On this date in 1984, the Tigers clinched the American League East title, beating the Brewers 3-0.
Randy O’Neal pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, one walk and striking out six. As he often did, Willie Hernandez earned a two-inning save, his 30th of the year.
Tom Brookens hit a solo homer off Brewers’ starter Bob McClure. Lance Parrish drove in Detroit’s other two runs.
If you want to take a deep dive into the ’84 club, pickup a copy of Detroit Tigers 1984: What a Start! What a Finish! from Amazon.com. (Disclosure: I wrote the bios of Rusty Kuntz, Johnny Grubb, Chet Lemon and Carl Willis that appear in the book.)
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
If the Tigers suffered any ill effects from the previous two games, they certainly didnâ€™t show it in the third game of the series.
Detroit pummeled Torontoâ€™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 wouldnâ€™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”
Dan Dickerson was quick to point out that Justin Verlanderâ€™s shutout on Thursday was the first by a Tigers pitcher at Fenway Park since Doyle Alexander blanked the Red Sox in 1987. (Thanks to a tip from Fungo contributor Doug Hill, we went scrambling for the details.)
The Tigers were a half-game out of first place on Sept. 23, 1987, for the finale of a three-game series against Boston. Alexander, who blanked the Red Sox a week earlier, 3-0 at Tiger Stadium, faced off with lefty Bruce Hurst and was untouchable. He allowed singles to the first two batters he faced â€“ Ellis Burks and Marty Barrett â€“ and a two-out walk to Spike Owen in the second and that was it.
Alexander got two runs in the second and one each in the fifth and sixth. Tom Brookens drove in a pair and Alan Trammell knocked home one in the win. (The fourth run was scored on an error.) The Tigers moved on to Toronto for a grueling four-game series for ages against the Blue Jays.
You’ve got to love Baseball-Reference.com; I know I sure do.
In case you were wondering, here’s how the Tigers have fared against the Mariners since Seattle joined the American League in 1977:
- All-Time Record: 185-152-1
- All-Time at Home: 104-64-1
- All-Time at Comerica Park: 22-18
- All-Time at Seattle: 81-88
Wait a second. The Tigers and Mariners played to a tie? In the 20th century?
This little item sent me scrambling to my favorite site, Baseball-Reference.com, for the details. Here’s what I found:
Continue reading “The Curious Case of June 2, 1980: Tigers and Mariners Play to a Tie”
>> The winds were howling here in Phoenix on Sunday — 45 m.p.h. gusts, dust galore, burning contact lenses — and I was thankful that I wasn’t sitting at a Cactus League game (something I don’t often say). But then I saw this story and had deep regret. Fifteen homers?!
>> So Freddy Dolsi got sent out of big-league camp yesterday. As we watched last season crater, I kept thinking that Dolsi’s experience would benefit him in the long run. Sending him to Triple-A to start this season makes sense. Get him into some pressurized situations in the IL and he could be a nice addition when the bullpen needs reinforcements.
>> Former Tigers farmhand James Skelton continues to get ink in the Phoenix paper about his attempts to make the Diamondbacks as a Rule 5 selection. Arizona is trying to make Skelton — a “card trick connoisseur” according to the piece — a utility player, or so it appears.
>> Every year I pickup The Sporting News‘ baseball preview issue and every year I realize I learned nothing new or different than what I gleaned from off-season reading on the Web. This year, however, I’m singing a different tune. It’s not half bad. In an effort to cram the pages to look like a CNBC feed, TSN added a blurb about each team’s best-ever third baseman. Here’s who they selected for the Tigers:
- George Kell
- Aurelio Rodriguez
- Don Wert
Other than Kell, that sure is some slim pickin’s. (Tom Brookens can’t get an Honorable Mention?) And just imagine if the Tigers had held onto Howard Johnson. Methinks he’s be number one. And to think Chris Brown didn’t make this list.
>> This should be a more offensive — offensive, that is — week in Lakeland for the Tigers. For the first time since who know when they’ll have the complete lineup. I doubt we’ll see anymore no-hitters (or shutouts) this Spring.