Wednesday Walewanders: Royal Pains, 90-Win Clubs and Big Daddy’s Birthday

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The Tigers are in first place for good, 12.5 games ahead of the Indians.

Today’s Game: Tigers @ Royals Max Scherzer (14-9, 4.39 ERA) vs. Felipe Paulino (3-6, 4.12 ERA) | 8:10 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Notes on Scherzer

Lifetime against the Royals Scherzer’s 4-4 with a 3.93 ERA. This season: 2-2, 5.66 ERA … The Tigers have a 19-12 record in the 31 games he’s started in 2011 … He’s struck out 20 batters in his three starts during September. He’s 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in the three starts … Scherzer’s making his 13th start following the All Star break. In his previous 12 outings, he is 4-5 with a 3.95 ERA and 66 strikeouts.

Notes on Paulino

Tonight is Paulino’s third career start against the Tigers … He had a no decision against the Tigers in Kansas City on Aug. 5, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in 6.2 innings, walking 2 and striking out 7, leaving with the score tied … He won his only other career appearance against the Tigers, on June 27, 2009 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. In the 8-1 victory, Paulino allowed a run on 3 hits in 7 innings, striking out 9 … He’s 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA with 16 strikeouts against the Detroit.

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Coming into play tonight the Tigers have a 10-7 record against the Royals in 2011. Why doesn’t it seem that way?

Leading Off: Brad Penny demonstrated while he’ll be on the outside looking in come the American League Division Series. If this were hockey, he’d be a healthy scratch for the duration. Penny allowed seven runs in four innings of work. Austin Jackson led the Tigers with two hits, including a double, and an RBI.

Around the Central: Does it matter?

On this date in 1935 the Tigers clinched the pennant with a doubleheader sweep over the St. Louis Browns, 6-2 and 2-0. Elden Auker won the nightcap with a complete game shutout, while Tommy Bridges takes the opener.

With a win tonight, the Tigers will have 90 wins for the 19th time in the club’s 111-year history. In nine of those seasons, they finished second and only once, 2006, did they finish second and still make the playoffs. Twice in Tigers history they finished with 100 wins with nothing to show for it, 1915 and 1961. I wrote about the ’61 season in Tigers Annual 2011.

Happy 48th Birthday to Big Daddy, Cecil Fielder. Today would have been the 63rd birthday of Aurelio Lopez. He was killed in a car accident in Mexico in 1992.

Finally, did you know that Monday Night Football debuted on this date in 1970? It’s true. Oh, and Happy 61st Birthday to Bill Murray.

The Daily Breakfast: Aug. 3, 2011

Good Wednesday morning, afternoon or evening.

Thanks to everyone who passed along birthday wishes to yours truly yesterday. It was a great day, capped by a soggy Tigers win. The photo here is the cake a friend of mine made for me. It tasted as good as it looks.

Leading Off: The Tigers failed to take advantage of scoring chances aplenty against Colby Lewis, withstood the sudden reappearance of Joaquin Benoit and prevailed thanks to Brennan Boesch‘s heroics to take game one of the three-game set against the Rangers, 6-5. Despite blowing the lead, Benoit did his best Aurelio Lopez immitation hanging around to earn the win. … In the 35 series the Tigers have played this season (not including one-game makeups), the club has won the first game in only 15 of them.

Around the Central: Detroit was the only Central-division team to win on Tuesday night: The Red Sox had a 3-2, walk-off win over the Indians, the Yankees thumped the White Sox 6-0 in a rain-shortened seven-inning game, the Orioles beat the Royals 8-2 in K.C., and the Angels downed the Twins, 5-1 at the Big A.

[callout title=The Rundown] The Tigers are in first place, 3 games ahead of the Indians.

Today’s Game: Doug Fister (3-12, 3.33 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Harrison (9-7, 2.94 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM & 97.1 FM

Fister, who will wear number 58, makes his Tigers debut tonight.

He suffered the loss in each of his last seven decisions with Seattle, despite posting a 3.42 ERA over the 10-start stretch dating back to June 4. The seven-game losing streak matches a career long for Fister as he suffered the loss in seven straight decisions with the Mariners May 19-Aug. 4, 2010

Also, Fister enters his start having compiled a 2.96 ERA over his last seven starts dating back to June 21. Opponents are hitting .221 against him during the stretch.

Happy 27th Birthday to Matt Joyce. Today’s also the 39th birthday of Wendell Magee. Happy 59th to Dan Meyer. Also born on this date was hall of famer Harry Heilmann (1894-1951). He hit .342 in 15 seasons with the Tigers (1914, 1916-29).

On this date in 1980, Al Kaline was inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Duke Snider,  Chuck Klein, and Tom Yawkey.

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Messing with Texas: The Tigers enter tonight’s game having won 15 of the club’s last 18 games versus the Rangers at Comerica Park dating back to Sept. 11, 2007.

Streaks: The Tigers’ record in their last five games is 3-2; last 10, 5-5; last 15, 9-6; last 20 games: 11-9.

Random Thoughts: Watching Austin Jackson‘s strikeout total mount, does anyone else fear that he’ll become the next Gary Pettis?

Video: On this date in 1960, the Tigers and Indians traded managers. Here’s a video from ESPN that I tried to embed in the post but to no avail.

Bush League or Not? ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield wrote a post about the Justin Verlander/Erick Aybar broo-ha-ha and, like most observers I’ve read, comes down on the side of the Angels’ shortstop:

Verlander wasn’t too happy with the play.

(snip)

You know what I say?

Give me a break.

Aren’t the Angels trying to win a game? They were down 3-0, the bunt is a big part of Aybar’s game, and they’re in a pennant race. It was 3-0 at the time, hardly a blowout. Aybar’s job is to get on base. And it worked — Verlander threw away the bunt attempt for an error and the Angels went on to score two runs.

I think I agree, begrudgingly.

Need gift ideas? I received this morning an email from the Tigers’ online shop offering Tigers locker name tags, at varying prices. On Saturday I tweeted from the Comerica Park pro shop a photo of a Mitch Meluskey locker name tag that could be yours for $5. Now you can get the tags from more notable players and coachesand former players and coaches. How about a David Purcey, Casper Wells or Rick Knapp tag? They got ’em.

Finally, Happy 85th Birthday to incomparable Tony Bennett.

Tigers Today: September 21, 2010

Aurelio Lopez.jpgTigers’ Record:

76-74, 3rd Place; 14 GB

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. Royals | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Armando Galarraga (4-6, 4.27 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (10-7, 4.70 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 7 – Royals 5

Continue reading “Tigers Today: September 21, 2010”

Happy Birthday, Jerry Morales

JerryMoralesHappy 61st to Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales, the light-hitting, basket-catch-making rightfielder of the 1979 Tigers.

Wearing number 27, he hit a wispy .211 in his only season in Detroit with 14 home runs and 23 doubles — just one fewer than Magglio Ordonez hit last year.

He wasn’t a total loss for the Tigers though. He came to Detroit along with Aurelio Lopez and was traded (with Phil Mankowski) to the Mets for one my all-time favorites, Richie Hebner.

Most of his success came with the Cubs. In seven seasons he batted .275 with 59 homers … for some really bad teams.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Julio!

Monday Mankowskis: Magglio’s Durability, Leyland’s Tightrope and a Glass Half-Full

PhilMankowski77.jpgThe Tigers must be enjoying their last day off this season, albeit in Cleveland. While they rest up for the final two weeks, we’re left to root for the White Sox to wear down the Twins over the next three days. But even under these circumstances I cannot support an Ozzie Guillen/A.J. Pierzynski-led team.

Just can’t.

  • In all the blather about Magglio Ordoñez‘s $18-million option trigger, one thing people failed to note has been his remarkable durability over the life of the contract.

    Other than the first year of the deal, 2005, when his knee was still recovering and a sports hernia limited him to 82 games, Ordoñez has played in an average of 153 games — 94 percent. Fact is, the Tigers didn’t expect much of him in ’05.

    This season he’s played in 120 of 149 games (81 percent) and if he plays in the remaining 13 games he’ll play in 82 percent.

    In all, not bad for a guy who the Tigers and their fans feared might not play more than one season — at best — in Detroit.

    Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: Magglio’s Durability, Leyland’s Tightrope and a Glass Half-Full”

Talking with Johnny Grubb, Part II

JohnnyGrubb2.jpgThis is the second and final installment of my conversation with former Tigers outfielder and pinch-hitter extraordinaire, Johnny Grubb. You can find the first installment here.


Mike McClary: Heading into the 1984 season, was it a long off-season? It would seem like you would be chomping at the bit to get back on the field shortly after a little break. Was everyone coming into spring training raring to go?

Johnny Grubb: Yeah, I think so. I remember us getting Dave Bergman and Willie [Hernandez]. So they came over, and they fit right in with the team, too. I mean, we just had a good group of guys that got along, and Dave Bergman is a heck of a guy and so was Willie. So it worked out great.

MMc: Let’s talk about the ’84 season in general. Obviously, you got off to a great start, 9-0, and in the middle of that, Jack Morris throws a no-hitter. As you were getting older and becoming the seasoned veteran, were you really just enjoying about every moment of that season?

JG: Oh, gosh, yeah. It was fun to watch those guys play and every once in a while to jump in and do something myself. But it was a lot of fun watching Gibby and Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker and Darrell [Evans] — and Lance did a great job. And Howard Johnson had the great season for us. I thought he did a great job. And Larry Herndon and all those guys really did well in the pitching.

So really what I remember most about it is that I never really felt like we were out of any ballgame. Any lead a team could get, we felt like we could have a big inning and jump right back in the game. And we had real good pitching, so if we had the lead, we had Willie and [Aurelio] Lopez coming in to shut the door on them. The pitchers did their job, and the hitters did their job. And we just felt like we could win any game.

That 35-5 start really helped a lot, too. But I think that pretty much was an indicator of how strong we were because that’s pretty phenomenal when you think about a 35-5 start in the major leagues. That’s pretty good.

Continue reading “Talking with Johnny Grubb, Part II”