The Detroit Tigers came out flat against the Seattle Mariners, falling into a 2-0 hole before coming to the plate. The Tigers never recovered, going through the motions in an emotion-free 8-1 loss.
The victory gives the Mariners a series win and allows the third place team in the AL West to overtake the Tigers for the second wild card. At 66-56, the Tigers are 1/2 game behind the Mariners to make the wild card play-in game, and currently one game back of the first place Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
Mariners starter Chris Young earned his 12th win of the season, shutting out the Tigers on four hits over six innings. In his sixth career start for the Tigers, rookie lefty Robbie Ray wasn't sharp, laboring through five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.
The Tigers needed five pitchers on the afternoon, none of whom received support from their defense. Mental miscues and three errors led to Seattle scoring four unearned runs on the day. Not that it made any difference being the Tigers were unable to mount any sort of sustained offense.
I'll allow Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to describe the Tigers' performance today:
"It was a bad day all the way around. We didn't have good at-bats generally speaking. We didn't pitch very well, and we didn't play good defense. So that's a recipe for disaster."
"We got to do a better job focusing on every at-bat." "We need to have better at-bats up and down the lineup." "We just haven't been hitting."
"We need to play better. We're a better team than this. Period."
From Ausmus' mouth to his player's ears.
More Mariners - Tigers coverage
Rajai Davis: Didn't get a hit, but three stolen bases should get some recognition.
Rajai Davis has stolen 3 bases, been stranded in scoring position twice. He'd be 9th Tiger since 1914 with 3 SBs and no runs in same game.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 17, 2014
Victor Martinez: Had a rough game with the glove, but it didn't affect his bat. Martinez had two hits; his eighth inning double driving in the Tigers' only run of the game.
Alex Avila: The only Tiger to reach base three times, twice via a free pass.
A day off: After playing 20 consecutive games, the Tigers are off tomorrow. It's their first free day since July 28. Everyone could use a day off - the team, fans and media. The day off is even more crucial when you factor in the Tigers have doubleheaders the next two Saturdays. The schedule does not get any easier from here on out.
Robbie Ray: Keep in mind Ray got no support from his offense or defense, but a lack of command led to his giving up four runs while struggling through five innings on 90 pitches. There's potential there, but as shown by his 5.33 ERA, the kid just isn't ready.
Top of the order: In the third and fifth innings, Ian Kinsler and Ezequiel Carrera had a chance get the Tigers on the scoreboard, but came up woefully short. In the third, Rajai Davis was on third base with one out. Kinsler popped up, Carerra struck out. In the fifth, the Tigers had runners on the corners with one out. Kinsler popped up, Carerra flew out. A badly slumping Kinsler ended his day 0-for-3 before being pulled late, ending the home stand 2-for-17. Carerra was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, wrapping up his home stand an awful 1-for-14. As to why Carerra is batting so high in the order? I can only blame some sort of Ausmus batting order insanity.
Tigers' defense: This team often shows a jaw-dropping lack of defensive fundamentals. The Tigers were credited with three errors, leading to four unearned runs. There were a few more errors of the mental variety.
Tigers' offense: This pretty much sums up what was a brutal performance from the bats.
Tigers' offense lives up to everyone's lowered expectations, wasting a 2 on, no one out opportunity. pic.twitter.com/wGCO5zEMdX— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 17, 2014
The Tigers' lack of defense can be infuriating. It bit them in the third inning, when a two out Victor Martinez miscue loaded the bases and extended the frame. Robbie Ray compounded the error by wild pitching home the Mariners' third run.
It was more of the same when newly called up reliever Jim Johnson made his first appearance as a Tiger. Taking over for Ray in the sixth, Johnson allowed three runs on two hits and an intentional walk. But of the two runs were unearned, and the one earned run scored on a play Martinez botched at first base.
Rajai Davis was removed from the game in the seventh due to injury, replaced by Don Kelly. The injury appeared to have occurred when Davis stole his third base of the game in the fifth inning, jamming his hand on the bag. The Tigers reported Davis suffered a left thumb contusion and is considered day-to-day.
STREAKS AND STATS:
J.D. Martinez's bat is waking up. The first seven games of August were brutal, slashing .120/.214/.240. But over the last eight games, Martinez is hitting .310/.355/.483. He continued his hot stretch and extended his hitting streak to four games by doubling in his first at-bat.
Victor Martinez can play first base, but he's no Miguel Cabrera.
E3 on Martinez. He's got as many errors as Miggy at first base, in nearly 700 fewer chances.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 17, 2014
Entering today's action, Cabrera had four errors in 863 chances at first base, Martinez three in 173. You can now tack one more error on Martinez, who misplayed a ground ball in the third, leading to a Mariners' run.
After tearing it up at Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers (and Lynn Henning of the Detroit News) sold Ezequiel Carrera as a capable platoon replacement for Austin Jackson. Carerra's defense has been decent, but his bat is showing why he's been long considered a 4A player. He's hitting just .194/.242/.323 since being called up.
Rajai Davis ran wild, three stolen bases giving him 30 on the season. That's the most by any Tiger since Alex Sanchez stole 44 during the not-so-glorious 2003 season.
Davis is the first Tigers player to steal three bases in a game since Curtis Granderson swiped three on September 30, 2007 at Chicago.
Mariners' manager Legendary Lloyd McClendon went 2-for-2 over the weekend. He was ejected in the last two games of the series.
The clip of Legendary Lloyd stealing a bag is the only entertaining thing I've seen today. pic.twitter.com/m7euRb2WRO— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 17, 2014
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