Fungoes

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.

[/callout]

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.

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Fungoes

Today’s Tiger: Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

  • Born: July 6, 1954 in Hollywood, Calif.
  • Bats: Left Throws: Left
  • Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 200 lb.
  • Acquired: Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 1975 amateur draft.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 5 (1976-80)
  • Uniform Number: 30
  • Stats: .256 avg., 98 HR, 354 RBI, .779 OPS
  • Awards: Three-time All Star (1977, ’78 and ’82)

JasonThompson.jpg
On May 27, 1980, Tigers GM Jim Campbell traded my favorite player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens.

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

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Fungoes

Tuesday Tananas: Fred Lynn, Ted Power and Don Draper

bananas.jpgIs it just me or were there a lot of Aug. 31 trades made back in the day? Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s it seemed that Oakland was always adding a big name at the deadline — Willie McGee, Ruben Sierra, Harold Baines. Just asking.

  • The last time the Tigers made any noise worth noting at the Aug. 31 trade deadline was in 1988 when the made two deals, acquiring outfielder Fred Lynn from the Orioles for RHP Cesar Mejia, LHP Robinson Garces and catcher Chris Hoiles. They also picked up RHP Ted Power from the Royals for LHP Mark Lee and catcher Rey Palacios. In 2004, they acquired cash considerations from the Cubs for catcher Mike Difelice.

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Tigers Today: July 21, 2010

BallTherapy.jpgTigers’ Record:

48-44, 2nd place; 3.5 GB Chicago

Today’s Game

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

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer (6-7, 4.74 ERA) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (9-5, 3.42 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Rangers 8 – Tigers 0

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Fungoes

Fungo Flashback: May 27, 1980: The Day the Tigers Traded Jason Thompson

Thirty years ago today the Tigers traded my favorite player, Jason Thompson, to the Angels for Al Cowens. Here’s a piece I wrote two years ago about the deal. Get a load of my thoughts on Miguel Cabrera who had recently been moved to first base. Another gleaming example of why I’m not fit to be a GM.


JasonThompson.jpgTwenty-eight years ago today, Tigers GM Jim Campbell broke my heart.

On May 27, 1980, he traded my favorite Tigers player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens. (For more on Cowens, check out this post from the archives.)

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

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Fungoes

A Friday Freehans Two-Pack

Here are a couple of random items to round out the week:

BallBatGrass.jpg

  1. The Detroit NewsLynn Henning hosted an online chat this afternoon and I was able to sneak in a question:

    Me: Lynn, recent injuries notwithstanding, how did Jeff Larish‘s star plummet so dramatically? He was viewed as a home-grown power bat until last year. Does he have a future in Detroit?

    Henning: Ah, the Larish mystery. That one’s got everyone puzzled. A year ago, he was a hot ticket. The Mariners wanted him in that Putz deal and the Tigers thought Larish and Joyce were too much to give up. He just fell off a cliff. But it was a cliff some scouts saw coming.

  2. Twenty-two years ago today Kirk Gibson left the Tigers and signed a three-year contract worth $4.5 million with the Dodgers. Even though he’d return to Detroit at the end of his career, that day still stings.

Have a great weekend.

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Fungoes

Thursday Notebook

NotebookXSmall.jpgCARLSBAD, Calif. — I think I survived LegoLand and, with any luck, will never need to return.

…A five-game lead? The 2009 Tigers continue to confound. How this team has managed to pad its lead in the Central is nothing short of baffling. But we shall take it.

Fact is, they could pile-up the Ws over the next two series, this weekend in Houston and next week in Oakland. (Meanwhile, the Twins face the Cardinals in St. Louis this weekend and stay in Missouri to play KC starting Monday.)

Where were the Tigers after 71 games last year? If you must know, they were 33-38, 6 back. How about in…?

  • 2007: 42-29, tied for 1st
  • 2006: 47-24, +2
  • 1984: 52-19, +9

Lynn Henning adds more fodder for the What Were the Rays Thinking? topic as it relates to Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson. He also talks about the free-agent choices staring at the Tigers this fall.

…On this date in 1962 the Tigers traded Charlie “Paw Paw” Maxwell to the White Sox for OF Bob Farley. According to Maxwell’s Baseball-Reference.com bio page:

[He] is one of the most popular players for Detroit Tigers of all-time. He excited the throngs with his consistent “Sunday” home runs. A fearsome hitter with mates aboard and the game on the line. He holds the Major League record for most home runs in extra innings in a season with 5 in 1960.

As a fellow Western Michigan alum, I’m proud to report that Maxwell has the most home runs of any of the 31 major leaguers that attended the MAC school. The three-time All Star played eight seasons in Detroit, hitting .268 with 133 homers. Farley hit .166 with one home run and four RBI in his 36 games in Detroit.

…And here’s one general baseball nugget I stumbled upon over at the fabulous Baseball-Reference.com. On this date in 1971:

Actor Kurt Russell makes his pro baseball debut for Bend (Northwest League), getting a single, double, and two stolen bases. Russell’s baseball career would be ended by injury two years later.

…Only six months until Christmas.

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