Tigers and Blue Jays rained out

The rainy weather skipped and missed a lot of baseball games during April. Unfortunately, Mother Nature seems like she is playing catch-up during May.

For the second time in less than a week the Tigers have had a postponement of a game due to the rain.

Tonight’s game was one I am sure they would have liked to get in, mainly because the Tigers wouldn’t have seen the Blue Jays again this season, and finding mutual and convenient days to make up a game can be difficult. Not to mention that days are not only well-deserved – they are essential. Teams don’t want to use them playing make-up games.

The Tigers have rescheduled this game for June 27, 2011. Rick Porcello who originally was going to pitch tonight, will miss his turn. Phil Coke will get the start against Boston tomorrow. There will be two games at Fenway before the Tigers head westward to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in Interleague play this weekend.

-Skip

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Phil Coke gets loss in season opener

Every season begins amid eternal hope for a winning year, as well as
visions of end-of-season playoffs dancing in our heads. A victory in the
first game of the year would cement those feelings of hope, and confirm
our best wishes. On the other hand, a loss would bring us quickly back
to the reality that our team probably won’t win every game, even as much
as we would like them to do just that.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that baseball is a season of 162
games. The old saying about the season being a marathon, and not a
sprint is true. So, with that in mind, although it would have been nice
to kick the 2011 campaign off with a win, it wasn’t crucial.

I thought Tiger’s starter Justin Verlander looked good most of the
time, and other times he had a difficult time locating his pitches. He
got behind the hitters several times — and that is just asking for
trouble.

During spring training Verlander wanted to put his April woes behind
him by mentally envisioning March as the first month of the season. It
was a good strategy especially when you consider the April dog that
hounds him is a psychological one.

Verlander ended his day after 6 innings. He gave up just 3 hits and 3
earned runs. The biggest hit was a 3-run homer off of the bat of Mark
Teixeira in the 3rd inning. He walked 4 batters and struck out 8.

For those unfamiliar with the definition of a quality start, it is
when a pitcher lasts 6 innings and gives up no more than 3 runs in a
game. Verlander wasn’t credited with a win or a loss. However, he did
have a quality start. That is a pretty good way to begin the season.

Miguel Cabrera had a single in the 2nd and scored 2 runs – one of them in 4th after drawing a walk to start the inning.

The only other run for the Tigers came from Austin Jackson. After
leading off the 5th inning with a base hit, he scored on a Cabrera sac
fly to Curtis Granderson.

By the way, Curtis Granderson made the most of this game against his
former team. He had a couple of nice catches and a solo home run off
reliever Phil Coke in the 7th inning. Coke was tagged with the loss.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia started the game for New York. Like
Verlander, he had a no-decision. Joba Chamberlain, who relieved CC to
start the 7th inning was the victor.

So, it wasn’t what we, as Tiger’s fans, had hoped for — a win. But
there were some signs of the good things to come. It wasn’t a total
loss.

Our Tiger’s have Friday off.

-Skip

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Staying healthy will be key for the Tigers in 2011

We
are less than a week away from the Detroit Tigers breaking camp and
heading up north. I am excited about this team and about the possibility
that they will make it to the playoffs this season. I stand with many
pundits who believe the 2011 Tigers have the talent to get them there
and go all the way to the World Series.

In
2010, the Tigers were riding high atop the Central prior to the All-Star
break. A number of injuries were cited as the reason for their
second-half slide. This year, the Tigers will begin the season without
Joel Zumaya and Carlos Guillen. Both players will be on the disabled
list (DL).

The
key to making this a successful year will rely heavily upon the health
of key players, such as Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez.

Of
course, keeping the position players off of the dreaded DL is important.
Keeping this pitching staff healthy, too, will be important.
Unfortunately, as you know, that isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.
Injuries happen. There is no way to prevent many of them from happening.
But I am saying that barring any mishaps on the field, or off, this
team will go far.

439x.jpg

A
couple of off-season moves will help to make that happen. The signing of
Victor Martinez added punch to a lineup that already boasts such heavy
hitters such as Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez. Definitely most fans
are expecting to see good things from Austin Jackson — at the plate
and in
center field. Brandon Inge will be back at third, and Jhonny Peralta
will be the Tiger’s shortstop. The position of second base was recently
filled by Will Ryhmes. You can expect that once Carlos Guillen is
healthy enough to return he will take over for Rhymes.

Justin
Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello are a group of starters to
be reckoned with. Each of them has good stuff. Phil Coke will begin the
season in the bullpen, although he is expected to be a part of the
rotation. I have been a fan of new Tiger’s pitcher Brad Penny. He has
great potential as long as he’s healthy (see, there’s that word again).
He can get a lot of wins. Jose Valverde is beginning the year healthy –
and happy. Jim Leyland has already made a comment that he will hold
Papa Grande to a pitch-count. No more high-pitch-count-marathons for
him! The Tigers also added Joaquin Benoit to their bullpen. He will be
the setup man for Valverde — which was the role we had hoped to see
Joel Zumaya in. No worries, Benoit can do the job.

Certainly,
as you can see, this is a Detroit Tigers team to be excited about. I am
also excited to share the 2011 season with you.

The
season officially starts at 1:05 p.m. ET on March 31 in New York against
the Yankees. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Then the
countdown to the home opener, April 8, 2011, will begin. That game
starts at 3:05 p.m. ET., which is a little later than usual, and that is
because of the previous night’s game against Baltimore. We want a
well-rested team to take the field that Friday afternoon. Don’t we? So, I
will take the later start — and hope the weather will be decent — at
least a few degrees warmer than the 38 degrees we saw last year on
opening day.

Be
sure to get downtown early to find a place to park, and mingle with
Tiger’s fans at a couple of the downtown bars and restaurants before the
game.

Comerica Park gates open at 12:30 p.m..

-Skip

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Sparky Anderson is Dead at 76

It has
been fifteen years since he skipped over a foul line. Fifteen years
since the legendary hook pulled a starting pitcher out of a game,
and fifteen years since he managed a professional baseball team. It has
been slightly over a year since we last saw him, smiling and joking and
looking every bit as though he belonged at Comerica Park, though he
never managed there, during a reunion of the 1984 championship team.

Today,
baseball fans across the country are mourning the loss of George Lee
Anderson – more affectionately known to all as, “Sparky.”

sparky_anderson.jpg

Sparky
passed away today at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He is
survived by his wife Carol, sons Lee and Albert, daughter Shirley
Englebrecht and nine grandchildren.

Sparky
Anderson was the first manager to win a World Series title in both the
American League (Detroit Tigers) and the National League (Cincinnati
Reds). In his 26 years as a manager, he won 2,194 games, and five
pennants, and three World Series titles. He won more games here in
Detroit than any other Tiger’s manager (1331).

He
came to Detroit in 1979 amid the promise that he would make something
big happen for the team. He did. In 1984, the Detroit Tigers began the
season with a 35-5 start, and they never looked back. That team brought a
world championship to Detroit. Also, he managed the 1987 Tigers to a
first place finish in the American League East.

Detroit
fans have always loved, admired, and respected their sports heroes –
even before the Detroit Tigers launched the current “Always A Tiger”
campaign, which celebrates past accomplishments amid promises of hope
for future glories.

I
hope that there will be a renewed call to retire Sparky’s jersey number.
The Detroit Tigers have had opportunities to do so, and never have. 
Although it would have been a wonderful gesture by the organization to
do so last year, during the 1984 reunion, while Sparky was in town, they
should reconsider the reasons they haven’t and put his name on the wall
at Comerica Park. Sure, he managed the Reds, and even entered the Hall
of Fame as a Red, but as far as baseball fans in Detroit are concerned,
Sparky will always be a Tiger!

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Matt Garza No-Hits the Tigers

Detroit Tigers vs Tampa Bay Rays
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Monday, July 26, 2010

GAME 98
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TIGERS (51-47) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
RAYS (60-38) 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 0 5 3 0

WIN: Matt Garza (11-5)   LOSS: Max Scherzer (7-8)
WEATHER
: Indoors 72   TIME: 2:36    ATTENDANCE: 17,009

x610.jpg

Both
games in yesterday’s doubleheader began as classic pitchers duels.
Tonight’s game was no different. However, this one featured the
excitement of a no-hitter — for each pitcher — through the first six
innings.

The
no-hit bid by Max Scherzer lasted until former Tiger Matt Joyce shook
things up with a grand-slam home run in the sixth inning of tonight’s
game.

Brad Thomas relieved Scherzer in the inning.

However,
Matt Garza went on to pitch into the Tampa Bay Rays history books by
pitching the franchise’s first no-hitter, and earning the win, 5-0. The
last time the Detroit Tigers were no-hit was twenty years ago on June 2,
1990 (BOXSCORE).
At that time Mariner’s pitcher Randy Johnson threw the gem. That one
happened indoors, too, under a dome, at Seattle’s Kingdome.

But I
am a fan of the no-no, and I will drop everything to watch one. Although
I’m not thrilled that one took place against my team, I applaud Garza
for the accomplishment.

The
other featured moment during the game was the ejection of Jim Leyland, 
in the third inning, after bolting from the dugout to argue a stolen
base call at second.

I
can’t blame Leyland for arguing. You don’t have to look back very far to
see that the Tigers have had a number of calls go against them. Plus,
you know he is frustrated by that and, of course, the injuries that the
Tigers have sustained.

Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game bid due to a
blown-call at first base. Johnny Damon was called out on strikes in
another game with the Braves when the pitch was far off the plate, and
the bad calls continued tonight.

The way things have been going for Detroit this almost seemed inevitable, I guess. The blown-calls this season have been like salt in an unseen wound. The real injury came from the arm of Matt Garza.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Texas 1, Detroit 4

Texas Rangers vs Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GAME 93
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas (55-40) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 2
Detroit (49-44) 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 10 1

WIN: Max Scherzer (7-7)   LOSS: Colby Lewis (9-6)
WEATHER:  Partly Cloudy 87    TIME: 2:35    ATTENDANCE:  28,704

A
two-run home run from Gerald Laird in the second inning and a brilliant
pitching performance from Max Scherzer brought the Tigers 7-game losing
streak to an abrupt end, 4-1.

The 400-foot shot off of Gerald Laird’s bat was his third this season, and it put the Tigers ahead early.

If you
have watched the Tigers, especially over the past seven games, you know
that the one thing they really craved was a good, quality start from
one of their starters. They got one tonight. Max Scherzer pitched seven
shut out innings — striking out five and walking only three batters.

The Rangers lone run came in the ninth inning when Ian Kinsler scored on a Josh Hamilton ground out.

Let’s
face it, the problems that have plagued the Tigers over the course of
the last week –  since the All-Star break — haven’t disappeared.
However, the win helps right the ship for the moment, and allows them a
chance to breathe.

There
is a pattern of a slumping offense, and then the bats come alive for a
game or two, and then they become anemic once again. That pattern has to
stop.

The
one attribute I want to see from this point forward is consistency – 
in their defense and most certainly their offense. Additionally, some
aggressive base running, like we saw when Austin Jackson scored tonight, is something I would like to see more often.

The motto should be, “win by playing hard, or lose by playing hard.” Period.

They
need to win the next series. The schedule only gets tougher next week,
and definitely doesn’t get any easier next month. The White Sox, Angels,
and Yankees are waiting just beyond the horizon.

Next, the Tigers will host the Toronto Blue Jays. The first game of four is tomorrow afternoon. Justin Verlander is the scheduled starter.

SKIP’S NOTES

The
Tigers recalled Scott Sizemore from Triple-A Toledo. Casey Fien was
optioned back to Triple-A to make room on the roster. Sizemore was the
starting second baseman when the season began, but will probably play at
third in place of Brandon Inge.

Also,
allow me to offer my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of
former Detroit Tigers manager Ralph Houk. He passed away at the age of
90.
Houk manged the Tigers between 1974 – 1978. It was in 1976 that pitching sensation Mark Fidrych became a phenomenon in baseball — Houk was his manager.

Here is a link to the Detroit News Online article. CLICK HERE.

Ralph Houk from Baseball Reference. CLICK HERE.

Ralp Houk Wikipedia. CLICK HERE.

(Photo Credit: Robin Buckson/The Detroit News)

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Tigers 2, Indians 7

Detroit
Tigers vs Cleveland Indians

Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Sunday, July 18, 2010

GAME 90
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TIGERS (48-42) 0
0 0 0
0 2
0 0 0 2 7
1
INDIANS (38-54) 3
0
0 2
0 0
1
1
7
10 1

WIN:
Jeanmar Gomez (1-0)    LOSS: Andy Oliver (0-4)
WEATHER
: Partly Cloudy 83   TIME: 2:44   ATTENDANCE
19,102

A
small crowd of just over 19-thousand fans saw an inside the park home
run, and watched the Cleveland Indians sweep a four game series from the
Detroit Tigers for the first time in 19 years on Sunday, 7-2.

Indians
third baseman, Jhonny Peralta hit a ball out to center and Ryan Raburn
tried to play it off of the Indians bullpen entrance — instead falling
through the gate, while the ball got away and Peralta rounded the bases.

It is
never a fun thing to watch your team get swept by another. But this was
especially hard to witness because the losses have come at the hands of a
team that is in last place — and for a reason. Our one-time Central
Division nemeses do not play well.

But
they took advantage of the Detroit Tigers struggles this weekend, and
capitalized on their road woes. The Tigers have played poorly while they
are on the road, 16-29.

The
loss is the fifth in a row for Detroit.

We weren’t ready to play, and that’s my responsibility,” said
Tigers manager Jim Leyland. It was surprising, but there’s no need to
over-analyze it. It’s not rocket science. We just got our [rear ends]
kicked.

It is
too bad that I have heard that come from Jim Leyland far too many times.
Why wasn’t this team ready to play? That’s my question.

In the
meantime, the red-hot White Sox were cooled down by the Minnesota
Twins, losing three of four games this weekend. So while Detroit was
losing to the Indians, they weren’t losing much ground to Chicago.
Unfortunately, the Twins were gaining. They are tied with Detroit for
second place.

The
good news, if there is any, is the Tigers are back home at Comerica Park
beginning tomorrow night. Their home record has been an impressive
32-13.

The Tigers host
the Rangers for three games and the Blue Jays for four games in next
week’s home stand. Jeremy Bonderman will start tomorrow night for
Detroit.

SKIP’S
NOTES

The
Tigers brought back Rick Porcello to pitch in Saturday’s night-cap.
Although the Tigers lost, 2-1, in a game delayed almost two hours by
rain, Porcello looked good. Pitching eight innings, he gave up only one
run (a home run to Carlos Santana in the fourth) and struck out six
batters. He walked no one.

To
make room on the roster for Porcello, the Tigers sent pitcher Daniel
Schlereth down to Toledo.

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