The Tigers may have a beef with Jim Joyce, but you can't blame him for the complete lack of offense.
Detroit mustered zero runs and never really made the Angels feel threatened despite Justin Verlander's work to keep the game close. The Angels pitchers plowed through the Tigers line up led by Michigan native Matt Shoemaker, who worked seven strong innings.
The scoring for the Angels opened in the second inning when renowned slugger Efren Navarro smacked a long home run to right that Torii Hunter felt the need to fake catch for some reason. After a second hard hit ball by the Angels, a Chris Iannetta double, Verlander retired the side without much issue.
The real drama of the game began when Angels manager Mike Scioscia rapidly waddled out of the dugout in the top of third inning after a close pick-off play at first base. After review it was determined that Eugenio Suarez was indeed out. That's when Brad Ausmus wasted no time running out and chewing out umpire Jim Joyce. It was obvious from Brad's fervent pointing to the chart he took with him on the field that he was absolutely correct on the matter he was arguing. The matter seems to have been that once a pitcher goes the the rubber and the batter is in the batters box the previous play can no longer be challenged. MLB, however, ruled that since the catcher was not in his crouch the play could be challenged. This explanation seems to be (excuse the technical lingo here) TOTAL CRAP since it appears no where in the rule book while the rubber/batters box standard IS in the rules.
The Godfather of Tigers bloggers explains:
Shoemaker was on the rubber, and stepped off when Scoisia came out. Joyce was wrong to allow the challenge.— Bill Ferris (@billfer) July 27, 2014
@rhttboyd The rule mentions the pitcher on the rubber, batter in the box. No mention of catcher readiness.— Bill Ferris (@billfer) July 27, 2014
Basically, to use an NFL analogy, Scioscia threw the red challenge flag after the ball had been snapped.
Being correct was of no help to Ausmus as he was ejected for arguing a reviewed play.
All this for a play that probably wasn't all that pivotal to the outcome of the game. Nevertheless, Jim Joyce still isn't winning any friends in Detroit.
After the hullabaloo Verlander and Shoemaker traded a series of scoreless innings. This continued until the sixth inning when Pujols hit a double, was advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on yet another ground out giving Navarro his second RBI of the game. Later that inning, Kendrick scored when C.J Cron doubled down the left field line making it 3-0 Angels.
The Tigers, meanwhile, showed no signs of life, going quickly and quietly in innings 4-7 as Shoemaker had things in cruise control. Kevin Jepsen continued the excellent Angels pitching with scoreless eighth.
Joakim Soria had an inauspicious start in a Tigers uniform making his debut in the eighth inning. He quickly gave up an Erick Aybar single to right which Torii Hunter turned into a double with a bobble. The next batter, Howie Kendrick, then singled, scoring the run and advancing to second on the throw to the plate. After Soria walked the next batter he battled back to get his only out of the inning, a strikeout of Cron.
With Soria reaching his limit of pitches, substitute manager Gene Lamont finally called in the big gun, Phil Coke, to clean up the mess. Coke struck out Chris Iannetta, blowing him away with majesty and valor and caused John McDonald to ground into a pathetically weak ground ball to third.
In the bottom of the ninth facing Jason Grilli, Austin Jackson managed a single sandwiched between Suarez and Kinsler strikeouts. Miguel Cabrera then harmlessly flied out to second capping the Tigers four hit performance.
This is a game where it is going to be more fun to talk about the ejection and associated drama than the game itself.
Where is my pitchfork? Let's go find Jim Joyce.
Someone in a Torii Hunter costume made an awesome catch in difficult sunlight in the first inning.
Phil Coke dominated the Angels with a power fastball and devastatingly brilliant game plan. The Angels were obviously intimidated and likely wanted to run away like little girls when faced with the dynamism of Mr. Coke.
In the second inning JV yielded back-to-back hits on fastballs down the middle; first a home run to a person named Efren Navarro and then a double to Chris Ianetta.
Despite his moniker, Matt Shoemaker failed to make any shoes.
Jim Joyce. Always Jim Joyce.
Not only was the replay controversial, it simply took too long. Over three minutes for a hoe-hum call in the third inning is too long.
Jason Grilli closed out the game for the Angels. His success makes me sad.