The night after wasting good offense and a Verlander start to lose, the Tigers’ bats didn’t show up and support Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez pitched well, giving up just one run in 7 innings and getting some decent defense behind him with a few double plays.
However, the mighty Bruce Chen and his 5.13 ERA and his 4.54 xFIP (which puts him between Poor and Awful, seriously, go look) shut out the Tigers for 8 innings.
There is not much to say about this. A team that is fighting for the playoffs goes to play the Royals for three games and drops the first two with their ace on the mound and a man they traded for at the deadline to help them into the playoffs. Not a good couple of days for the Tigers other than they have to win tonight with Rick Porcello on the mound.
In other complaints: Jim Leyland. I do not understand Jim Leyland’s line ups. He has been all over the place lately and his love of playing righty’s vs. left handed pitchers has just disappeared and it doesn’t make sense.
After acquiring Omar Infante, a right handed hitter, to play second base, Leyland said he would bat 9th against righty’s and 2nd against lefty’s. Yet, he has batted second against most righty’s and for some reason, with a lefty on the mound last night, he sat him. Choosing to start Andy Dirks, a lefty in the 2 spot.
I think getting Dirks into the line up more is a good thing, but when Leyland always sticks to match ups, LOVES the match ups, then suddenly stops playing them it just confuses me. If there was a good point to play Gerald Laird, it would have been last night with the lefty on the mound, but no, Alex Avila played so that means Laird will get a day to play against a right later in the week.
To me, this is the same as game 163 in 2009 against the Twins when Leyland decided to play half way with one out and runners on first and third. Instead of playing in to stop the runner OR playing back in double play depth, he didn’t commit to either one and instead of getting the double play to get out of the inning, the run scored and the Tigers lost. OR if they had played in, could have cut the run down at home.
Just like in not committing to one way or the other on that play in 2009, the Tigers have lacked consistency this year with Leyland not playing consistent line ups. Jhonny Peralta is your 5th hitter for a week then its back to Delmon Young, then it will be Brennan Boesch because he has a 4-5 night over the weekend. Then Avila will be it after that.
I have no problem with Leyland trying to find the best fit for this team, but this should have been done in June and July, NOT LATE AUGUST when the team is back 3 games of the division and the wild card.
Hopefully they get this thing turned around tonight and can make up some ground with the big series against the White Sox this weekend.