|Final - 9.4.2013||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||2||1||1||1||8||5||2||X||20||19||0|
|WP: Ryan Dempster (8 - 9)
LP: Rick Porcello (11 - 8)
In what had been a very close game, the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox trading the lead back and forth, was broke wide open thanks to Will Middlebrooks' sixth inning grand slam. The Red Sox would go on to score 15 runs over the final three innings, taking the series finale by two touchdowns and a pair of two point conversions, 20-4.
Miguel Cabrera was left out of tonight's lineup on what the Tigers called a scheduled day off. The Tigers are traveling Thursday, which will give Cabrera two straight days off, and five out of the last six. Unable to shake the injury bug, the Tigers also lost Jose Iglesias, who left the game after five innings with shin splints.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster wasn't sharp, allowing four runs and six hits over six innings, but hung around long enough to earn the win.
Tigers' starter and loser Rick Porcello allowed a career high three home runs, rocked for nine runs, eight earned, and seven hits in just five innings. But it was reliever Al Alburquerque who allowed the sixth inning to get out of hand, serving up a pair of home runs, including Middlebrook's gran slam, allowing three inherited runs to score. Alburquerque was ultimately charged with four runs and three hits in just 2/3 of an inning.
The Red Sox rode seven home run to victory, pounding out 18 hits. Along with Middlebrooks going yard, David Ortiz went deep twice, while Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Lavarnway Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava also homered. The Red Sox would score in every inning but the first.
The only Tiger with two hits was Prince Fielder, who led the offense with a single, home run and two RBIs.
The Red Sox got to what has been the Tigers' soft underbelly all season long, middle relief. Alburquerque, Bonderman and Evan Reed were setting the ball on a tee for the Red Sox. A team of that caliber should destroy relievers of that caliber.
And they did.
After a pair of pitcher's duels, I guess we should have expected a football score. I just wish the Tigers could have come up with more than a pair of safeties.
Early on, there was no Dempster fire or Death by Paper Cuts. The first 1 /12 innings were scoreless.
But bottom of two, Rick Porcello put the Tigers in a 2-0 hole. Two outs and Daniel Nava on base after a single, Stephen Drew yanked an inside breaking ball (which didn't do much breaking) home run distance down the right field line (keep in mind home run distance to right is a Little League 302 feet). The only question - fair or foul?
The high fly was called fair (FSD's replay seemed to confirm it was the correct call), Drew's 12th home run of the season giving the Red Sox a 2-0 advantage.
Jose Iglesias continued his mission to make the Red Sox regret (and Tigers thankful) trading him, manufacturing a run in the top of the third. One down, Iglesias laid down a perfect bunt for a single. When Austin Jackson lined a single to right, Iglesias made the correct read, taking third without a throw. A Tiger who easily goes from first to third on a single is a refreshing sight, to say the very least.
Iglesias would score on Torii Hunter's chopper to second, cutting the lead to 2-1.
The Tigers wouldn't have to manufacture their next two runs. Jackson on second after Hunter's ground ball, the exact same scenario went down as in the previous half inning. Prince Fielder yanked a Ryan Demptster breaking ball (which didn't do much breaking) home run distance down the right field line (just had to clear the 302' mark). The only question, fair or foul?
No need for replay to confirm this fly ball. Fielder's two run homer was his 22nd of thew season, the Tigers taking the lead at 3-2 (MLB.com video). Or, to be correct...
Tigers 1 - Red Sox 0 - Stupid Ballpark Design 4— Jeff Morford (@HighOPS) September 4, 2013
Another ridiculously short home run caused by the aforementioned stupid ballpark design tied the game in the bottom half of the third.
Jacoby Ellsbury entered the game hitting 6-for-7, an .857 batting average against Porcello. In any other park, the fly ball Ellsbury hit stays in the field of play. At Fenway, hit a ball 303 feet, you have a home run. Ellsbury did just that, hitting the third home run of the game to wrap around the Pesky Pole. Ellsbury's eighth homer of the season knotted the game at 3-all.
Porcello would then plunk Shane Victorino, keeping the inning alive. But another pretty double play, started by Porcello throwing to Iglesias, ended the inning.
Top of four,
One out, Don Kelly singled, Demptster unable to make the play on a swinging bunt. Omar Infante followed with a hard double into the left field corner, Tom Brookens putting up the stop sign (YAY!) to hold Kelly at third. Demptster proceeded to load the bases by walking Alex Avila.
Seemingly in the thick of things all series long, Iglesias sent a high bouncing one-hopper to third. Instead of going home to nail Kelly for what would have been an easy out, Will Middlebrooks elected to try and turn a tough double play. The speedy Iglesias foiled the attempt, beating the relay to give the Tigers back the lead at 4-3.
Good news, the Tigers led. Bad news, Iglesias appeared to come up somewhat gimpy after hitting the bag, and would ultimately leave the game an inning later suffering from what the Tigers' called bilateral shin splints. He is considered day-to-day.
Runners on the corners, Shane Victorino made a leaping catch of Jackson's foul fly, ending the inning while landing in the first row of seats.
The first home run of the night which wasn't down the right field line re-tied the game at 4-4. David Ortiz led off the bottom half of the fourth by crushing Porcello's low 90's fastball to deep right center. Big Papi's line drive found the seats, his 25th of the year retying the game at 4-all.
Porcello was having a career worst night, at least when it came to allowing the home run.
First time in Rick Porcello's career that he has given up 3 HR in a game. We're 13 batters in. Now a 4-4 game.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 5, 2013
To Porcello's credit, Ellsbury's homer doesn't leave 29 other big league stadiums
Two down, Procello extended his inning by walking Drew. David Ross' bloop fell in short center, Drew able to reach third. Runners on the corners, Middlebrooks stranded both when he bounced out to Iglesias.
Bottom of five, the Red Sox would retake the lead, much in thanks to the Tigers' inability to throw out base runners trying to steal.
Victorino singled with one out, then stole second. Compounding matters, Avila's throw sailed into center, allowing Victorino to advance to third. Dustin Pedroia hit a sinking liner to left, Andy Dirks mage a fine running catch off his shoe tops, immediately firing home. The throw was on target, but Avila whiffed when trying to grab the ball and make the sweep tag in one motion, Victorino sliding across the plate with the Red Sox's fifth run, regaining the lead at 5-4.
Making things worse for the Tigers was Dempster went from being a Dempster fire to Cy Dempster. He hadn't allowed a hit since Infante's double in the fourth, striking out the side in the sixth.
Things took a dire turn for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth, as Porcello, as if on cue, pitch count nearing 100, struggled mightily (well, more so than he had been).
An immediate red flag was Porcello walking the lead off man, Nava. Alarms went off when Mike Napoli doubled high off the Green Monster. On fumes, Porcello issued an intentional walk to Mike Carp, pinch hitting for Ross.
No one out and the bases loaded, Jim Leyland called the bullpen, asking for the Tigers' human coin flip, Al Alburquerque. Tonight, the Tigers lost the coin flip. Alburquerque was little more than a gas can, raising Porcello's ERA in the process.
Things went from dire to lost cause in less than an inning.
Will Middlebrooks smoked Alburquerque's 1-0 slider, clearing the Green Monster with room to spare. The grand slam was Middlebrook's 12th home run of the season, giving the the Red Sox a six run lead at 10-4.
The grand slam was a snowball which soon became an avalanche.
Alburquerque wasn't done, making sure the Red Sox had a safe lead and Ortiz reached a career milestone.
Still no one out, Alburquerque plunked Victorino, who was replaced by ex-Tiger cheerleader, Quintin Berry. Thunderclap would score all the way from first when Ortiz's line drive pounded the wall in dead center field for a two base hit. Career hit number 2000 for Big Papi made it 11-4.
The Red Sox having batted around, Nava was up for a second time. He didn't need a walk to reach base. Instead, he took advantage of Alburquerque throwing batting practice, blasting the Red Sox's fifth home run of the game to deep right. Nava's 11th home run giving the Red Sox an eight run inning and a 13-4 advantage.
Still just two out, Leyland finally gave up on Alburquerque, calling on Jeremy Bonderman. Of course, Bondo struck out Napoli on four pitches to end a miserable inning and (we can only hope) Alburquerque's shot at making the playoff roster.
Game over, even though there were 2 1/2 innings left to play.
Leyland agreed and waved the white flag by inserting Danny Worth, Matt Tuiasosopo and Nick Castellanos in the bottom of the seventh. They got to see more batting practice from the Red Sox, who were teeing off on Bonderman. Pinch hitter Ryan Lavarnway clubbed a two run shot over the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a double digit lead at 15-4. Quintin Berry singled in a run to make it 16-4.
The game already a disaster for the Tigers' bullpen, Ortiz sent the Fenway Park crowd into a frenzy by hitting his second home run of the game, the Red Sox now up a ridiculous 18-4.
Bottom of eight, Napoli hit the eighth Red Sox home run, this one off Evan Reed. At least it was a solo shot, making it 19-4. The Red Sox having installed a windmill instead of a third base coach to wave around runners, Berry's RBI single pushed the lead to a remarkable 16 runs at 20-4.
Game over, final-damn-ly.
Your final score is Red Sox 20, Tigers 4. Embarrassing? Sure. A big deal in the overall scheme of things? Not really. In the playoffs, Porcello is in the bullpen and the three relievers used tonight likely don't even sniff the post season roster.
Hell, it might even be a good omen!
The Tigers drop two of three to the Red Sox, falling to 81-59 on the season. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the best overall record in the AL. The Tigers' lead in the Central is back at 6 1/2 games over the Indians.
Six games remaining on the penultimate road trip of the 2013 season, Thursday the Tigers travel to Kansas City. On tap is a three game weekend series with the Royals.
Friday: Anibal Sanchez (12-7, 2.68 ERA) vs. James Shields (10-8, 3.03 ERA)
Saturday: Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.59 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.35 ERA)
Sunday: Doug Fister (12-10, 3.59 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (2-0, 1.35 ERA)
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
During the FSD pregame, Craig Monroe voiced his displeasure with sabermetrics, and in particular, WAR.
@BigAlBYB Agreed. "Too obvious" never stopped them before.— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) September 4, 2013
Meanwhile, in DC:
TOO MUCH SRIRACHA— BYB Rob (@Detroit4lyfeRob) September 4, 2013
Meanwhile, even the mayor is staying classy in Boston:
Our resident physical therapist on BYB, Dr. Rob, on Jose Iglesias' shin splints:
Nagging pain that won't be gone until the season is over. But nothing he should miss time for.
No matter who is behind the plate, Tigers' catchers can't throw out base runners to save their lives.
Hard to argue RT @TonyPaul1984: If Avila and Pena aren't gonna throw runners out, then just catch V-Mart, already. Get a bat in the lineup— Paul Wezner (@TigsTown) September 5, 2013
With an ERA of 5.58 and being as trustworthy as a Cold Way spy, does anyone dare say yes?
At this point do you carry Alburquerque on a potential playoff roster, if you're the #Tigers?— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) September 5, 2013
The Tigers have given up seven home runs in a game before. But never eight. Until tonight, that is.
First time in franchise history Tigers have allowed 8 HR in one game.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) September 5, 2013
Pretty much says it all.
Run differential before tonight: DET +167 BOS +138 After tonight: BOS +154 DET +151— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) September 5, 2013
Reason number infinity as to why Detroit sports talk radio is soul-crushingly awful:
The ninth inning: The Red Sox didn't score. They didn't bat, but they didn't score!
BYB game thread: You guys deserve combat pay for sitting through that debacle.
Prince Fielder: Two hits, a home run and two RBIs.
David Ortiz: Credit where credit is due. A career with 2000 hits deserves kudos.
Rick Porcello: Just didn't have it, serving up a career high three home runs. At least Porcello was better than...
The bullpen: Al Alburquerque, Jeremy Bonderman and Evan Reed combined for this laughable line: 3 IP, 12 H, 11 R, 5 HR.
Injuries: The Tigers just can't shake them, Now it's Jose Iglesias who is banged up. Let's hope there's some miraculous healing during tomorrow's off day.
The Tigers inability to throw out base runners: The last time the the Tigers threw someone out stealing, I swear it was Bill Freehan who did it.
FSD: We were treated to the in-studio play-by-play of Justin White and Craig Monroe when FSD's audio took a dump in the sixth inning. Though I'm sure some would say it was an improvement. Give Rod and Mario an A for effort, as they had to do play-by-play over the phone.
ROD: "I want to say something" MARIO: "I'm on the phone" ROD: "I want to talk about what Leyland might do here" MARIO: "I'M ON THE PHONE"— Matt Sussman (@suss2hyphens) September 5, 2013
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Max Scherzer didn't get his 20th win, but allowing just two runs in seven plus innings of work did earn him BYB PotG, taking 86% of the vote.