Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The 2003 Detroit Tigers, the team that quite possibly turned around the fortunes of the franchise, stumbled through the season with several lengthy losing streaks. They played better in May, and looked like just another typically bad team of the era for the Tigers, but their play in June locked them onto the path of becoming one of the worst teams in baseball history.
June 23 to June 29 (Weekly record 0-7)(Season record 18-61)
The Tigers did not notch a win on this week in 2003, the first time they had done that since the first couple weeks of the season when they started 1-17. Heading into the week, they had gone 2-14 in their previous 16 contests and, as bad as that was, it would get worse.
First up was a four-game stay in Beantown to face the Red Sox, who would miss the World Series later that season with an Aaron Boone walk-off homer in Game 7 of the ALCS. It was apparent the Tigers were completely outclassed in this series. Though they dropped a close one, 3-1, they were soundly beat in the next two games before losing another two-run game to round out the series. In all, Boston outscored them 30-8.
Two years removed from a World Series title, the Arizona Diamondbacks invaded Comerica Park for next three games. The huge run disadvantage for Detroit continued in the first two games, with losses of 8-3 and 7-0 (the 11th shutout of the season). In the final game of the series, the Tigers lost in extra innings.
Through June 29, the Tigers record in June was 4-22.
Painful Game of the Week: June 29-Diamondbacks at Tigers
Two lengthy streaks were on the line in this Sunday afternoon showdown in Detroit. If the Tigers somehow found a way to win, they would end their eight game skid and stop Arizona’s 10 game winning streak.
The Tigers got off to a good start in the first when Kevin Witt hit a two-run homer. Starter Nate Cornejo pitched a decent game, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. The teams traded runs in the fourth and sixth until the Diamondbacks got to the Tigers bullpen, scoring a run off Jamie Walker in the eighth and a pair of runs of Chris Spurling in the tenth.
Another blown save opportunity for the 2003 Detroit Tigers was saved by none other than Arizona rookie Jose Valverde. Papa Grande, who was likely known as “Baby Pequeño” back then, picked up his 10th save and lowered his ERA to 1.38 in working a 1-2-3 10th inning.
Detroit’s losing skid hit nine.
Final: Arizona 5, Detroit 3 (10 innings)