The Tigers outhit the Royals 16-6 tonight but somehow managed to lose 6-3. The problem was they left 13 men on base and grounded into 2 double plays in one of the most frustrating games of the season. Royals starter Brian Bannister was in trouble almost every inning but pitched well with runners on base and allowed only 2 runs in 6 innings despite allowing 11 hits. They continued to get runners on base against the Royals bullpen but could only score one additional run on a sacrifice fly in the 9th.
After pitching brilliantly in his previous start, Nate Robertson had control problems tonight and it eventually caught up to him. He allowed a 3 run double to Alex Gordon with 2 outs in the 4th and a 3 run homer to Billy Butler in the 5th. Their bullpen continued to do some pretty good work as much maligned Jason Grilli kept them in the game by pitching 3 2/3 perfect innings. The bats could not bring back however.
Much of the buzz around the internet tonight was centered around Jim Leyland's decision to bat
Timo Perez third. After finally winning a series over the weekend, against the Yankees no less, we were all looking forward to watching them build on that momentum against the Royals. Then we see the starting line-ups and notice that Timo Perez is batting third! Now, Bannister is really tough on righties but Timo Perez batting third?
Perez has batted .233/.278/.322 over the last 3 seasons and that does not include this year's limited stats which are even worse. His stats against right-handers are essentially the same. After leaving runners on base in 4 weak at bats, he finally doubled to lead off the 9th. A 1 for 5 night is pretty much what you'd expect from Perez. It was a puzzling decision but not surprising given Leyland's fondness for washed up Perezes.
That being said, the decision to bat Perez third was not why they lost the game. They did get 16 hits including 4 for Magglio Ordonez and 3 apiece for Placido Polanco and surprisingly Ramon Santiago. They just come through with hits with runners on base.