Thursday, May 08, 2008

Toothless Tigers lose series to Red Sox

The Tigers lost three of four to the Red Sox this week and they looked bad in the process. The starting pitching continues to be the biggest problem. They did not have any quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in the series. That's not unusual for them though. They've had only eight all year which is by far the lowest in the league. The next lowest total is 16 by Tampa Bay. For those who prefer ERA, they are dead last there as well. Their 5.46 starting pitcher ERA is more than a half a run higher than the Yankees (13th in the league at 4.79).

Justin Verlander continued to struggle mightily tonight allowing five runs on nine hits in six innings. His poor start is probably the biggest surprise on the team and it's getting to be a concern.He claims he is physically healthy and that it's just a matter of mechanics but his ERA is now 6.43 and it's sure taking him a while to figure things out. Even the fast starting Armando Galarraga got roughed up last night - five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. It's gotten to the point where if a starter gives up just four runs, such as Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson did in the first two games of the series, then it's a decent start.

Other than last night's 10-9 win, they did not have a great series offensively either scoring three runs or less in the three losses and being held to two hits in eight innings by Tim Wakefield. Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 14 and is now batting just .252. Edgar Renteria went 0 for 11. Curtis Granderson had a horrible series going 2 for 18 with eight strikeouts including seven in the last two games.

The only bright spot was their walk off win last night and even that had to be considered lucky. They scored two runs in the ninth inning off of Jon Papelbon thanks to a check swing single that didn't get past the pitcher's mound, an error by Julio Lugo and a bloop single by Placido Polanco. It was Polanco's fifth hit of the night.

I passed off their 0-7 and 2-10 start as a slump but now they have lost six out of seven just after it looked like they were starting to turn it around. With the starting pitching showing no real signs of fixing itself, I'm starting to become less optimistic about this team. On a positive note, nobody else in the division is doing anything either. Amazingly this 15-21 team is only 3 1/2 games behind. That means that when or if they figure things out, they will have a chance to catch up quickly.

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