Detroit Tigers Leave Windy City with Statement Game and Ryan Raburn Emerges…Finally

See, this offense can hit! And you were worried! Frankly, I was laboring through the first five innings of this game, as I’m sure you were too. Twitter was certainly a dud, and even some of the popular game threads weren’t even having conversations about the game, in the game threads. Come on people! But honestly, given the way the game ended Monday and how it started on Tuesday, you couldn’t blame anyone for finding other things to do.

Then, if you stuck around, the Tigers rewarded you with one of the most entertaining innings all year, possibly save for a few from the 13-12 game against Boston in the season opening series.

Down 6-0 thanks to the inefficiencies of Max Scherzer and Collin Balester, Andy Dirks led off the top of the sixth with an innocent single followed by a home run from Miguel Cabrera. It was quite possibly one of the longest home runs to left field in Cellular Field history (according to a bunch of White Sox fans on twitter). However far it went, it was far, and it cut the White Sox lead to four. A little life was sparked. And sometimes that’s all a team needs.

Prince Fielder, who had struggled with his own 0-for-22 slump this past week (in the two game series against Chicago he is 6-for-9 with 3 doubles), doubled for the second time on the day and after he moved to third base on Alex Avila’s ground out, Brennan Boesch was hit by a pitch and Ryan Raburn stepped to the plate.

Through five innings, Jake Peavy had been cruising. If you can relate cruising to pitching (I can’t but the expression is there and I’ll use it), good for you. That’s what Peavy was doing. It was easy. He was making the Tigers look dumb. Then the sixth inning happened.

Robin Ventura was like, “Hey, man. You’re supposed to make this easy on me. I shouldn’t have to make a hard decision when you’re on the mound. I’m a rookie manager!”

Peavy was like, “I’m hungry. And this lineup is fantastic. Holy crap is it really 83 degrees out? Ugh. Here’s a fat curveball, Ryan Raburn.”

Raburn was like, “thanks”, and he did this:

6-5. The Tigers were within one.

Ventura was like, “fine you want to throw a big fat loopy curveball to a guy hitting .149, then you get to face Jhonny Peralta. He can’t even spell his name right!”.

So, Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta even though Jhonny Peralta can’t even spell his own name. Ventura had enough and brought in Will Ohman.

I admittedly didn’t know much about Will Ohman so I looked at his stats on Baseball Reference. Holy Moley! This guy has been in the big leagues since 2000! Well, that’s all impressive and stuff, but Ohman hit four batters last year in 53.1 innings for the White Sox and hadn’t hit anyone in 11.2 innings this year. Math tells us that over the last year, Ohman will hit a batter every 13.2 innings. Perhaps he felt that he needed to shorten those innings up, I don’t know, but he plunked pinch hitter, Delmon Young, to put runners on 1st and 2nd with Austin Jackson, the ninth batter of the inning, coming to the plate.

Ohman should probably change his name to Will Ohmanohmanohmanohmanohman, because he then served up a three-run homer to Jackson and the Tigers led 8-6. Oh man.

Oh, and if you thought you were going to get through the inning without hearing a criticism from me, you were wrong. Why on God’s green and sometimes yellow and sometimes bare earth did Andy Dirks’ think bunting with one out and no one on was a good idea? I understand he was trying to get on base, that’s obvious. But Andy, your last at bat was a single…IN THE SAME INNING AS YOU’RE BUNTING IN NOW! It’s not like Ohman was blowing balls by hitters. In fact he was blowing balls into hitters and then hitters were blowing balls past him and into home run territory.

This is what makes my blood boil. This is why bunting should be illegal. I will live longer if its made illegal.

Anyway, Phil Coke relieved Collin Balester with one out in the sixth and pitched his best game of the past two weeks to keep the Sox off the board. He got two quick outs to bring the game to the seventh, and then the Tigers came back up and scored two more runs to make it 10-6. Those runs, courtesy of an Avila walk, a Boesch single, a Raburn single, and a Peralta single, proved to be vital to the Tigers victory.

After Phil Coke pitched another excellent frame, Joaquin Benoit followed suit in the eighth. Both relievers stranded a single in each of their innings worth of work.

Then the ninth inning happened.

A pop out and strikeout for the White Sox left two out and no one on and Paul Konerko at the plate as the Sox’s final hope. But he singled, and A.J. Pierzynski doubled and after he fell behind 3-1 on Alex Rios, Jose Valverde went down.

After the game, Jim Leyland said that he tweaked his lower back on a pitch, and from the replay’s it looks like that’s the case. But, regardless, Leyland pulled him from the game and brought in Octavio Dotel.

(This will be largely ignored, but the fact that Leyland left Coke in for the seventh inning proved huge as he still had Dotel in to close the game out, he didn’t have to put either of his remaining two pitchers, Duane Below and Luke Putkonen, both of whom were rookies.)

Dotel immediately walked Rios, but I think that was more intentional than anything. I wouldn’t want to be forced to throw a fastball when a fastball hitter was looking for a fastball in a fastball count. Of course, Dotel then gave up a double to Alexei Ramirez and the score was 10-8.

Dayan Viciedo launched a 1-1 pitch to the right field wall, but Brennan Boesch managed to catch it a foot away from the fence to preserve the Tigers 18th win of the year.

Talk about drama! I know TNT knows drama, but Baseball knows drama too. If you say that in a deep movie voice, out loud of course, your recap is complete.

  • Laura Mallory

    It was great to see some offense.  We can declare all of the slumps as over!
    Amazing that Balester got the victory and is 2-0, but these things happen. Coke was the only Tiger pitcher who was on his game. Slight correction,  Delmon Young batted for Kelly in the 6th, thus Young was hit by Ohman’s pitch. (pinch hitter hit by pitch)

  • Frostillicus

    Great review of a game I had to miss due to work*. And a wonderful site for Tigers’ fans everywhere! That being said, stop with the inappropriate apostrophes! (Sorry, pet peeve, but it’s not “Dirk’s”. Never.)

    *as an English teacher.

    *deep breath*

    Anyway, I have to wonder if Papa Grande’s  been dealing with a stiff back more often this season than just today. He’s certainly been pitching like something is off.

  • Solemnus

    I was at the game.  The first game I ever attended was in 1964, so I have been at this awhile.  I believe that Cabrera’s home run was the hardest hit ball i have ever seen.  That was fun; on the whole, I must say that watching this team is not.  By my count, three infield ground balls that a real major league infield would turn into outs just kept bouncing on through….sure am glad I don’t have to pitch with these guys behind me.  I have never seen a team that plays defense like this win a playoff series.  And, by the way–sending Cabrera home from first base in the first inning on Fielder’s double was clearly a suicide run.  What does Gene Lamont have to do to get himself fired?

  • Pingback: .gif | Home Runs on Home Runs on Home Runs | Walkoff Woodward

  • VerlanderforPrez2012

    Finally!  The bats come alive!  At least for an inning.  Scherzer still has some issues that concern me.   And Valverde….. giving him a week or so off might not be a bad idea.  I think the previous comment might be correct, this might have been an issue previously.  Let’s all hope so.  As I look at the schedule, the next 11 include 6 against the Twins.  If we can get through that stretch 8-3, things will be back on track.  But as they say,… one game at a time.

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