a pair of singles, 3 run home run, and a hit batter chased starter Mike Fiers and tied the game. The Tigers were able to manufacture the go ahead run in the 8th when Hicks led the inning off with a single and Niko Goodrum drew a walk. A fly out and fielders choice brought Hicks home. Alex Wilson and Shane Greene held the 4-3 lead and Buck Farmer picked up the win to improve to 2-3.

Saturday’s game followed a similar script. The Tigers jumped out to a bigger lead, 5-0, against White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. Nick Castellanos provided all the firepower with 2 home runs and all 5 RBI’s. But in the bottom of the 5th, Jordan Zimmerman gave 4 of those runs back and was chased in the 5th inning. Middle reliever Drew Ver Hagen gave up a triple to Yolmer Sanchez, who was driven home on a sac fly that tied the game. Once again the Tigers stormed ahead in the 8th. A leadoff single, walk, and bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. An infield single by Jose Iglesias and a RBI walk by Niko Goodrum gave the Tigers a 7-5 lead that Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene would not relinquish. Once again Buck Farmer was the pitcher of record during the rally and picked up the victory to improve to 3-3 on the season.

Sunday’s game was a little easier for the Tigers. Nick Castellanos’ hot streak continued with a 2 run blast in the 1st inning off of veteran James Shields. Blaine Hardy gave up a solo shot for his only earned run in 5 1/3 innings of work. Jose Iglesias’ RBI single in the 4th gave the Tigers an insurance run, and the bullpen put together 3 and 2/3’s innings of 3 hit/no walk baseball culminating in Joe Jimenez striking out the side to pick up his second career save and extend the Tigers winning streak to 5.

The Tigers continued their Midwest road trip in Cincinnati for a 2 game series. The Tigers had a rally goose, but the Reds had a bird of their own. The bird came onto the field with the bases loaded in the 3rd, and despite Joey Votto’s dismay, he was able to power through the at bat and lift a Matthew Boyd pitch into the stands for a grand slam. The Reds would keep the offensive onslaught going, with even light hitting Billy Hamilton hitting a home run, as Cincinnati took a 9-0 lead. The Tigers kept their fighting spirit alive and made a valiant attempt at a comeback with 5 runs in the top of the 9th, but ultimately they ran out of outs to trade for runs and fell 9-5. Wednesday’s game got off to a better start with Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum hitting solo home runs to put the Tigers ahead early. Unfortunately, Michael Fulmer gave up back to back home runs to Scooter Gennett and former Tiger Eugenio Suarez and left the game down 3-2. Jose Iglesias continued his hot hitting, with his 3rd hit of the game driving in a run to cut it the deficit to 4-3 in the 8th. But another solo home run by Adam Duvall provided an insurance run for the Reds as they swept Detroit in the 2 game series.

Game 74: Recap

Game 75: Recap

After a day off, the Tigers moved to the northern part of Ohio for a critical 3 game series against the Indians. On Friday Mike Fiers faced off against rookie Shane Bieber. The Tigers were only able to scatter 4 singles and draw a walk against Bieber. Fiers put in 5 innings of work but home runs by Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion helped put the Indians ahead 4-0 early. The Tigers bullpen didn’t fare much better, with Johnny Barbato facing 6 batters and only recording one out in the 7th. The Tigers went on to lose 10-0. On Saturday, the Indians continued their onslaught with a combination of singles and errors for 3 runs, only 1 earned, in the 1st inning. The Tigers were only able to manage 5 hits and 1 run in support of starter Francisco Liriano. Another home run by Francisco Lindor was all Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen needed to take the 2nd game of the series 4-1. Matthew Boyd was unable to help the Tigers get a game back on getaway day. He gave up 6 runs in 3 innings of work and was chased in the 4th inning after Francisco Lindor’s 3rd home run of the series. Adam Lewicki did not fare much better, giving up 2 solo home runs and a grand slam to Edwin Encarnacion for 6 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. The Tigers fell 12-2 and were swept in a series in which they only scored 3 runs. The losing streak extended to 5 games, the deficit in the AL Central increased to 9 games, and the season series against the Indians now stands at 10-3 with only 6 matchups remaining in the schedule.

Game 76: Recap

Game 77: Recap

Game 78: Recap

The Tigers returned to Comerica to face the Oakland A’s. Due to Oakland injuries, they called up former Tiger Edwin Jackson to make the start on Monday. Although Edwin tied for the MLB record for 13 teams played for with the appearance, since his sole All-Star appearance came with the Tigers in 2009, it feels like Detroit was more than just another stop on a wild career that includes a World Series ring and no-hitter. Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman kept the A’s off the board for 5 innings, and Jackson gave up a RBI single to John Hicks in his 6 innings of work. However, neither bullpen could keep the game close. Louis Coleman gave up a home run to Stephen Piscotty in the 7th, and Nick Castellanos answered right back with his 10th home run of the year. Joe Jimenez couldn’t hold the 3 run lead in the bottom of the frame. Shane Greene was brought in with 2 outs in the 8th to preserve the tie, but gave up a 1 out solo home run to Jed Lowrie in the 9th inning as the Tigers lost the opener 5-4. The Tigers got off to a strong start Tuesday, scoring a run on a RBI double by Nick Castellanos before giving up an out in the 1st. The Tigers would go on to score 4 runs in the inning, and extend the lead to 6-0 on a 2 RBI triple by Dixon Machado in the 3rd. An error and back to back doubles in the 3rd, and back to back home runs by Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie in the 5th cut the lead to a single run and chased starter Blaine Hardy. After giving up a run on a few walks and a RBI groundout in the 7th, once again closer Shane Greene was brought in to preserve a tie. He was greeted by a double from Matt Joyce and an RBI single by Jed Lowrie. Warwick Saupold was brought after a 1 out single put two runners on for the A’s. He was able to end the inning, but not before another RBI single put the A’s ahead by the final score of 9-7. The Tigers bats were then silenced on Wednesday. Starter Mike Fiers gave up just one run on 5 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts, in 7 innings of work. But the Tigers were only able to manage 2 singles and a double by Nick Castellanos against A’s starter Chris Bassitt. Oakland added 2 insurance runs off Alex Wilson in the 9th and fell 3-0. The final game of the series featured young starters Michael Fulmer and Sean Manaea. Nick Castellanos got things started early with a 2 run home run in the 1st. But the Tigers would only manage 4 more hits the rest of the game. It was the 3rd inning that undid Fulmer. In a span of 6 batters, 5 hit singles to put the A’s ahead 3-2. Fulmer got out of the inning with a double play, but was nicked for another run in the 4th. To help save a taxed bullpen, he pitched 8 innings on 110 pitches, but the Tigers ended up falling 4-2.

Game 79: Recap

Game 80: Recap

Game 81: Recap

Game 82: Recap

So now at the midway point the Tigers find themselves at a low ebb, having been swept in 3 consecutive series including a 4 game series at home. This losing streak puts Detroit a season high 10 games under .500 after being only one back at the end of the Chicago series. It also puts the Tigers a game behind the Twins in 3rd place in the division, and 9.5 back of the Cleveland Indians. But the Tigers get a chance to play another sub .500 team on the road this weekend in Toronto. The road trip will continue next week with a 2 game interleague series against the Cubs before a 4 game home series against the Texas Rangers.

My Detroit Sports: My Tigers Weekly #8

It was an up and down week in Tigers baseball. We learned that Miguel Cabrera will miss the remainder of the season due to injury. There were exciting wins, and losses, as the Tigers faced division rivals at home.

The Tigers started the week off on the road against the team with the best record in the MLB: the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers were only able to manage 3 hits, two by Nick Castellanos, against knuckleballer Steven Wright. Former Tiger JD Martinez hit his 20th home run of the season as Detroit fell 6-0 in the opener. In the second game, Blaine Hardy picked up his first loss of the season after giving up 5 runs and 2 home runs in 6 innings of work. The Tigers bats were move alive with 7 hits, but the Tigers went just 1-6 with runners in scoring position as they fell 7-1.

Game 62: Recap

Game 63: Recap

The Tigers struck back early on getaway day in Boston. Jalen Beeks was greeted with a pair of doubles, 2 RBI single, and 2 run home run by Leonys Martin in the first inning of his major league debut. The five run 1st inning was all Matthew Boyd needed as he gave up just 2 ER on four hits and 4 walks in 6 1/3 innings of work. The bullpen kept the Red Sox off the board the rest of the way as the Tigers left Fenway with a 7-2 victory.

The Tigers then came home to face the Indians in a crucial weekend series. It started Friday with a pitchers duel between Michael Fulmer and Trevor Bauer. Each gave up just one run in 7 and 8 innings of work respectively. Nick Castellanos hit a RBI double to put the Tigers ahead 1-0 in the 1st, but Yonder Alonso answered back with a RBI double of his own to tie the game. Fulmer gave way to Joe Jimenez, who struck out two in his inning of work, before Shane Greene came on in the 9th. A 2 out single almost ended the inning after a baserunning gaffe by Jose Ramirez, but the Tigers couldn’t get the ball to third base to take advantage. Jason Kipnis’ 3 run home run sealed the deal and Detroit lost the opener, 4-1.

Game 65: Recap

Saturday’s game was just as tense a pitchers duel. Mike Fiers got the better of Mike Clevinger. Fiers pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball with 8 punchouts. Clevinger was matching him until the 7th, when 3 consecutive singles and a RBI walk put the Tigers ahead 2-1. Fiers was pulled in the 8th, and former Tiger Rajai Davis greeted Louis Coleman with a lead off solo home run to tie the game. The Tigers had their chances in extra innings, with a pair of one out singles and an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera to load the bases in the 10th, and a 2 out triple by Iglesias in the 11th, but couldn’t convert. A 2 out single and a walkoff 2 run home run by Jeimer Candelario gave the Tigers a 4-2 victory. Warwick Saupold picked up the win with 2 perfect innings to improve to 4 wins and 1 loss on the season.

The rubber match was a matchup between Cy Young winner Corey Kluber versus Artie Lewicki. Leonys Martin would provide the only offense of the afternoon with a RBI groundout and solo home run. Lewicki gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, and the two relievers who followed him, Drew VerHagen and Zac Reininger, gave up 3 runs a piece as the Tigers lost 9-2.

Game 67: Recap

The Tigers continued their homestand Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. The good news is that Blaine Hardy outpitched Jake Odorizzi. Each gave up 2 runs, but Hardy went an extra inning for the quality start and gave up only 3 hits and a walk to Odorizzi’s 5 inning, 4 hits, 4 walk performance. The bad news was Miguel Cabrera ruptured his bicep during his at bat in the 3rd inning. The Tigers kept fighting, with a RBI triple by Jose Iglesias and a sacrifice by Leonys Martin giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. But Hardy was lifted in the 7th after giving up a leadoff single. Louis Coleman gave up 2 walks around 2 outs, and Warwick Saupold gave up a grand slam to Ehire Adrianza to put Detroit behind 5-2. The Tigers got within a run with a RBI infield single by John Hicks and a Twins error on the play, but the Twins got an insurance run and the Tigers fell 6-4.

Game 68: Recap

Wednesday was a matchup of promising young pitchers Matthew Boyd and Jose Berrios. The Twins went ahead early on a 2 run single by Eduardo Escobar. Boyd would only give up 2 walks in the next 4 innings before leaving in the 5th. Niko Goodrum’s 6th home run of the year made it 2-1, and 5 singles in 6 plate appearances off Addison Reed in the 8th inning put the Tigers ahead 5-2. The Tigers bullpen only gave up 1 hit and 1 walk in 4 innings of work, with Joe Jimenez picking up the win to improve to 3 wins and no losses on the year, and Shane Greene finishing the game with a perfect inning and 2 strikeouts for his 16th save.

Thursday’s rubber match used the same formula. Michael Fulmer gave up a run early on a RBI single to Eduardo Escobar in the 1st inning. He wouldn’t give up another run the rest of the way, providing 7 innings of work and striking out 4 against 1 walk. In the bottom of the 7th, the bats came alive and provided the run support. John Hicks hit a leadoff triple and was driven on a sac fly by Niko Goodrum to tie the game. After Jose Iglesias drew a 2 out hit by pitch and JaCoby Jones provided the heroics with a go ahead 2 run home run. Joe Jimenez pitched a perfect 8th inning and Shane Greene closed it out for his 17th save. As the pitcher of record in the 7th, Fulmer got the win to improve to 3-5 on the season.

 

A 3-3 homestand and 4-5 over the last 3 series puts the Tigers 4 games under .500 at 33-37. That’s good for second place in the AL Central. But the Tigers have played 40 of their first 70 games at home. The splits are pronounced, with Detroit going 23-17 at Comerica Park but 10-20 on the road. The 4.5 games back is also misleading, as the Tigers are 6 back in the loss column and the Indians have played more games on the road than in Cleveland. This upcoming stretch will tell a lot about the Tigers fortunes. They spend the next 10 days on the road, with a 3 game weekend series against the 4th place Chicago White Sox and a 2 game series against the NL Central basement dwelling Cincinnati Reds. These are must win games against sub .400 teams. The Tigers then go to Cleveland for some pivotal games before returning home at the end of the month. They’ve shown a lot of fight so far without future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera, will the rally goose follow them on this trip through the midwest?