Good morning from Metro Airport, where I sit and write this with bleary eyes after an overnight flight from Phoenix. I’ve got an hour to kill before my ride arrives.
Leading Off: The Tigers continued their stunning dominance of the Twins with an 8-2 beat down on Friday night. Eleven in a row against Minnesota certainly has a nice ring to it, but wouldn’t have one win in late September 2009 been nice (not to mention October)? By gones. Max Scherzer pitched his fourth strong game in a row – he allowed two hits and a walk over his final five innings – and the remarkable Jhonny Peralta (3 for 5, four RBI) continued his torrid assault on the Twins this season. How does a .542 average, 1.764 OPS, four home runs and 13 RBI in seven games sound? Meanwhile, the Tigers did not trade for James Shields, Clayton Kershaw or Carlos Beltran but they did sign two draft picks: first baseman Aaron Westlake from Vanderbilt University (third round) and righthanded pitcher Tommy Collier from San Jacinto College (22nd round).
[callout title=The Rundown]
The Tigers are in first place, 1.5 games ahead of the Indians, and five up on the White Sox.
There are eight days left until the July 31 trade deadline.
Penny is 2-0 with a 5.79 ERA in four starts against the Twins, but surrendered five runs and 10 hits in six innings and did not receive a decision in a 6-5 home win over Minnesota on May 30. Baker is making his first start since July 5.
On this date in 2002 the Tigers acquired infielder David Espinosa and two players to be named, outfielder Noochie Varner and righthander Jorge Cordova, from the Reds for righty Brian Moehler, infielder Matt Boone and cash-money.
Fifty years ago today, the Tigers and A’s used 21 pitchers, 11 for the Detroit and 10 for the Kansas City (10) set an American League record for most pitchers used in an 18-inning doubleheader. At three hours, 54 minutes, the second game is the longest nine-inning affair in A.L. history. The entire doubleheader lasts six hours, 50 minutes, a major-league record. The Tigers sweep 6-4 and 17-14, taking first place by one percentage point. How long would that double-dip last today?
Speaking of Jhonny: According to Elias Sports Bureau …
Jhonny Peralta followed up on Thursday night’s 3-for-4 performance against the Twins by going 3-for-5 with four RBI against the Twins on Friday. He’s now hitting .429 (42 for 98) against A.L. Central opponents this season, an in-division batting average that is more than 50 points higher than that of any other major-league player with at least 100 plate appearances in division games this season. Jacoby Ellsbury is next-best, at a distant .374.
City Hall Looks Dumb on this One: Yesterday, NPR’s All Things Considered program aired a story about the group of fans that are taking care of the old Tiger Stadium grounds for the purposes of, you know, playing baseball. Here’s the intro of the segment by ATC host Robert Siegel:
Imagine watching a place you love and that your family has loved for generations fall into disrepair. Well, that’s how it’s been for many Detroit baseball fans, who think of the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues as sacred ground.
It’s the site of the old Tiger Stadium, which was torn down in 2009. One group of fans decided to take care of the lot that remained, but while they may think they’re being helpful, the city of Detroit sees it differently.
Finally, Happy 50th Birthday to Woody Harrelson.