Tigers Threaten But Do Not Score; Red Sox Grab 2-1 Series Lead

I am in despair!

I am in despair!

The Tigers once again wasted Justin Verlander brilliance as the bats failed to make a dent against Boston’s John Lackey. Lackey was good, but the Tigers had their chances against him and Boston’s relievers and couldn’t push any runs across the plate. Verlander was once again terrific, but for one mistake to Mike Napoli. He went 8 IP, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, with 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. His counterpart, Lackey, went 6.1 IP, giving up 4 hits on 8 strikeouts; he didn’t walk a single batter.

The Tigers had their first of three or so good scoring chances in the first inning, when they attacked Lackey aggressively, putting runners on the corners with two out and Victor Martinez batting. Martinez flied out to end the threat. The Tigers didn’t really threaten again until the 5th, when Jhonny Peralta led off with a double to deep left center. After Alex Avila advanced him to third with a ground out to second, Omar Infante and Andy Dirks followed up with disappointing at bats, as Infante struck out and Dirks grounded out weakly to second to end yet another threat.

In the 7th inning, Napoli homered to give the Sox a 1-0 lead following a David Ortiz ground out. Verlander followed up with strikeouts of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes, but the damage had been done.

The Tigers threatened again in the 7th, eventually getting two on with two out. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that threat fizzled following an Infante ground out.

In the 8th, José Iglesias pinch hit for Dirks and struck out looking, then Austin Jackson walked and Torii Hunter singled, with Jackson scampering to third. Miguel Cabrera came up with a chance to do damage, but expanded the strike zone for the Sox reliever, Junichi Tazawa, and struck out swinging. The Red Sox coser, Koji Uehara, came on to face Fielder and struck him out to end the inning.

Verlander was brilliant, but it wasn't enough.

Verlander was brilliant, but it wasn’t enough.

In the 9th, José Veras came on, signaling the end of Verlander’s night. Veras struck out Dustin Pedroia swinging, and then gave way to lefty Phil Coke. Coke, who hadn’t pitched in a game situation in quite some time, faced David Ortiz, whom he’s held to 2-for-18 lifetime, and got Ortiz to ground out harmlessly into the overshift. After Coke did his job, Leyland brought in Al Alburquerque to face Napoli; Alburqurque induced a ground out to shortstop to end the inning.

Victor Martinez led off the Tigers’ 9th with a single, and was immediately lifted for the pinch runner, Hernan Perez. Peralta came up with a chance to be the hero, but was forced to chase a bad pitch after a low strike call and grounded into a double play that all but ended the game. Avila struck out swinging to actually end the game.

The Tigers will look to avoid falling into an even deeper hole tomorrow when they send Doug Fister (0-0, 4.50 ERA) out to take on the Red Sox. The Red Sox will send trade deadline acquisition Jake Peavy (0-0, 1.59 ERA) out to face the Tigers.

The Tigers went down 2-1 to Oakland in a best-of-5. They’re down 2-1 again, but it’s a best-of-7 series, so all hope is not lost just yet. They need to get some timely hits though.

  • Badboys

    I’m having this recurring nightmare: after going up 2 and 1 in games where Sanchez, Scherzer and Verlander combined for 40 strikeouts, 4 hits and 1 run in a total of 21 innings of work, the Sox bats finally came out blasting in game 4!

    • Ryan

      Well, can’t say I disagree with you now! I tried to stay positive and believe in this team, but this year has shown them to disappoint my faith time and time again. Another failed season that won’t lead to the end of Leyland. Doesn’t get much worse.

      • verlander

        … You guys do know the season isn’t over, right?

        • cestma

          And that 26 teams aren’t playing anymore? That’s worse.

          • Ryan

            Here’s the thing…with this payroll, this team and it’s recent history, anything short of a World Series is a failure. The goal this season wasn’t to make the ALCS; maybe the other 28 teams’ was, but not the Tigers. I hope I’m wrong and the season isn’t done. I thought it was when they went down 2-1 against the A’s, and they proved me wrong. I desperately home I’m wrong again, but from what I see, they’re done. If you don’t win the World Series, you’re just as bad as those other teams you reference. And I’ve been fed up with Leyland for years. How can you not take a team to the ALCS with that this team has? Time and time again, he makes bad choices and bad calls. Sure, there’s not much a manager can do when your team doesn’t hit. But that means you’re operating within much tighter constraints, and I feel he often makes decisions about the few things within his control incorrectly. How in the world do you not make sure Benoit doesn’t give Papi anything to hit in game 3? That’s an unforgivable mistake.

          • Snowman

            U are exactly right.
            Why is nobody critizing “miggy” for his horrible at bat last night? Is really untouchable? O I’m sorry ure hurt, we won’t hurt your feelings, bs………. That was a terrible at bat, no patience at all, wtf he waited all year long now when we meaning detroit needs him, he does this?????
            Really,really,really…..

          • verlander

            Plenty of people are criticizing Cabrera’s at bat. You must not be looking in the right places.

          • Snowman

            Yea!!!
            Ok. Living in south fla don’t get all the news.
            Thanks for up date;)
            Sorry about you’re namesake getting screwed last night.
            Hopefully they will come back tonight, then a 3 game series with top to guns left.

          • verlander

            I’m guessing you’re not on Twitter then.

          • Snowman

            No.
            Old fashioned;)

          • verlander

            //How can you not take a team to the ALCS with that this team has?//

            Leyland has taken the Tigers to the ALCS in four of the eight seasons he’s managed the team. Pretty good, imo, considering the playoffs are such a crapshoot anyway.

          • Ryan

            So you’re satisfied with just making the ALCS this year and not even the World Series? $160 million for ALCS appearances? At some point, that’s not good enough. You have to win championships. You get to the point where the ALCS is expected. That’s what success breeds. But ultimately, how successful is a season if you don’t win it all? In 2006, the ALCS was a huge victory; no one expected them to be there. It’s expected now; it’s no longer that great. Have to bring home a WS now.

          • verlander

            1.) I don’t really give a crap what the payroll is. It’s not my money. Teams have won with less. Teams have won with more.
            2.) I understand that the playoffs are a crapshoot.

            It’s a tournament. Teams get hot. Teams get cold. The most expensive team doesn’t always win. The best team doesn’t always win.

            I want a Tigers World Series championship but I don’t look at four ALCS appearances out of eight seasons as abject failure regardless of the lack of hardware. If that means I don’t have The Will To Win™, welp!

            Anyway, I’m one of those dirty heathens who puts more stock in 162-game season and enjoys the playoffs for as long as the Tigers are in them. I don’t subscribe to the “WORLD SERIES OR BUST” school of thought.

  • Ryan

    Via ESPN:
    One more note on how one pitch can swing a game. Victor Martinez — isn’t it time to move him up in the order? — led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, bringing in a pinch runner and Jhonny Peralta to the plate. The 1-1 pitch — Billy Beane has called that the most important pitch, the one that swings an at-bat more than any other — was a fastball just below the knees. Except Ron Kulpa called it a strike. The next pitch was a splitter and a 6-4-3 double play.

    You hate to panic in the playoffs, but you wonder if Leyland should change his lineup around a bit. Martinez and Peralta have been the Tigers’ best hitters but are batting fifth and sixth. Jackson struck out twice more and has fanned 18 times in 33 at-bats in the postseason. His postseason struggles aren’t a new story, and you wonder if he’s just a guy who can’t hit good pitching. (Per Baseball-Reference.com, he hit .118 against “power pitchers” this season and .220 last season. You’re probably seeing fewer finesse guys in October.) Fielder’s walk rate has deteriorated in his postseason career compared with the regular season. It could be a small sample size thing — 152 plate appearances — but maybe he, too, doesn’t hit good pitching (his slugging percentages against fastballs has gone way down over the past two seasons).

  • Badboys

    On paper, this Tigers team is the best team in the majors. They should have won last year and they should win it all this year if they could get past the Red Sox. I fear they won’t get past the Red Sox, not because the Red Sox are better than them on paper; in fact, the tigers lead the Red Sox in starting pitching (which is the main reason the Red Sox have not yet scored runs in bunches on them) and in big names up and down the lineup – Cabrera, Martinez, Fielder, Peralta, Hunter; 2nd best offense, 1st in batting average. However, this Tigers team struggled all year to run the bases better than average, move people along on higher counts, play outstanding defense, take pitches, have a playoff-caliber bullpen, a lights-out closer, not mention a manager who prioritizes paying attention to detail and inspiring a star staffed club to attend to detail themselves. Primadonnas only perform for themselves! They don’t win team championships, especially under the leadership of an uninspired manager…

Switch to our mobile site

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed