Tiger ‘Pen Blows Big Lead Late, Team Heads Back to Detroit With Disappointing Split

Short recap tonight because the rage, it flows within me and I can only contain it so long.

The Detroit Tigers had a 5-1 lead. They were six outs away from coming back to Detroit with a 2-0 ALCS lead and possibly a stranglehold on the series. Now they’re coming home to Detroit with a split after blowing game 2 in spectacular fashion.

Here’s what went right:

  • Miguel Cabrera is hitting for power again. He cranked a solo shot over the Green Monster.
  • Alex Avila hit a two-run shot and contributed three hits.
  • Prince Fielder got an extra base hit after a seemingly lengthy power drought. Still no homers yet.
  • Max Scherzer continued the rotation’s brilliant stretch of postseason baseball, dominating the Red Sox batters through seven. He gave up 1 run on just 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 13.

    Here’s what went horrifyingly wrong:

  • THE BULLPEN

    Unlike last night, none of Leyland’s moves worked out. Multiple relievers failed to do their job in the eighth inning; particularly glaring was Drew Smyly’s walk of Jacoby Ellsbury after reaching a 1-2 count on the Boston outfielder. Starter-turned-reliever Rick Porcello made quick work of the 5-5 tie, taking the loss in the bottom of the ninth.

    The Tigers will hope to get the taste of this defeat out of their mouths with a Justin Verlander performance on Wednesday. Verlander, who flew home early to Detroit to prepare for his game 3 start, has the Tigers’ best starter this postseason. Verlander has yet to allow an earned run—or a run of any kind, really—in his 15 IP. He’s just 6 hits and 2 walks, and has struck out 21 batters. If momentum is your next pitcher, the Tigers’ momentum isn’t looking too bad, even with this disappointing loss in the rearview mirror.

    Still, though. Tonight really sucked. Tonight was Murphy’s Law incarnate. Everything that could go wrong in the late innings seemingly did.

    And now we all have one day to stew on it.

    • Ryan

      I don’t know if I can handle watching the rest of the series now…

    • D

      Prince….play like Hunter and sacrifice your body to block Jose’s bad throw and jump up and catch the popup in the ninth….earn your salary!

    • Badboys

      Lesson learned: Detroit’s offense is a non-factor in this series – a decisive 5-run lead following 13 innings of 1-hit baseball required only 3 innings to be erased. The Red Sox pitching needs to be good, not perfect to win games. Conversely, the Tiger pitching needs to be near-perfect to scrape a win. it’s questionable whether the Tigers can win another game in this series!

    • Ryan

      Intersting via ESPN
      “Blame Tigers manager Jim Leyland for his bizarre eighth-inning bullpen usage if you like. Pulling Scherzer after 108 pitches and seven dominant innings was a debatable move. Bringing in your fifth-best option, Jose Veras, in Scherzer’s stead was even more puzzling. Burning through three relievers after Veras in that inning was even loopier. And as good as Benoit has been for most of this season, the Tigers activated lefty reliever Phil Coke for this series. If there was ever a situation that called for a lefty destroyer like Coke to come in, it was against a hitter like Ortiz, who historically hasn’t been nearly as dangerous against left-handed pitchers.

      Instead, it was Benoit who delivered the game-changing pitch, and Ortiz who added another highlight to his impressive postseason reel, cracking just the third game-tying grand slam in playoff history.

      As Rob Neyer noted after the game, the Red Sox’s win expectancy in the eighth inning sat at less than 3 percent. After bad defense by Cabrera and Fielder, questionable managing by the Tigers, some good at-bats by Boston’s top-of-the-order hitters, a tidy inning of relief by Koji Uehara, and especially Ortiz’s big swing, it was 100 percent at game’s end.”

    • Ryan

      Most interesting thing was that pitch was an 86 mph change up. Wtf would u lead off with a change up over the plate? You shouldn’t have even tried to throw strikes to this guy. He’s number one on your list for a guy that could hit a grand slam and tie the game. Walk the run in if u have to. Don’t allow this guy to do what he did. The guy coming up behind papi is mike carp and there’s two outs. Terrible call.

    • Sigmundcaca

      Don’t make too much of game two. The Sox were four outs away from losing both games in Boston and managed to stay poised enough to take advantage of their opportunity. If the Tigers aren’t poised enough to shake it off and take advantage of the fact that they got the split in Boston, then maybe they don’t deserve to go to the World Series. By the fifth inning of game three, that grand slam will be ancient history.

    • Badboys

      For Detroit to win the series, Sanchez, Scherzer and Verlander have to be perfect and go at least 8 innings or the bullpen would have to be perfect themselves. The Sox pitching staff do not have to be perfect, in fact, no particular aspect of the Sox’ game needs to be perfect or even near perfect; all they need to do is to show up to the ball park. The odds that these 3 pitchers in some combination with the bullpen will be perfect going forward is negligible. Even if Detroit wins another game, they would need Sanchez, Scherzer and Verlander to be perfect in games 3, 5 and 6 or 7. Moreover, if they cannot stay in the game through 8 innings, the bullpen would have to do a perfect job in relief. Detroit’s offense is a non factor in this series. The Red Sox will advance to the World series; the question is, will it take 5, 6 or 7 games for the Tigers to collapse? I say it will take only 5 games and everyone will be talking of a big collapse, but it will have nothing to do with Ortiz’s grand slam, It will have to do with the multiple way the Sox can beat you. The Sox are a very good team. They are the better team!

      • Ryan

        Lol why are you on this blog? They have played 18 innings, and the Red Sox have hits in 3 of them. They’ve scored in 2 of them. You lost home field advantage. The series is the Tigers’ to lose. Detroit only needs to take two at home, then they throw Scherzer in game 6 and Verlander in game 7. Good luck winning one of those. Rotations win championships. 32/59 at bats by the Red Sox in the series are strikeouts. That’s a 54% SO rate. The Sox are lucky to be tied 1-1. Stop acting like they’ve done anything. Stick to your Red Sox blog.

        • Badboys

          I am not saying the Tigers could not win the series. I am saying the odds are stack against that. It could very well happen, It happened in game 1. I am simply saying it is very difficult for these Tigers to put together a game like game 1 three more times against this Res Sox team. If you have watched the Tigers all year long, you would agree with me. My heart cheers for the Tigers; but if I were to bet the series, I would bet against them. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Ryan

            Sorry, I assumed you were a Red Sox slappy trolling on a tigers blog. I have watched them all year very closely. And this team is very, very bi-polar. They hit in bunches and don’t take pitches. But they have the talent there to win it all. I counted them out after game 3 of the Oakland series; and then they surprised me. Don’t count them out of this series or any series. If they had used their heads and not given Papi anything to hit, this is a 2-0 series.

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