As if you didn't already know that the Detroit Tigers were an absolutely maddening team to watch, this weekend's series with the Oakland A's provided yet another example of frustrating play.
After struggling to score runs on Friday and Saturday, the Tigers finally broke through - albeit late in the game - and put up enough offense to adequately support its pitching staff. Unfortunately, the pitchers couldn't hold up their end this time around, so the offense wasn't nearly enough.
Facing Oakland for the third time this season, Rick Porcello couldn't continue his recent run of success. The pitches that had great movement on them over his past four starts spun and hung in the middle of the plate. And the A's didn't miss them. Jack Cust, especially, pounced upon those meatballs, smacking two home runs off Porcello, resulting in four runs and really all of the offense Oakland needed.
The Tigers staged a rally in the later innings against the A's bullpen, thanks largely to Miguel Cabrera's opposite field two-run homer in the eighth. It was the 200th of his career, and came at an important moment, cutting Oakland's lead to 5-4.
But Fu-Te Ni and Ryan Perry couldn't hold the A's back in their half of the inning, getting trampled under a five-run stampede. Perry, in particular, couldn't keep the ball in the park, serving up homers to Landon Powell and Cliff Pennington. It was a rather shocking performance, considering how well Perry pitched the night before (1.2 scoreless innings).
Why Jim Leyland opted for Perry on a second straight day, rather than a presumably rested Brandon Lyon or Fernando Rodney is between him and his Marlboro Reds. Another mystery, of course, is how a Tigers lineup could score only one run (with eight strikeouts?) against Brett Tomko, who was only making his second start of the season. It all adds up to a continually baffling team on the road.
Cabrera's home run was part of a 3-for-4 day at the plate, and extended what is now an eight-game hitting streak. BigMig also has two homers and eight RBIs during that span.
Getting Thursday and most of Friday off seems to have helped Curtis Granderson, who's gotten three hits in his last three games, including yesterday's leadoff home run. And Marcus Thames broke his 0-for-12 slump with a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh.
Normally, we come to praise Alex Avila. But the west coast doesn't agree with him so far. Maybe the time change threw off his circadian rhythms or something like that. Regardless of the reason, Avila batted 0-for-7 over the weekend.
And Aubrey Huff has had a less than impressive first week as a Tiger, capped off by an 0-for-4 performance yesterday. Billfer compared him to Sean Casey, with his frequent groundouts to second base. That is only so painful because, thus far, it is so true.
Comment of the Day:
My scientific background
leads me to look for explanations for phenomena that make no sense according to all known laws of nature. :)
The Tigers would stump Steven Hawking and Albert Einstein both.