Category: MLB

My Detroit Sports: My Tigers Weekly ‘End of the Season’ Edition

In this season’s final edition of My Tigers Weekly, the Tigers got to say goodbye to some familiar friends and foes while trying to play spoiler in the Central races.

This entire season was a continuation of the process that began late in the summer of 2017. After an incredible stretch of AL Central dominance, it was time to rebuild and try to reach the World Series again with the next generation of players. It’s a painful process that involves losing a large number of games by giving young players playing time. The goal is to figure out who on the roster can play at the major league level when given a chance and also give those players the opportunity to gain experience. That’s why Ron Gardenhire was brought on board for the 2018 season. While losses are part of the rebuilding process, bad baseball shouldn’t be.

Uninspired play and bad habits prolong the process and create a losing culture. In that sense, we can qualify the 2018 season as a success. The Tigers were competitive in the majority of the games and there are players on the roster that you can point to as candidates for being part of the next Detroit playoff team. Nick Castellanos finished 5th in the AL in total hits while bumping his OPS up 43 points. Jeimer Candelario (19 home runs) and Niko Goodrum (29 doubles as a super utility player) also distinguished themselves in their first season playing every day. Joe Jimenez got off to a strong start and got an All-Star nod, while Spencer Turnbull’s 0-2 record and 6 ERA hid a callup who struck out 15 in 16 and 1/3 innings of work.

It’s also a success in terms of wins and losses. 3rd place in the division yet also 5th worst in baseball. That means Casey Mize will not be the only high draft pick in the Tigers farm system. If you can’t be one of the AL’s 3 100 win teams, at least avoid being one of the 100 loss teams. With that in mind, there are things to point to where you could call the season a win.

On the field the past 2 weeks, wins were harder to come by. The Tigers were able to delay the Indians clinching the AL Central for one night, winning the opener by a score of 5-4.

But sadly, the next day Cleveland’s offense awoke and with a 15-0 victory officially eliminated the 4 other teams in the division. After that, the season became more about the call ups getting an opportunity to play and watching September baseball at Comerica Park. After winning on getaway day in Cleveland, the Tigers came home for 7 games at Comerica Park. The Twins series was fans last chance to see long time rival Joe Mauer. While he hasn’t officially announced his retirement, taking the field one last time as a catcher makes it seem like he believes he won’t be in uniform next season. The Twins were able to take all 3 games in his last trip to Detroit. At least fans got to enjoy the last night of the popular promotion “Bark in the Park,” where fans can take their dogs to a game. The Tigers then played an emotional series against the Royals. Kansas City, who finished 5th in the Central, split the series with the Tigers. It was fan appreciation weekend, but the biggest moment was the last game of Victor Martinez. He chose to play his last game in front of the fans at home. On Saturday he took the field for the last time, manning 1st base for the first time since 2016. In his last career at bat he laced a double and was lifted for pinch runner Ronny Rodriguez. Some hugs and an ovation later, he returned to the bench to serve as a veteran voice for the remaining games of the season. The Tigers went on to win the game 5-4 in a fitting send off for a player who was an All-Star, silver slugger, runner up for MVP, and part of a World Series team as a reliable middle of the order hitter during the Tigers aforementioned period of contention this decade. After losing the next day, the Detroit finished the season with a 38-43 home record.

After losing 2 of 3 to Minnesota, the Tigers got a chance to play spoiler in the NL Central race. The Cubs needed the Tigers to win some games off the Brewers to help them secure the NL Central division title. Christian Yelich had other ideas, a 2 home run game was the start of a 3 game stretch where he tortured Tigers pitchers. The Tigers lost two close games 6-5 before succumbing in an 11-0 defeat on the last game of the season. Sorry Chicago! The 1-6 final road trip put the Tigers at 26-55 away from Comerica and 64-98 overall. A month of playoff baseball and the World Series will give way to annual awards, general manager meetings and hot stove action, and a short time later 2019 Spring Training …

Special shout out to our My Detroit Sports: My Tigers Weekly, ‘Fans of the Week’ winner, Ray Ainsworth! He represented the D, visiting all the way from Georgia and won an autographed, James McCann photo!

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My Detroit Sports: My Tigers Weekly #15

In the 15th edition of My Tigers Weekly we say hello again to old friends. After a tough road trip, the Tigers came home to some new friends and familiar faces. Sandy Baez, Spencer Turnbull, Christin Stewart, Matt Hall, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Pete Kozma were added to the roster, the 1968 Tigers celebrated the 50th anniversary of their World Championship season, and Justin Verlander made his first start at Comerica Park in a visiting teams uniform.

The Tigers started their road trip with a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals. In the first game of the 2 game series, it was one bad inning that doomed Matthew Boyd. A 5 run third turned out to be the difference as the Royals won 6-2. Michael Fullmer did not fare much better as he tries to shake off the rust from his stint on the disabled list. Mikie Mahtook had 2 of the Tigers 3 hits, with a home run and 2 RBI’s, but that wasn’t enough as Adalberto Mondesi hit a home run for the second straight day to kick start the Royals offense. They put up all 9 of their runs in the 2nd-5th innings on their way to a 9-2 win over the Tigers. The Royals lead the series 9-6, with 4 more games at Kauffman Stadium left in September.

Game 129: Recap

Game 130: Recap

The Tigers continued onto New York for a 4 game series against the Yankees. The series started off as an offensive slugfest. Both Francisco Liriano and JA Happ gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3rd innings. Victor Alcantara gave up a 2 run home run to Luke Voit, but his teammates picked him up in the 9th inning. Victor Martinez tied things up with his 2nd home run of the game and Niko Goodrum followed with a solo shot, the 4th Tigers blast of the game, to put the Tigers ahead 8-7. Shane Greene put the Yankees down in order to secure the win in the opener. Sadly, Detroit was on the receiving end of the fireworks on Friday. Niko Goodrum hit his 2nd home run of the series and Jim Adduci hit a 2 RBI triple the following inning off Luis Severino. However, in the 6th, the Yankees hit 3 home runs after an error off of Jordan Zimmerman. The Tigers were able to manufacture runs in the 7th and 8th innings, but couldn’t hold the lead. A disputed check swing call kept Gleyber Torres’ at bat alive and his single against Joe Jimenez proved to be the difference as the Yankees retook the lead. They added an insurance run and tied the series by a score of 7-5. Daniel Norris made his first appearance since April on Sunday. Gleyber Torres again was the hero as his 2 run home run off of Norris was all the help Masahiro Tanaka needed as the Yankees won 2-1. On Labor Day, the Tigers were treated to Victor Reyes’ first career home run. He added a pair of doubles and 3 RBI’s on the day as the Tigers broke out for 17 hits and 11 runs. Matthew Boyd had a quality start with 3 earned runs in 6 innings as he improved to 9-12 on the season.

Game 131: Recap

Game 132: Recap

Game 133: Recap

Game 134: Recap

The Tigers finished their road trip in Chicago. Victor Martinez is making the most of his final season, as he hit a go ahead home run in the 9th inning to put the Tigers ahead 2-1. But the White Sox were able to get to Shane Greene with a game tying home run by Matt Davidson and a walk off home run by Daniel Palka. The Tigers dropped the opening game by a final score of 4-2. Undeterred, Detroit came right back the next day on a mission. Grayson Greiner and Dawel Lugo each hit 2 run doubles in the 2nd inning as the Tigers chased White Sox starter Lucas Giolito after recording just 4 outs. Greiner would add another RBI hit, Mikie Mahtook put the game away with a 2 run home run, and Francisco Liriano improved to 4-9 on the season as the Tigers won easily by a final score of 8-3. Detroit also got a little revenge in the rubber match. After providing Chicago prospect Michael Kopech with his first career win, they also gave him his first career loss. Jeimer Candelario, Mikie Mahtook, Ronny Rodriguez, and JaCoby Jones all hit home runs off the young starter as the Tigers scored 7 runs over the first 4 innings, finishing with 16 hits and 10 runs total. Jordan Zimmerman improved to 7-6 on the season with 5 innings of 2 hit ball. The Tigers won the game 10-2 and finished the season series ahead 12-7.

Game: 135: Recap

Game 136: Recap

Game 137: Recap

That set the stage for an exciting weekend of nostalgia at Comerica Park. With the interleague series against the Cardinals, and the 50th anniversary of the 1968 World Series win against St. Louis, the Tigers front office took the opportunity to celebrate their championship past. The Tigers players took the opportunity to reward their loyal fans with some exciting late inning heroics at home. At first it looked like St. Louis might strike first, with 2 Marcell Ozuna’s pair of home runs in his first two at bats off of Daniel Norris. However, Nick Castellanos’ 2 RBI single tied the game and let Norris off the hook with a no decision for his 5 innings of work. Jeimer Candelario then provided the heroics with a walk off 2 run shot in the 9th for his 18th home run of the year.

Saturday’s game proved to be more exciting. The story early was Matthew Boyd striking out 11 before a solo home run by Paul DeJong to lead off the 8th ended his evening. Marcell Ozuna hit his 3rd home run of the series off of Shane Greene to tie the game in the 9th and the Tigers wouldn’t manage another hit the rest of the way … but they wouldn’t need any against Bud Norris. An error to lead off the inning put Victor Reyes started the inning. Jeimer Candelario drew a walk, Jim Adduci sacrificed to move both runners over, and Nick Castellanos was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. A wild pitch to Victor Martinez was all Victor Reyes needed to score and extend the winning streak to 4 games.

Unfortunately, that’s where the streak ended. On Sunday both teams were held scoreless until a wild 7th inning where both teams combined for the only 7 runs they’d score that day. Michael Fullmer gave up 5 of those 7 runs, 3 earned, and took the loss to fall to 3-11.

Game 140: Recap

Then the defending World Series winners came into town. It was an emotional night as Justin Verlander took the field in an Astros jersey. He certainly seemed moved as well both by the crowd reaction and pictures of himself and Mike Ilitch on the scoreboard.

While Justin was touched, he wasn’t distracted, as he struck out 10 in 7 innings. His former teammate and current Tiger Francisco Liriano gave up 3 unearned runs in the 3rd, and that was just enough for the Astros to hold on to win 3-2.

Game 141: Recap

It wouldn’t get much better on Tuesday. Jose Altuve hit the game’s first pitch out of the park, and Tony Kemp and Tyler White each added 2 run shots off of Jordan Zimmerman as he gave up 5 runs in his 5 innings of work. JaCoby Jones’ 3 run home run put the Tigers within a run, but they could not bridge the gap and fell 5-4.

Game 142: Recap

MLB Network caught up with Justin Verlander prior to Sunday’s game. My Detroit Sports was there to capture the moment!

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You can find that interview, below:

https://www.mlb.com/video/share/verlander-on-astros-season/c-2483764683?tid=6479266

The final game of the series saw Daniel Norris face off against Gerrit Cole. James McCann’s hit a home run to put the Tigers ahead, but a 4 run 4th inning chased Norris and put the Astros ahead 5-2. Potential MVP candidate Alex Bregman picked up his 50th double and 100th RBI of the season. Even more disastrous was an outfield collision that saw Niko Goodrum leave the game. He was injured but was able to walk off the field under his own power. Nick Castellanos made it a close game a few innings later with a 2 run home run, his 21st of the year, but the Tigrs once again could get no closer as the losing streak was extended to 4 with the second consecutive 5-4 defeat.

Game 143: Recap

The 4 game home losing streak put the Tigers under .500 at Comerica Park for the first time this season. They’ll head on the road to Cleveland for a 3 game series against the division leading Indians before heading home for the final homestand of the season. It will be a pair of 3 game series against AL Central foes as the Tigers look to finish the season strong and find out which youngsters will be a part of the next Tigers playoff team. Detroit may not be perfecting the role of spoiler, but each exciting win and loss is a testament to their fighting spirit and competitive ethos.

Be sure to check out My Detroit Sports ‘Fans of the Week’! These fans represented their Detroit pride at Comerica Park this week. All fans chosen will be entered to win an autographed photo from James McCann!

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