Four Detroit Tigers errors and countless mental mistakes led to three unearned runs. Combine that with a just six hits on offense and you get the Tigers gift wrapping a victory for the Chicago White Sox. The Pale Hose happily obliged, their 6-2 win salvaging a series split.
In the race for the AL Central lead, the Tigers fall 1/2 game back of the Kansas City Royals, who take on the Cleveland Indians tonight. As for the second wild card, the Tigers are clinging to a one game lead over the Seattle Mariners.
White Sox starter Jose Quntana (W, 7-10) took advantage of having major league quality defense backing him up, holding the Tigers to two runs on six hits, striking out a pair and walking one over seven innings. Zach Putman and Jack Petruicka slammed the door in relief, each tossing a hitless inning.
Looking to earn his 16rth win, Rick Porcello (L, 15-9) instead took his ninth loss thanks to receiving next to no support from his defense. His numbers looked far worse than they were in reality. Porcello was pulled after 6 2/3 innings having allowed 6 runs, three earned, on 11 hits, striking out seven while walking just one. Realistically, Porcello would have held the White Sox to no more than two runs if there wasn't an oafish defense attempting to back him up.
Detroit had just six hits on the day, Torii Hunter the only Tigers with two. Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez each drove in a run with a double and single respectively.
Tigers ex-pat Avisail Garcia led the White Sox with two hits, two RBI and a run scored. Adam Eaton remained white hot, two more hits giving him eight for the series, also scoring twice.
Brad Ausmus accurately summed up today's awful loss and the weekend as a whole with two sentences.
"We were poor defensively, that's really the crux of it."
"In my mind, we should have won three out of the four."
Rick Porcello: Given even average defense and Porcello likely holds the White Sox to one or two runs.
Torii Hunter: The only Tiger with two hits, and made a nice running catch in right, one of the few quality defensive plays by Detroit's defense today.
The bullpen: Phil Coke and Evan Reed recorded the final four outs, each tossing 2/3 of an inning.
Detroit's defense: As currently constructed, the Tigers are unable to play defense at a major league level. The collective lack of defensive ability, incorrect positioning and mental errors gave the White Sox three unearned runs and put the Tigers in a 5-0 hole. Rick Porcello deserved better.
Bottom of the order: Five though nine in the Tigers' batting order combined on a fugly afternoon - 1-for-16, one walk, four strikeouts.
Miguel Cabrera's lingering ankle injury has led to a 1-for-19 slump, dropping his batting average under .300 and his OPS to an uncharacteristically low .850. Seeing the obvious, Brad Ausmus gave his injured first baseman a full day off. Disturbingly, Ausmus admitted Cabrera won't be 100% healed until the off season. He also parroted what we heard at this same time last season, claiming extended rest wouldn't help Cabrera's injury situation.
Don Kelly got the start at first, while Torii Hunter was moved up to Cabrera's number three slot in the batting order.
Rick Porcello was put in a 2-0 hole thanks to brutal Tigers' defense in the first inning. J.D. Martinez misplayed Adam Eaton's liner to left, a ball he should have caught was ruled a double by the Chicago scorekeeper. Eugenio Saurez doubled down on the bad defense by not coming up with Conor Gillaspie's ground ball in the hole which was only 3-4 steps to his right. The single plated Eaton. Saurez then butchered Dayan Viciedo's routine ground ball, allowing a second run to score. It was a cringe-inducing defensive inning.
There was more defensive indifference in the second. Torii Hunter got a late start on a shallow fly, allowing what looked to be a catchable ball drop in front of him. Don Kelly's error gave the White Sox a run. Porcello got into the act on the same play by not covering the bag, which could have salvaged an out. Nick Castellanos then booted a double play ball, another run scoring. Rajai Davis was stationed next the warning track, unable to make a play on a fly ball, a third run scoring on what was a second consecutive ridiculously bad defensive inning.
When it was all said and done, the Tigers were down 5-0 after two innings having been charged with three errors and three unearned runs, along with a handful of unscored mental and physical miscues.
FSD cameras catch Omar Vizquel lecturing the infielders. Unless Omar can grab a glove and play all 4 positions, its not going to help.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 31, 2014
Mental errors abounded, even on offense.
Hunter adds to the Tigers' lengthening list of mental errors by getting doubled off second base to end the 4th. I need a drink and a Tylenol— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 31, 2014
Detroit made an effort to get back in the game, scoring twice in the sixth. Ian Kinsler doubled in Rajai Davis for the Tigers' first run, Victor Martinez capping off the rally with a one out RBI single. Jose Qunitana pitched out of further trouble by striking out J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos.
Avisail Garcia, aka Mini-Miggy, reminded Tigers fans of the potential Detroit traded away by doubling home Carlos Sanchez with the White Sox's sixth run of the game in the sixth. Considering the state of the Tigers' outfield for next season ... nah, not going there. Hopefully a healthy Jose Iglesias will make us forget about Garcia in 2015.
Summing up today's futility - The last six Tigers went down in order. The eighth lasted a whole 12 pitches, the ninth just five.
STREAKS AND STATS:
Despite today's gloom and doom, the Tigers have won six of their last nine games, making up 2 1/2 games in the standings.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
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