Originally posted on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 6/19/13
The Detroit Tigers (39-31, 1st place, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland, losing streak at 2) continue their home stand with a 4-game set against the Clay Buchholz-less Boston Red Sox (44-30, 1st place AL East). The forecast says Detroit weather all good for the first couple games, fair chance of rain over the weekend that could affect play. Thursday, June 20, 7:08 PM EDT: RHP John Lackey (4-5, 3.08) v LHP Jose Alvarez (1-0, 1,50) Friday, June 21, 7:08 PM EDT: LHP Jon Lester (6-4, 4.37) v RHP Doug Fister (6-4, 3.21) Saturday, June 22, 7:15 PM EDT*: RHP Allen Webster (0-1, 11.74) v RHP Max Scherzer (10-0, 3.08) Sunday, June 23,  1:08 PM EDT: LHP Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.38) v RHP Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.72) * National on Fox, meaning blacked out for us MLB.tv folks  MEET THE RED SOX*:  HITTING: .268 AVG (Tigers .281), .345 OBP (.348), .443 SLG (.428), .788 OPS (.776),  371 R (343), 82 HR (72), 58 of 71 SB (21 of 27), GIDP 59 or 11% (61 or 11%), INFIELD HITS 68 or 10.3% (52 or 7.6%). STARTING PITCHING: 3.70 ERA (Tigers 3.38), .241 BAA (.237), 1.30 WHIP (1.13), 401/174 K/BB (465/107), 54 HR (31). BULLPEN: 213 IP (Tigers 191), 12-8 W-L (4-13), 3.89 ERA (3.76), .246 BAA (.234), 1.36 WHIP (1.27), 231/91 K/BB (200/77), 26 HR (17), IRS% 27% (30%) DEFENSE: .986 FPCT (Tigers .989), .692 DefEff (.686), 59 DP (52), 76% SBPCT (75%), OF ASSISTS 15 (9), UNEARNED RUNS 20 (13). *Thru 69 games You could have – would have – called this another “are they ready?” series before the one just concluded against Baltimore. (You may recall that the Tigers failed the first two such tests against the Rangers and the Pirates.) At this point, a split with Boston would be a pleasant surprise, though the Red Sox feature a bullpen that the Tigers could munch on if they were so inclined. But I’m guessing that they’re not so inclined. A few tidbits on the best starting rotation in baseball: INNING-OWNERS*: MASTERS OF THEIR DOMAIN (thru 67 games) SCHERZER 52.2% (48 OF 92) ALVAREZ 50.0% (3 OF 6) PORCELLO 40.3% (29 OF 72) SANCHEZ 36.1% (30 OF 83) FISTER 35.8% (34 OF 95) VERLANDER 26.1% (23 OF 88) *Perfect but for any IBB or ROE IMPERFECT INNINGS ERA (thru 67 games) ALVAREZ 3.00 SANCHEZ 4.25 VERLANDER 4.57 FISTER 4.87 SCHERZER 6.54 PORCELLO 9.18 INTERESTING COUNT DATA (BAA/OPSA) thru 67 games 1ST PITCH*** 0-2******* 3-2****** 3-BALL%** HOT COUNT**** NOT COUNT***** K COUNT VERLANDER .222/.633 .152/.391** .333/.974 18% 1-2 .158/.366 2-1 .611/1.690 1-2 (60%) SCHERZER .343/.905 .146/.341* .057/.498 18% 2-2 .079/.238 1-0 .438/1.537 0-2 (59%) PORCELLO .458/1.208 .190/.381** .286/.819 20% 1-2 .070/.233 1-0 .563/1.250 0-2 (57%) SANCHEZ .548/1.322 .122/.244* .200/.710 19% 1-2 .037/.073 1ST PITCH 1-2 (65%) FISTER .324/.780 .188/.517** .351/.922 17.5% 2-2 .182/.400 1-1 .393/.842 2-2 (47%)   (The bold type and asterisks are for separation and readability only, nothing more. Haven’t quite worked out the table insertion thing…) And now, the situation… The Tigers are fresh off their most humiliating loss of the season, a 13-3 rout at home that went from bad to worse to what we hope will be the last pitch Jose Valverde throws as a Tiger. Tell me something. Why does Miguel Cabrera not charge the Flaherty grounder in the 4th, two outs, man on 2B, Orioles up 2-0? Mario Impemba on Cabrera waiting on the ball at the bag and attempting to tag Hardy out there: “Really Miggy’s only play.” I don’t think so. I think that was a horrendous error in judgment that sent the game on its way to the toilet. I’ll have nice things to say about Miggy later, but that play is one big black eye. HUGE black eye. Even if the tag at 3rd is the only play, it was still misplayed, at great cost. I will get to the oft-neglected subject of defense next series. Oh, I get it. The Tigers are a good hitting team. Not a good scoring team. Thanks for clearing that up, Tigers hitters. Anibal is out. That hurts. Austin is back, and way back. That helps. Valverde has reached the point of no return. Avila is on the DL, which may end up saving him his job as the starting catcher. Verlander has become some guy who reminds you a bit of Verlander at times. Roster confusion abounds, with someone about to be sent down due to Alvarez coming up for a start or two for Sanchez (we hope it’s only a start or two, despite the promise shown by Alvarez) and one too many outfielders already here and a possible bullpen shakeup brewing… but it might all be sorted out by the time you read this. Tuiasosopo is still hitting, still hardly playing, still causing much consternation among those of us permanently afflicted with Marcus Thames Disorder. Cracks are showing in the 800-Run Offense and the rotation may be starting to buckle, while the bullpen remains as unsettled and perplexing as always. I’m telling yeh, it’s all building up to something… something that can only be redeemed… with FIRE. Coleman made an astute observation related to The Late Inning Troubles and Mr. Cabrera, or Cabby, as we like to call him. I’ll paraphrase: Miggy is so clutch before the clutch that he often makes the clutch unnecessary. More about him and Tigers offensive performance overall – impact and efficiency – in the game posts to come. All right – here goes nothing, eh? Good luck, Jose Alvarez (with the Spirit Of Sanchez to guide you, as per the above). All eyes are upon you, you skid-stopper, you.
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