Tigers 2, Angels 1
Rick Porcello (3 GS, 20 IP, 3.15 ERA, 2,98 FIP, 0.5 fWAR) was mostly the story in this one. After two straight bad/unlucky disaster outings against the Angels in 2013, he came out and delivered a knockout blow of his own across seven innings. He allowed a run in the first on three hits (one of them a bunt single), but then allowed just two hits and a walk over the final six as he induced ground ball after ground ball, including a couple of broken bats against Trout and Pujols in the middle innings. The other story of the game was the Angels inability to throw the baseball. In the first, Kinsler scored from first on a walk and three throwing errors. You read that right and it isn’t a typo. They scored the winning run courtesy of a throwing error on a pickoff attempt that set up an RBI single, so pretty much the entire game came down to four throwing errors by a major league team. The series win lifts the Tigers to 9-6 on the year ahead of a four game set with the White Sox. Anibal Sanchez (3 GS, 14 IP, 3.21 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 0.4 fWAR) will get the ball in game one.
The Moment: Kinsler scores on a walk-error-error-error combo.
The catching of a white whale.
Tigers 5, Angels 2
They did it. The Tigers beat the Angels. After ten straight losses dating back to 2012, Max Scherzer (4 GS, 27 IP, 2.33 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 0.7 fWAR) led them out of the darkness with seven strong innings of work in which he allowed one run on a leadoff bomb and then allowed just four additional baserunners to go along with nine strikeouts. Three of those came against Mike Trout, who struck out three times against the same pitcher in one game for just the second time in his career. The Tigers scored on two sac flies, a Castellanos two run homer, and a VMart bomb and Joba turned in a dominant 8th inning to set up the win. With the series on the line, the Tigers will send Rick Porcello (2 GS, 13 IP, 4.15 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 0.3 fWAR) to the mound hoping that he has cured whatever allergic reaction he’s been having to the Halos over the last twelve months.
The Moment: Castellanos turns on one to put the Tigers ahead for good.
Bonus Moment: Bryan Holaday had an infield single and a bunt single today.
Angels 11, Tigers 6
This is generally the place where I offer you the quick highlights of the night’s ballgame and identify the big moments. Today’s going to be a bit different because well, I had a very distant experience with this game. The game started as I was crossing into South Carolina on my way to Myrtle Beach. The At Bat app was grabbing the radio signal for about two batters. I remember a Trout double. Then nothing. Then it came back in and Drew Smyly (1 GS, 9 IP, 4.00 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 0.1 fWAR) was starting to struggle. 4-0. Uh oh. We finally reconnected at 4-1. Then it was 8-1, uh oh again. I don’t know how everyone looked, but it sure doesn’t appear as if Smyly or Putkonen had great nights against the Angels, but then the Tigers bats rallied back as I was hooking up the hotel WiFi. A five run inning! Back in the game, 11-6! By the time I was settled in, the last two innings were coasting to a close and the Tigers came up short despite a 9th inning threat. This won’t be a game I remember, but it will be one that sticks out. Sorry I can’t give you more analysis than, “Hey, that seemed weird!” The club will try to even the series on Saturday with Max Scherzer (3 GS, 20 IP, 2.70 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 0.6 fWAR) on the hill.
The Moment: A five run 7th, presumably…
Not exactly what you’d expect.
Tigers 7, Indians 5
Justin Verlander (4 GS, 26 IP, 2.08 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 0.7 fWAR) and Danny Salazar were all set to provide us with a Thursday afternoon pitchers’ duel, and well, we sort of got that if you squint and pretend certain things didn’t happen. Verlander walked four in five innings, but also delivered seven strikeouts en route to three unearned runs. Salazar cruised through four innings and then melted down in the 5th as the Tigers hung four runs on him mostly due to a Ian Kinsler 3-run home run. The Tigers extended the lead to 6-3 and the bullpen shrank it to 6-5 before adding a run and slamming the door to secure the series split. The Tigers will welcome the Angels to town this weekend with Drew Smyly (0 GS, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.54 FIP, 0.2 fWAR) actually getting a chance to start on Friday
The Moment: Kinsler puts the Tigers ahead with a homer to left center.
A free pass.
Indians 3, Tigers 2
Anibal Sanchez (3 GS, 14 IP, 3.21 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 0.4 fWAR) got off to just a miserable start in this one, walking the first three batters he faced. He managed to hold the Tribe to a single run in the 1st, but then allowed a pair in the 2nd inning before settling down and firing strikes passed the Indians batters. The Tigers manufactured a run in the 1st and pushed one across in the 8th despite Torii Hunter getting behind 0-2 on a pair of awful bunt attempts and then grounding into a double play. Unfortunately, the Tigers were not able to find the equalizer in the 9th despite a one out double turned triple by Avila and dropped their season record to 6-5. For the fan of pitching, Thursday’s contest should be a real treat as Justin Verlander (3 GS, 21 IP, 2.57 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 0.6 fWAR) squares off against Danny Salazar.
The Moment: Avila doubles, takes the extra base on the bobble in the 9th.
A quiet one for the bats.
Padres 5, Tigers 1
Max Scherzer (3 GS, 20 IP, 2.70 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 0.6 fWAR) turned in a final line that belies the overall body of work. He allowed a no doubt homerun and a three run ambush, but he also dominated around those mistakes with ten strikeouts in five innings. It wasn’t a Cy Young kind of day, but there was certainly a lot to like. The bats couldn’t get going on his behalf as Tyson Ross pitched very well and kept the Tigers at bay. They got a chance to take on Benoit for the first time since he left Detroit, but nothing came of the interaction, nor of their threat in the 9th. The club will take a day off to fly home for a three game set against Cleveland that starts Tuesday with Anibal Sanchez (2 GS, 9IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 0.2 fWAR) getting the ball in game one.
The Moment: Rajai Davis makes a diving catch in left.
One for the ages.
Tigers 6, Padres 2
Justin Verlander (3 GS, 21 IP, 2.57 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.6 fWAR) pitched well, sure, but that isn’t why Saturday’s game was memorable. Oh no, Saturday’s game will go down in Tigers lore as the day Verlander finally got his first major league hit. And his second. The veteran ace obviously doesn’t get a whole lot of chances to come to the plate, but he was 0-26 in 35 tries. That’s even pretty awful for an AL pitcher. Verlander broke through with two singles, and a run scored to help his cause and sent the Tigers to 6-3 on the year with a chance to take the series on Sunday behind Max Scherzer (2 GS, 15 IP, 1.20 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 0.4 fWAR). Davis, Kinsler, Hunter, and Jackson also contributed to the win, but I mean, come on, Verlander actually got a hit.
The Moment: Verlander earns his first (and second) career hits.
A tip of the cap.
Padres 6, Tigers 0
Rick Porcello (2 GS, 13 IP, 4.15 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 0.2 fWAR) didn’t have his best against the Padres on Friday night, but even if he turned in a better start, it wouldn’t have mattered. He looked good at times, but also allowed some hard contact against a club that was due for a good offensive showing. The story of the game was the opposing starter, Andrew Cashner, who dominated the Tigers from start to finish with a nice mix of sinkers, changeups, and sliders. The team had a couple of scoring chances, but nothing came of them and they dropped to 5-3 on the season. They’ll turn the rotation over on Saturday, giving the ball to Justin Verlander (2 GS, 14 IP, 2.57 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 0.3 fWAR) to try and even the series
The Moment: Avila, Romine, and Martinez hook up for a 2-6-3 double play.
A team effort.
Tigers 7, Dodgers 6
It’s tough to give full credit to any one Tiger on this night as Anibal Sanchez (2 GS, 9 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.55 FIP, 0.3 fWAR) kept the Dodgers at bay across 5 innings and launched a run-scoring double of his own. Other key players who factored into the decision were Nick Castellanos who swatted a go-ahead 3-run bomb to dead center in the 3rd – the first of his MLB career. The Tigers also ran wild on the bases and Drew Smyly was excellent in relief as the team pushed their record to 5-2 on the season after splitting the two game set with the Dodgers. Nathan blew the lead in the 9th, but Victor Martinez wouldn’t hear of it. He launched a solo shot in the 10th off Jansen and everyone went home happy. After an off day on Thursday, Rick Porcello (1 GS, 6.2 IP, 1.35 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 0.1 fWAR) will get the ball on Friday in San Diego.
The Moment: Sanchez doubles in a run, Nick sends his first bomb to dead center, and VMart goes deep.
One that started and ended strangely.
Dodgers 3, Tigers 2
Max Scherzer (2 GS, 15 IP, 1.20 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 0.4 fWAR) gave the Tigers 7 solid innings on Tuesday, but there’s just no escaping the fact that he allowed a leadoff homerun to Dee Gordon. Regardless of his effectiveness throughout the rest of the game, we’re going to remember this one as the one in which Dee Gordon turned on Scherzer and hit a homer. Dee Gordon. Jackson did his part for the cause responding with a solo shot, but the Dodgers grabbed an extra run in the bottom of the 7th - a run that scored on a poor throw from Jackson, no less. Kinsler led off the 9th with a double, Jansen got Kelly and struck out Cabrera, but Martinez tied it with a looper to center to set up a walk off single/ball gets by a weird dive by Rajai Davis. The loss drops the team to 4-2 on the year and they’ll send Anibal Sanchez (1 GS, 4 IP, 4.50 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 0.0 fWAR) to the mound on Wednesday looking for a split.
The Moment: Martinez singles in the tying run in the 9th.