There could be a lot of accurate references to Clue in this situation. You could add specific Mariner names: Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, Alex Liddi, Dustin Ackley, Ichiro Suzuki, Michael Saunders, and even Kyle Seager as the actual murders – all of them had a big game at one point – if you wanted to. You probably don’t want to, since those are Seattle Mariner names and this is a Detroit Tigers blog and the Seattle Mariners just swept the Detroit Tigers in their own ballpark for the second straight year, in fact you are probably just torturing yourself reading this.
I don’t want to pretend to know if you like torture or not, but if you do then the Detroit Tigers are probably your favorite baseball team right now. In fact, if you look in the Detroit Tigers Annual, on page 98 there is a paragraph that states the following:
The Detroit Tigers may or may not endorse torture in the following circumstances:
Okay, perhaps that’s not true, but after the last week of baseball, 95% of Detroit Baseball Fans would totally believe that and that’s all that’s important. The Detroit Tigers are not very good at baseball right now and the Seattle Mariners took full advantage of that.
As I don’t want to pretend to be in your heads, I also don’t pretend to be in Rick Porcello’s head, and quite frankly, I don’t want to be. I don’t want to know what he was thinking when he threw this pitch to Justin Smoak in the first inning with two men on and one out. (Look at where Avila set his glove, and look where he had to lift it too).
Just like that, the Tigers were down 3-0 to the Mariners and the offense hadn’t even come to the plate! Why do these Tiger pitchers think that giving up runs is the right thing to do?!?!?!? Well, frankly they probably don’t have any freaking clue.
It doesn’t help that the umpires that were umpiring the series were extremely bad at umpiring as well. Now, we all know that the umpires have a very complicated and difficult job. I actually respect them, believe it or not, but there are also reasons that so many people are petitioning for Instant Replay for controversial calls.
Here’s one reason:
Obviously, one call doesn’t change anything in the grand scheme of a series, and it didn’t matter in this game – although if you really, really, really wanted to you could argue that with Laird on first base with one out in the third with the top of the order up, the inning could have swung a bit in the Tigers favor you can, but that’s totally your prerogative – but it’s certainly a small microcosm of how the series went for the Tigers.
Alright, so we know that the Tigers lost miserably for the fourth straight time on Thursday. They have had rotten pitching, bad defense, and an altogether unproductive offense. They released Brandon Inge and called up Brad Eldred. Eldred is hitting .388 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI in Triple-A Toledo. In 19 games. If I were the Tigers I would bring him up too. The Tigers are certainly not in panic mode, don’t mistake this for it, but they do want to shake things up and this certainly does it. I don’t know what the plans with Eldred are other than he is certainly going to be the Tigers DH and he probably can play some corner outfield – it’s not like Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young are defensive ninjas out there – but he’s probably looking at a platoon situation and most likely taking at bats away from Andy Dirks, who should play everyday but doesn’t.
It’s good though, it’s not like the Tigers can ignore 13 home runs in 19 games. They’ve got to see if this sticks. Maybe Brad Eldred has discovered this sick trick where he can hit home runs all the time, even though his strikes out 60% of the time? Who knows, I personally think Danny Worth should have been recalled, but we’ll respect what Eldred has done up to this point.
Anyway, onto the bullet holes for this game, the series, and the Tigers themselves.
- Andy Dirks: Playing for the first time since the second game of the Kansas City series (hamstring injury), Andy Dirks went 1-for-4 with his second triple of the year that sparked a 3 run 6th inning. He’s hitting .296 in 27 at bats and there’s been talk on the internet that Dirks should play everyday and bat second (but that’s totally speculation!).
- Brennan Boesch: In the top of the seventh Porcello walked the ninth place hitter, Brendan Ryan with two outs. That brought up Chone Figgins who, on a 3-1 pitch, lifted a fly ball to right field. Boesch lofted after it like it was a routine fly ball. He ped up as he realized the fly ball was going over his head but it was too late, the ball went over his head, Ryan scored the go ahead run, and Figgins laughed his way into second base. Boesch then came up with runners on first and third in the bottom of the inning, worked the count to 3-1 and then swung at the fourth ball that probably would have hit a right handed batter for strike two, then took a cut at the fifth ball and looped it softly over the mound and into Brendan Ryan’s hands who threw to first for the final out of the inning. If he had taken one of the final two pitches the bases would have been loaded for Miguel Cabrera, who had homered the inning before. But, that wasn’t the case, Boesch’s nonexistent plate discipline and lazy fielding cost the Tigers at least one defensive run and prevented them from having the opportunity to score more.
- Miguel Cabrera: As mentioned last graph he homered in the 6th inning, his 6th bomb of the year. Since his 5 game hitless streak he has gone 13-for-37 with 3 HR and 7 RBI. The Tigers offensive troubles haven’t been because of him, and while his defensive troubles have been exposed a bit as the season has gone on, it’s nothing we didn’t expect.
- Prince Fielder: During the Texas series, Fielder spanked quite a few pitches that landed just short of going out of the park. I wrote that I’d expect to see a few home runs, if not extra base results later this week. That obviously didn’t happen, as Fielder finished the home stand going 0-for-4 and while he had six hits in the six games, none went for extra bases or drove anyone in. He’s still hitting .310 and he doesn’t look bad at the plate, but he is adjusting to American League pitching and that takes time.
- Delmon Young: He was 0-for-10 against Seattle pitching, even though he walked twice and only struck out once. His OBP which had once peaked at .382, is now down to .311, which is a microcosm of the entire Tiger offense.
- Jhonny Peralta: His seventh inning single was his first hit since the first game of the doubleheader last Saturday. Another hitter without an RBI since the last game in Kansas City, Peralta has certainly struggled to do anything with the bat in nearly a week.
- Alex Avila: This is getting lame. Avila didn’t start the game, but he pinch hit for Laird in the 7th and ended up with another plate appearance, which was the grounder that turned into the game ending double play. He did hit a two run home run in the first game against Seattle but that was his first extra base hit since April 12th.
- Ryan Raburn: Hey, he went 3-for-6 in two starts against Seattle. He’s now 6-for-47.
- Rick Porcello: I’ll give Porcello a tip of the cap. After giving up the three run home run to Justin Smoak, his day could have just fallen apart, but he persevered and was a Brennan Boesch catch away from pitching seven full innings of 4-run ball. Granted he missed on a pitch to Miguel Olivo of all people (a .388 slugging percentage last year, and coming into the game, a .197 slugging percentage this year.)
- Box Score/Gameday
Sigh. At least the Tigers get to go on a road trip.
One final note, which may leave you feeling a tad bit better even though you apparently are into torture and all:
This was the second home stand of the year. The Tigers finished this home stand 1-6 for an overall record of 10-9 and they are still technically tied for first place – though the White Sox play Thursday evening against Boston and if they win they take sole possession of the division lead.
Last year, the Tigers finished their second home stand of the year by going 3-3, which is decidedly better than 1-6, but they were swept by the Mariners just like this year. In fact, they closed that home stand out 12-13 on the year and then went on to lose four more games.
Happy times, happy times.