Tigers Drop Doubleheader to Royals, Still Lead Division By Six Games

"Big Game" James is a tiger's natural enemy.

“Big Game” James is a tiger’s natural enemy.

The Tigers haven’t been so hot since their 12-game winning streak came to an end in New York—they’re only 4-6 in their last 10!!!—the homestand hasn’t gotten off to such a hot start either as they’ve dropped two of the first three to the Kansas City Royals. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Tigers couldn’t solve an effectively wild Danny Duffy, who’s returning from Tommy John surgery. Duffy took a no-hitter into the fifth and wound up going 6 IP, allowing 1 hit and 3 walks, striking out 3. In game two, James Shields confounded them for most of the game, as he went 7 shutout innings, allowing no runs on 3 hits, 4 walks, while striking out 1.

Luckily for the Tigers, the Indians, the team nearest to them in the race for first place, also lost, leaving them 6 games out of first place.

And it’s not all a loss yet because it’s a 5-gamer; they could still take the series. They’ll have to find out where they stashed the bats, however.

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The Tigers barely generated much offense at all in either game; a single Ramon Santiago solo homer kept them from being shutout on the day. It was Santiago’s first homer since June 9, 2012, when he hit a solo shot off Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati (it’s not that hard to hit homers out of Cincinnati, even if you’ve just got sneaky power).

The Tigers also had their fair amount of TOOTBLAN, running themselves out of potential rallies with their own boneheaded baserunning. TOOTBLAN stands for “thrown out on the basepaths like a nincompoop” and accurately describes their baserunning on the day. It was a rough day at the ballpark on Friday. Today will be better.

Now, let’s talk about the Toledo MudHens. Specifically, Nick Castellanos and the motley crew assembled around him to form the Tigers’ Triple-A ballclub. The MudHens aren’t very good; in fact they’re 54-74. That’s pretty bad.

Nick Castellanos is not bad. He is actually quite good. He went 2-for-3 last night, with a solo homer and a walk. He was also robbed of a certain extra base hit on a diving play in dead center by the Norfolk Tides’ Jason Pridie.

Castellanos is only 21, surrounded by a lot of career minor league veterans, like Danny Dorn, who brought the MudHens to within one run, Mike Cervenak, Ben Guez, Ronny Paulino, Kevin Russo, Argenis Diaz. Don’t expect to see these names in Detroit anytime soon unless a string of devastating injuries—maybe even a kidnapping or two—occurs, leaving the Tigers with no other alternatives. Hernan Perez is in Toledo, though, and he certainly has a future with the Tigers. Some of the pitchers will definitely see time in Detroit yet this season; Luke Putkonen and José Ortega will surely be back at some point, as will Evan Reed.

Jair Jurrjens started the game and looked like he wouldn’t make it out of the first inning. He was giving up a lot of hard contact, and the Tides jumped to an early 3-0 lead. Jurrjens somehow managed to limit the damage, and left in the sixth with a 5-2 deficit. Darin Downs, who’s been hanging out in Toledo since coming back from his injury, pitched 2 IP of scoreless relief to bail out the MudHens’ bullpen, and Robbie Weinhardt—REMEMBER HIM?!—finished off the top of the ninth with a strikeout for the ‘Hens.

It is kind of sad to see how far Jurrjens has fallen since becoming the ultimate #shouldofkept in the winter of 2007. Injuries have really derailed his career and he’s definitely only here for depth. He managed to keep the MudHens in the game, though, to his credit.

The MudHens TOOTBLAN’d themselves out of an inning or two. They almost looked like they belonged up with the big club! I was so proud.

The game was fun, if not a particularly good game. The MudHens played well to their audience, which included a lot of kids. Most of their in-game entertainment featured contests kids could win (and they did easily, of course). Muddy the MudHen came around to entertain the youngsters often; we didn’t see Muddonna, unfortunately.

The Toft’s Strikeout Player bunted twice, and did not strike out a single time. There was no ice cream had. We were all sorely disappointed.

The experience was quite enjoyable, all told, and this blogger is actually exploring MudHens season tickets. If you have the money and desire to travel to Ohio, go to a MudHens game. While the team isn’t very good, the games are entertaining and the seats are plentiful and affordable. Also get a look at Castellanos in Toledo if you can; he may be up sooner than you think~~

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