You know it's a bad night for the Tigers staff when Don Kelly comes in to get the final out. After being routed by the Mets 14-3 last night, the Tigers were out slugged 16-9 tonight. Jim Leyland, who hates using position players as pitchers under any circumstances, finally had enough when reliever David Purcey was unable to get the third out of the ninth inning. Kelly retired the only batter he faced - the right-handed hitting Scott Hairston - on a routine fly to center fielder Austin Jackson. He seemed to tie up Hairston pretty good on what looked to be a curve ball.
You also know it is a bad night for the pitching staff when the Tigers get five home runs and still lose by seven runs. Cabrera had two homers including a 450-foot three-run blast to center field in the sixth. Andy Dirks, Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Raburn hit solo shots. The hitters kept trying to make a game out of it. After falling behind 5-0 early, they cut it to 5-2 in the fourth. A four-run sixth made it 8-6 at the time and a two-run seventh made it 10-8.
Unfortunately, every time the Tigers scored, the pitching staff would give it right back. Starter Phil Coke was shelled, Al Alburquerque was uncharacteristically bad and Purcey was so awful he had to be relieved by Kelly.
As we head into the second half, the Tigers are 43-38 and tied for first place with the Indians. You can credit the offense which is fourth in the American League with 4.6 runs scored per game. sure Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn have been terrible but they also have 4 of the top 14 batters in the American League in terms of wOBA (explained here) - Cabrera (.433), Alex Avila (.392), Jhonny wOBA.
Unfortunately, the run prevention is not keeping up with the production. They have allowed 4.6 runs per game which places them 11th in the league. Of particular concern at the moment is the starting pitching. What looked like a strength in may (a 3.45 ERA for the starters) has turned sour in June (4.60 ERA) Starting pitchers not named Justin Verlander have a combined 5.95 ERA in June.