The Tigers were happy to leave cold, grey and windy Michigan and hoped for slightly milder weather in Missouri. Instead, they were greeted in Kansas City by more cold, more wind and a chill factor in the mid 20s. Players were visibly uncomfortable and many wore hoods to fight off the miserable conditions. Magglio Ordonez went so far as to wear a ski mask in right field. The result was another rather sloppy game and a 3-1 loss to the Royals.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first against Justin Verlander when Ordonez turned a probable single off the bat of David DeJesus into three bases. DeJesus then scored on a grounder by Mark Grudielanek. It sure has been an adventurous week for Ordonez and some of the other Tiger defenders.
Verlander allowed no more runs and left after 6 innings with the score tied 1-1. He was uncharacteristically wild allowing 5 walks in the 4th and 5th innings. Fortunately, he pitched his way out of jams just as he did through most of last season.
Jose Mesa did not impress in his Tigers debut allowing hits to the first three batters he faced in the 7th inning. He was not helped by Craig Monroe who misjudged a wind blown fly ball which dropped in front of him for a single plating the second run of the inning. Wil Ledezma took over and pitched a strong 1 2/3 innings allowing just a walk.
The Tigers were held to just 5 hits by Jorge de la Rosa, Joakim Soria and David Riske. They scored their only run in the second when Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey walked, Guillen stole third and Monroe hit a sacrifice fly. Tigers fans were expecting a little more off the Royals staff but it was not the Tigers night.
More disappointing than the offense though was the sloppy defense. When the Tigers were playing good ball last year, defense was usually an important part of it. It's only been three games but so far their team fielding has not been too sharp. Even the usual stellar Pudge Rodriguez has already allowed three steals, failed to block an errant pitch and did not attempt to double off a stranded runner after a pop out. Inge has had problems throwing the ball but has been helped out by Casey on a few occasions.
Billfer also commented on the fielding problems earlier. I'm not concerned yet though. It's still very early and I'm hoping they'll get it back together when the conditions improve which should be soon.
Mike Maroth will face Gil Meche tomorrow at 2:10 in game two of the series. The forecast is 42 degrees and sunny. That's not ideal but it's an improvement over the last couple of games.