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.

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