Let’s keep this short and sweet, much like the work of White Sox ace Chris Sale against the vaunted Tigers lineup (still leading the league in BA & 2nd in runs), minus, you know, the sweet part. For his eighth win of the season, Sale did what Sale most often does – throw a lot of strikes, few balls and limit offensive production. The only difference in tonight’s results compared to many of his other starts was the offensive support. Sale is #9 in the league in SO/BB this year (2 behind Scherzer, BTW) and just outside the top 10 in ERA. The lanky lefty struck out 6 while surrendering zero walks and scattering 9 hits. Tigers fans may be surprised to know that the White Sox actually left more men on base tonight (8) than Detroit (6). Look, Sale earned this win and his 3rd complete game of the year. He pitched four 1-2-3 innings and got out of most jams without harm. There is no need to panic about the Tigers offense. They still lead MLB in hits, batting average and OPS – plus they’re 2nd in runs and RBI. So take a few deep breaths and put away the brown paper bag if you’re sweating this loss. Enough about Sale.
One of few bright spots on a cloudy night in south Chicago, Miguel Cabrera continued to stretch necks of viewers and stadium goers (you know, because of all the awe-struck, head-shaking disbelief aimed at his feats and those who claim he’s not a hitting cyborg), hitting his 4th home run in 4 nights with two outs in the 1st inning – this one a 346 opposite field shot to right. Cabrera is now 5 HRs back of Baltimore’s Chris Davis (as of me writing this) for the MLB lead and is still setting the pace in Average and RBI (by 2). Clearly the hip bone’s not connected to the… bat bone, as Miggy continues to prove. (I know it’s a flexor, not the bone – just roll with it please). Cabrera is hitting .448 with 11 RBI in 9 August games. No words left.
Starting for a concussed Alex Avila, Brayan Pena and his NERTS (search it on twitter now, thank me later) were the only other contributors to the Tigers score board on the evening. With two outs in the 2nd and Matt Tuiasosopo (2-4 for the game) on 2nd, Pena drove a double to deep right, scoring Tui and putting Detroit ahead 2-0. After that, Sale settled and the rest of the Tigers offense was history.
Doug Fister pitched six, allowing 4 earned runs with 3 of them coming in a rough bottom of the 5th inning.. and 2 off the bat of #9 hitter Josh Phegley. Fister walked three and actually hit no one. Half-sarcastic “woot”!
In other news, if it’s in the infield, it’s in the gem-studded wheel house of Jose Iglesias. In addition to yet another infield hit in his tally, Iglesias again showed us the “diamond” that comes along with his “rough”. Tonight’s YouTube clip was filmed in the bottom of the 6th when Iglesias barehanded a chop shot off the bat of Josh Phegley and threw the catcher out from mid-air. I mean… Inflated batting averages be damned! This kid is something else. I anticipate steady Sportscenter rating spikes during the Web Gems time slot from the Detroit market as long as Jose’s at short. Here’s the .gif
Jose is hitting .281 in August after putting up a .205 BA in July. Anyway.
Wrapping it up…
So the Tigers lost 6-2 to a last place team that recently auctioned off a few of it’s best (also expensive) assets. And Prince Fielder continues to frustrate. Plus Omar Infante was 0-4 in his return. And oh yeah, our boys were 0-6 with RISP. Despite all of this, I urge us all to step back, look at the record, remember that this team is still 6.5 games ahead in the division and plays their next two against pitchers who are really not that great and a team that will not likely score 6 runs against them again this week. The Tigers are still stacked with talent and have arguably the best rotation in baseball – one that will be shortened to include only the cream when they make the playoffs… which they (according to ESPN) currently have a 96.8% chance of doing.
Let’s all give each other a collective “Calm your Nerts.” When you’ve won 17 of your last 21, you don’t sweat 2 in a row. We good.
Thanks for reading. Tomorrow’s another day.
P.S. – our old pal (as much as one can be to fans he doesn’t know) Avi was 0-4 on the night and was kind to Fister in the 4th, declining to pile on after Doug got a little wild and let Gordon Beckham touch home via his 2nd wild pitch of the game. Thanks, Avi. Keep it up and then go HAM against other teams – we’re still rooting for you… starting Thursday.
P.P.S. – so yeah, that wasn’t very short. Oops.