Saturday: Kansas City 3, Detroit 10 (box)
Sunday: Kansas City 3, Detroit 2 (10 innings) (box)
I like to sleep in on Sundays, so I didn’t get around to doing a recap for Saturday night’s game until just about time for the first pitch on Sunday. For that reason, I decided to post both recaps at the same time today. We’ll call it a weekend recap.
The Tigers’ offense has been anything but consistent for much of the season. These past two games showed that inconsistency. On Saturday, The Tigers pounded out 10 runs on 16 hits. They chased Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar after just four innings, then continued their assault against Bruce Chen and Ron Mahay.
Sunday, Kyle Davies held the offense in check, allowing nine hits in six innings, but just two runs. Time and time again, the Tigers failed to bring runners home, never coming up with a timely hit, or in many cases, a well-placed out.
The Tigers had no problems plating runners on Saturday, going 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but Saturday, they fell on their collective faces. Zero hits in sixteen at bats. Ouch. Talk about squandering some chances. Those two statistics provide all the story you really need when dissecting these two games. Tigers hit with RISP, they win easily, when they don’t hit in that situation, they lose a close game. It has been that way all year.
Of course the only reason they lost a close game Sunday was the remarkable effort from the pitching staff, again. Saturday saw Edwin Jackson get back on track a little bit. He did allow 11 runners in his six innings, but limited the damage to three runs. I’m sure he didn’t know what to do with himself, being given all those runs to work with. He wasn’t spectacular, but solid, and he picked up his ninth win of the season.
Armando Galarraga made his start on Sunday, a full ten days and 18 pounds since his previous outing. Perhaps all the time lying in bed helped him, as his slider was as sharp as it had been all season. He looked so bad physically when the game began that the Tigers had Fu-Te Ni warming in the first innings, but Galarraga hung in there and delivered five solid innings and yielded just two runs. Considering the circumstances, it was an outstanding effort. Only the utter lack of a timely hit kept him from victory.
- Miguel Cabrera– El Martillo had two hits Sunday and blasted his 24th home run of the year on Saturday. He went 6 for 10 on the weekend, raising his average to .330.
- Alex Avila– He went 2 for 3 with a walk and a home run of Saturday. He has impressed Jim Leyland so much that Leyland did two things he said he wouldn’t do; He had Avila catch Edwin Jackson Saturday, then he used Avila to pinch hit on Sunday. Avila walked in the ninth inning Sunday.
- Carlos Guillen– two hits Sunday and three on Saturday. He had a home run and four RBI for the weekend.
- The Arms– Just six runs allowed in 19 innings of work. Five of those allowed by the starters. The only run that crossed the plate against the bullpen was an unearned run against Fernando Rodney. A 1-1 split over the weekend doesn’t seem fair with as well as the Tigers threw the ball.
- Ryan Raburn– Starting on Sunday at third base, Raburn showed why Brandon Inge never seems to get a full day off. Raburn accounted for all three Tiger errors, and his error in the 10th lead to the winning run for the Royals.
- Marcus Thames– 0 for 5 Sunday, and four of those AB’s came with runners in scoring position.
- Magglio Ordonez– He did hit a solo home run on Sunday, but in his other three at bats, he squandered scoring chances. 0 for 3 with RISP, including a double play ball that effectively ended an first and second, no one out chance in the fourth inning Sunday.
Whats on tap
The Tigers get a much needed day off today, followed by a visit from the Mariners. Felix Hernandez will get the ball on Tuesday, opposing Rick Porcello, fresh off his five game suspension for first drilling Kevin Youkilis, then tossing him to the ground. The Tigers will send Justin Verlander out on Wednesday, followed Thursday by Jarrod Washburn to pitch against his former team.
Detroit won nine of the 17 games they played since their last day off. During that span, they picked up a half a game in the divisional standings. The lead was two games over Minnesota, with Chicago 2.5 back on July 30, they now lead the Sox by the same 2.5 game margin, but the Twins have fallen to six games off the pace.