Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Too early to call a Tigers loss devastating, but...

It's August 10. The Tigers are still in first place in the American League Central. The nearest team to them in the division standings, the Cleveland Indians, are just a game above .500 overall, and have played considerably below .500 ball (14 games below in their last 68 games) for an extended span.
The Tigers clearly have the best team in the A.L. Central. Blah. Blah.
Still, that 14-inning loss to the Indians Tuesday night (and early into Wednesday morning) was a tremendous blow. Not only did the Tigers burn their bullpen (starter Doug Fister was pulled after two innings and a two-hour rain delay), but the Tigers didn't win a test of will.
Also, they have lost 12 straight games at Cleveland. Last year, their postseason aspirations essentially faded after they were swept by the Indians in four games at Progressive Field immediately following the All Star break.
Three of the four Tigers' losses at Cleveland this year have been by one run.
The Tigers were handed a gift when Chad Durbin replaced Indians' starter Justin Masterson following the rain delay. They didn't take advantage of it. They had several opportunities to break the game open later. They didn't.
And while everyone is focusing on the Indians and this series, the White Sox won Tuesday. They've been awful this season, honestly. And the Tigers have hardly put them away.
Anybody notice the White Sox are only four games out. If they play any semblance of decent baseball, they could push the Tigers right out of the picture.
The big issue that came out of Tuesday's game: Should Duane Below replace Brad Penny in the Tigers starting rotation? Depends on Penny's start Friday at Baltimore, I suppose. But it should also be considered that Below has taken well to relieving, retiring 22 straight batters. Might be a point to not messing with his current role. But it is unusual the Tigers don't have a left-hander in their starting rotation



Blogger Tiger Fan said...

Is Miguel Cabrera drinking again? As many runners as he leaves on in key parts of the game, makes me wonder about this guy. I don't care if he's hitting 300, he's got to move runners over in late innings of the game.

9:13 AM 
Anonymous AL said...

Tigers just seem to leave runners in scoring position way to often!
Penny should be sent to tghe bull pen or Toledo. Below should be given couple starts and see what happens. Season is moving on other clubs are moving up. The time to REST starters is now over. A well rested starter in october watching the playoffs on TV is not a great move at any time.

10:36 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

2nd time in a row that rain has stifled what looked like a mounting surge by Tiger offense.

A mental battle indeed - you could almost feel Tigers wanting the game over more than wanting the win. Those were some silent bats.

Good news was Albuquerque looked strong - good to see again.

12:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Cabrera is a classic choke artist. He is Rasheed Wallace in a baseball uniform.
2. One game does not mean the season. I predict the Tigers EASILY win the next two games. The Indians are a spent team right now.
3. Beware of the White Sox. They are the only team with true momentum in this division.

12:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, too early to call a loss devastating. 162 games in a season, and one game isn't going to make or break them. A 3-2 loss in a 14 inning game is hardly giving up. And all this talk about "wanting it more" is just silly. This is baseball, not football.

6:59 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devastating? Come on, Pat, you know better than that.

You've been around the block a lot to say this stuff. You are a well-informed, intelligent baseball guy.

These guys are smart baseball guys on this blog, you can't fake these guys out.

Come on.

7:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tiger fan,
Cabrera is in a slump. It's important he hit with power, but has actually hit for a pretty good average lately.

9:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That was certainly the case in Tuesday's loss, but the Tigers bigger issue overall is pitching. Very inconsistent other than Verlander or Valverde.

9:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The rain did change the whole complexion of that game, but Tigers didn't respond well. They still should have won it given the way their bullpen mowed down the Cleveland hitters.

9:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I didn't it was devastating, but did point it was an important loss.

9:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Cabrera has struggled lately, but is going to the Hall of Fame likely. Can't be that bad.

9:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Agreed, but ideally, from the Tigers' standpoint, they would have taken better advantage of the landscape in AL Central.

9:29 PM 

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