SEATTLE, WA - MAY 07: Munenori Kawasaki #61 of the Seattle Mariners scores the winning run in a 3-2 defeat of the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field on May 7, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
|Final - 5.7.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Steve Delabar (1 - 0)
LP: Octavio Dotel (1 - 1)
The Detroit Tigers began their long west coast swing in gut punch fashion, the Seattle Mariners scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th, pulling a 3-2 win out of, well something. Actually, gut punch doesn't describe how painful the loss was, as the Tigers were in complete, utter control for 8 innings. As for the 9th...ugh.
The Tigers took a quick 1st inning lead, with new number 2 hitter Andy Dirks lighting the fuse. Dirks lined a double in the left center gap, coming home on Prince Fielder's bloop down the left field line, the ball ultimately landing in no-man's land, bouncing off the arm of a diving Brendan Ryan.
The Tigers threatened in the 7th, loading the bases with 2 out. Leading off, Peralta singled. Austin Jackson lined a 2 out single to center, Dirks worked a walk, bringing up Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, who had hit into hard, bad luck all game.long. (How often do you see a line shot go for a 1-5-4-3 double play and knocks the pitcher out of the game?), didn't catch a break, grounding out against Tigers' ex-pat Charlie Furbush to keep the score 2-0.
Doug Fister was magnificent in his return off the DL, tossing 7 scoreless innings.. You would have never known he had been out for the past month. Fister had the Mariners off balance, hitting either lazy flies or pounding the ball into the ground. Best off all, the Tigers' number 2 starter was deadly efficient, throwing only 73 pitches, 51 for strikes,
After seeing a couple of hard outs from the Mariners in the 7th (the only reason I can fathom), Jim Leyland pulled Fister, despite his crazy low pitch count. As Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde had the night off, the game was put in the hands of Phil Coke and Dotel. Coke had no trouble, striking out 2 in an easy 1-2-3 inning.
But Dotel channeled his inner Big Potato, coming out of the pen unable to throw anything remotely resembling a strike. Disaster of epic proportions ensued.
Dotel walked Ryan and Ichiro on 9 pitches, then wild pitched both runners into scoring position. Dotel's horrifying meltdown continued, throwing a diving curve into the dirt past Alex Avila, his second wild pitch easily scoring Ryan. When Dotel finally threw a strike, Jesus Montero smoked it off the center field wall for game tying double. Dotel didn't get an out, meltdown complete.
Duane Below entered the game in a near hopeless attempt to bail Dotel and the Tigers out. Didn't happen.
Mariners 3, Tigers 2 was your final. The Mariners continue to have the Tigers' number.
If you are going to issue blame, start with the offense (Leyland did bring up the lack of offense in the post game, though saying as much has become almost rote). Once again, the bats were non-existent. 2 runs won't win many games. There was some bad luck, specifically Cabrera's fluke, inning ending, run saving double play. But the Tigers had their chances, yet couldn't convert. So they paid the price, as 2 runs was not a big enough cushion for an obviously out of sorts Dotel.
Regardless of Dotel's implosion, if the Tigers' offense does what they are being paid big money to do, I'm not writing a knee-jerk rant over a gut punch loss.
Questions? We got 'em.. Why pull Fister after 7 scoreless innings and only 73 pitches? Why pull Coke, who was lights out in the 8th and is more than capable of going 2 innings? Why not pull Dotel damn near immediately when it was obvious he couldn't THROW STRIKES? Save for that's how the "managerial book" says pitching is supposed to be handled, your guess is as good as mine.
Leyland on Dotel: "He just didn't execute."
Well, that explains it.
Thank goodness it's only one game. The Tigers are still hovering around .500 in a lousy division. They are the cream should float to the top. But I'm really getting sick and tired of 9th inning drama caused by a lack of runs and closers who can't throw strikes.
Doug Fister: For lack of a better word, Fister was masterful. He deserved so much better than a no-decision. 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 73 (!!!) P.
Andy Dirks:All he does is get on base. 2-3, BB, R.
Prince Fielder: He didn't hit the ball hard or far, but got results. 2-4, RBI, R.
Delmon Young: His strategy of swinging from the heels at everything isn't working, as shown by his 0-4, 2 K night.
Ryan Raburn: Another 0-4 with 3 K's dropped his batting average to .127. Second Half Raburn needs to get here, stat. First Half Raburn is worse than ever.
Octavio Dotel: What can you say? Words fail me in trying to describe the ugliness of his awful 4 batter appearance.
GAME 27 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Rick Porcello ran away from the pack with 84% of the BYB vote.
Game 28 Player of the Game
Andy Dirks (21 votes)
Prince Fielder (4 votes)
Doug Fister (506 votes)
531 total votes