Game 17: Breaking down the drought

The last time the Tigers scored so few runs in a three-game stretch — or four games, for that matter — Alan Trammell was a lame duck manager, and the Tigers were already eyeing Leyland to replace him.

It was September 2005, when the Tigers went 8-24 to close out the season. They suffered back-to-back 2-0 shutouts, one to Jon Garland and the White Sox in Chicago, the next to Scott Elarton and the Indians in Detroit, then saw Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia hold them to a run in each of the next couple games. By the time they broke out of it, they scored two runs or less in eight consecutive games of a nine-game losing streak.

No one would have figured this year’s Tigers offense would be mentioned in the same conversation as that one. For a three- and four-game stretch, however, that’s the statistical comparison.

If not for Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning Friday night, the Tigers would be heading into Sunday with three consecutive shutouts, a streak they haven’t had since 1995. Really, their offensive struggles have gone on all week, but since outlasting Felix Hernandez for a 14-inning win Wednesday night in Seattle, the Tigers have been shut down by Hisashi Iwakuma, Tommy Hanson and Garrett Richards.

Richards, in particular, was notable, inducing 12 ground-ball outs over seven innings.

They’re now 4-for-44 with runners in scoring position since Tuesday, and all four of those hits are from Miguel Cabrera. No one else has had a hit with runners in scoring position since Jhonny Peralta last Sunday in Oakland.

The feeling from the Tigers is that Hernandez pitched them well and they haven’t found their timing since.

“In Seattle, we faced a lot of good pitching,” Peralta said. “They made the offense a little bit down. And here, we come here, and it’s the same thing. They’ve made good pitches to us. We need to make adjustments and try to find out how we can make a run.”

That said, their ground-ball tendencies have been surprising. On Friday, the ground balls led to double plays and quieted several scoring opportunities. On Thursday and Saturday, they had few scoring chances at all. The hits they’ve gotten have generally been for single bases.

Play of the game: If the Tigers defense makes an early play behind Porcello, the opening inning never gets to the point where Mike Trout steps to the plate with the bases loaded. That said, Porcello had a two-strike count, tried to get him out with a curveball and hung it. It was his 47th and final pitch of the inning.

“To be honest with you, at that point in the inning I was pretty gassed,” Porcello said afterwards. “That at-bat I was fighting for my life to get out of there and just get that last out and regroup. I hung a breaking ball a little too up in the zone and he hit it well.”

Line of the day: Porcello gave up nine runs on nine hits over two-thirds of an inning. According to baseball-reference.com, he’s the second Tigers pitcher since 1916 to give up nine earned runs without getting out of the first inning. Hank Borowy allowed nine earned runs without retiring a batter against the St. Louis Browns on August 18, 1951. Nate Cornejo had a nine-run first in 2003, but he made it through the inning, and just three of the runs were earned thanks to a Dmitri Young error.

Stat of the day: 1 — Swing and miss against Porcello, a changeup to Josh Hamilton that put him in a 1-2 count. He fouled off a sinker and another changeup and took three pitches to draw a walk.

Print it: “I struggled a little bit with my command, but it wasn’t all that bad. I was keeping it down in the zone. I don’t really know what to tell you except it wasn’t in the cards for me today. I did the best I could to dig deep, especially when I started to feel some pressure. It just didn’t happen for me. I wish I had a breakdown for you. I was throwing good sinkers. It just didn’t turn for me.” — Porcello

19 Comments

WagnerBlade. “Danny Worth has been placed on DL”

Boy it seems like just a week ago we were scoring almost at will? It’s just mind boggling.

I watched the Angels first inning. Incredible. He had a 94-95 mph fastball, a good 2-seamer and threw some good curveballs. There were two plays that Peralta made but both times the hitter was Bourjos and he beat them out. There was another up the middle that Jhonny possibly could have gotten to for a flip to Infante for the force but the runner Trout was already at second. They were just beating the ball into the ground and that has happened before to Rick; I remember talking about it. There were two hard hit balls before Trout’s slam. At that time, Rick had 42 pitches and Smyly had been warming for nine minutes. I don’t know if that’s enough time for Drew or not. It was just nuts.
I have no comment on the Tigers hitting, other than they’ve done this before and will do it again. The addition of Hunter and Victor hasn’t solved the problem.
Get the win tomorrow and call it a good trip.

Yes, a win tomorrow makes this a very good road trip. It also would put us at 6-6 on the road so far and if we can maintain that for the season we should be fine. .500 on the road and clean up at home. Today’s game broke a streak of eight straight quality starts. That will definitely work, too, over the long haul. Our offense has been horrible the last four games. We scored three runs in those four games. But you know what we won one of those games!! Focus on tomorrow. Will Mr. Fister be our stopper??

Looks like bruce rondon has been doing well in toledo. in his last 10 games (april 5 till now) he’s pitched 6 outtings (6.2 actually) and given up 6 hits, 2 walks and 9 Ks. he might need to work on facing lefties – as those are the only guys he’s walked.

Dotel or Brayan might be replaced by him

…the day after Borowy’s shellacking was the day Bill Veeck sent a midget, Ed Gaedel, up to lead off against the Tigers in the second game of a doubleheader. So the Tigers were on the other side history twice that weekend.

The Angels have battered the Tigers pitching staff for 18 runs and 30 hits, whereas the good guys have not done much offensively. The erratic Wilson goes for the Angels today. DiGiovanna wrote this morning that the outburst may mask a fundamental flaw – that the Angels don’t have the pitching to contend for a championship. Meanwhile the jobs of Dipoto, Scioscia and Butcher seemingly remain in jeopardy.

You can’t say Porcello doesn’t pitch-to-contact.

Just barely contact. Can a pitcher have a sinker that’s TOO good?

It is time for the real Fielder, Vmart ( HIS OBP is already 300 but he ought to do something to change his luck) and Dirks(or It is time to give someone else the opportunity in the 6th spot?) to stand up.
4-44 with RISP . All hits by Miguel.

Obviously the difference between Cabrera and everyone else is consistency.
We had been using some 16 hits to score some 7 runs when we were going good. The Nats scored 7 on 7 hits yesterday. Somebody needs to clear the bases more often.

True. They remain the station to station team of last year.19th in slugging and 12 in OPS.So 11th in Runs scored

Santiago supposed to start (I assume for Peralta?) but has dehydration. I guess that means he’s got the intestinal thing.

Santiago is 5 for 10 vs Wilson while Peralta ( inverted sptlis) is 091

What happened to the guy who keeps the IV in Ramon!!!

Who’s in charge of the IV???

the past 7 calendar dates the wOBP numbers for a few tigers:
prince (.211), andy (.186), alex (.177) and omar (.000)….and i’d say anything under a .300 is not cool.
.
and to break it down further (again the past 7 days):
Omar has obviously been horrible, not a hit in his last 21 PAs. Santiago should be playing for him instead of jhonny “flow and glide” peralta – if he wasn’t fatigued – i mean dehydrated. Andy has been striking out too much – but in general his babip is low .231 (so maybe he is getting unlucky – because he is hitting line drives at a 30.8%). Alex is hitting into too many ground outs and isn’t walking. prince is hitting the ball a little more but is popping it up (infield or outfield) a bit much, striking out too much (10) and not getting enough line drives. Interestingly enough, when he does hit it on the ground he’s been hitting into GIDPs (3 in the past week).
.

At the beginning of the season, we thought we had a starting line up that would terrorize the American League. So far we have seen them together as a unit SIX times out of seventeen games. Well, how did they do?? The scores of those six games were 4-2, 2-3, 8-3, 11-1, 10-1, 0-10. That’s a 4-2 overall record and those two losses were the only blown save that happened in the ninth inning and yesterday’s unfortunate nine run first inning for our fifth starter on national TV. One more road game against a lefty then it’s back home for the next nine games on our schedule. Let’s see how many times our original starting nine play as a unit on the home stand. How many LH starters will we see in the next ten days??

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