Game 156: Microcosm

ESPN highlights available here.
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The Score: Twins 3 – Tigers 2, 10 innings

The Gist: Stop us if you heard this one: The Tigers had plenty of baserunners but a dearth of clutch hitters. Rick Porcello was lights-out for the Tigers over six-and-a-third innings but his offense made Nick Blackburn look like Bert Blyleven. And just like that, the Tigers’ lead is one game. Blackburn retired 12 Tigers in a row at one point as the offense hibernated.

The View: All year long I’ve been wanting to say that this team has no heart. But a team that spends the better part of four months in first place deserves the benefit of the doubt. Until now. Who cares that they rallied back from a 5-0 deficit against the White Sox three days ago? The Tigers had a chance today to make a statement — about the series and the season — and they did: “We can’t hit.”

The Quote: “[crickets]” — The Tigers’ offense.

The Stat: 100Joe Nathan‘s save percentage against the Tigers in 30 attempts.

Up Next: Twins @ Tigers – Game 2 Tonight – 7 p.m. ET

Justin Verlander (17-9, 3.41 ERA) vs. Brian Duensing (5-1, 3.33)

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August 2 in Tigers History: How the Tigers Have Celebrated My Birthday

BaseballCandlesXSmall.jpgI thought it was my birthday gift from the Indians — Carl Pavano starting? That’s gotta be a win waiting to happen, no? No. Not against this mirage of a first-place club.

Some birthday for me. Actually, yesterday was a fine day and I never let the Tigers’ performance impact my birthday mood.

Because there’s absolutely nothing positive to discuss about the Tigers’ finale against the Tribe, humor me as I walk through notable Tigers games and events that happened on Aug. 2 since the year I was born.

  • Overall, the Tigers are 20 and 15 on my birthday; in seven years they didn’t play, including during the 1981 strike.

  • The Tigers beat the Twins 6-5 at Metropolitan Stadium on the day I was born in 1968. Don McMahon got the win in relief of Joe Sparma. Bill Freehan drove in three runs while the Twins’ Rod Carew went 3 for 4, of course.

  • On Aug. 2, 1972, the Tigers purchases the contract of P Woodie Fryman from the Phillies. Two days later, they purchased C Duke Sims‘s contract from the Dodgers. Fryman, just 4-10 for Philadelphia, goes 10-3 for Detroit, while Sims hits .316 for the Tigers in 38 games.

  • In 1975, at Fenway Park the game-time temperature was 103 degrees and the Tigers wilted under the heat of Rick Wise and the Red Sox and lost 7-2.

  • In 1984, I was there when Jack Morris out dueled Bert Blyleven as the Tigers beat the Indians 2-1.

  • On Aug. 2, 1985, Frank Tanana allowed one hit, a homer by Ben Oglivie in the 5th, and struck out eight on his way to beating the Brewers, 4-1.

  • In 1990, Yankees rookie Kevin Maas hits his 10th home run in just 77 at bats, the fastest any player has ever reached that mark. Big deal. The Tigers won 6-5 in 11 innings.

Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane with me. Assuming you’re still there. Hello…?

The Non-Sequiturs: Holiday Edition

Let’s get right to the question of the day: You did send along birthday wishes today to Nook Logan, right? Tsk, tsk.

     

  • The Twins are quite a busy bunch this week with the Johan Santana discussions and the three-for-three trade with the Devil Rays. I read in the New York Daily News on Tuesday that the Detroit Tigers are a part of the Santana talks but, at best, on the extreme periphery.

    The Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Mets and Tigers are believed to be interested, though the Twins appear unwilling to deal Santana within the AL Central, likely taking the Tigers out of the equation.

    I can’t even begin to imagine him at the top of the Tigers rotation. You?

  • Unlike yours truly, ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer doesn’t believe Jack Morris is worthy of a spot in Cooperstown.

    I’ve made my feelings pretty clear over the years: if I were enfranchised [as a Hall of Fame voter], I would vote for Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Goose Gossage and Alan Trammell. Jim Rice is borderline; Jack Morris is not.

    To my chagrin, Neyer points to an article that offers a solid argument for why The Cat is not Hall of Fame material. Sigh. I’ve got more to say on this topic — and will soon.

  • On this date in 1967 (when Doug Hill was not yet six months old), the Tigers acquired RHP Dennis Ribant from the Pirates for RHP Dave Wickersham.Ribant, a Detroit native, appeared in 14 games (all in relief) during the 1968 season posting a 2-2 record, 1 save and 2.22 ERA. In 13 months, he was involved in four transactions — all involving the Tigers. Here are the other three:

    July 26, 1968: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Chicago White Sox for Don McMahon.October, 1968: Purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the Chicago White Sox.December 15, 1968: Purchased by the Kansas City Royals from the Detroit Tigers.

    As for Wickersham, his best year in the majors was with Detroit in 1964 winning 19 and losing 12 with a 3.44 ERA. He appeared in 40 games, started 36, pitched 254 innings, and tossed 11 complete games…and had one save.The next year he came back to earth with a 9-14 record but with a respectable 3.78 ERA.Who knew?

Finally, speaking of birthdays, Tony Giarrantano turns 25 on Thursday. Pudge Rodriguez has a birthday on Friday. How old? If you add the number of base on balls Pudge earned in 2006 and 2007 then add one, you’ll have your answer.