Not a sweep, somehow.
Blue Jays 6, Tigers 5
The Tigers got bad news on Sanchez and Soria before game time, but their bats brought good news in the first inning. Five straight Tigers reached with two outs in the first to push across three runs in support of David Price (25 GS, 185.1 IP, 3.21 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 4.0 fWAR) who wasn’t as dominant as he was in his first start. Price gave the Tigers six innings plus innings of work, but after allowing two runs and leaving two more on he would wind up allowing four runs on the day while surrendering five hits and an uncharacteristic three walks. He also struck out six and pitched around getting hit with a line drive on the left leg. The bats added on in the 3rd and 4th innings to make sure they had a one run lead for Saver of the Day Joba Chamberlain, who relieved a very effective Al Alburquerque by allowing a game tying series of hits. With two on and Baustita up, the Tigers decided to walk him halfway through the at bat to get to a lefty, yet didn’t use their lefty relievers. Chamberlain K’d Francisco, but we were forced to play on.
And on we played through too much to effectively recap. Every reliever pitched. There were jams, there were rallies. There were no runs. Then it was Porcello time in the 17th inning as the entire roster short of Porcello, Verlander, and Scherzer had been expended. It felt as if it might never end, yet it felt as if it would end at any moment. In his third inning of work a botched play on a sac bunt setup a walk off hit by Bautista. Justin Verlander (24 GS, 157.2 IP, 4.57 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 2.1 fWAR) is the only one available tomorrow.
The Moment: Porcello pitches out of a jam in the 17th…wait what?
Blue Jay 3, Tigers 2
If it weren’t for the poor offensive showings this week, watching Max Scherzer (24 GS, 161 IP, 3.13 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 4.2 fWAR) duel with Marcus Stroman would have been a perfect way to spend a Saturday. However, the lack of punch from the Tigers offense lately made it a little more stressful watching the Tigers only really threaten and score in a two run 6th inning. But that looked like all they would need as Max Scherzer showed up and did his thing north of the border. Max was excellent pretty much start to finish, going eight innings while allowing four hits, no walks, a run while striking out 11 in dominating fashion. It was pretty much vintage Scherzer when they needed him to be vintage Scherzer. Ausmus gave Nathan the 9th inning and you will never guess what happened! He faced five batters, allowed a run, got an out, and left them loaded for Soria who needed five pitches to dance his way out of it and send this one hurdling into extras. Carrera walked, but Ausmus wasted an out bunting him over and nothing came of it, which then got a lot worse when Soria had to leave with an injury to his side/back area before throwing another pitch. Joba gave up an infield hit and a double to end it. The Tigers will play for the series behind David Price (24 GS, 179.1 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 4.0 fWAR) who was terrific in his debut.
The Moment: Max finishes off the Jays in dominant fashion with a marvelous 8th inning.
Horrible, then awesome, then nerve-wracking, but successful
Tigers 5, Blue Jays 4
Anibal Sanchez (21 GS, 125 IP, 3.53 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 3.5 fWAR) did not have a very good night. He gave up 10 hits and walked a batter en route to four runs, but he only made it through 4.2 innings and came out with an injury that looked quite uncomfortable. The Tigers were in a hole, but they grabbed two back in the 3rd when Kinsler knocked in Suarez and Davis. Unfortunately, the bats went quiet right after. They didn’t mount any sort of rally for much of the middle innings and allowed the Blue Jays to coast until the 9th inning. JD Martinez led off the 9th with a double and one batter later Nick Castellanos bailed everybody out with a game tying home run. Moments later, Suarez untied it with a solo shot of his own to turn this one around in a hurry. Joe Nathan nathan’d, but survived and the Tigers will turn to Max Scherzer (23 GS, 153 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 3.7 fWAR) on Saturday.
The Moment: Nick and Suarez go back to back to tie it and take the lead in the 9th.
Yankees 1, Tigers 0
Rick Porcello (22 GS, 148.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 2.7 fWAR) did Rick Porcello things on Thursday afternoon, holding the Yankees to a single run across seven innings of work in which he allowed nine hits, walked none, and punched out five while finding a way to get out of the only the jams he invented with some very timely ground balls. It wasn’t his most impressive day of the season, but the was quite good and gave his team every chance to win. The bats, um, did not. They sent more than five men to the plate in just one inning and hit their way out of any real threats before the ninth when they put the first two men on, called on Miggy to pinch hit, and then watched him bounce into a double play. Kelly was the Tigers’ last hope but couldn’t deliver, leaving the Tigers to lose three of four to the Yanks. Anibal Sanchez (20 GS, 120.1 IP, 3.37 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 3.4 fWAR) takes on the team from north of the border on Friday.
The Moment: Porcello escapes a 7th inning jam.
Yankees 5, Tigers 1
Justin Verlander (24 GS, 157.2 IP, 4.57 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 2.1 fWAR) came into Yankees Stadium looking to build on some positive momentum from his last start against the helpless Rockies and but for two solo home runs, he was quite good across seven innings. He allowed five hits and a walk to go along with five strikeouts and wasn’t in much trouble at any point. Verlander’s pitches looked better too and induced some more Verlanderian reactions from the batter’s box. Unfortunately, the bats couldn’t do much to back him up. They scored courtesy of a Jeter error to start the game that was followed by a wild pitch, ground out, and sac fly. The rest of the night they were silent, save perhaps for a Martinez double that Ellsbury took away and a bad defense induced threat in the 8th. And then of course, the wheels fell off when Hardy struggled and then failed to cover first during a double play that made everything worse. The Tigers will still have a shot to split the series with Rick Porcello (21 GS, 141.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 2.4 fWAR) on the hill Thursday afternoon.
The Moment: Cabrera and Romine start a nice doub….aw forget it.
Tigers 4, Yankees 3
In David Price’s (24 GS, 179,1 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 4.0 fWAR) first start, you got an excellent look at exactly who Price is as a pitcher. He went 8.2 innings, struck out ten, walked nobody, and gave up three runs on two solo shots. He was around the strikezone and was extremely efficient, essentially as advertised for his first start for the Tigers. Of course, most of the Tigers offense came from Andrew Romine and Alex Avila, which makes all kinds of sense, and of course the Tigers flubbed a run down, Kinsler spiked a double play ball, and Castellanos and Romine combined for some sort of strange infield double. The game was tied into the 9th and Price allowed a single and got two more outs before Ausmus went to the pen and Joba completed the inning. We also got to witness a VMart stolen base. In the top of the 12th, Nick put a good swing on the ball to no avail and then Alex Avila untied it with a big time go-ahead blast to deep right center. Nathan held serve and the Tigers evened the series with Justin Verlander (23 GS, 150.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 2.1 fWAR) set to go on Wednesday.
The Moment: Alex Avila launches a go-ahead homer in the 12th.
Yankees 2, Tigers 1
In this game, there were no home runs. The Tigers also played good defense behind a shaky Max Scherzer (23 GS, 153 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 3.7 fWAR). So this was pretty much exactly what you expected out of a Yankees-Tigers game in the Bronx. Max got into trouble, but was bailed out by a nice catch by Carrera in center and some nifty work by Kinsler at second to preserve his seven inning, two run outing. Coke pitched well in relief but the bats could only muster a single run against Brandon McCarthy and the Yankees’ bullpen, leaving them to drop game one of the series 2-1. We’ll get to play with out shiny new toy on Tuesday as David Price (23 GS, 170.2 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 3.9 fWAR) takes the hill for game two.
The Moment: Carrera saves a whole bunch of runs diving in center.
Tigers 4, Rockies 0
The Tigers bats got their runs and then got out of Anibal Sanchez’s (20 GS, 120.1 IP, 3.37 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 3.4 fWAR) way. They collected four runs in the 3rd inning courtesy of a Davis double, Kinlser HBP, Cabrera single, and then a 3-run homer from VMart. Sanchez would do the rest. He was vintage Sanchez, going seven innings while allowing just two hits, no walks, and no runs as he punched out 12 batters and induced 23 swinging strikes. There was basically no stopping him. He allowed a single in the 3rd and a single in the 7th and a ROE in the 6th. He could do no wrong and helped the Tigers coast comfortably to a three games sweep of the hapless Rockies. They’ll ride to New York for four with the Yankees, handing it to Max Scherzer (22 GS, 146 IP, 3.27 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 3.5 fWAR) on Monday.
The Moment: Sanchez leaves to a standing ovation after 7 innings.
Tigers 11, Rockies 5
There’s a reasonable case to be made that the offense was the star tonight considering that they scored in all eight innings. There’s a case to be made that Pudge Rodriguez’ return stole the show. Maybe it was even David Price’s first day in the dugout. Sorry, you’re at New English D so we’re going to talk about Rick Porcello (21 GS, 141.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 2.4 fWAR). Sure Cabrera, Martinez, and Martinez homered. Sure Avila had a nice night. Sure Castellanos launched a triple, but Porcello went 8 innings, struck out 10, got 16 swinging strikes, and allowed just seven baserunners and two runs. He looked like he might labor early but he locked in and punished the Rockies as the game wore on, retiring 17 of his final 19. Porcello is now pitching deeper into games than any of the four Tigers starters who aren’t Price and it’s looking like the best season of his career is in reach. Heck, he even leads the team in ERA! The Tigers will build on this and look to sweep on Sunday with Anibal Sanchez (19 GS, 113.1 IP, 3.57 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 2.9 fWAR) on the hill.
The Moment: Porcello leaves to a standing ovation after 8 marvelous innings.
How you remembered it.
I’m not sure you could say it was just like the old days, with just five strikeouts and eight hits allowed, but no walks and two runs over eight innings for Justin Verlander (23 GS, 150.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 2.2 fWAR) had to feel good. He didn’t feel dominant, but he also never lost it like he has during so many innings over the course of this forgettable season. The Tigers grabbed three runs in the fifth inning thanks to four straight hits by Holaday, Suarez, Davis, and Kinsler. Martinez knocked in Davis in the 7th to add some insurance but magically the bullpen, all one inning of it, didn’t need the help. The Tigers scored some runs, Verlander looked pretty good and Nathan didn’t do anything terribly wrong. You could get used to this. The team will look to take the series tomorrow with Rick Porcello (20 GS, 133.1 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 2.1 fWAR) toeing the rubber.
The Moment: Verlander K’s Barnes to end a very solid night.