We here at MCB don’t do game recaps. That’s a conscious decision – other, bigger, outlets do those far better and faster than we ever could. But that doesn’t mean that nothing that happened in yesterday’s game is worthy of mention – especially when it looks to be part of a continuing (and frustrating trend). Again, yesterday the Tigers had the opportunity to reach .500 with a win. Again they failed.
The last time the Tigers had a .500 record was on May 15 at 18-18 after beating the White Sox. It’s July 3. That, obviously, doesn’t look good. On May 16 they lost – could have returned to .500 with a victory on May 17 – failed. They won on May 18, so they could have returned to .500 with another victory on May 19 – failed. And so on. After Monday’s loss to the Twins, the Tigers have had 8 opportunities to hit .500 again since May 15 and failed in each and every attempt. It isn’t always a big collapse, as in yesterday’s game it can be the smallest of things – in this particular case, about three feet on a long fly ball from Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded – that mean the difference between a win and a loss. But it’s getting pretty aggravating.
If the Tigers can win behind Duane Below tonight, then Justin Verlander will should give them an excellent chance to achieve that goal on Wednesday – but as we have seen many times it doesn’t pay to presume victory just from the probable starters.
News from that game and after hasn’t done anything to cheer Tigers fans hearts. Duane Below is making that start due to a hamstring injury to inconsistent-yet-occasionally-dominating Max Scherzer. As good as Below has been out of the ‘pen, I’d much rather see Scherzer blowing guys away today. As we have seen, Tigers starters 6-9 (or, today, #10) haven’t been close to replacement level. Doug Fister faced the minimum through 3 innings then seemingly could not get anyone out. His control was no good and his pitches stopped biting. What’s going on there? Who on earth knows. But… obviously, if Fister is a mediocre pitcher (or back on the DL) the Tigers have little hope of actually being a contender. Luis Marte was forced to throw a bunch of pitches yesterday, which meant that he was the logical candidate to be sent down when the simple fact that he had thrown a lot of innings (and that Duane Below would be making a spot start) meant that the Tigers bullpen was going to be shorthanded. Isn’t it strange how roster logic works? Now we get Darin Downs and Jose Ortega in town – cower in fear lest these two see high-leverage innings. Sent down along with Marte is 13th man Danny Worth.