The Friday Fungoes: White Sox, Geno’s First Homer, and Jimmy Connors

It’s Friday. It’s Labor Day Weekend. It’s the White Sox and Tigers at Comerica Park. What’s not to like? Besides the White Sox, of course.

Leading Off: The Royals continued their irritating ways yesterday, out-slugging the Tigers 11-8, to earn a split of the four-game series. Let’s face it, Kansas City could’ve very easily swept this series and probably should have. Overshadowed by the Royals’ plucky play was a tremendous day for Magglio Ordonez: a homer, two doubles and stole a base — his first of the year. Rookie Jacob Turner was rocked for six earned runs but thanks to the Tigers’ comebacks he avoided taking the loss. Austin Jackson hit his eighth homer of the year and is at last hitting above .250.

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The Tigers are in first place, 5.5 games ahead of the White Sox and Indians.

Today’s Game: Tigers vs. White Sox – Justin Verlander (20-5, 2.38 ERA) vs. John Danks (6-9, 3.63 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Tigers Lineup

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  9. Brandon Inge, 3B

White Sox Lineup

  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  3. Paul Konerko, 1B
  4. A.J. Pierzynski, DH
  5. Dayan Viciedo, RF
  6. Alejandro de Aza, CF
  7. Tyler Flowers, C
  8. Brent Morel, 3B
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

Notes on Verlander

  • He’s 11-1 with a 2.62 ERA in his previous 12 starts against division opponents this season.
  • In four starts against the White Sox this season he’s 3-1 with a 4.03 ERA. Lifetime, he’s 10-10, 4.45 ERA in 23 starts.

Notes on Danks

  • Danks is making his 14th career start vs. the Tigers and third in 2011. He’s 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 2011 and 4-5 with a 3.95 ERA lifetime.
  • In his last three starts in Detroit, Danks is 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA  and a .329 opponents average.

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Around the Central: The A’s smoked and blanked the Indians, 7-0, to salvage a game in that series … the White Sox and Twins were off. Tonight the Indians travel to Kansas City for the first of three against the Royals, and the Twins face the Angels in Anaheim.

The Tigers enter tonight’s game having won 15 of the team’s last 21 games over the White Sox dating back to Aug. 14, 2010. They’re hitting .293 with 115 runs scored, 35 doubles, four triples and 23 home runs over the 21-game stretch versus Chicago. Tigers pitchers have compiled a 3.33 ERA during the stretch against the White Sox.

This is the first time Delmon Young will face the White Sox as a member of the Tigers. It could be good timing: he’s batting .344 with 14 doubles, nine home runs and 35 RBI in 57 games during his career against them. However, Magglio Ordonez has the best lifetime stats against tonight’s starter Danks: he’s hitting .517 (15-29) with two home runs and seven RBI lifetime.

In case you were wondering, here’s how the Tigers have fared day-by-day through the first five months and one day of the season: Monday 8-9, Tuesday 13-6, Wednesday 10-10, Thursday 9-8, Friday 11-10, Saturday 10-11, Sunday 14-8.

Happy 27th Birthday to Dusty Ryan and Happy 59th to Nate Snell.

On this date in 1970, Gene Lamont homered in his first major league at bat, but the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 10-1, in the second game of a doubleheader in Fenway Park.

On Sept. 2, 1973, the Tigers fired manager Billy Martin. In many ways, I still can’t believe the Tigers — Jim Campbell’s Tigers — ever hired him.

On this date in 1987, Tom Candiotti pitched his second one-hitter of the season, but also walks seven batters and makes an error as the Indians lose to Detroit, 2-1. Matt Nokes’ single with two out in the eighth is the Tigers’ only hit.

The American League Cy Young race isn’t over, says Tim Kurkjian, but Justin Verlander will win it.

Finally, just in time for the U.S. Open (one of my favorite sporting events of the year) we wish a Happy 59th Birthday to Tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors. He won the U.S. Open singles title in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983.

Have a great weekend and be safe.

Monday Mankowskis: Labor Day Edition

PhilMankowski77.jpgToday, after the Tigers lost another game in which they took an early lead, I was convinced they had a losing record when they scored first. Not so. With today’s loss they are 41-25. Why does it seem worse?

  • A year ago today Brandon Inge hit a grand slam off the Rays’ Russ Springer to beat the Rays 5-3 and the Tigers extended their lead over the Twins to a season-high seven games. And that’s when the bottom fell out.

  • In case you, like I, missed it, the Tigers today announced that they’ll recall Scott Sizemore from Triple A Toledo prior to Tuesday night’s game against the White Sox. Sizemore batted .298 with 23 doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 37 RBI in 76 games with the Mud Hens. By the by, in last week’s Fungo Flash Poll, 80 percent of the 149 respondents said that they prefer Will Rhymes over Sizemore.

  • The News‘ Tony Paul today continues his terrific series of articles on former Tigers as he catches up with Matt Nokes.

  • Planning on going down to Comerica Park before the season ends? You might want to plan around the Tigers’ record on each day of the week. (Hint: Stay away from Tuesdays.):

    • Monday: 7-8
    • Tuesday: 6-14
    • Wednesday: 9-13
    • Thursday: 11-4
    • Friday: 9-11
    • Saturday: 12-11
    • Sunday: 14-9

  • According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index, the Tigers have 33 comeback wins (their largest comeback being six runs), 29 blown leads (largest: four), five walk-off wins, eight walk-off losses.

  • The Tigers inched up two spots in ESPN.com’s MLB Power Rankings from 20 to 18.

Finally, happy 73rd birthday to JoAnne Worley.

Have a great week.

Tigers Today: June 4, 2010

Tigers’ Record:

28-25, 2nd place; 2.5 GB of Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Royals | 8:05 p.m. ET – Kauffman Stadium | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer (2-4, 6.42 ERA) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (1-0, 2.70 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 12 – Indians 6

Tigers History Lesson

Today’s Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

  • 1996 — 21-year-old right-hander Pamela Davis pitches one inning of scoreless relief for the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate and gets the win in a minor-league exhibition game. She is believed to be the first woman to pitch for a major league farm club under the current structure of the minor league system. The win comes at the expense of the Australian Olympic team.

  • 1990 — The Tigers acquired RHPs Lance McCullers and Clay Parker from the Yankees for C Matt Nokes.

October Surprise Part 7: Doyle Foils Jays to Knot Division Lead

The final weekend of the 2009 season is here and the Tigers are in position for the American League Central title. Twenty-two years ago tonight the Tigers started the final season with the A.L. East in their sights. Here’s part seven of our series.


American League East Standings: October 2, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 96-63 .604 –
Detroit 95-64 .597 1

Doyle.jpgOf all the scenarios facing the Tigers for the final weekend, one was the most cut and dried: sweep the Blue Jays, win the division.

Game one of the decisive series took place on a cold Friday night. A crowd of 45,167 witnessed a rematch of the previous Sunday, Doyle Alexander and Jim Clancy.

The Jays scored first in the top of the second on Manny Lee’s three-run homer to right-center. In the bottom of that same inning the Tigers scored two runs of their own on a Chet Lemon single and a home run by rookie outfielder Scott Lusader.

Continue reading “October Surprise Part 7: Doyle Foils Jays to Knot Division Lead”

Three for Thursday: ’06 All Over Again

3 fingers.jpgLooking at the scene today at Comerica Park — brilliant blue skies, a sun-drenched field — I can’t help but think back to three years ago today when the Tigers choked on a golden opportunity to win a division title. History repeating itself?

  1. Dan Gladden made an interesting point on the pre-game interview with Jim Price Wednesday evening. The Twins don’t have a Latin coach on their big-league staff and Orlando Cabrera has helped calm some of the club’s Latin players. I wonder what impact the Tigers’ infield coach Rafael Belliard has had on Miguel Cabrera, Ramon Santiago, et al? We know he worked wonders with Cabrera’s defensive work at first base. How much did the language thing play into it?

  2. The last Tigers’ division champion relied on contributions from several rookies including Scott Lusader, Jim Walewander, Matt Nokes and Mike Henneman. This year’s club has Rick Porcello, Alex Avila and Ryan Perry. At this point, 1987 wins on contributors and championships. For now.

  3. From the moment I saw the Tigers’ 2009 schedule, I didn’t like them playing the White Sox to end the season under any circumstances. Now the Tigers have to win two of three if they want to guarantee a championship. The weekend starts by facing Jake Peavy on Friday night, and then the Tigers are counting on Alfredo Figaro on Saturday? Yeah, things are certainly aligning nicely for Detroit.

Finally, Happy 63rd Birthday, 1968 Tiger Jon Warden.

October Surprise Part 4: Bullpen Collapses in Game 3

As the Tigers and Twins square off for the biggest series of the year with the division title hanging in the balance, we continue our look back on the last great race in Tigers history: 1987 and the seven games against the Toronto Blue Jays in the season’s final 10 days. Today: Game 3.


American League East Standings: September 26, 1987

Team Record Pct. GB
Toronto 95-59 .617 –
Detroit 92-61 .601 2.5

BallTherapy.jpgIf the Tigers suffered any ill effects from the previous two games, they certainly didn’t show it in the third game of the series.

Detroit pummeled Toronto’s ace Dave Steib, tagging the right-hander for six runs on four hits in just 2.1 innings. Matt Nokes drove in six runs in his first two at bats: a first-inning two-run homer and a grand slam in the third.

The Blue Jays were having nearly as much fun with Detroit starter Walt Terrell. In his 2.1 innings, the Blue Jays came up with four runs on seven hits. The Tigers attacked five additional Toronto hurlers for a 9-4 lead in the fifth inning. Toronto wouldn’t go away quietly, tacking on three more runs. Heading into the bottom half of the ninth Detroit clung to a 9-7 lead.

Continue reading “October Surprise Part 4: Bullpen Collapses in Game 3”

October Surprise: Tigers and Jays Battle for ’87 Division Title

ViewFromOutfieldXSmall.jpgOver the next week, we’ll watch the Tigers and Twins play head-to-head to decide the American League Central.

While this plays out, let’s look back at the final two weekends of the 1987 season when the Tigers and Blue Jays squared off for seven heart-pounding, one-run games that would ultimately decide the American League East title.

Today, Part 1.


“I’m telling you, everything is going to come down to our seven games with Toronto.” — Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson, Sept. 21, 1987

Entering the 1987 season, little was expected of the Detroit Tigers. Just three seasons removed from a wire-to-wire championship season, the Tigers were considered mere also-rans in a division filled with potent lineups, solid pitching and the defending League Champions, the Red Sox.

Adding to an already challenging divisional landscape, the Tigers faced life without their All Star catcher and cleanup hitter, Lance Parrish. The Big Wheel rejected the Tigers’ two-year, $2.4 million contract offer and instead signed a one-year $800,000 deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

That’s why in the first weeks of the 1987 season the story in baseball was not the Detroit Tigers. Hardly. The Milwaukee Brewers’ 13-0 start captivated the baseball world. After 13 games the Tigers had a less-imposing 6-7 record. Twenty games into the season Milwaukee had stormed to 18-2, four games ahead of New York, followed by Toronto (12-8), Baltimore (9-11), Detroit (8-12) and Cleveland (6-14).

Continue reading “October Surprise: Tigers and Jays Battle for ’87 Division Title”