Game 131: The A’s strike back

Maybe this has gotten lost in the Summer of Miggy, but Tigers pitching all around has been pretty good. It was not on Monday night, and not even Cabrera’s slugging could overcome that.

The numbers, looking back from Monday’s 8-6 loss to the A’s, are impressive:

  • Detroit hadn’t given up this many runs in a game since July 9, the week before the All-Star break.
  • The Tigers bullpen also hadn’t given up four runs in a game since that same contest.
  • Anibal Sanchez hadn’t allowed more than two runs in a game since July 11, also the week before the All-Star break. He gave up four Monday.
  • Sanchez hadn’t walked more than two batters in a game since July 19. He walked two batters in a row Monday.
  • The Tigers hadn’t walked eight batters in a nine-inning game since May 11, the only other time this season they’d done it. They walked eight Yankees on August 9 in the Bronx, but that game went into the 10th.

This was the kind of game the Tigers haven’t had lately, which would explain why Jim Leyland kept hammering home the point.

“You can sum this one up as we didn’t pitch very well and we didn’t hold it,” Leyland said. “Once we came back on a couple different occasions, we gave it right back. And that’s usually the kiss of death.”

That was one of eight times Leyland said his team either didn’t pitch “good” or “very well” within the first few minutes of his postgame session. They had a handful of chances to battle their way back, and they pulled it off a couple of those times, but it was the pitching that created the situations in the first place. More important, it was the A’s rallies off that pitching that put them back down immediately after the two times they tied it.

“They beat us,” Leyland continued. “They swung the bats good and we didn’t pitch good. They’re always an aggressive team with the Donaldson kid and Moss. I don’t think that’s anything out of the ordinary. They’re very aggressive. They normally are. They didn’t really do anything different. We just didn’t pitch good enough, period.”

They’re an aggressive team that came in with a relatively patient game plan against Sanchez, who had been thriving on swings and misses in August. After getting 42 swings and misses over five starts in July, he had 63 through four starts in August heading into Monday, according to baseball-reference.com. He still got 15 Monday night, including 13 on his changeup, but he didn’t do it with quite the same ball-strike ratio he had in his previous outings — 66 strikes out of 112 pitches over five innings, including 22 strikes out of 39 fastballs.

“With the way that he’s been pitching lately, I think it was big for us to be selective and lay off his changeup out of the zone,” Daric Barton said. “That’s one of this go-to pitches, his changeup.”

Said Sanchez: “Today was one of the tough days. The command was not there. The location was not there. I think I was fighting a lot with my mechanics. The location was really wild today. That’s just what happened today.”

Play of the game: Miguel Cabrera’s 43rd home run of the year will be the headline of the game, but the highlight was Coco Crisp’s diving catch to rob Matt Tuiasosopo of a hit on his line drive to right-center field. It came right after Victor Martinez’s leadoff homer in the eighth inning made it an 8-5 game, and it loomed larger after back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. That could’ve been an extra run, and it also could’ve meant Cabrera coming to bat in that inning with a chance to tie it or pull them ahead.

Out of the game: The Tigers had bases-loaded chances to tie or pull ahead in the seventh and eighth innings and got outs in both. The seventh inning was a winning strategy by the A’s to walk Cabrera, bring in the lefty against Prince Fielder and get out of it. The strategy in the eighth inning was a mound visit and an aggressive approach to Torii Hunter with Cabrera on deck. Ryan Cook fanned Hunter on three pitches, including back-to-back sliders.

Strategy session: A’s manager Bob Melvin was fully aware of Fielder’s numbers after a Cabrera walk. He was no doubt also aware of Fielder’s numbers off lefties this year. He put Cabrera on anyway and brought in Sean Doolittle against Fielder, a .286 hitter off lefties going into the night.

“Based on what happened the previous at-bat, too [with the home run], you have to take your chances with the other guy at times,” Melvin said. “Not that it’s an easy thing to do. He thrives in those situations. I’m sure he gives them a little extra motivation, but you have to do what you think is practical too.”

Line of the night: Victor Martinez went 4-for-5 to raise his batting average to a season high .289. He had a .264 average on July 26, and a .227 average on June 26.

Stat of the night: Omar Infante has five hits on 0-2 counts this year. Two of them are home runs, giving him four for his career.

Quotable: “Well, you have to remember we’re facing a big league team. They did it. We couldn’t answer back. That’s the way it is. That’s baseball. Our pitching went out there trying, giving their best. Nobody wants to go out there giving out runs. Nobody wants to go out there and strike out with men in scoring position. That’s baseball.” — Victor Martinez

25 Comments

Just a bad game, but our pitching staff was due for one, can’t win them all, too bad we couldn’t do something with bases loaded though – 2 innings that just one hit might have made a huge difference. Another HR for the big guy though – glad clubs are still pitching to him a bit.

Yep…..that about sums it up. The last bad outing Anibal had he went on the DL..I’m just hoping that’s not the case this time. Truth be told Max is getting a lot of press and rightly so but Anibal in some respects has been better. We need the good JV today he needs to pitch well and give them some innings he just has to.

First game back home usually results in a listless game from the Tigers. I guess even a 3 day trip taxed them. Cabrera is unbelievable, I think you will see more IBBs, it just doesn’t makes sense to let him beat you.

Sometimes I wonder why Leyland is interviewed postgame at all. You know?

My take: Leyland used all 2nd tier relievers in the game. Sanchez had a rough outing, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings, then the 2nd tier relievers didn’t “pitch good” giving up 4 runs in 4 innings. The top four guys in the pen got the night off and Oakland finished with 8 runs.
You don’t win every game, but that one didn’t need to be a loss.

I thought the headline of the game was walking Cabrera in that spot. Like Bob Melvin, I don’t care about those post-IBB numbers by Fielder. Melvin’s team is in a tough race and his strategy last night is one we’ll see when we play contenders and in the playoffs. I would swap Victor and Prince immediately. That won’t stop managers from walking Miggy, but it will bring a much more dangerous hitter to the plate behind him. This is a no-brainer.

Oakland scored first and NEVER gave up the lead. First key move of the game was Melvin PHitting for Seth Smith when Alvarez entered the game. Tie game makes it so important for young pitchers to get that first batter out.

That is a great idea Rich. Prince has lost his his touch. He is not a ‘dangerous” hitter to opposing pitchers anymore. Sure by reputation but logic screams that he can be had. He is, and has not been, pulling fly balls. keeps hitting to the deepest part of Comerica and just about every other ball park. Swinging at bad pitches all over the strike zone. His 280 homers have still yielded only one solitary grand slam in his career. He is not the clutch guy you want behind Miggy right now.
VMart is hitting as well as he ever has. He protected Miggy two years ago just fine.
Might take the pressure that Fielder is feeling off too. And you can see the the pressure and the frustration all over him.

Would JL do that? I doubt it. He is loyal to a fault with his “stars”. He drove me crazy with how he managed Sheffield.

Thank you, Dan. I don’t think Jim will do it either, but I can’t fathom a reason why not. Two lefties in a row after Victor? Switch Infante to 6th. Other managers change lineups all the time. Two years ago, I laughed when they walked Cabrera with Victor coming up. I agree that Prince may do better hitting 5th. I don’t want to end up frustrated with Prince. I like the guy.

How about Fielder, Cabrera, and Martinez??? Could that help get Prince going?? His problem is RHP. Only batting .250 against RHP this year Vs. .328 last year. This also would split up Prince and Andy. No way can we have Prince and Andy back to back.

Based only in the game pitched by Sanchez against the Twins and the daily recaps, I still have some catchup to do (been overseas does not mean no internet but vacations do mean no time for surfing),The Tigers looks like they are finally regressing and scoring late. They still need to find consistency to run with the division as they can.
Some people here is very worried about Miguel. While a physician, based on what the Tigers say ,backs up their position, some journalists were in desperado mode after watching the blood stain.
The sabermetric crowd owes Miguel a heated Hernadez-Scherzer debate about the Cy Young. By traditional metrics , Scherzer wins hands down. By new metrics, it is too close to call.
Sanchez by the numbers have received a good deal of run support , but averages are not a good indicator.16 QS and nothing to show for it.
Very surprised by the Tigers sending down Coke just before he reach the 5 years of service time( August 22). The move was due at least two months ago. Of course, I wont be surprised if he is part of the roster in the postseason , deservedly or not). Marte gives them a spot for Coke, but how is Dotel doing ? If he is not ready to go , there is the spot for Castellanos. He is already in rehab assignment but would be on DL by August 31 th

Jackson, Hunter, Miguel:three RH in line ( four, is you add Iglesias ). If there is no problem that way why with two LH? Especially when the first LH is hitting better against LHP

As always, very interesting El Tigre.
I would hold out ZERO hope for Dotel. Even if he comes back he is another year older and it’s not like he was Mariano Bloody Rivera after all!
DD needs to go to the waiver wire.
Who votes for Cy Young? Who says they should or have to use Sabre Metrics anyway?
I do think Castellanos would help in September. If nothing else, it will help him.

you WOULD hold out no hope for Dotel! haha!

Even mentioning a lineup change here probably ensures it won’t happen.

That’s correct Evan.

The line up change is a great idea, VMart will be hitting .300 before we know it, he is scalding the ball. He is such a gamer, I love watching him play and even though I was terrified of him catching, it energized him I believe.

Addressing the comment up there, no way I want Prince hitting third. As I said, Infante 6th will split up the lefties if that’s important. Let 7-8-9 do whatever they do, but make 1-6 a true murderer’s row. Why are we half stepping around here? If opposing managers want to put Cabrera on base when there are already people on base, give ‘em Victor, Prince and Omar all in a row afterward.

princes offensive numbers post a cabby walk WERE pretty good at the ASB. But what about his numbers after a cabby hit? sure seems like cabby has a lot of 2 out hits and prince gets the 3rd out……
.
Prince batting 3rd would take ABs away from Cabby…..not that it is a deal breaker but just saying…
.
and Hello from Vermont, everybody! That’s my new home for a while….lots of sawx fans here :o

So then you’re not my homey anymore. That means I don’t have to be nice to you. Jerk. ;-)
Enjoy your new digs.

I am suppose to get FSN detroit very soon – as well as interwebs so i can listen to the sweet sweet sounds of Jim Price sucking on a cough drop. JK jk I really miss them.

Are you going to Boston for any of the games next week Evan

If I remember correctly our 3/4 combo was hatched by Mr.Boras, given to Mr. I who in turn told Mr. DD who then ordered Mr. Leyland to use it. Two hundred ninety-three games later we use it as long as Cabby is able to start. Works pretty good. Every game V-Mart has played for Detroit he has batted fifth. That works pretty good, too. Go Tigers!!!

Miggy batting 3rd means he gets to see a starter in the 1st, when they are often more vulnerable. It also means the starter has to have that in the back of his mind. That means he is throwing more fastballs to AJ and Torii. Neither one of them likse to walk much so why not sit back and wait for a pitch you can hit?
The starter is in trouble before he even throws a pitch!!!!. With the Prince batting 3rd the whole thing would change..
Rich’s idea is a very good one..

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