The Tigers' big road trip against first division teams got off on the wrong foot Monday night, losing in ugly fashion. Tonight's game wasn't quite as ugly, but thanks to the dominance of R.A. Dickey,and an assist on offense from Jose Reyes, the Tigers still didn't have a chance.
Tigers pitching couldn't get Reyes out, and even worse, Tigers bats couldn't do a thing with the former punchline known as R.A. Dickey. It all added up to a quickly played, yet boring to watch, 5-0 loss to the New York Mets.
Why do I say "punchline?"
A little over 4 years ago, on April 6, 2006, Dickey was with the Rangers and still learning the kuckleball, the Tigers pounded him into submission with a 6 home run barrage. It was Dickey's only big league appearance that season, and the low point of his career. That game led to his bouncing around the minors, in-between cups of coffee with the Mariners and Twins, as he tried to get a handle on the demon knuckeball.
4 years later, the 35 year old Dickey has apparently mastered his kuckler. The only damage the Tigers could muster against Dickey's fluttering kunckleball was 4 singles in the first 4 innings. The Tigers did have chances to score in the 1st and 3rd innings, but (do I really need to say it?) couldn't get a hit with RISP.
After the 4th, it was just a parade of 1-2-3 innings from the Tigers offense against the suddenly dominant Dickey, who is now 6-0 with a 2.33 ERA this season. Talk about a late bloomer...
As for Dickey's Tigers counterpart, Jeremy Bonderman, he pitched well enough to win....but not on this night. Bondo was solid for 6 innings, allowing only 2 runs. Things started to fall apart in the 7th, as the Mets started the inning with a couple of seeing eye singles, ending Bonderman's solid night.
Joel Zumaya came on, and immediately committed a cardinal sin. He walked the pitcher, loading the bases. Zumaya was ineffective in his 2/3 of an inning, throwing a wild pitch, walking 2 and allowing one of Bonderman's runners to score on a fielder's choice. Phil Coke relieved Zumaya, and allowed 2 runs on an Ian Davis single, but was bailed out of the inning when David Wright was thrown out at 3rd base.
Even though the Mets didn't hit a ball hard, they found holes. Those 3 insurance runs all but ended the game, not that the Tigers were going to do anything with Dickey's dancing kuckler anyway...
But the real thorn in the Tigers' side was Reyes, who sparked the Mets offense all night long. He started the game off with a leadoff triple, only to be stranded. But the Tigers had problems with the speedy SS all night long. Reyes was 3-4, with 3 runs scored, 1 RBI and a stolen base, your prototypical leadoff man.
About the only good thing I can say about the Tigers tonight is they lost quickly, in 2:25. If they can't buy a hit, and it's beyond obvious they're going to lose in boring fashion, then please lose fast...unlike Tuesday's 4 hours of Jay Sborz and rain induced misery.
So kudos for the Tigers for giving me a little extra free time.