Game 157: Exhale…for Now

ESPN highlights available here.
ScorecardXSmall.jpg

The Score: Tigers 6 – Twins 5

The Gist: Justin Verlander looked like a man on a mission but despite his terrific outing the Twins kept coming. And if it weren’t for Curtis Granderson’s homer in the eighth, the Tigers would’ve come to bat in the ninth inning of a tied game for the second time in 12 hours. Miguel Cabrera launched a bomb to open the scoring in the third and Magglio Ordonez had a key double to left — to left — later in the inning to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

The View: The Tigers are fortunate to go to bed with a two-game lead. If Joe Crede were healthy and playing for the Twins, I’m not sure that would be the case. Nevertheless, savor the split.

The Quote: “I don’t have anybody better than you.”Jim Leyland to Verlander during an eighth-inning visit to the mound.

The Stat: 0 – The chances we’ll see Wilkin Ramirez on the field again this season.

Magic Number: 4

Up Next: Twins @ Tigers

Eddie Bonine (0-1, 4.60 ERA) vs. Carl Pavano (13-11, 4.86)

Follow The Daily Fungo on Twitter: @DailyFungo

Game 153: Of Course

ESPN highlights available here.
ScorecardXSmall.jpg

The Score: White Sox 2 – Tigers 0

The Gist: Eddie Bonine should still be out for a nice post-game dinner with his teammates after 6.2 innings of two-hit pitching. Instead, he takes the loss in yet another disaster in Chicago.

But come on, didn’t you see this one coming?

Both teams were coming off the opposite end of sweeps, but you didn’t think it would be the Tigers that would keep their streak going, did you? This one was setting up as a disappointment from the last out of Thursday night’s game in Cleveland.

Oh, and Placido Polanco had another three-hit game, but none of the other 10 Tigers to bat could solve Jake Peavy.

The Quote: “Turn the page.”Jim Leyland, either offering sage advice to his club (and fans?) or quoting a classic Bob Seger song. Maybe both.

The Stat: 2 – The number of days remaining before Tigers fans can enjoy six months of White Sox-free living. 0 – The accuracy of the original Stat. Driven by wishful thinking, I’d forgotten about next week’s series against the Sox in Detroit.

Magic Number: 8

Up Next: Tigers @ White Sox

Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.13 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (2-3, 4.01)

Follow The Daily Fungo on Twitter: @DailyFungo

Game 150: Back in Bidness … for One Game Anyway

ESPN highlights available here.
ScorecardXSmall.jpg
The Score: Tigers 3 – Indians 1

The Gist: Two things returned to form on Monday night in Cleveland: Edwin Jackson (13-7) pitching deep into the game holding the Indians at bay, and the Tigers’ offense oversleeping as it usually does when Jackson starts. Ryan Raburn flashed leather and lumber with a homer (number 14) and a key assist, nailing Matt LaPorta at the plate. Magglio Ordonez went 3 for 3 raising his September average to .417 — !!

The Quote: “We got a good effort from our starting pitcher. We were one base hit away from that being a different ballgame. We were one play early from that being a different ballgame.” — Indians Manager Eric Wedge, reminding Tigers fans what they feared most as the game stayed 1-0 for too long.

The Stat: 6 – The number of first-pitch strikes Jackson made through the first seven innings, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck on Twitter.

Magic Number: 10

Up Next: Tigers @ Indians

Rick Porcello (13-9, 4.22 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (4-8, 4.49 ERA)

Follow The Daily Fungo on Twitter: @DailyFungo

Wednesday Walewanders: LCS Edition

CoffeeCupCeramic.jpg

  • So this is what we’re left with: rooting for former Tigers still playing in the ALCS and NLCS. The Phillies’ Matt Stairs and Chad Durbin, the Rays’ Carlos Pena, and the Red Sox’s Sean Casey are a Tigers fan’s only connection to playoff baseball.

    Was I the only one who thought Stairs’ bomb on Monday night at Dodger Stadium was a carbon copy of the one he hit at Comerica Park on the last day of the 2006 season? Fortunately for Stairs and his teammates they had Brad Lidge to hold a lead. (By the way, when in the postgame interview Fox’s Ken Rosenthal mentioned Stairs being 40, it was the first time I’ve reacted by thinking: Hey, watch it. I’m 40!)

    I honestly don’t know what to say about Pena. For him, I’m glad he’s found his groove. For the Tigers, well, let’s put it this way: Imagine the roster issues the Tigers would’ve dealt with this year if they had Pena in the mix. Oy vey. But good for Carlos, his fellow Rays and their dozens of fans. I’m enjoying every deliciously exposed chink in Red Sox Nation’s armor. If you want to read what Pena’s thinking about these days, read his playoff blog on MLB.com.

    As for Durbin and Casey, the Tigers could’ve used both of them this past season but for different reasons. Durbin would’ve spared us the Eddie Bonine Experience while Casey’s personality might have been a soothing influence on a prickly clubhouse.

    Bygones.

  • Wow, Leo Mazzone doesn’t make the Tigers’ short list of pitching coach candidates? Tell me this is some sort of smokescreen. Or joke. Or inexcusable oversight. How can Mazzone not be at the top of the list? Sure, Rick Peterson is a good choice and a solid Plan B. But Mazzone seems to be a no brainer. What do you think?

  • I keep thinking that Nate Robertson will end up out here in the desert next season with catcher Miguel Montero heading to Detroit. I’ve been beating the Montero Drum all season to Ian at BlessYouBoy.com — so much so that Ian has reportedly started coding an eyes-rolling emoticon for Google Talk instant messaging. Better late than early, a week or so back the Free Press‘s Jon Paul Morosi got on board the Montero Express.

  • Congrats to Eric Howell of Clawson who correctly answered our Name That Tiger Quiz. The correct answers: Chuck Scrivener, Eric Munson and Steve Foucault. Eric received a copy of George Cantor’s Tigers book, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

  • Sean Heyboer, an Orlando-based Tigers fan, launched a new Tigers blog recently, titled Trumbull and Michigan. Check it out when you get a chance.

Game 90: 41,062 at Comerica Park Play the Role of Lazarus

ESPN highlights not available here.

Photo_070908_003.jpg

The Score: Tigers 8 – Indians 6

The Gist:Of all the games I’ve been to at Comerica Park, admittedly not a lot, this one ranks near the top. The fans were asleep one moment and awoke only long enough to express anger for what appeared to be another shutout-after-blowout loss.

Poor Eddie Bonine couldn’t do anything right, whereas Casey Fossum (six strikeouts in 3.1 IP) cobbled together a terrific outing to keep the Tigers in it. But what about Matt Joyce‘s clutchitude? I enjoyed his homer more than Miguel Cabrera‘s winner only because Joyce’s was a virtual no-doubter. Cabrera’s seemed more likely to punch a hole in the left field wall than clear it.

The Quote: “What do you call that thing you talked about? A corn crib?” — The drunk idiot behind me at the game, trying to remember the phrase “can of corn” used, incorrectly, by his fellow drunk buddy.

The Stat: 0. The number of times the Tigers showed the replay of Cabrera’s homer on the scoreboard.

Up Next: Twins @ Tigers

Kenny Rogers (6-6, 4.60) vs. Kevin Slowey (6-6, 3.78)