Just a bump in the road.
White Sox 6, Tigers 3 (Magic # = 2)
A day after rallying back to beat the Sox, the Tigers fell short of that goal and left Anibal Sanchez (28 GS, 177 IP, 2.64 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 5.9 WAR) on the hook after he allowed four runs over five innings on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Sanchez was actually quite good for most of the start, but was victimized but a little bit of shaky defense in the 5th that multiplied the mistakes at inopportune times. The bats couldn’t get much going on the other side, scoring only on a Fielder blast, Jackson sac fly, and a Santiago RBI groundout. With the Tribe winning across the Lake, the Tigers wouldn’t have been able to clinch at home anyway, so they’ll have their chances starting in Minnesota Monday night with Justin Verlander (32 GS, 206.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 4.5 WAR) taking the ball.
The Moment: Prince launches a no doubt blast.
A beauty, at the start and at the end.
Tigers 7, White Sox 6 (Magic # = 2 )
Rick Porcello (29 GS, 174.2 IP, 4.38 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.0 WAR) gave up 2 runs across 6.2 innings tonight, but he was even filthier than that line indicates as he punched out 9 Sox and walked none. He was commanding all three pitches and was missing bats left and right as the he mowed through the White Sox lineup. Chris Sale was as good on the other side and kept the Tigers off the board the entire way, but he had to give the ball to the bullpen and that didn’t go very well. Trailing 6-0 entering the 9th, the Tigers jumped the Sox with three straight hits and then a Dirks bomb to pull within one. Infante walked. Santiago bunted him up. Avila walked. Jackson walked. Hunter tied it with a sac fly and then Cabrera walked before the Sox finally escaped and sent this one to extras in which the Tigers loaded the bases in the 11th and brought Infante to the dish. As you would guess, he hit a walk off infield single. This was just a tremendously fun game to watch as both pitchers worked quickly and effectively from start to finish – and then someone let the bullpens allow it to get out of hand. The Tigers final home game of the regular season awaits the team on Sunday with Anibal Sanchez (27 GS, 172 IP, 2.51 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 5.7 WAR) toeing the rubber.
The Moment: The Tigers scored 6th in the 9th to send it to extras in part courtesy of a Dirks no doubt blast.
A complete domination.
Tigers 12, White Sox 5 (Magic # = 3)
Max Scherzer (31 GS, 207.1 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 6.2 WAR) had a bit of a mundane, 6 inning, 3 run start with just three strikeouts, but that hardly mattered. He could have had the worst start of his career and the Tigers still would have won this one as the offense absolutely unloaded on Dylan Axerold and the White Sox. They scored 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 4 in the 3rd, and 5 in the 5th as every starter reached base at least once. It was a complete team effort as the Tigers annihilated the White Sox. The Indians waited through rain, but won, leaving the Tigers’ magic number at three with Rick Porcello (28 GS, 168 IP, 4.45 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 2.6 WAR) on the mound Saturday looking to knock it down another step.
The Moment: All of them?
Another great one from Sanchez.
Tigers 1, White Sox 0 (Magic # = 11)
Anibal Sanchez (26 GS, 165.2 IP, 2.50 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 5.6 WAR) followed Rick Porcello’s lead and gave the Tigers 7.1 great innings of shutout baseball featuring 10 strikeouts and 3 walks as he continued to roll passed AL offenses and into the back end of the Cy Young race with a couple of starts left. The Tigers bats had some chances in this one but it took them 8 innings to push across their first and only run thanks to an Infante RBI single that plated Prince Fielder. Veras, Smyly, and Benoit held serve in the 8th and 9th and the Tigers jumped back up to 6.5 ahead of the Cleveland Indians with Justin Verlander (30 GS, 192.2 IP, 3.64 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 4.1 WAR) getting the ball to start the final homestand on Friday.
The Moment: Infante pushes across the Tigers only run with a single through the left side.
Finally a chance for Porcello to finish what he started.
Tigers 9, White Sox 1
After a disappointing game on Monday, the Tigers struck back and struck back hard with a great performance by Rick Porcello (27 GS, 162 IP, 4.56 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 2.5 WAR) and some big hits that capitalized on some horrible White Sox defense. Fielder was on base four times and Avila made it to first five times while eight different Tigers touched home plate en route to the big win than included three errors from Conor Gillaspie and one more from Paul Konerko for good measure. But the story on this night was the man on the mound. Porcello gave the Tigers 9, 1 run innings with one walk and 4 strikeouts while retiring the final 17 he faced as he notched his first career complete game in his 147th career start. It was just the third for the Tigers this year, courtesy of Jim Leyland’s personal vendetta against allowing a starter to pitch the ninth inning. Win number 83 leaves the Tigers 5.5 games up in the AL Central with 17 to play and Anibal Sanchez (25 GS, 158.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 5.2 WAR) on the mound trying to take the series on Wednesday.
The Moment: Rick Porcello gets a chance to go the distance and doesn’t disappoint.
Bad at the start and didn’t get much better.
White Sox 5, Tigers 1
Max Scherzer (29 GS, 194.1 IP, 3.01 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 5.9 WAR) just didn’t have his best stuff tonight, giving up 5 runs in 4 innings in part thanks to some poor defense on his part, but it wouldn’t have mattered too much as the bats couldn’t get it going against the excellent Chris Sale. The story of this one came in the 1st inning when Miguel Cabrera was ejected by the HP umpire after being hit by a pitch. The umpire ruled he swung (which was a borderline call) and didn’t honor Cabrera’s request to check with the first base umpire. Cabrera jawed at him, but not menacingly so and was thrown from the game because the umpire wanted to be on television (probably?). Leyland got his money’s worth and, wouldn’t you know it, Santiago had the same thing happen to him a few innings later! Although he didn’t get ejected. The Tigers will try to get back on track Tuesday against the Sox with Rick Porcello (26 GS, 153 IP, 4.76 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 2.2 WAR) getting the ball.
The Moment: Miguel Cabrera gets ejected for getting hit by a pitch!
A nice recovery.
Tigers 6, White Sox 4
After a few days of coming up short and a bad start to this one, the Tigers recovered nicely to win the final game of the series against the Sox. Rick Porcello (22 GS, 131 IP, 4.33 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 2.5 WAR) didn’t have a great first inning and had to pitch around 2 infield hits, but settled down nicely after the 3 run first and allowed no additional runs. He gave the Tigers 6 and allowed 3, while striking out 4 and walking 1. The Tigers scored in bunches today as Cabrera knocked a 3 run HR in the 3rd and the Tigers scored 3 in the 6th on an RBI single and then a horrible defensive play by the White Sox cornermen. Porcello gave way to the pen for the final three, who managed to keep the Sox from rallying back and sent the Tigers to win #70 on the season and a 6-4 road trip. In fact, Leyland called on Benoit for a five out save in a stunning turn from his refusal to use him in a tie game 3 times in the previous 5 days. The Tigers will return home for a five game series against the Royals in which they will have a shot to put some series distance between them in the Central. They will send Anibal Sanchez (24 GS, 164.1 IP, 2.58 ERA, 2.40 FIP, 4.2 WAR) to the mound for the first game on Thursday evening.
The Moment: Cabrera ties it with a no doubter to left.
One you put on the manager.
White Sox 4, Tigers 3 (11 innings)
The Tigers took an early 1-0 lead on the Sox, but saw it vanish on one ill-conceived pitch from Max Scherzer (24 GS, 164.1 IP, 2.85 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 5.0 WAR) to Avi Garcia and then a strange defensive exchange between Infante and Cabrera that allowed Garcia to score behind the two men he knocked in. Scherzer was relatively comfortable other than those three runs as he finished with 6 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts and looked fine aside from the nightmare play that resulted in 3 runs. The Tigers got men on base all night but took a long time to score them as they scratched across single runs in the 6th and 8th innings to tie, the latter thanks to some wonderful pinch running by Don Kelly. As this one went to extra innings, it was Jim Leyland’s time to give the game away as he called for multiple rally killing bunts and refused to use Joaquin Benoit in a tie game on the road because he was waiting for a save that wasn’t coming. It was the third extra inning game in the last week in which Leyland didn’t use Benoit, and the Tigers lost all three. Maybe they lose them anyway, but you have to give yourself a chance. They’ll try to salvage one on Wednesday behind Rick Porcello (21 GS, 125 IP, 4.32 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 2.3 WAR).
The Moment: Pena drives in Kelly to tie it in the 8th.
A loss, but with one heck of an exclamation mark.
White Sox 6, Tigers 2
The Tigers got to Chris Sale for two early runs courtesy of a Cabrera bomb and a Pena double, but a 3 run 5th inning doomed Doug Fister (24 GS, 155 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 3.2 WAR) and the Tigers thanks to a couple of goofy plays and some poorly timed control issues from Fister. He didn’t pitched terribly, going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs, but after three strong innings to start the game he played in traffic for most of the night. The bats had a great chance to get to Sale in the 6th as Cabrera and Fielder hit back to back hard singles, but a FC by Martinez and a fly out to the wall in center by Tuiasosopo kept the Tigers from cashing in. The story, however, was a ridiculous play by Jose Iglesias. Here is a link to a video and here is a link to a GIF (h/t @Sporer). Below is a screen shot of the basic concept. It was stupid good.
The loss is the Tigers 3rd in the last 4 games, but after a stretch where they won 16 of 17, one can’t be too upset. They’ll turn around and send Max Scherzer (23 GS, 158.1 IP, 2.84 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 4.8 WAR) to the mound for game two on Tuesday.
The Moment: Jose Iglesias does something that the author has a difficult time describing.
From Last Night:
- MLB hands down BioGenesis suspensions, no new names are big, and A-Rod is the only one to appeal
- Greinke and the Dodgers edge Wainwright and the Cards in a potential playoff preview
- Atlanta beats the Nats despite a strong start for Strasburg, seemingly buries Nats
- A player returns to the field and the media pays attention in Chicago
What I’m Watching Today:
- Fully exonerated Gio Gonzalez goes against Teheran in DC (7p Eastern)
- Battle of the Justin’s in Cleveland, Masterson and Verlander (7p Eastern)
- Kuroda goes against Sale (8p Eastern)
- Kershaw faces the Cardinals (8p Eastern)
- Darvish takes on the Angels (10p Eastern)
- Felix welcomes the Jays (10p Eastern)
The Big Question:
- Can we finally stop talking about Biogenisis?
Apparently, the media says no because A-Rod is appealing so we have to hear about it for weeks. Come on guys, let’s talk about baseball! For every word someone writes about A-Rod, it should be required that they also write one about the Pirates. I’ll start, the Pirates are the only team (entering Monday) who had four qualifying players to be above average on offense, defense, and on the bases using wRC+, UZR, and BsR. Fun!