July 21 to 27 (Weekly record 2-5, Season record 28-75)
The 2003 Detroit Tigers lost their final three games last week, spoiling a nice stretch where they had gone 6-3 over nine games wrapped around the All-Star break. Following losing the final three games of a four-game series in Chicago, reality set back in and they continued their losing streak into Boston and Cleveland.
The Red Sox, who would fall just short of the World Series, dominated the Tigers in 2003. There were several National League teams that swept the three-game season series from Detroit, but Boston and Seattle were the American League foes that thrashed the Tigers the most, each winning eight of the nine games in the season series. They would have better luck against Central rivals, the Indians, going 7-12 and splitting the two-game series on this week in ’03, snapping their six-game losing streak.
The team would make a brief return home to face Kansas City for three, losing two of them, before heading out on another road trip.
Painful Game of the Week–July 21: Tigers at Red Sox
As we mentioned earlier, the Red Sox took the Tigers to the woodshed in 2003. However, the last time the teams tangled, in the final game of the first half in Detroit, Wil Ledezma shutout the potent Red Sox lineup and the Tigers’ claimed their first (and only) victory in the season series. Perhaps Boston remembered that coming into this Monday night game.
After a scoreless first inning, the Red Sox (ranking first in pretty much every major offensive category) came to life and lit up Jeremy Bonderman for five runs in the second inning. The assault continued into the third when Bonderman was knocked out after surrendering seven runs and eight hits in two plus innings. Steve Sparks didn’t fare much better, allowing six runs over three innings, and Fernando Rodney did his part, pitching two innings and allowing a run.
Final: Boston 14, Detroit 5
Lousy Player of the Week: Andres Torres
Drafted by Detroit in 1998, Torres made his ML debut with the Tigers in April 2002, but struggled and was demoted to Toledo until September call-ups. He did not make the team out of spring in 2003, but spent most of the season shuttling between the Tigers and Mud Hens. He played in 59 games that season, posting a .220 average with one homer.
After using up all his options, Torres chose to become a free agent three games into the 2004 season. He signed with the White Sox, but didn’t play at the big league level for them. He made just a smattering of big league appearance over the next couple seasons (appearing in eight games for the Rangers in 2005) and bounced to the minor leagues of the Twins, Tigers (again), and Cubs before finding his groove in 2009 with the Giants.
His best year came in 2010 where he hit .268 in 139 games (a career high) with 16 homers and 63 RBIs. His average dipped to .221 the next season and was traded to the Mets before 2012. He hit just .230 in one year in New York before signing back in San Francisco prior to this season. Heading into action on Friday, he had played 85 games for the defending World Champs, and has boosted his average to .262.