Saturday, September 12, 2009

Game 141: Record 75-66

Tigers let this one get away

This is a game they should have won, no doubt about that in my mind. They had leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 6-3. They led 6-5 going into the 9th inning when Fernando Rodney came into pitch and after getting the first two batters, stained the bed by giving up a single, stolen base, HR, walk. The two run HR was the difference.

In the bottom of the 9th, they had a shot with two men on and Raburn at bat but it didn't happen. Fifth straight loss.

The White Sox won and the Twins lost again, so the White Sox are now in 2nd place - 5 games back. Magic number stands at 16.

Game 140: Record 75-65

Losing streak hits 4

Nate started and pitched OK, but not great. He had to leave the game when it looked like he pulled his groin muscle. I know that feeling and it isn't good. Armando came in to replace NR and picked up where he left off - surrendering 3 runs in only 2 1/3 innings on the mound.

Next three games against the Blue Jays have the top 3 pitchers going - EJ, RP and JV. They need to win at least 2 of these games.

The good news is that the Twins have only closed the gap by 1.5 games during this 4 game loosing streak. Tigers had a 7 game lead after the sweep in the Bay and still lead by 5.5 games.

Magic number is at 17.

Games 137-139: Record 75-64

Swept by the lowly Royals

Ugly series in KC. After sweeping the talented and defending AL Champs in Tampa Bay, the Tigers had a major letdown by getting swept by the last place Royals.

This was an ugly series and the Tigers got outplayed in pretty much every aspect. They had zero timely hitting, they had poor defense at times and poor pitching at times. When one area was good (Verlander), the other areas were bad (hitting). Just an overall nasty series that they must put behind them immediately.

Next game is against Toronto to start a 4 game series that marks the last games against non-AL Central opponents. Until the ALDS.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Game 136: Record 75-61

Double wow. EJ pitches his butt off and Inge with the big hit.

Two straight sweeps of 3 game series for the Tigers. Very impressive as they open up a 7 game lead on the Twins in the AL Central. Things are looking promising for the postseason, but there is still a long ways to go.

This game was highlighted by Edwin giving up a couple of early runs and then just locking down the Rays and getting 8 complete innings in the books. It was also highlighted by the youngster Wade Davis of the Rays pitching 7 strong, impressive innings only to have his bullpen let him down.

But THE highlight was the top of the 9th inning. The walks by Miguel and Marcus were huge and often overlooked parts of that rally. Then the base hit by Magglio as well as the decision to hold the runner at 3rd by Gene Lamont, instead of risking a huge out at the plate. This setup Brandon Inge with the bases loaded. We know he went deep for a grand slam to win the game. But did you know it was on a 1-2 count? To put that kind of swing with two strikes makes it more impressive.

Great win. They get Monday off and start a series against the lowly Royals on Tuesday. Lets keep it rolling on our way to the AL Central title.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Game 135: Record 74-61

Wow. 13 games over .500.

Nice win for the boys on the road, espcially considering Armando did not pitch well and the Tigers trailed 4-1 and 6-3.

Biggest note of the game for me was the appearance of Jeremy Bonderman. He pitched in relief and looked outstanding - retiring 5 of 6 batters faced and giving up no runs. Very impressive and extremely exciting to see.

A few big hits in this game, but I'd have to say the biggest were by Alex Avila and Marcus Thames. A clean, 1-2-3, ninth inning was pitched by Brandon Lyon as Fernando Rodney needed a night off after throwing about a thousand pitches last night.

OK, the last two nights have had a few really nice plays and clutch hits by one Mr Adam Everett. I have to admit the huge hit by AE last showed me something good about the guy I have not been won over by him. When he made that nice defensive play in the 8th inning, I was very happy. Carlos would not have made the catch if AE hadn't.

Lets get the sweep tomorrow!!! EJ pitches against his former team. He is likely to be a little over-pumped up, but hopefully he settles down quickly and pitches well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Game 134: Record 73-61

JV outstanding again, Rodney...not so much.

A win is a win, especially when it takes you to 13 games over .500 and 6 games ahead in the AL Central. Justin was simply fantastic in getting his 16th win. His line:

8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB

Offensive heros were the usual suspects - Miguel, Curtis, Placido...and on unusual suspect - Adam Everett! AE got a huge hit in the 9th to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. How about that fantastic sequence of moves and plays that scored the 2nd run of the inning. Leyland pinch runs Wilkin Ramirez for Marcus, then Curtis pulls a hit to RF, Gross makes a fantastic throw to home, but Ramirez scores with an outstanding slide and tag of the dish between the catchers legs. Really fun play and huge run. After that, Placido made it 4-1 with a sac fly.

Fernando nearly blew it in the bottom of the inning, but somehow managed to wiggle out of the jam.

Armando makes his return to the rotation tomorrow against Shields. Will be interesting to see what AG can do for us down the stretch.

Game 133: Record 72-61

10 innings is OK if you win.

Nate pitched is rear off - throwing 6 innings of shutout ball. Really nice to see him do what he has since coming off the DL. Two really strong outings. What a lift he could provide with Washburn struggling (and hurt), Armando being incredibly inconsistant (and hurt, too).

The bullpen almost blew the game when it blew an 8th inning 3-0 lead. Fu Te Ni had is first poor outing as a Tiger, allowing 2 earned runs plus 1 runner inherited from Ryan Perry. Zach Miner looked really good to finish the 8th as well as pitch the 9th and 10th innings. He gets the win for his trouble.

Big hits were from Ryan Raburn, who led off the 10th with a double, and Placido Polanco who drove in Ryan with the winning run with a sac fly.

Start a 3 game series in Tampa tonight. JV goes against Niemann. Rays are struggling to stay alive in the WC race, so they will be hungry. Tigers just need ot keep winning series. Exciting times in the D.

Game 133 review forthcoming...sad Harwell news first

Reports today that Ernie Harwell has inoperable, incurable cancer of bile duct have been confirmed by Mr Harwell himself. This is incredibly sad news for all Tigers fans over the age of 10. Ernie was the voice of Tigers baseball for more than 40 years, including all the years of my childhood. His voice is distinctly baseball and I will always remember him and Paul Carey as the greatest team in announcing history.

Here are a couple of articles on the illness:

Here is a link to an interview with Ernie from today (9/4/2009):

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Game 132: Record 71-61

Rick Porcello continues to impress.

RP got his 12th win of the year. The rookies should have hit the wall by now, but he never seemed slow down. He seems to be getting stronger. His line from last night is extremely impressive for the 20 year old:

7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO only took him 80 pitches to get through 7 innings. Very nice, young man!!!

The Tigers made it to 10 games over .500 with some offense from Magglio, who is now on the north side of .280. Could he actually reach .300 by the end of the season? Not likely, but definately possible.

Nate pitches today against Carmona. NR pitched very well his last time out, so lets hope for a repeat. Tigers need to finish the sweep today and keep or grow their 4.5 game lead on the Twins.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Game 131: Record 70-61

Nice team win against the Indians.

Edwin did not pitch all that great and only lasted 5 innings, while allowing 4 runs. The bullpen came in and did a great job. Zach, Bobby Seay, Brandon Lyon and Fernando all pitched and only one additional run was allowed.

Offensively, Aubrey Huff finally contributed with 2 hits and 3 RBI. Was nice to see him hit the ball. Yesterday, I asked for early runs for EJ and the Tigers put a 4 spot in the bottom of the 1st. That was great to see and made me very confident with Jackson pitching.

Defensively, there were some bad plays. Carlos made an error in LF and Adam made a couple of questionable plays at SS.

Game 2 against Cleveland is this evening. RP tries for win number 12.