An eight-run inning turned the opener into a Baltimore romp.
The first two games of the postseason provided us a back-and-forth slugfest and one-sided boat race. Thursday's series-opening tilt between the Tigers and Orioles contained elements of both. Through the first seven and a half innings, the largest lead enjoyed by either team was two runs. Then the O's struck for eight runs, depriving us of a nail-biting finish, and validating Tigers fans' collective fears.
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The Orioles and Tigers announcers give a clinic in how to determine intent and stick up for the good guys in 15 seconds.
After the Tigers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning this afternoon Jason Hammel hit Matt Tuiasosopo with a high breaking ball on the first pitch of the subsequent at-bat and Hammel was ejected.
What has to go wrong for Justin Verlander to have a bad day at work?
The stage was set for an epic duel in Arlington last Thursday, pitting perennial CY Young contender Justin Verlander against 2013's frontrunner for the hardware, Yu Darvish of the Rangers. The matchup was a slam-dunk selection for the Game of the Week on this week's episode of TINSTAAPP, and the hype was such that it took thoughtful consideration before co-host/BP colleague Paul Sporer reluctantly chose the “under” when I set the line at 23 strikeouts for the two starters combined.
To say that the game fell short of expectation is a massive understatement. Darvish threw 130 pitches in a game in which he surrendered four runs over the first four frames yet was in no danger of losing. Verlander saw to it that Darvish would get his seventh win of the season, surrendering eight earned runs before he could escape the third inning. The third frame of Thursday's game was the worst of Verlander's career—the Rangers plated seven runners, including two via bases-loaded walks, and the outing ended mercifully after Geovany Soto knocked a 97-mph fastball into the left-field stands for an 8-3 Ranger lead.
Dave Dombrowski declared that the Tigers and their deposed closer were never ever getting back together, but they couldn't stay apart.
Jose Valverde recorded a save against the Royals last October 1st, in his final regular-season game of 2012. He also recorded a save against the Royals yesterday, in his first regular-season game of 2013. Between those two games, Valverde lost his job as closer, spent six months looking for work, and finally re-signed with the same team, which supposedly had no interest in bringing him back. Because the trip was so circuitous, it’s worth recounting how he got from point A to point B, even though the two points look so similar.
During the winter, when we’re starved for baseball and wondering where free agents will end up, we treat each new report and rumor as if it might mean something. Where there’s smoke, there’s sometimes a signing. Of course, most rumors don’t lead to confirmed reports. They’re based on bad information, or good information that goes stale. They get published, tweeted, and blogged about briefly before being replaced by the next rumor, which usually has just as short a shelf life. It's hard to ignore the mostly non-news in the moment, but when the offseason is over and we know where all the free agents fell, it’s fun (and often illustrative) to sift through the conflicting reports and rumors and wonder where they came from. So that’s what we have here: an annotated timeline of how Jose Valverde wound up at the back of the same bullpen.
Are the stats missing something the Tigers' skipper sees?
You might not think it’s particularly important for a team to have a dominant closer, or even to have a defined one. But Tigers manager Jim Leyland definitely does. Two months ago, he toldThe Detroit News, “I totally disagree with people who don’t think you need a closer to win. Most teams that win have a truly dominant closer.”
The first of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we get things started with a look at the six teams with the highest odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
Flash back to the first time Porcello competed for a spot in a crowded Tiger rotation.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
The Tigers have to decide what to do with Rick Porcello, who's competing for the fifth-starter slot with Drew Smyly this spring and could end up on the trade block. They were facing a similar situation when David Laurila caught up with a younger Porcello in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Prospectus Q&A" column on April 1, 2009.
The 2013 Tigers will be heavy, slow, and probably bad at baserunning. How much will it hurt them?
We’re not great at holding a lot of small details in our brain for a long period of time, so we summarize and categorize, often remembering only the nut graph of a story rather than the specifics. I think we do this for baseball teams, too, and I’m sure I do it for baseball teams. I know a little bit about every Tiger, but when I think about the Tigers I mainly think along the lines of these bigger, summarizing narratives: