Offense bad, bullpen worse: Tigers lose in walk off fashion to Red Sox, 4-3


Final - 5.19.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 10 0
Boston Red Sox 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 4 8 1
WP: Jonathan Papelbon (2 - 0)
LP: Al Alburquerque (0 - 1)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT

18 LOB, 2-19 with RISP: That's all the Tigers' offense could muster in two games at Fenway Park.

It's official. The offense is in a funk. Not as big a funk as the bullpen, but big all the same.

BONUS KEY STAT

Via Chris Vannini of MLB.com:

Last 5 games for Tigers: Five quality starts from starters (5 ER), 11 runs scored and a 2-3 record (all 3 Ls by bullpen - with 5 ER).

The starters have been lights out. The rest of the Tigers, not so much. Once again, the Tigers' starting pitcher deserved better. Much better. In this case, it was Justin Verlander, who went eight strong innings (6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K). His only real mistakes were allowing solo home runs to J.D. Drew in the 4th and David Ortiz in the 7th. But with the Tigers offense flailing about, allowing three runs is three too many.

KEY PLAY

The Tigers had come from 3-1 down to tie the game 3-3 on 8th inning back to back jacks from Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera. With the Tigers having loaded the bases with one out in the 9th, Red Sox closer Johnathan Papelbon struck out both Boesch and Cabrera to get out of a huge jam. Boesch's K was especially painful, as all was needed was a sac fly, it was swinging on three pitches, of at least two looked to be balls. For the want of a fly ball...

BONUS KEY PLAY

Victor Martinez not tagging up from 3rd on Brandon Inge's fly to the base of the Green Monster in the 2nd inning. That run not crossing the plate was ultimately the difference in the game.

KEY THOUGHTS

Jim Leyland in the post game presser:

"We're just not doing a good enough job of taking advantage of our scoring opportunities."

REALLY? Thanks for letting us know, Jim. As if we couldn't tell by your team going 2-19 with RISP.

The bullpen blew another quality start. Unless every starter can guarantee they'll go nine innings every night Jose Valverde can't pitch, it's become blatantly obvious the Tigers are desperate for back of the pen help.

Calling Phil Coke! Red bullpen courtesy phone for Phil Coke!

The Tigers caught a break when Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, who went pitch for pitch with Verlander, left the game after six innings and 83 pitches. It was later announced Beckett left with "neck stiffness." The Tigers weren't able to take advantage until Boesch and Cabrera took reliever Daniel Bard deep in the 8th.

Young Andy Dirks continues to impress. He singled in the 2nd, getting his first major league RBI. He nailed down his first outfield assist in the 9th, gunning down Jose Iglesias from short left field on a force play at the plate. Yes, a force. That's not a typo.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Jed Lowrie flared a Texas leaguer into short left. The ball dropped in front of a charging Dirks, while Iglesias was caught in no-man's land. Dirks fired an outright bullet to Alex Avila at the plate, nailing the runner. The play went as a rare 7-2 FC on your scorecard.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox couldn't hit the ball to Dirks all night. The next batter, Carl Crawford, lined a single over a drawn in Austin Jackson for the game winning RBI.

The loss went to Al Alburquerque, who could only get one out in the 9th after taking over for Verlander. Mr. Snappy wasn't very snappy tonight.

But let's try to bring a bit of sanity back to a jittery, upset Tigers fan base. Kurt, our fearless leader here at BYB, tweeted the following on the @BlessYouBoys Twitter:

When you're winning, everything looks good. When you're losing , everything looks bad. (well, not the rotation). Boston's good too

Well, yeah. There is that...

The Tigers have been up and down all season, Jekyll and Hyde personified. Lose a bunch, win a bunch, repeat. The circle of baseball life. The Tigers are back in the "lose a bunch" part of the circle.

With Boston thankfully in the rear view, the Tigers are on to Leyland's old stomping grounds in Pittsburgh to take on his fromer team, the Pirates. The Tigers have had good success against the NL, so inter-league play could not come at a better time.

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