82-59, first place. Magic number 16, should you hanker for one this early. Detroit and Cleveland seem to have reached an accord about staying 6.5 games away from each other. If the Tigers go undefeated the rest of the way, this is a win-win.
Was I saying something about a close game being a good game? Oh, baloney. 16-2 Tigers – any team, any time – now that is a good game. 16 runs without a home run (close call on the Infante 3-run double, though). It’s not as though the Tigers bombed Big Game James or any of the Royals pitchers. They just wouldn’t stop hitting. And the Tigers RISP figure was none shy of obscene, at least if you’re a Royals fan. There have been other games where 26 hits (and 5 walks) might have gone for 5 runs or so, or so you’d have been thinking. Omar Infante, Andy Dirks, and Austin Jackson were the headliners and about half of the offense, but 11 Tigers collected hits and 10 scored runs. The greedy Tigers fan might feel a bit cheated of more by Shields’s clever pickoff of Dirks at 3B with bases loaded and none out, where a big inning unraveled into a zero. But Dirks didn’t hang his head after that, and good for him. Oh, and Anibal Sanchez pitched 7 good innings of 1-run baseball. Luke Putkonen could be the Anti-AlburCokey, at least as a 14-run lead specialist.
Last night’s game wasn’t a laugher the way some laughers are laughers. The Royals didn’t look sorry in lopsided defeat (as the Tigers really hadn’t, either, in their blowout loss to Boston, except for a few of the pitchers). There were quite a few notable defensive plays. KC’s David Lough turned some nice ones in both RF and LF. But the Tigers had the edge here, too. Avila, Fielder, Tuiasosopo, Infante, and Sanchez all put in some nice work. There was that sailing throw by Avila, true. And Danny Worth at 3B managed to make Miguel Cabrera look spry (not to mention his PA). It’s unfair to make a broad judgment based on one game, so allow me to be unfair and say that Worth looks just about done as a ballplayer. I still think that Worth and Quintin Berry should have made the team out of ST. I don’t know if the team would be better now, but it would have been more interesting.
Detroit’s Pythagorean record is back up to +5, and I’m fine with it. Let us savor the blowouts:
Detroit 11, Toronto 1
Detroit 10, Oakland 1
Detroit 10, Atlanta 0
Detroit 17, Houston 2
Detroit 9, Houston 0
Detroit 10, Tampa Bay 1
Detroit 11, Toronto 1
Detroit 10, Philadelphia 0
Detroit 12, Philadelphia 4
Detroit 11, Washington 1
Detroit 11, New York Mets 3
Detroit 16, Kansas City 2
This, and a glance up and down the Tigers OPS+ column, kinda makes you wonder: What are we complaining about? A list of the shutout and near-shutout losses and extra-innings losses could answer that, I suppose.
Nick Castellanos gets his first start in LF tonight, and it is rumored that Torii Hunter is getting a blow (this is a perfectly innocent old expression for “time off,” and in my continuing efforts to emulate Rod Allen, I am trying to overcome my aversion to it). Justin Verlander gets his rematch with Danny Duffy, and I don’t see Duffy getting the better of it this time, not if JV can help it. Also, 1 hit in 6 innings? I don’t think so. Not this time. Now, Danny Salazar of the Indians was very good against Detroit twice. Will Danny Duffy be? I didn’t see that last game. Maybe the Tigers have a problem with the name “Danny.” That would also explain Danny Worth and also Danry Vasquez, whom the Tigers may have traded by mistake thinking his name was “Danny.”
More amazing stats of no particular consequence to follow…