Game 49: Tigers’ offensive struggles hit flip side

The Tigers were expecting to get a boost from the return of shortstop Jose Iglesias to the starting lineup. This wasn’t quite what they had in mind.

Their fate was pretty well decided long before Iglesias doubled in J.D. Martinez in the ninth inning Thursday night, turning this into a 12-2 loss instead of 12-1. It was significant statistically because it matched the number of run-scoring hits the Tigers posted previously on this West Coast trip: One.

Yoenis Cespedes’ three-run homer Wednesday was the only run-scoring hit in Oakland. Detroit was shut out Monday, and got a 1-0 win Tuesday  night on the strength of a Rajai Davis sacrifice fly. It still left town taking two out of three.

Thursday was hoped to be game the Tigers’ offensive struggles changed. They’ve hit lefties this season. They hit C.J. Wilson for 11 runs over 16 innings in their previous three innings. Instead, the only run they scored came when C.J. Wilson hit Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded.

Wilson regrouped from there, got a called third strike on Yoenis Cespedes and limited a threat that had been built on one single, a pair of two-out walks and a pitch off Cabrera’s surgically repaired right foot (fortunately, closer to the toes than the area of the surgery, according to manager Brad Ausmus).

“If you had to put your finger on something, that would be the one inning when it kind of got away from us,” Ausmus said.

Wilson allowed a run over six innings despite five walks, thanks to the seven strikeouts.

“We hit a few balls hard early off of him, then got some walks,” Ausmus said. “We just didn’t hit.”

Low-scoring struggles in Oakland were nothing new in recent years. Low scoring off C.J. Wilson was; Detroit had scored at least three runs in five of their previous six meetings, dating back to his final season as a Texas Ranger in 2011. The one stingy outing in the bunch, Wilson walked just two guys over 7 2/3 innings in September 2012.

Ausmus said some players are putting pressure on themselves to get the big hit. That said, they’ve had a profound lack of big hits lately. This is one matchup where they clearly missed Victor Martinez, even this year’s version, given his ability to bat right-handed. If they can get him swinging at least reasonably well left-handed now, they’d probably take it, given his ability to get hits in pressure situations. It’s difficult to expect that to happen in just a 15-day stint, though. He continues to work out at home in Orlando with the hope of strengthening the knee, but it’s not known yet how that will translate to his swing.

For now, this is the offense they have, and they have to put runs together. Even without Martinez, Ausmus believes they’re better than this.

Play of the game: Albert Pujols’ two-run homer certainly wasn’t the shot that decided the game, but it put the Tigers down from the outset, capitalizing on a hanging slider from Buck Farmer. The Angels hit two homers in their first six batters, building a 3-0 lead that left the Tigers searching for runs to answer until the Angels put it clearly out of reach in the sixth.

Out of the game: The Tigers had a number of hitters who have pounded Wilson over the years. Cespedes wasn’t one of them. He was 0-for-6 with five strikeouts against Wilson during his Oakland years, and Wilson added to it to escape the third, spotting a called third strike to strand the bases loaded and hold his damage at a run.

Strategery: It was one run among a dozen, but Johnny Giavotella’s run in the fifth looked like a page out of Mike Scioscia’s younger years. He turned what looked initially like a double into a triple when Cespedes, who was playing closer to the gap, didn’t get to the ball in the left-field corner right away. That set up Erick Aybar’s squeeze bunt two pitches later for a 4-1 lead.

Line of the game: Wilson became the first pitcher to hold the Tigers to one run despite five walks since Texas’ Derek Holland on July 13, 2013. Holland, too, survived with help from seven strikeouts.

Stat of the game: Farmer gave up home runs in his first six batters Thursday (two) than he allowed in 51 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo this year.

21 Comments

Anaheim and Boston Tiger’s own house of horrors. As Rich said we just don’t win there no matter what. Farmer is one thing But this lack of run production by everyone on this team is utterly amazing and mind-boggling to me. Lots of nice batting averages Lots of walks nobody including the big guy makes him pay. I just don’t get it I keep on thinking this can’t continue and it continues.

I’m usually not about “strategic” lineup changes, but perhaps JD or Cespedes would do better hitting in front of Cabrera on a temporary basis, putting Miggy at #4. Pitchers aren’t afraid of who’s behind Miggy however you line ’em up. As Brad says, guys are pressing to get the big hit.

Right now , I see a bigger problem: 90 AB with no runners on(33, one third, leading-off inning, and he hit third!) 300/853.
83 AB with runners on: 361/1187
Just 48 AB with RISP 313/1010
If the player on base remain in 1B:429/1.431 No more stealing attempt with him coming.
in 19 AB, the pitcher dared to pitch him 12 times; 5 for 12: 417/1465( not a typo)
I rather try Iglesias leading.off

The fact is might is not at the top of his game.

I was attempting to come up with a way to get the other hitters going.

Cespedes has being the third bat before and did well with A´s and Boston

Clearly we need to fire Llyod. hah. seriously though, can someone please regress the game-to-game variability of team offense against characteristics of team offense? Is it OBP, BA, small ball, running game…..what is it that makes a team consistent (offensively) day in and day out? Because I don’t think it is the hitting coach anymore.

I’m surprised you ever did. From what I can see, it’s luck and timely homers. How’s that?

i would argue a team that relied on the long ball would have a large variability than one that is better at manufacturing runs.

The Tigers are third, MLB, in avg. Second in OBP . 8th in Slg. but second in OPS. The problem is the lack of power.22nd.

J D season was an outlier, so far. Victor HR tally in 2014 was a career high.And Cespedes needs to get comfortable at CoPa.
Joyner is not the problem, they are making contact.
Iglesias, and Gose are hitting well above any rational expectation
Kinsler new approach? fail
BTW: they are more patient now, taking pitches . That is a mistake , but around the Tigersphere ,it was the priority

hard to envision the lack of power being the key to the lack of consistency though, no? Perhaps it’s true though.

I don’t think there’s any such thing as a consistent offense since baseball is such a streaky game. That said, even manufacturing runs usually requires someone to get the run scoring hit, sac fly, or even ground out. The Tigers get doubleplays.
I think it’s something that will turn around but the question is when?

Once below 500, DD should do something

The amount of DPs and lack of HRs leads one to believe they are not making opposing pitchers pitch them up. They are swinging at stuff down and away regularly.
Oposing pitchers don’t have to to pitch up in the zone at all.

It is not Rajai’s fault but I will be the first tos say he is valuable. Perhaps more valuable to another team than ours. We need a big LHB. Waiting on Vmart and Avila is not the solution to that problem.

Why are they not having Gose bunt with men on base?

The playes seem disengaged to me. There is little “connection” between hittrs in that lineup.

I was really disappointed in Cespedes’ effort. I thought he was lazy on the Pujols homer and he was brutally lazy on the Giavotella triple. Looked disinterested at the plate. But that is no different than a few other guys too.

Rich’s comment about the lack of the long ball is right on. We have 3 guys on the roster that have hit as many as 30 in a season. (one of them is injured). We have two other that just about every Tiger fan going into this season thought had a chance of hitting 30 (or close to it). Those two guys being Cespedes and J.D.
We are getting very little long ball impact. Kinsler being the leading example.

Eduardo Rodriguez made his debut last night and shut out Boston. Why can’t we have guys in our minors that do that?

Kinsler is not an issue, as someone suggests…he’s one of the best 2b there is..
he just happens to be on a team thats trying to hit a hr all the time…. I notice all
those swings and misses…Commerica doesn’t need A/C.
.Cut down on the swings

The LHB? in fact, JD, Cabrera and Cespedes kill RHB and Cespedes is unable to hit LHP. Of course, they are 9-4 vs LHP
Kinsler, 0 HR and just coming of a week long slump. 80 below his career Slg%

Tigers PR ‏@DetroitTigersPR ·

Lineup at LAA: Davis 8, Kinsler 4, Cabrera 3, Cespedes 7, J. Martinez 9, McCann 2, Castellanos DH, Perez 5, Iglesias 6. Sanchez starts.

First game at his natural postion for Castellanos

Ha! 🙂

He’s been auditioning for that position since he came to the Tigers.

LOL—good one. Anybody have any idea why Nick does the “Herky Jerky” pumping his right arm maniacally when balls are hit to him?
I do agree with just about everybody here. He is not a good 3rd sacker and because of his age he probably needs to play OF or 1B.
He would be far more forgivable and tolerable if he could actually produce runs. He is not Bryant, Harper or Trout–that’s for bloody sure.
Actually you could package him up with Rajai and try to get Headley and a bullpen piece as far as I’m concerned

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