The Saturday Breakfast: Al’s Okay, Penny’s Good Enough and Happy Birthday to “Schneider”

Good Saturday morning. Thank goodness Al Alburquerque is going to be okay after a batting practice scare yesterday. The Tigers placed Alburquerque on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion effective August 12 and recalled Ryan Perry from Toledo. Perry appeared in 20 games with the Mud Hens, posting a 3-0 record, 3.03 ERA, seven saves and 30 strikeouts.

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Leading Off: The Tigers won their seventh-straight one-run game, topping the Orioles 5-4 [highlights here]. Andy Dirks went 4 for 4 and knocked in the winning run and Brad Penny was good enough for his eighth win … The victory marked the seventh straight game the club has won by one run. According to STATS LLC, Detroit’s seven straight wins by one run matches a club record, equaling the mark established by the 1944 club. The 1944 Tigers won seven straight such games July 18-29 … In other news, the Tigers transferred the option of pitcher Lester Oliveros from Triple A Toledo to Double A Erie on Friday.

Around the Central: The Indians beat the Twins 3-2 in Cleveland and the Royals handed the White Sox their seventh-straight home loss, 5-1.

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The Tigers are in first place, three games ahead of the Indians.

Today’s Game: Tigers @ Orioles: Max Scherzer (11-7, 4.33 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (5-15, 4.38 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Scherzer enters his start this evening at Baltimore looking for his 12th win of the season. With a win tonight, he would equal his career-high win total established with the Tigers during the 2011 season.

His career mark against Baltimore 1-1, 3.46 ERA. This will be the first start of his career at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

With a win tonight, he would join Justin Verlander to become the first pair of Tigers pitchers with 12-or-more wins in the club’s first 119 games of the season since Jeff Robinson and Frank Tanana did so in the first 119 games of 1988.

One hundred years ago today, in a move that only Carlos Zambrano could appreciate, Ty Cobb, apparently believing the Tigers can no longer win the pennant race, begins a vacation.

On this date in 2007, Placido Polanco played his 144th consecutive game at second base without an error. This broke Luis Castillo’s record, set earlier that season. The two streaks overlapped for many months. The Tigers still lose, 7-2, dropping them to eight wins in their past 25 games and a tie for first place with the Indians.

Happy Birthday to Roman Colon, 32, and Jarrod Washburn, 37.

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More great work this week by Paul Swaney and his team at StadiumJourney.com. The spotlight turns to Jerry Uht Park, home of the Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate. Here’s a taste of Joshua Guiher‘s review:

Jerry Uht Park … was originally built in 1995 at a cost of $8.7 million. In 2006, the park underwent a $4 million upgrade that added a nice scoreboard, a very large picnic area and a second level of seating among other things.

All About Al. In his ESPN.com blog [$], Jim Bowden lists the under-the-radar players on each American League club. His pick for the Tigers is Alburquerque.

Alburquerque has been an important part of the first-place Tigers’ bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander has an impressive 2.29 ERA with 55 strikeouts and just 18 hits against him in 35 1/3 innings pitched. His fastball plays in the 93-96 mph range, and he has a hard, downward, biting slider that misses bats.

The Phighting Phifty-one-year-old Tony Phillips. Choose your own bizarre angle to this story (with video!), I’ll go with the ‘Tony Phillips is still playing?!‘ perspective.

Did you know that Wilson Betemit is hitting .360 since joining the Tigers last month? With as little as he’s played on this road trip, I’d have guessed it was about 200 points less.

Finally, a Happy 49th Birthday to “Mad Men” star John Slattery. And we can’t forget to mention the 82nd birthday of actor Pat Harrington who played Schneider in the unwatchable 1970s sitcom “One Day at a Time.”

Friday Freehans: Mile High Edition

RockiesLong-time readers of The Daily Fungo have likely grown weary of my professed love of the Rockies and Coors Field.

So I’ll spare them the details and provide new readers with the gist: I attended the Rockies’ first-ever home game at Mile High Stadium against the Expos in April 1993 (thanks to a grueling roadtrip with Fungo contributor Doug Hill). I attended the first-ever game at Coors Field in April 1995 – Rockies versus Mets. And, I was there for the Rockies’ first-ever postseason game in 1995 against the Braves.

What’s more, I’ve always considered Coors Field to be my favorite big-league park, though last summer the San Diego’s Petco Park might – might – have caught up to it.

With that background, please understand this: I never root for the Rockies over the Tigers.

And now this:

  • The Tigers’ All-Time Record against the Rockies is 7-11. All-time at Comerica Park: 5-4; at Coors Field: 2-7.
  • On this date in 1958 Ozzie Virgil, who became the first black man to play for the Tigers 11 days earlier, went 5 for 5 in his first home game at Briggs Stadium.
  • According to this story over at MLB Trade Rumors, there’s a lot of interest in former Tigers number-one pick and current Red Sox reclamation project Andrew Miller. How much interest? Enough, apparently, that the word “tampering” was used to describe it. Would it surprise you that according to Peter Gammons the Yankees were involved?
  • Remember this? Three years ago today Marcus Thames homered for the fifth game in a row. His last eight hits had all been home runs.

Finally, Happy 48th Birthday to Matt Kinzer, who pitched 1.2 innings for the 1990 Tigers. He gave up three walks, three hits, three earned runs in that outing – but he didn’t take the loss.

Have a great weekend.

Today’s Tiger: Morris Madden

Morris Madden

  • Born: Aug. 31, 1960 in Laurens, S.C.
  • Bats: Left Throws: Left
  • Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 155 lb.
  • Acquired: Signed as a free agent on Nov. 23, 1985.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 1 (1987)
  • Uniform Number: 42
  • Stats: 0-0, 16.20 ERA, 1.2 IP

MorrisMadden.jpg

Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember Morris Madden‘s mini-career with the Tigers. He pitched just twice for Detroit during the 1987 season and one look at his stats tells you why.

On June 11 versus Milwaukee at Tiger Stadium, he came in during the sixth inning to relieve Eric King (who had relieved starter Jeff Robinson) with the bases loaded and promptly walked Brewers second baseman Jim Gantner. In his one inning of work, he allowed two earned runs and three walks. The Tigers lost the game 8-5.

Robinson’s next start, five days later at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, the lefty Madden came in to start the fifth inning. The first hitter he faced, Fred McGriff doubled to center, then Garth Iorg grounded out to Alan Trammell, advancing McGriff to third. Tony Fernandez singled, Lloyd Moseby flied out to center, then Jesse Barfield got an infield single. And that was the end of Morris Madden’s Tigers career.

Less than a month later, on Aug. 12, 1987, Madden was sent by the Tigers to the Pirates to complete the Aug. 7, 1987 trade of Darnell Coles for Jim Morrison.

If you’re wondering how he fared with Jim Leyland‘s Pirates, well it depends on the year. In 1988, he appeared in five games, allowed five hits and seven walks in five innings (!) but didn’t allow a run. In ’89, Madden pitched 14 innings across nine games — including three starts — he allowed a stunning 13 walks, 17 hits, 14 runs, 11 earned. Final ERA: 7.07.

On Nov. 21, 1989, he was released by the Pirates and while he pitched for the AAA Albuquerque Dukes in 1990, his major-league career was over.

Today’s Tiger: Mickey Tettleton

Mickey Tettleton

  • Born: Sept. 16, 1960 in Oklahoma City
  • Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 200 lb.
  • Acquired: Traded by the Orioles to the Tigers for Jeff Robinson on Jan. 11, 1991.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 4 (1991-94)
  • Uniform Number: 20
  • Stats: .249 avg., 112 HR, 333 RBI, .867 OPS
  • Awards: Silver Slugger (1991, ’92) All Star (1994)

Who didn’t like Mickey Tettleton? He was built like a tank, stood ramrod straight at the plate and could crush the ball from either side of the plate. And, he wasn’t half-bad behind the plate.

Mickey Tettleton.jpgTettleton came to Detroit in a steal of a trade from the Orioles 20 years ago next week, the Tigers sending once-promising righty Jeff Robinson to Baltimore in the deal.

After four nondescript seasons with the A’s in which he never hit more than 10 home runs, Tettleton was released by Oakland and signed by the Orioles at the end of March 1988. That season he hit 11 homers but struck out 117 times in 411 at bats.

In 1989, however, he became a dangerous hitter, clubbing 26 homers and earning an All-Star appearance. And while his strikeouts rose along with his plate appearances, so did his walks. In 1990, he fanned 160 times (a career high) but walked 106.

Why would the Orioles, who weren’t exactly brimming with offensive talent, want to part ways with Tettleton? According to this story, they “did not want to pay him more than $1 million to be backup to Bob Melvin.” Bob Melvin! And shortly thereafter his ticket to Detroit was punched.

“He has good defensive skills and is adept at working with pitchers,” acting Tigers General Manager Joe McDonald said. “In addition, he brings even more punch to our lineup.”

And how.

Continue reading “Today’s Tiger: Mickey Tettleton”

Happy Birthday, Jeff Robinson

Today is the 47th birthday of Jeff Robinson, a once-promising starting pitcher for the Tigers and one of my favorite short-timers.

Jeff Robinson

The 6 ft. 6 in. Robinson broke in with the Tigers on April 12, 1987 with a brilliant performance against the White Sox at old Comiskey Park. Robinson went seven innings scattering just six hits, giving up one run (earned), three walks and striking out five.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Jeff Robinson”

Happy Birthday, Morris Madden

MorrisMadden.jpg

Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember Morris Madden‘s mini-career with the Tigers. He pitched just twice for Detroit during the 1987 season and one look at his stats tells you why.

On June 11 versus Milwaukee at Tiger Stadium, he came in during the sixth inning to relieve Eric King (who had relieved starter Jeff Robinson) with the bases loaded and promptly walked Brewers second baseman Jim Gantner. In his one inning of work, he allowed two earned runs and three walks. The Tigers lost the game 8-5.

Robinson’s next start, five days later at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, the lefty Madden came in to start the fifth inning. The first hitter he faced, Fred McGriff doubled to center, then Garth Iorg grounded out to Alan Trammell, advancing McGriff to third. Tony Fernandez singled, Lloyd Moseby flied out to center, then Jesse Barfield got an infield single. And that was the end of Morris Madden’s Tigers career.

Less than a month later, on Aug. 12, 1987, Madden was sent by the Tigers to the Pirates to complete the Aug. 7, 1987 trade of Darnell Coles for Jim Morrison.

If you’re wondering how he fared with Jim Leyland‘s Pirates, well it depends on the year. In 1988, he appeared in five games, allowed five hits and seven walks in five innings (!) but didn’t allow a run. In ’89, Madden pitched 14 innings across nine games — including three starts — he allowed a stunning 13 walks, 17 hits, 14 runs, 11 earned. Final ERA: 7.07.

On Nov. 21, 1989, he was released by the Pirates and his career was over. But today we celebrate his 48th birthday. Three cheers for Morris Madden.