Thursday: Verlander might have summed it up well

Justin Verlander has been known to blurt out exclamations in frustration on the mound. He does it the first time he takes the mound during spring training workouts, so of course he’s going to do it during a game. His parents got him to cover his mouth with his glove when he can so that lip-readers can’t pick it up on TV.

On Thursday, it was hard to miss. It was a one-word exclamation after he missed with a 2-1 pitch to Endy Chavez, and it was loud enough to hear from the press box.

“It was 2-1,” Verlander said. “I knew I didn’t throw a strike. I threw a ball.”

It was frustration over one pitch, but by the end of Thursday’s 2-0 shutout to the Mariners that thwarted their attempt at their first sweep at Safeco Field since 2006, it might as well have summed up the day.

Alex Avila hinted at the frustration afterwards.

“When you’re able to get the first two, you always try to get the sweep,” he said. “But I think as disappointing sometimes as losing a game that you feel like you should’ve won, a series win is always good.”

You get the sense they felt like this was their game to take. The aggressive sense is there, but the results clearly were not.

When Jim Leyland talks about not believing in momentum in baseball, this is what he means. The Tigers had their ace going and their confidence in kind, taking on a Mariners squad that was reeling from a 14-inning loss and a quick turnaround for a day game, and Hisashi Iwakuma took any semblance of momentum away. The only carryover was the sense of a tightly pitched duel, and the offensive struggles that boggled Detroit even in the two games they won.

Take away Miguel Cabrera’s two-run homer and four-RBI performance in the opener, and the M’s kept the Tigers offense contained pretty well. Their two other runs Tuesday came on back-to-back walks with the bases loaded. Their two runs Wednesday scored on groundouts, the first of them fueled in large part by an Andy Dirks hit-and-run double. But Felix Hernandez does that to a lot of teams.

Iwakuma to starting to pile up teams he has quieted, too, for that matter. Still, with just two strikeouts over six innings, this wasn’t the same performance he had put on the A’s, White Sox and Rangers. The numbers for several Tigers hitters took a beating for the series, cooling off some previously hot bats.

Bigger picture, it shouldn’t linger. A single win against the Angels this weekend would give the Tigers a winning record on their only trip to the West Coast this season, and that’s a feat. Taking two out of three would give Detroit a 6-3 record on the trek. The last time they went to all three AL West Coast cities in 2008, they went 3-6. When they made the same trip in April 2006, they went 6-3, and the momentum carried over to a 6-1 homestand.

Play of the game: Kyle Seager stepped off the Mariners bench, pinch-hit in the seventh inning, jumped a first-pitch fastball from Verlander and lined it into the left-field corner. Verlander was kicking himself over it after the game, but it was still a quick bat from Seager.

Biggest out: Endy Chavez’s diving catch in the ninth inning was a highlight play, but the double play Iwakuma got on Prince Fielder iwth oneout in the fourth following a Miguel Cabrera arguably had a bigger impact.

Line of the day: Fielder broke out of his series slump with a single and a double, but the double play and the Chavez kept him from a potential slump-busting game. He went 2-for-4.

28 Comments

Alex Avila said, “When you’re able to get the first two, you always try to get the sweep,” he said. “But I think as disappointing sometimes as losing a game that you feel like you should’ve won, a series win is always good.”

Alex needs to spend more time looking at videos than being Mr. Sociable with media. His hitting is bogging the team down. He is the “Go To Guy” for media after losses. There may be value in that but I would far prefer that he corrects the lack of hitting that has developed since his All Star year.

wasn’t brandon inge in a similar situation?

He doesn’t need to bat .300……but you’d like to see him go attest .250, although I believe he can do little better than that. Which leads me to the bigger sue with Alex is why he is constantly taking balls off his head? I cannot believe there isn’t something inherently wrong with the way he catches. Yes other catchers get hit, but nowhere near the rate of him. Heck maybe his vision is screwed p from taking so many foul balls to hs head

I heard theories on that from two scouts. The first said he set up too far from the plate and the second said he set up too close to the plate.

So he needs to go in the middle? Haha.

Avila sits tall behind the dish. I understand the idea behind that approach is to present a better target and frame of reference for the pitcher. Also, he does sit back from the plate, which puts him in foul ball trajectory more frequently.

the answer might be external. He’s catching a pitching staff that has some of most dynamic and explosive stuff the mlb has ever seen. All respect to those before my time – but catching the three top strikeout guys (in the league) is going to lead to more getting hit (foul tips, bats, balls that just get through, etc.) on your catcher’s body.

I don’t know. My Don Kelly-like career of playing all positions included only one inning at catcher. Yep, I took a foul tip to the face. What are the odds?

I saw that a Pirates prospect (Sands) was suspended for 1 game for going into the stands in Toledo, defending Brandon Inge. I don’t what the knucklehead said in Toledo, but seriously, people need to leave Inge alone. I got as frustrated as the next guy when he slumped, but come on folks, he was a true professional for the Tigers. Did he get into trouble with the law? Did he quit? Just pisses me off to hear about so called Tiger (Mud Hens) fans disrespecting someone, especially a former Tiger.

Avila Ba was ,well ,above average last year for a catcher. His 350 OBP was good to great.
In 2011 , his Babip was way too high.
The problem according to Schonfield,the wrong approach the Tigers want him to take:
http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/33680/tigers-want-alex-avila-to-swing-more-often

Doesn’t appear that there will be a game at Fenway tonight. I’ve been to Boston, but it’s hard to imagine what it’s like there now.
This is like a movie script, but all to agonizingly real.

The game was cancelled. Everybody at home.

One of my classmate from high-school ran the Marathon for 8 consecutive years. She had troubles training and did not run this year.

Game postponed seems to be the only news. Guess they will have to wait to do their version of the National Anthem.
Speaking of that, I wish FSD would include the anthem as part of the pregame show. I’d much rather hear that than C-Mo with whoever and a bunch of Bernstein commercials. Besides, the anthem is part of the ballpark experience.
And I’ll bet I’m in a very small minority on that subject.

i second that. I like when they play it on the radio as well. And honestly, I don’t even like the national anthem.

Good thing they are out on the west coast. I’ts in the 30′s, snowing, with wind gusts 25-40 mph Just awful weather right now in MI.

yep, as I sit right now I can actually hear the wind whistling. The whole Mud Hens thing ticks me off – makes my town look terrible and I hate how one jerk can do that. That said, players have to put up with a lot from fans and will hear all sorts of stuff that they have to block out, Sands will have to work on that. A few years back at a game the guys in front of us were heckling a visiting player, they sat right behind the on deck circle and kept asking him his hat size – guy had a Charlie Brown of a head. Finally the players turns around and actually answered them and laughed, and the hecklers were speechless but laughed too – gotta have thick skin when you play sports for a living that is for sure. Too bad all the same – whenever Brandon was in t-town he was heard to bring in the best food in town for the players and treat them all very, very well. One more late night, at least no work tomorrow!

I don’t think it makes your town look terrible. People know it’s one jerk. I used to go down there for the riverfront festivals. No jokes about there was one more jerk in town on those days! :-)

i went to the mud hens vs tigers game a last year. i didn’t like the mud hen fans — they seemed to be very unfriendly to non-mud hen fans. it was weird to say the least.

I gotta think most of these hecklers are people that never played sports. They are just annoying. And picking on Inge? Don’t get it.

The Tigers are now atop MLB in Ks wih 151 in 15 games.

Gosh i just realized Sanchez – not porcello is pitching tonight. whatever i just thought it would be porcello then sanchez.

Rondon is pitching the ninth with T up 3-1.

Save with two Ks for him.

AJax CF, Hunter RF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, VMart DH, Dirks LF, Peralta SS, Avila C, Santiago 2B; Sanchez

1 innings. no runs 2 SO for Rondon
Putkonem 1 run in 3 innings

Omar might benefit from a day off. He doesn’t look good at the plate IMO. Very dependable in the field though. Those DPs he has started recently have been very, very good.

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