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 DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES

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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:42 am

09/04/2008 12:55 AM ET
Granderson in the middle of big victory
Leadoff hitter smokes game-trying triple before scoring winner
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson is the Tigers' prototypical leadoff man, a role he isn't going to relinquish anytime soon. Now, it's becoming fair to call him a prototypical hitter, no matter where he's batting.

For the better part of three seasons, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has talked about Granderson eventually maturing into a hitter who could produce in the middle of the order. Even as Granderson put up historic standards last season, that was the next step, becoming someone who could produce big RBIs as well as set them up.

On Wednesday, Granderson had three hits and scored all three times. His seventh-inning triple not only drove in the tying run, but set up the go-ahead run in Detroit's seventh-inning rally en route to Wednesday's 9-6 win over the Angels at Comerica Park. Afterward was the time for Leyland to acknowledge how far Granderson has come.

"Granderson's just maturing before everybody's eyes," Leyland said, "as far as knocking in runs now, walking, making himself a total hitter. To be honest with you, if you wanted to and you had a pure leadoff man, you could move him down now. He's ready.

"I've talked about this for a couple years. I don't think we can do it, because we don't really have that guy right now. And he's pretty exciting when he leads off with triples and doubles and stuff. It's not that it's a bad thing; it's still a good thing for us to have him leading off. But my point is I think he's matured enough to the point now where he can do what I talked about. He can knock in runs."

He knocked in just one Wednesday, but it was a critical one. And it came with the kind of extra-base hit that has made him electrifying at the top of the order.

A 74-minute rain delay pushed back the start before Jon Garland and Zach Miner dueled to a 5-5 game through their six innings. Three consecutive baserunners in the seventh against Clay Rapada loaded the bases for Vladimir Guerrero, whose jam-shot pop fly off Kyle Farnsworth fell out of the reach of shortstop Ramon Santiago and left fielder Matt Joyce for a go-ahead bloop single.

By stranding the bases loaded from there with a strikeout of Torii Hunter and a Kendry Morales flyout, Farnsworth (2-2) kept the Tigers close enough to rally in the bottom of the inning. Two swings later, Detroit had its rally off the man who could eventually succeed Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Enter rookie right-hander Jose Arredondo, who earned his first Major League win against the Tigers on May 26 and has generally dominated from there. On this night, however, he fell behind Brandon Inge before his ground ball took shortstop Brandon Wood deep into the hole for an infield hit.
Up came Granderson, who took the first five pitches he saw from Arredondo to work the count full. He laid off the outside fastballs and drop-down changeups that Arredondo wanted him to chase. Both strikes were fastballs that caught the upper corners of the plate.

On the payoff pitch, Arredondo (7-2) challenged Granderson with a 96-mph fastball in the strike zone. Granderson lined it off the fence in left-center field and took off running. Not only did Inge score to tie the game, but Granderson reached third without a challenge.

It wasn't just that at-bat, but plenty of others before it which have convinced Leyland that Granderson has taken that next step. This was simply the fitting time for him to express it.

"It's been happening," Leyland said. "It's been happening for a while now. I've really been impressed with him, just laying off tough pitches."

Once Placido Polanco singled two pitches later, Granderson scored for the 48th time in his last 45 games, including three on Wednesday. He has scored in his last seven games and reached base safely in his last 19. He's batting .397 (25-for-65) over his last 18 games, and seven of those hits have been triples.

Just as impressive, he has struck out in just eight of those contests, and just five times over his last 13 games.

"He's grown into an outstanding player right before our eyes," Leyland said. "He's got more confidence now. He's learning to figure things out."

His confidence in RBI situations is showing. When he drove in 74 runs last year to go with all his extra-base hits, he hit for a .256 average with runners in scoring position and a .793 OPS. In those same situations this year, he's hitting for a .338 average and an OPS over .970. He won't match last year's RBI total -- he's at 53 now -- in part because he missed the better part of the opening month on the disabled list.

In those situations, though, Leyland said, "he looks like a totally different hitter."

Farnsworth escaped an eighth-inning jam with an inning-ending double play to earn his first victory since joining the Tigers on July 30. Mike Hessman's homer off Justin Speier in his first start since the Tigers called him up Tuesday provided insurance for Fernando Rodney, who stranded the bases loaded and struck out Mike Napoli as the potential go-ahead run at the plate for his eighth save.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:04 pm

09/04/2008 5:58 PM ET

Box >

Rogers ponders future after tough day
Southpaw lasts only two-plus as Angels take rubber game
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- The fact that Kenny Rogers took the mound Thursday on one of the Tigers' Senior Days promotional games was an odd coincidence, not a reason for reflection. It was what happened on the field that had the 43-year-old answering questions about his future.

He doesn't want to think right now about the career decision he faces at season's end. After days like this, though, he admits he can't help but let it enter his mind. He had been pulled from the game after 39 pitches Thursday, eight of which went for Angels base hits. He retired just four of the 12 batters he faced, none in the third inning, and escaped each of his first two innings by doubling off a runner at third base.

In terms of innings,it was Rogers' second-shortest start in three seasons as a Tiger. And after a 7-1 loss to the Angels in the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park, he had enough on his mind trying to figure out what he could've done differently than thinking about longer-term issues like his career.

"Trying to deal with that after a game like today is probably not the best way to decide those things," Rogers said. "Coming off the mound, though, it's hard not to think about it."

Every start, in a way, is a matter of trying to prove to people that he can still pitch -- not necessarily to others, but to himself. Before the Tigers -- or any team -- decide whether to bring him along for 2009, he has to decide whether to stick around for the ride after 20 Major League seasons. And that's not as easy as it sounds.

He admitted in Spring Training that he thought he was done after last season, certain that he didn't want to put himself through the wear and tear on his arm and the time away from his family. Before anyone makes a punchline about that decision in hindsight, keep in mind that he entered the All-Star break as a .500 pitcher with a 4.55 ERA -- workmanlike, though not spectacular.

He's 3-7 with a 7.45 ERA in 10 starts since then, and opponents are batting .336 against him over that stretch. He has allowed as many or more runs than innings pitched in each of his last three starts now, including six runs over two-plus innings Thursday. As tough as it is being a fan, it's obviously far tougher going through it as the player.

Rogers has spent years defying his age. Now he has to decide if he's simply trying to defy the stats.

"I assess my ability and my responsibility as much as anyone," Rogers said. "That will easily have a bearing on what I want to do. I'm not one to hang on. I want to pitch well."

Again, this was not a good day to think about that.

The frustrating part for Rogers is that he says his arm feels good, very good for this point in the season for him. Manager Jim Leyland said Rogers is dealing with a sore hip, but Rogers said that's not an excuse. At this point in his life, he believes soreness is part of the deal.

He believes he still has life on his fastball, which has topped 90 mph this year. His sinker, however, has by his admission been flat, which has sent his numbers skyrocketing.

Thursday, though, was more a matter to him of not reacting to Angels hitters, who waited for him to go for the outside corner and dove out over to the plate to swing when he did. His inside pitches to try to brush them off did not have the desired effect.

"We dodged a couple bullets early," Leyland said, "but it was obvious Kenny wasn't sharp."

Of the four straight singles he allowed in the third, two came on 0-2 pitches. Robb Quinlan fouled off back-to-back 0-2 offerings -- one a curveball, the other a fastball -- before chasing an offspeed pitch off the plate and lining it to the opposite field for an RBI single. Mark Teixeira chased a high fastball off the plate and slashed it past a diving Edgar Renteria for another RBI, and that was it for Rogers.

"It was legitimately one of those days," catcher Brandon Inge said. "The whole series, really. They're hot."

Rogers clearly is not.

"You have to make adjustments," Rogers said. "I haven't made enough recently to put good starts together. That's the name of the game. From the get-go today, they were hitting the ball away. It might just be inventing a pitch or two. I don't know."

Leyland said he would check with Rogers on how he's feeling. Asked about any decisions coming out of that, Leyland said that would be "putting the cart before the horse."

Rogers isn't going to make any decisions now, not in this state. The way he finishes the season, though, will have a bearing on what he decides to do come the offseason. To decide anything now, he said, would be "a decision out of frustration."

Yet when he came off the field Thursday to polite cheers, not boos, that had an effect on him, too.

"I can't even explain what that feeling is," Rogers said, "to know you have support like that. Supportive as they have been, I think that makes you want it even more, which isn't a good thing."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:17 pm

Thursday, September 4, 2008
Angels 7, Tigers 1
Rogers nearing the end of career
Lefty won't say he's retiring, but latest outing against Angels is a sign this year could be his last.
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- He could not quite say the words, because if Kenny Rogers were to have announced Thursday that 2008 is his last season in the big leagues, it could lead to a couple of things, neither of them good:

1. Retirement could creep into his psyche when the Tigers left-hander probably has four starts remaining before the season ends Sept. 28. Rogers wants to remain in full battle mode until he throws his final pitch.

2. He does not want to pull a Roger Clemens or Brett Favre and decide retirement was premature, although the latter concern seemed to be dissipating in Rogers' mind following Thursday's game, which Rogers would prefer forgetting.

He was gone in the third inning of a game the Tigers lost, 7-1, to the Los Angeles Angels and their other-worldly right-hander, Ervin Santana, who was so dominating he turned Comerica Park into his personal domain.

Rogers pitched to only four batters in the third inning, all of whom got singles, before manager Jim Leyland pulled him in favor of Aquilino Lopez. By the end of the third, Rogers had been charged with six Angels runs on eight hits.

His record is 9-13. His ERA is 5.49.

Even if there were no farewell speeches Thursday, it was apparent during a 20-minute conversation afterward Rogers is preparing for the end. He spoke peacefully, at times humorously, but with a kind of pained resignation as he contemplated what is likely to be his final few weeks in the majors.

"I'm not one to hang on, I'm surely not going to hang on for the sake of wearing a uniform," said Rogers, who turns 44 in November and who, privately, has been leaning toward 2008 being his last big-league season.

"I'm disappointed in myself," he said. "I'm frustrated, and I don't want frustration to be part of the equation.

"After a game like today, it's not the best way to decide something. But coming off that mound (after being pulled in the third), it's hard not to think about it (retirement).

"The frustrating part is, I feel fine. And yet, realistically, I know where I'm at in my career.

"I think these guys here (Tigers front office), they'll have an idea, too," Rogers said, hinting at what, in any event, will likely be a decision by the Tigers to move ahead, minus Rogers.

"It'll all mesh together."

The question for the Tigers -- apart from Rogers' decision -- is how Leyland's starting rotation figures to mesh in 2009.

Already there are gaping holes. There are uncertainties. And no one is quite sure who can, or will, provide the pitching staff's bedrock in 2009, although a long and busy offseason should provide at least some potential answers there.
There is no guarantee left-handers Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis will be ship-shape by next spring. Jeremy Bonderman will be coming off major thoracic surgery. Armando Galarraga will need to show he can be as consistent in 2009 as he has been in 2008. The same mission will apply to Zach Miner.

But what appeared all but certain Thursday is that Rogers will not be part of the mix, fundamentally because he is on the verge of retiring.

"The frustrating part is that I feel fine," he repeated. "I was at 91 (mph) this year, and once at 92. That, for me, is pretty good.

"The dilemma is that my sinker has been absolutely terrible. That's my bread and butter."


It could be a temporary thing. But Rogers seemed to accept it might be something else. A man with 20 big-league seasons has pitched years longer than most successful pitchers ever imagine competing.

It all had to end some year. And after Thursday, there seemed little doubt in anyone's mind -- including that of Kenny Rogers -- that 2008 is it.

The game

The Tigers had only seven hits Thursday, including a home run by Curtis Granderson (his 17th) and doubles by Edgar Renteria and Mike Hessman . Lopez pitched four innings of scoreless relief, striking out five. Robertson pitched three innings and allowed one run on Torii Hunter 's mammoth home run into the shrubbery in deep center field. Robertson allowed two hits and walked none.

Dusty's debut

Rookie catcher Dusty Ryan , added to this week's roster after a big year in the Tigers farm system, has already made an impression.

A long one.

Ryan walloped a pitch during Tuesday's batting practice against the Charlie Gehringer statue atop the outfield walkway at Comerica Park. The blast, which cleared the red brick wall beyond the left-center field bleachers, traveled more than 450 feet.


"(Ryan ) Raburn asked if he could use the bat I used," said Ryan, 24, who slugged 17 home runs this season during stints at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Ryan will start in Sunday's game against the Twins. Ryan, who is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, is known for his power -- at the plate and in his throwing arm.

"A cannon," Leyland said.

You can reach Lynn Henning at lynn.henning@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:29 am

09/05/2008 10:55 PM ET

Box >

Galarraga can't solve Twins
Right-hander drops record to 0-4 against Minnesota
By Thor Nystrom / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers starter Armando Galarraga says there's nothing to it, as if his struggles against one team are a result of randomization. Maybe so, but the numbers make for a startling contrast.

After Friday's 10-2 Tigers loss against the Twins, the rookie is 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA against Minnesota and 12-1 with a 2.91 ERA against the rest of the league.

Justin Morneau made sure the rookie right-hander's struggles against the Twins continued, hitting a grand slam over the right-field baggie in the fifth inning. The home run put Detroit in a 6-1 hole it wouldn't dig out of.

Galarraga (12-5, 3.39) went six innings and allowed six earned runs. He was wild, walking a career-high six batters. Galarraga allowed three hits, two of which were homers, including a Delmon Young solo shot in the fourth inning.

The Tigers walked a total of eight batters, a number that irked their skipper.

"We walked way too many people," manager Jim Leyland said. "You can't do that against anybody, let alone the Twins. I don't care who you are playing, you walk eight or nine guys in a Major League game, you are going to lose."

"We made [Galarraga] throw a lot of pitches," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a pretty good pitcher. We've beat him four or five times this year. That's pretty incredible because he's a really good pitcher and got great stuff. But we made him throw pitches and we worked the counts and got people on bases and scored runs here and there."

The walks combined with a pair of mistakes contributed to the lopsided final.

"[Galarraga] made a couple of huge, bad pitches, to Young and Morneau," Leyland said. "He left both offspeed pitches up in the zone."

Galarraga was opposed by left-hander Francisco Liriano, who continued a stellar comeback after being recalled from the Minors on Aug. 1. Liriano went seven innings, while allowing two earned runs on five hits. The left-hander struck out nine while walking only one.

Liriano is now 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 38 strikeouts in six starts since being called up.

"Liriano was very, very good," Leyland said.

Morneau believes the left-hander is stepping into the forefront of Minnesota's starting rotation.

"The thing that's made him tough now is he's added that changeup," Morneau said. "I don't want to go this far, but he's almost like [Johan] Santana in that he can throw that changeup when he wants to and it keeps them off his slider. And when he needs that slider with two strikes, he goes to it. When he's out there, he's the ace I think, and it's looking like he wants to pitch in those games where we need the wins."

Only one Tiger could solve Liriano. Marcus Thames had his seventh career multi-home run game, hitting a pair of solo shots -- one in the fifth and one in the eighth.

"Liriano had some good stuff tonight, he kept us off balance," Thames said. "He's a good pitcher. ... Yeah, I hit two home runs, but we didn't win the game. He had good stuff."

Thames has now hit four home runs against the Twins this year.

"He had a great game, almost made a tremendous catch in foul territory, two home runs," Leyland said. "We just didn't get guys on. We didn't really muster an offense at all. Our whole offense was Marcus' home runs, basically."

To Leyland, the game boiled down to a few very simple factors.

"I'm certainly not going to take anything away from them, but I mean, they got six hits, we got five," Leyland said. "We walked eight guys. You can't
do that. We struck out 12 times or something. You just can't do that."

Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:52 am

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Twins 10, Tigers 2
Reeling Tigers burned by slam
Galarraga's unusual wildness sets table for Morneau's bases-loaded homer, early 6-1 deficit.
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

MINNEAPOLIS -- Where did all the walks come from, Armando? That's not like you.

Losing to the Twins seems to be, however.


Looking in vain for a way to beat the team that's now beaten him four times, Armando Galarraga walked a career-high six batters in six innings Friday night, including two before Justin Morneau's grand slam in the fifth, en route to a 10-2 loss at Metrodome.

"We walked too many guys and we struck out too many times," manager Jim Leyland said. "That pretty much sums I up."

What's strange is that Galarraga, pleasant surprise that he's been, is 12-1 against everyone else. The only other team he's lost to is Baltimore.

It adds up to a good season, but a bad record against one team -- and that team happens to be the division contender the Tigers weren't much of a match for in this game.

They were no match because Twins starter Francisco Liriano was no-nonsense tough, twice striking out the side. Other than two home runs by Marcus Thames, giving him 24 for the year, the Tigers had just three singles against Liriano (5-3) before he left in the eighth.

Galarraga also was stingy with hits, but not with walks.

For instance, he walked the bases loaded in the first, getting out of the self-made jam with relatively minimal damage on Jason Kubel's sacrifice fly. Two walks after Carlos Gomez's leadoff double in the fifth and before Morneau's home run led to maximum damage, however.

"He was being too fine," Leyland said. "I know they've beaten him a couple of times. I don't know if he was being a little careful for that reason, but I'll check into that with him.

"We've just walked too many people all year long. You can't do that against anybody, let alone the Twins."

Galarraga said it wasn't a matter of being careful because the Twins have been tough on him.

"It's nothing about them," he said. "I wasn't at my best, I couldn't locate my fastball. It was moving so much, so I slowed down."

Like everything Galarraga has tried against them, that didn't work, either.

Just pitch

Justin Verlander starts today, his first game since questions swirled about whether he makes too many excuses.

The last time Verlander pitched, he got lit up on Labor Day by the Yankees and blamed a tight strike zone. He actually didn't, but that's the way it sounded to Leyland from Verlander's postgame comments.

Saying he wasn't being critical or trying "to start something," Leyland countered by saying players should learn to say they are bad when they are and not use "diversionary tactics" such as blaming an umpire's strike zone.

It wasn't a sharp exchange, because it really wasn't an exchange at all -- and certainly not a spat. Leyland wasn't angry with Verlander, nor was Verlander offended by what his manager had to say.

But the Tigers right-hander is nothing if not headstrong. In a subsequent conversation with Leyland, he conveyed his point. And one can only think Verlander believes he wasn't making excuses at all.

Here's what he said after his last start about umpire Chuck Meriwether 's strike zone, but also about himself:

"My control was erratic. The guy behind the plate had a tight zone, but that happens in the big leagues. I don't think he was unfair. I'm not saying he was unfair by any means. I don't want that to come across that way. It's just that some guys are tighter than others. I don't think that had anything to do with the result.

"The point is I was not able to make pitches when I needed to. I made some decent pitches that got hit. The bad ones got hit as well. When all is said and done, you need to make pitches to get out of innings."

Bottom line, and whether he does well, it's a safe bet Verlander won't mention umpire Tim Tschida 's strike zone at all today.

Except, perhaps, to praise it.

Around the horn

Carlos Guillen didn't make this trip because of a stiff back that will have caused him to miss 12 consecutive games by the time this series is over.

... Leyland said he's skipping Kenny Rogers ' next scheduled start (Tuesday night) and that "there's a good chance it could be Nate Robertson " starting instead. Rogers will start again next Saturday in Chicago, though.

... Class A West Michigan and Class A Oneonta are the Tigers' only minor league teams still in postseason play.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:48 pm

09/06/2008 9:11 PM ET

Box >

Tigers top Twins with late rally
Granderson, Ordonez hit a pair of two-run homers in eighth
By Thor Nystrom / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland sits in the dugout of Saturday's game at the Metrodome. Flashbacks are wreaking havoc in his mind's eye. He has been in this game for years, and he has seen this scenario one too many times.

The Tigers lead, 6-4, in the ninth. Closer Fernando Rodney loads the bases. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are next up, respectively, and there is only one out. The 63-year-old sage gets up, halts the game and walks to the mound. He looks in his closer's eyes.

"Pound the ball in and throw your changeup," Leyland says. He returns to the dugout.

Rodney proceeds to strike out Mauer and induce a game-ending infield lineout from Morneau, a batter who had previously obliterated him to the tune of 6-for-10 with two home runs. Game over: Tigers win.

"I'm so thrilled that we won that game, because that's one of those nightmare games at the Metrodome," Leyland said. "I've seen those a thousand times: walk the leadoff guy, somebody bounces it over somebody's head, somebody bloops one in and then a blast. They go through your head all the time when you play up here. I've had a lot of them, as every other manager who comes in here has had."

Though the Tigers have faith in Rodney, Leyland was rather surprised with the manner in which his closer escaped a potential calamity.

"His stuff is so good that he can get out of his jams," Leyland said. "To strike out Mauer is unbelievable. That's not going to happen very often."

The next batter, Morneau, had busted open a 10-2 Minnesota victory on Friday over Detroit with a grand slam off starter Armando Galarraga. The irony wasn't lost on the Tigers' center fielder.

"[Those are] two guys that you don't want to face any time, whether at the beginning of the game or at the end of the game, especially with runners on," Curtis Granderson said. "You saw Morneau last night with the grand slam. Same situation, coming up. Rodney trusted in his fastball. No matter how good of a hitter you are, 97 [mph] is still 97."

For Detroit to be protecting a late lead, it first had to strike a hemorrhaging Minnesota bullpen. With the Tigers trailing, 4-2, in the top of the eighth inning and a runner on first, Granderson charged a Dennys Reyes hanging slider over the right-field baggie to tie the contest.

Reyes was yanked for Matt Guerrier. The right-hander surrendered a single to Placido Polanco. Magglio Ordonez then ripped the fourth consecutive slider he saw from Guerrier over the left-field wall to seize the lead for Detroit.

It was Detroit's fourth eighth-inning rally for a win against Minnesota this year. Are the Tigers just trying to avoid closer Joe Nathan, who has never blown a save against them?

"Nathan's up there as one of the top, premier closers," Granderson said. "You definitely don't want to face him, because there is a good chance that it means you are losing."

The Twins had earlier grabbed a 4-1 lead when Tigers starter Justin Verlander gave up a two-run bases-loaded double to Carlos Gomez in the sixth inning. A key sequence occurred on the play that would gain significance later in the game: Brian Buscher was thrown out at home for the inning's second out when left fielder Marcus Thames hit Ramon Santiago, who relayed it to Brandon Inge for the tag out.

"That's obliviously a big play," Leyland said.

Clay Rapada entered and coaxed an inning-ending groundout from Denard Span. Rapada threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings and received the win. Kyle Farnsworth struck out two in a perfect eighth inning before handing off to Rodney, who was rocky but recorded his ninth save.

Verlander went 5 2/3 innings while giving up four earned runs on eight hits and four walks. Verlander (10-15) has worked diligently with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez between starts to attempt to turn around a subpar season.

"I was real happy today with [Verlander], to be honest with you," Leyland said. "Yeah, he might have run out of gas a little bit [in the sixth inning], but overall, I was very happy with him. He is making progress. He is going to be a blue-chip pitcher in this league for a long time. It's just a matter of keeping working, keeping after it, staying after it, and he'll be fine."

Verlander labored through 114 pitches before a premature hook, but the right-hander was able to strand runners and dance out of a few tenuous situations.

"I was able to work out of some jams, keep our guys close, and they stepped up big," Verlander said.

The comeback victory helped the struggling Tigers get back into the win column. Detroit had lost nine of its past 12 games prior to Saturday.

"I don't want it ever to be said that a club I manage was not busting [tail], particularly with the stakes as high as they are -- particularly for Minnesota, but obviously we are trying to win as many games as we can," Leyland said.

Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:35 pm

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Tigers 6, Twins 4
Eighth-inning power surge bails out Tigers, Verlander
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Twins on Saturday. But one obstacle they've faced all year has been insurmountable.

The most telling statistic of their disappointing season is this: From a rotation thought in spring training to be capable of winning 75 games, had it stayed healthy and had those who stayed healthy not underachieved, the Tigers have 29 victories.

That's all -- 29.

"It's been tough, obviously," said manager Jim Leyland, "but that's the way it is. No excuses."

Looking for his 11th victory, Justin Verlander came up short again as his record remained at 10-15 in a game the Tigers came from behind to win 6-4 on a pair of two-run home runs in the eighth inning.

Curtis Granderson's two-run shot off lefty-hander Dennys Reyes tied the score. Then after a single by Placido Polanco, Magglio Ordonez put the Tigers in front for good by connecting off Matt Guerrier, who's been a punching bag the second half of the season.

It was a good victory for the Tigers, giving them a 7-60 record when they've trailed after seven innings, but once again it wasn't Verlander's best.

Yet he's still the bigger winner of the five pitchers who were going to be part of a deep, experienced rotation this season. Here are their won-lost numbers:

* Justin Verlander 10-15

* Kenny Rogers 9-13

* Nate Robertson 7-10

* Jeremy Bonderman 3-4

* Dontrelle Willis 0-1

Willis, of course, lost his control. Robertson lost his slider. Bonderman had serious shoulder surgery. Rogers might be in the final month of his fine career. And Verlander -- with an ERA (4.78) that's climbed back to its highest point since June 6 -- simply has been more bad than good.

Now go ahead. Guess again where the Tigers have the most work to do for next year.

Fortunately for them, the various starters they've unearthed along the way are 19-8. They have a talent pool to choose from, but from injuries to lack of performance, it's been a devastating season for the Tigers' original rotation.

Every time Verlander pitches, there are glimpses of the talent with which he won 35 games the last two seasons. But also with every game he pitches there's evidence of what he must overcome: The erratic location of his fastball, the chronic tendency to throw too many pitches.

In this game, for instance, he departed after 5 2/3 innings, having thrown 114 pitches. When he left, the Tigers trailed 4-1, which would have been 5-1 had Ramon Santiago not thrown out Brian Buscher at the plate on Carlos Gomez's bases-loaded double in the sixth.

"I liked a lot of things I saw in him," Leyland said of Verlander. "I thought he did better, to be honest with you. I think he's figuring it out. Overall, I was very happy with him. He's going to be a blue-chip pitcher in this league for a long time."

At the time, it looked like the Twins were in control again after winning Friday night's game 10-2. Bad outfield defense and relief betrayed them, though.

Right fielder Denard Span played Ordonez's leadoff single in the seventh off starter Scott Baker into a triple by letting it get past him. Miguel Cabrera singled in Ordonez to cut the Twins' lead to two runs.

At 5-1 the Tigers might have been out of it.

At 4-2 they weren't.

When Baker walked Santiago with one out in the eighth, the Twins went to Reyes, only to have Granderson hit the home run that tied it. Guerrier then served up the home run to Ordonez that proved to be the difference.

Fernando Rodney made it exciting in the ninth en route to his ninth save, but got out of a bases-loaded jam with one out by striking out Joe Mauer and getting Justin Morneau on a hard liner to second.

"I don't care who you are," said catcher Brandon Inge, "if Rodney makes his pitches, you're not going to do much with them. The pitch to Mauer, one of the best hitters I've ever seen, was well-spotted -- inside corner, right on the black.

"But the pitch to Morneau was much over the plate than we wanted. That's the danger zone."

So Rodney got away with a mistake?

"Big time," Inge said.


Leyland was going with Rodney all the way. No one was warming up in the bullpen.

"His stuff is so good that he can get out of a jam," said Leyland, "but striking out Mauer was something I didn't expect. That's not going to happen very often. Walking the leadoff hitter, though, you can't do that.

"This is a tough place to win, particularly with everything (the contending) Twins have at stake. We were in trouble. I'm so glad we won it, because that was one of those nightmare games in the making at the Metrodome.

"I've seen those a thousand times. Walk the leadoff guy, someone bounces one over someone's head, then a bloop and a blast. That goes through your head all the time when you play up here."

No nightmares this time, though, except for the Twins -- who in their quest to catch the White Sox, can't let any games slip away that they're in position to win.

As for the Tigers, out of it with 20 games to go, there's already next year to think about.

Those thoughts, no doubt, begin with starting pitching.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:33 pm

09/07/2008 7:32 PM ET

Box >

Tigers surge past Twins to take series
Ryan, Ordonez go deep; three-run sixth inning wins finale
By Thor Nystrom / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Dusty Ryan, a 48th-round selection four years ago in the First-Year Player Draft, only this season played himself into even being considered a prospect, according to Tigers manager Jim Leyland. So one could forgive the 24-year-old rookie catcher for the smile he flashed as he rounded the bases after smacking the first pitch he saw in his first Major League start for a two-run homer.

The blast gave Detroit an early lead, which it would surrender, but the team clawed back against Minnesota's bullpen for the second consecutive day and won, 7-5, in front of 31,236 at the Metrodome.

"I just couldn't believe it -- my first hit was a home run," Ryan said of his thoughts while rounding the bases.

Leyland had said before the game that he didn't know much about the rookie catcher, but knew he had big power.The skipper gave Ryan the start more for the youngster's familiarity with starting pitcher Chris Lambert, whom he had caught in the Minors, than for his offense. But Ryan paid immediate dividends with the bat.

"We were talking before the game, and I asked [third-base coach] Gene Lamont: 'Do you think Ryan will get his first Major League hit today?' And he said: 'Yeah, I think he will,'" Leyland said. "And after he hit it, Gene said: 'I wish I would have said he is going to hit a home run today, but I didn't go that far.'"

Twins starter Glen Perkins gave Ryan exactly what he was looking for: a fastball over the plate.

"I knew I hit it well, and I looked up and lost it in the ceiling," Ryan said.

Difficulty tracking his shot in the Dome's tricky Teflon ceiling aside, Ryan seemed at ease in his first extended action. He and starting pitcher Chris Lambert formed an effective rookie battery.

"I caught him, I think, three starts in Toledo, so I'm pretty familiar with what he likes to throw in certain counts," Ryan said. "That probably helped a lot today -- he pitched well."

Lambert received his first Major League victory by going five innings and surrendering three earned runs on seven hits and one walk.

"It's exciting, it's definitely one I will remember forever," Lambert said. "It took a little longer than I would have liked. But I got through five, battled out there -- it was tough at times, but it feels great."

Lambert required the Tigers' considerably gifted offense to secure his first win. Detroit trailed, 4-2, heading into the sixth inning, but the Tigers jumped on a tiring Perkins to seize control of the game. Miguel Cabrera's leadoff opposite-field homer cut the deficit to 4-3. It was the first baseman's 1,000th career hit.

"That's hard to believe, really," Leyland said. "[Cabrera]'s something special, you saw it again today. ... He's just got more talent than most people to do things. That's just the way it is. I don't think you can put it any better than that."

Three hits, one walk and one run later, Perkins was pulled. Curtis Granderson greeted reliever Craig Breslow with an RBI single, which gave the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Detroit added two insurance runs in the seventh via a Magglio Ordonez solo homer and a Marcus Thames sacrifice fly to center field.

The Tigers' bullpen ensured the lead would be converted into a win. Bobby Seay allowed one run in two innings, Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Fernando Rodney converted his 10th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

For the second consecutive day, Rodney had to face the Twins' star left-handed hitters, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, in a save situation with men on base. On Saturday with the bases loaded, he struck out Mauer and got Morneau to line out to end the game. One day later, after surrendering a single to Alexi Casilla, Rodney secured consecutive flyouts from Mauer and Morneau to send the Minnesota faithful home disappointed.

"You don't like to end up in the ninth inning seeing Mauer and Morneau a couple days in a row, that's not a good situation," Leyland said. "But that's the way it is. I thought [Rodney] did very well.

"One thing about Rodney -- he's not scared, that's for sure. He might not always get it done, but he's not afraid. He doesn't panic. Here it is, this is what he's got, and he will go at you."

Indeed, four of Rodney's five pitches to Mauer and Morneau were fastballs 95 mph or faster. His first pitch to Morneau, a 96-mph chest-high fastball over the plate that the slugger swung through, might as well have been a statement.

"I'm not afraid to throw, no matter who I have to face," Rodney said. "I want to throw one pitch high [to Morneau] and see what he's looking for."

In the locker room after the game, at least three Tigers had new keepsake souvenirs. Ryan had his first home run ball, Lambert had the game ball from his first victory, and Cabrera had the home run ball that represented his 1,000th hit. The 25-year-old Cabrera called the milestone "very important" to him.

Detroit leaves the Twin Cities having taken two of three from the contending Twins.

"However many [games] we have left, we are going to play hard," Leyland said. "That's what you get paid to do. It's a tough place against a great team that is right there in the hunt. It looks like them and the White Sox will be in a dogfight until the end. I'm glad we are done with them."

Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:18 pm



Detroit Tigers' Dusty Ryan smiles in the dugout after hitting a two-run
home run off Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Glen Perkins during the
second inning of a baseball game on Sunday. (Paul Battaglia /
Associated Press)

Monday, September 8, 2008
Tigers 7, Twins 5
Tigers win with another rally
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

MINNEAPOLIS — He said it more than once over the weekend and meant it more than once.

Manager Jim Leyland believes the stakes are still high for the Tigers, and by coming from behind to win the last two games of their three-game series against the Twins, after being drubbed 10-2 in the opener, they played like it.

On Sunday, the Tigers trailed by two, only to march back in front with three in the sixth en route to a 7-5 victory, a rally begun by Miguel Cabrera's 32nd home run.

They added two more in the seventh, including Magglio Ordonez's 18th home run.

But the home run that will be most remembered by a Tiger was rookie catcher Dusty Ryan’s two-run shot in the second off starter Glen Perkins. Not only did it come in the first major-league game he started, but it also was his first hit.

In both Saturday and Sunday’s victory, though, the Tigers did much of their damage against the Twins' bullpen.

In fact, they left the Twins gasping like a team with a bullpen fatigued by constant use and definitely looking like the underdog to win the American League Central a division that former Tiger and current Twins' broadcaster Jack Morris said on Sunday was one "that was just waiting for someone to take charge."

That's not exactly happening, though. Neither the Twins nor the White Sox are taking charge. And it's too late for the Tigers to do it.

But what exactly does Leyland mean when he talks about the stakes still being high? Obviously the Tigers aren't going to win the division. They are 11 1/2 games out with 19 games to go.

Their magic number to be eliminated is nine. They aren't going anywhere but home in three weeks.

"First of all," Leyland said, "we're trying to win as many games as we can, but I also don't want it to be said anywhere that our team didn't do everything it could that it started experimenting at the expense of the White Sox or Twins.

"Those two teams are in a dogfight. We need to be respectful of that. We don't want to be a team about which people say, 'Well, they didn't play their guys.' I'm going to play the lineup that's going to give us the best chance to win against both the Twins and White Sox (next weekend), also the Oakland A's."

"But there will be more conversation about the Twins and White Sox," Leyland said, "I don't play a game I don't want to win. But I also don't want to hear any weak comments that we weren't playing our guys.

"So the stakes are big for us and obviously for them as well. However many we have left, we'll play hard. That's what you get paid to do."

Simulation

Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia will pitch in their second simulated game today at Comerica Park after which, if all goes well, the next outing for both pitchers could be in a major-league game.

Leyland said both will throw more pitches than they did in the first session last week, with pitch count being more important to Garcia, who's bouncing back from last year's surgery, than it is for Willis, who's fully healthy.

"Freddy threw 54 pitches last time, I think," Leyland said. "We'd like to see 70 from him this time."

Firsts

Not only did Ryan hit his first major-league home run on Sunday, but rookie right-hander Chris Lambert, in his third start, also won his first game.

"It took a little longer than I wanted," Lambert said, "but it feels great."

"Having my first hit be a home run, that's a dream come true," said Ryan, who spent time at both Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo this season.

It was at Toledo that he'd previously caught Lambert.

"I wanted to catch Ryan with Lambert pitching," Leyland said. "He knows him a little bit. I know one thing, he has some power. He hits it far."

When asked if Ryan might be a candidate to back up Brandon Inge next year, however, Leyland said, "that's putting the cart before the horse. But if I had to sum it up, he's gone from being a possibility to a prospect on everyone's list. He's played his way to the prospect level."

First thousand

Cabrera's home run in the sixth was the 1,000th hit of his career. Yet he's only 25.

Plus he has this going for him: "He's just more talented than most people," Leyland said.

For sure

Nate Robertson will start Tuesday night against Oakland, his first start since Aug. 20.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:35 pm

Quote :
In the locker room after the game, at least three Tigers had new keepsake souvenirs. Ryan had his first home run ball, Lambert had the game ball from his first victory, and Cabrera had the home run ball that represented his 1,000th hit. The 25-year-old Cabrera called the milestone "very important" to him.

CONGRATS TO

:dusty: - first

:lambert: - first 🐅 WIN

M. Cabrera - 1000th career hit!



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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:32 am

Whooo Dusty and Miggy!!!
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:01 am

09/09/2008 2:02 AM ET

Box >

Sheffield helps power Tigers past A's
Hessman ties mark by getting plunked twice in same inning
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Mike Hessman took his hits for the team. The rest of the team took their hits.

The Tigers had nine runs through the first two innings against the A's Monday night on their way to a 14-8 win, and they needed just six hits to get those first nine runs. Half of those hits were home runs, two from Gary Sheffield to give him 496 for his career. They used two more hits to get into double digits in the third, capped by Miguel Cabrera's tape-measure shot.

The A's needed six ground-ball singles to put together a methodical, five-run, fifth-inning rally to climb back into the game. Just as the A's were back in it, two more hits and a Hessman homer put the game away.

"I don't know if it's deflating," A's slugger Jack Cust said, "but it's definitely difficult when they come at you like that. That's the difference in the way they're built and the way we're built."

They can be maddening when they're not hitting, but when the Tigers are on, they can put up runs in a hurry in a way many other teams can't.

"A lot of guys put good swings on the ball tonight," manager Jim Leyland said, "and they flew out of the ballpark."

The Tigers' third straight win was seemingly decided by the middle innings before Oakland rallied to make a contest out of it. After struggling for much of the past month against left-handed starters, Tigers hitters pounded A's rookie southpaw Gio Gonzalez for three home runs out of the five hits he allowed in 1 2/3 innings, yielding eight earned runs and another unearned tally.

Yet it was a pair of hit batsmen, a two-out walk and an error that helped provide Gonzalez with his downfall and the Tigers with their opportunity to put up so many runs on the scoreboard.

"You have to make him throw strikes," Sheffield said. "We saw film on him. We had the scouting report, and it seemed like he was throwing a lot of pitches away and not getting his breaking ball over."

After Magglio Ordonez's two-run homer and Sheffield's solo shot -- both on full counts -- powered the three-run opening inning, Gonzalez hit Hessman with a 1-2 pitch leading off the second inning, putting him halfway toward history.

After Brandon Inge tripled in Hessman, Gonzalez recovered for back-to-back groundouts to keep Inge at third. Gonzalez was nearly out of the inning if he could find a way to retire Ordonez, who instead drew a five-pitch walk. Two pitches later, Gonzalez threw a fastball in that hit Cabrera above his left hip as he checked his swing, extending the inning again.

Gonzalez (1-4) again fell behind on Sheffield, who turned on a 3-1 fastball and sent it out on a line toward the left-field seats. Sheffield's 13th career grand slam was also the 250,000th home run hit in Major League history, according to baseball-reference.com.

"That's the type of home runs he's hit pretty much his whole career -- line drives, not real towering shots," Leyland said.

The A's were still looking for that third out when Hessman came back up. This time, it was lefty reliever Josh Outman who hit him on an 0-2 pitch.

Outman essentially plunked Hessman into the history books. He became just the fifth player in modern Major League history to be hit by two pitches in the same inning, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Former Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson was the last big leaguer -- and the only other American Leaguer -- to do it when Rangers starter Mike Morgan hit him twice in the opening inning on May 23, 1999. The Rockies' Andres Galarraga (1996), the Mets' Frank Thomas (1962) and the Reds' Willard Schmidt (1959) were the National Leaguers.

"The first one hurt," Hessman admitted. "The first one got me good [on the left side]."

Justin Verlander, who caught the stat on television in the clubhouse, burst down the stairs to the dugout to tell him news.

When asked if it was a record worth congratulating, Hessman said, "I don't know. I didn't really want it."
The combined damage provided a cushion for Tigers starter Zach Miner, who recovered from a two-run opening inning to seemingly settle down through four. Five ground-ball singles, however, knocked him out two outs shy of qualifying for a victory, having given up eight runs in the process to raise his ERA by more than half a run to 4.29.

None of Oakland's six fifth-inning hits went into the outfield in the air, let alone go for extra bases. However, it assembled a five-run rally that actually brought the potential tying run to the plate before Casey Fossum (3-1) retired Cust to finally end the threat on his way to 2 1/3 hitless innings.

"The key to the game, without question, was Casey Fossum," Leyland said.

Every member of the Tigers' starting lineup scored a run except for leadoff man Curtis Granderson. Ordonez scored four runs, including a two-run homer in the opening inning, and walked twice. But it was the home runs hit -- and the home run hitters who were hit -- that marked this one.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:50 am

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Tigers 14, A's 8
Tigers spread out highlights
Sheffield homers twice, Ordonez reaches five times and Hessman, Cabrera also go deep.
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Where do you start?

With Gary Sheffield's two home runs, one of them a grand slam, in the Tigers' 14-8 victory Monday night over the Oakland Athletics?

With Magglio Ordonez being on base five times with a single, double, home run and two walks as he makes a determined bid to win another batting title?

With Mike Hessman becoming the first Tiger ever to get hit by a pitch twice in the same inning? Hessman got nailed twice in the Tigers' six-run second.

Or maybe with Miguel Cabrera hitting a 433-foot home run and knocking in three more runs to lift his RBI total to 116.

"I liked the one he drove in with the base hit (in the seventh) better," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's why he's such an RBI guy. I know he hits home runs, but he also can get a base hit off a tough pitcher and knock in a run."

Take your choice, though, from Sheffield to Cabrera, you can't go wrong with any of the four.

Sheffield's home runs give him 496 for his career. He might still get to 500 by the end of the season.

"Long line drives," said Leyland, "that's the type of home run he's hit his whole career."

Ordonez now is hitting .323. Boston's Dustin Pedroia, who was leading the American League in hitting at .330 before Monday night's games, dropped to .328 by going hitless in the Red Sox victory over the Rays.

"He's got his stroke back, there's no question about that," Leyland said about Ordonez. "He's on the ball real good."

Not too bruised, Hessman also hit a home run in the eighth, the Tigers' fifth of the game.

"(Justin) Verlander congratulated me, but I'm not sure I wanted it," Hessman said about being just the second American Leaguer and fifth in the majors ever to get hit twice in the same inning. "That first pitch nailed me good."

And Cabrera? His production just rolls on, doesn't it? Instead of several different compliments, however, sometimes one suffices.

"He just has more talent than most," Leyland said of his slugging first baseman over the weekend in Minnesota.

It was there that Cabrera got the 1,000th hit of his career. Only 25, he didn't get to 1,000 faster than anyone ever has. Seven players, including Al Kaline and former Tigers coach Vada Pinson, got to that level when they were 24.

Of far more concern to the Tigers is the way Cabrera produces runs, and after a sluggish start he's showing not only his consistency, but his intelligence as a hitter.

For instance, in first at-bats this year, Cabrera is hitting .242, but seldom gets fooled a second or third time. In his second and third at-bats against the same starter, he's hitting .347.

Evidence of his consistency lies in the fact that heading into Monday night's game, he was hitting .296 at home and .286 on the road.

But as proof that he's a prolific run-producer, in addition to the fact he now has driven in more than 110 runs in each of the last five years, is what Cabrera has done this season when he's been up with a runner on third.

Whether it's first and third, second and third, bases loaded or third by itself, Cabrera is hitting .424 (25-for-59 with 49 RBIs).

It's also clear that when the Tigers win, it's often because he's contributed. In their victories, Cabrera is hitting .377. In losses, he's hitting .207. All in all, it's made for the kind of season the Tigers expected of him.

Around the horn

Leyland was pleased with the way both Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia threw in their simulated game.

"They threw a few more pitches than the last time and I thought they both were a little better," Leyland said.

The next step for them has not been determined, though.

... Carlos Guillen said his back felt better, but missed his 13th consecutive game and might not play until Friday in Chicago at the earliest.

... Nate Robertson makes his first start tonight since Aug. 20. He's pitched three times in relief since being removed from the rotation, allowing seven runs in five innings.

... Rookie catcher Dusty Ryan has impressed Leyland with his arm as well as his power.

"He has a cannon," Leyland said. "You won't see any better strength than that up here. Nowhere."

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:00 am

09/09/2008 10:08 PM ET

Box >

Robertson solid, but Tigers fall to A's
Starter hurls seven solid innings while striking out six
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Nate Robertson's return to the Tigers rotation yielded seven innings of one-run ball. It did not yield a victory.

What was nearly a nice comeback story for a Tiger in a pitching duel instead became an Oakland comeback off of Detroit's bullpen. Rajai Davis tripled in the tying run off Fernando Rodney and scored the go-ahead tally on an Emil Brown sacrifice fly, sending the Tigers to a 3-2 loss at Comerica Park.

Robertson hadn't made a start since allowing five home runs over three-plus innings on Aug. 20 at Texas prompted the Tigers to send him to the bullpen for work on his mechanics with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. He said on Monday that his biggest competition at times has been himself, fighting belief in his pitches.

That self-defeating presence was nowhere to be found on Tuesday. In turn, the A's were little competition for him, too. He didn't face more than four batters in any of his seven innings of work, and his lone three-ball count came in the opening inning on his way to retiring 10 of Oakland's first 11 batters.

Robertson needed just 79 pitches to get through his outing, and 60 of those went for strikes. Given that Robertson was starting for the first time in three weeks, manager Jim Leyland brought in lefty Bobby Seay to begin the eighth inning. His leadoff walk to Jeff Baisley, making his first Major League start, started the go-ahead rally.

After Seay struck out Cliff Pennington, Rodney (0-5) entered to face Davis. He put the A's leadoff man in an 0-2 count before leaving a fastball too far over the outside of the plate, enough for Davis to line deep into the gap in left-center field. Pinch-runner Eric Patterson scored, and after Brown drove a 2-2 Rodney pitch deep enough to center field, so did Davis.

Both Detroit runs came on Edgar Renteria's two-run single with the bases loaded in the second inning. A's starter Dana Eveland used a lineout double play and fly ball to right to strand two runners in that inning, then left the bases loaded in the fifth. Joey Devine (5-1) retired the side in order in the seventh to earn the victory.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

(to be updated when available)


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:21 am

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A's 3, Tigers 2
Tigers let late lead slip away
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Good moods are no match for 3-2 defeats. They vanish every time.

So it was no surprise that manager Jim Leyland's mood reversed itself Tuesday night when, after he announced that Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia would soon start, the Tigers let one slip away to the Oakland A's.

Annoying Leyland, as you might expect, was the way they lost: On a triple in the eighth by Rajai Davis when Fernando Rodney had him down 0-2 in the count.

Davis drove in the tying run, which reached base on a leadoff walk off Bobby Seay, then scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Adding to the frustration, the Tigers left the bases loaded in the eighth, and stranded runners at first and third in the ninth, the game ending on a strikeout after it looked like A's closer Brad Ziegler had balked.

"We've been making the same mistakes 0-2 all year long, giving guys a fat pitch to hit," Leyland said. "That's why we've lost so many games from the seventh inning on.

"It can't happen if you're going to be successful up here. Doing the job part time is not acceptable.

"We've gotten killed on 0-2 counts night after night, time after time. Eventually you get tired of watching it. Fastball right down the middle, you can't win close games in the big leagues that way."

Usually held back until the ninth, Rodney was in the game early because Kyle Farnsworth strained his groin in Minnesota and wasn't available. The loss didn't negate a fine outing by Nate Robertson, but prevented him from being the winning pitcher in his first start since Aug. 20.

"It was encouraging to pitch well, but it's over. Now you go out there and compete again," Robertson said.

But when? That's the question.

Leyland said before the game that Willis will start Monday night and Garcia on Wednesday night in Texas. He also unveiled his master plan for the series that remain against contending teams: Chicago and Tampa Bay.

His plan is to start Willis and Garcia twice each before the end of the season, once against Texas and if all goes well, again against Kansas City at Comerica Park in the final week of the season.

"Two starts each," Leyland said, "depending on how they feel and how they do."

That's the developmental part of the plan. The Tigers need to see Willis and Garcia on the mound, and to do so against Texas and Kansas City won't affect any of the pennant races.

The flip side is that Leyland intends to use starters from this foursome (Justin Verlander, Armando Galarraga, Kenny Rogers and Zach Miner) in the so-called "meaningful" series that remain.

That way, no one can accuse the Tigers of looking at Willis and Garcia to the detriment of an undecided race.

"I'll get both those guys a couple of starts to see if they are OK," Leyland said, "and I can also end up, if necessary, with Verlander, Rogers, Miner and Galarraga against Tampa Bay (in the final series of the season)."

His three starting pitchers this weekend against the White Sox will be Verlander, Rogers and Miner.

Where that leaves rookie Chris Lambert is in the bullpen and where it leaves Robertson is uncertain even after holding the Athletics to one run on four hits.

"He was brilliant," Leyland said. "It's a shame we didn't win it for him."

While they won't pitch against contenders, the starts for Willis and Garcia will certainly be meaningful for the pitchers making them both of them coming back from formidable obstacles: Willis from the total desertion of his control and Garcia from last year's shoulder surgery,

Especially about Willis, though, Leyland doesn't want to over-talk the moment.

"I don't want to make a big hoopla about him pitching," he said. "That's the worst thing I could do.

"He's not going to be judged negatively or positively. If he does great, I'm not going to go crazy. If he doesn't, I'm not going to be concerned."

Willis also doesn't want to blow the significance of his first start since June 9 out of proportion, saying he hopes to have some fun.

Robertson, meanwhile, isn't already becoming the odd-man out, but Leyland said he "has a fight on his hands."

For his job?

"In general," Leyland said. "I don't take anything lightly right now.


"These last couple of weeks won't be boring. They're going to be big for a lot of people.

"There are some interesting things going on. I'm pumped up about it."

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:20 pm

09/10/2008 7:14 PM ET

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Tigers' offense falls shy in finale
Detroit no-hit through five innings, leaves bases loaded twice
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson was certain Magglio Ordonez's ninth-inning drive was going past A's center fielder Rajai Davis, if not the center-field fence as well. Thus, Granderson rounded second and kept on running.

Three innings earlier, Mike Hessman expected Marcus Thames' line drive was going to get past third baseman Jeff Baisley, so he got a big jump off first.

Both choices lost out Wednesday. So did the Tigers.

There were plenty of bigger reasons behind Detroit's 5-2 rubber-game loss to Oakland, from the club's inability to punish wild right-hander Sean Gallagher to what looked like a tired Armando Galarraga. One could make the argument that Granderson and Hessman showed more life in their play than the Tigers did in general. And as they readily admitted, their runs would not have meant anything in the final result without others scoring behind them.

Given Detroit's struggles down the stretch, however, they became two of the day's symbols for the frustration that has been September.

"Obviously, those are the two most unlikely guys for that to happen," said manager Jim Leyland, who didn't blame them.

But then, Gallagher's effort seemed like one of the more unlikely ones for a no-hit bid that lasted into the sixth.

While Granderson's miscue accounted for the Tigers' final out, the first three outs for the club were all strikeouts following walks. Gallagher walked the bases loaded and struck out the side in the first inning. Detroit didn't put a ball in play until Marcus Thames' flyout to center leading off the second, and it was part of a string of eight straight batters Gallagher retired before he walked the bases loaded again in the fourth.

Even with Placido Polanco, Ordonez and Edgar Renteria out of the starting lineup, it was an odd and unlikely line. Six of the 18 batters Gallagher faced drew walks. Six others struck out, and the remaining six were retired.

Leyland did not put much stock into the idea of Gallagher being effectively wild. He left after four innings, having thrown just 44 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

"I thought was going to play a lot of energy players out there today," Leyland said. "I didn't see that much."

He saw a base hit in the sixth, when Miguel Cabrera hit a liner back through the middle and into center field for a leadoff single in Jerry Blevins' second inning of work. Matt Joyce and Hessman, the latter of whom was pinch-hitting for Jeff Larish, followed with back-to-back ground balls through the infield, loading the bases with one out.

Up came Thames, who worked his way out of an 0-2 hole to get a pitch to hit and smacked it to the left side as the runners, including Hessman, reacted.

"When I first saw it hit, I thought it was going to go through," Hessman said. "I thought it was low enough to. When [Baisley] caught it, I ended up too far off."


It took a diving effort for Baisley to catch it, then an acrobatic near-full split from first baseman Daric Barton to double off Hessman. Still, even after Ryan Raburn singled in the remaining two baserunners, it was an extra out that took some of the momentum out of the rally.

"It was just a bad baserunning mistake," Hessman said.

By then, however, the A's already had a commanding lead to send Tigers starter Armando Galarraga (12-6) toward his second consecutive loss. Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust hit back-to-back solo shots with two outs in the opening inning before three straight one-out singles in the fourth set up Aaron Cunningham's two-run single.

Galarraga, like Gallagher, lasted just four innings, but gave up five runs on eight hits in the process. Detroit's American League Rookie of the Year candidate is winless in his past four starts since beating the Rangers on Aug. 19.

"He looks like he's starting to run on empty a little bit," Leyland said.

Galarraga admitted to some typical late-season body fatigue. Pitching-wise, however, he said he feels fine, but that a few pitches came back to haunt him.

"Your body starts to get tired," Galarraga said. "It's a long season, but there isn't any pain, any soreness. Everything feels good. I feel pretty strong. [My] velocity's right there. I can throw hard. [I] just [need to] locate my pitches."

Granderson thought he knew where Ordonez's ball was located in the ninth. His one-out single prompted Leyland to bring in Ordonez to pinch-hit for Ramon Santiago. Ordonez's drive to center put Rajai Davis on a full sprint behind him.

Granderson felt it was at least headed over Davis' head.

"Way over his head," Granderson said.

So did Ordonez, at first.

"It didn't make it to the warning track," Ordonez said. "The wind was blowing in today."

Just as Davis impressed with his speed during his game-turning triples Tuesday, his run Wednesday might have changed the course of the contest. He ran down the ball as Granderson was heading toward third base, making him an easy target to double off and end the game.

"The ball wasn't carrying too well today," Granderson said. "It was a dumb mistake by me. My run didn't mean anything."

Neither, it turned out, did any of the eight walks issues by the A's hurlers. None of them scored.

"This," Leyland said, "is a disappointing loss."

[i]Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:31 pm

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Athletics 5, Tigers 2
Tigers' backsliding continues
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- One more trip, one more home stand.

With the end in sight, maybe the Tigers can gear up for the Chicago White Sox this weekend and give a contending team some trouble, as they did last weekend with the Twins.

But if Wednesday's game is any indication, the Tigers need to get their heads out of wherever they were in a deadly dull 5-2 loss to the Oakland A's.

And back in the game where they belong.

Three big mental blunders -- two on the bases and one defensive -- proved costly, as did a pair of first-inning home runs off Armando Galarraga (12-6), whom manager Jim Leyland feels could finally be tiring after having such a fine season.

"It looks like he's starting to burn out a little bit," Leyland said. "Getting an extra day before his next start will be good for him."

That's nice. But, c'mon.

The last two losses to the Triple A's were inexcusable -- one happening because of a thoughtless 0-2 pitch on Tuesday night, the second because of a collective lack of focus.

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to another loss, however. The number of tickets sold for the game at Comerica Park was announced at 37,194. The crowd was much smaller than that, of course, but the amount sold is an indication of the ticket base from which there is bound to be erosion over the winter.

That's only one of the challenges the Tigers are facing. On the field, they can't know for sure who their starting pitchers will be next season or who will relieve, a situation manager Leyland calls "unsettling."

If nothing else, the season will end with question marks already hovering over next year's landscape. But the work the Tigers have done to build -- not their fan base, that's always strong -- but their paying-customer base could be totally undone by the wreck this season has become.

Think back to 2006, with the Tigers on their way to a postseason spot, their crowds growing, but no guaranteed base from which to work. It was a season of big walk-up crowds, and for Game 146 on Sept. 13, they drew 24,672 for an 11-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Compared to this year's numbers, however, they drew "only" 24,672 for that game.

Last year, with the ticket bump they got from 2006, the number of tickets sold for Game 146, also played at home, was 33,840.

And this year for their 146th game, with the run on tickets caused by the unlimited potential this team once seemed to have, more than 37,000 tickets were sold.

The fans were knocking on the Tigers' door last winter. This year the Tigers will do the knocking because in two years since reaching the World Series, they've headed due south on the field.

In 2006 at this point, they were 87-59, in first place by 161/27 games.

In 2007, they were 79-67, in second place, 661/27 games out of first.

In 2008, they are 70-76, in fourth place, closer to last than first.

The gold mine of cash hungry fans saying "can't get enough of those red-hot Tigers" could be running dry. The run to the ticket window is bound to slow.

And you have to wonder what owner Mike Ilitch was thinking as he observed the first of these last two consecutively bad defeats from his suite at Comerica Park.

Ilitch doesn't have to be in attendance to know what's going on, of course, but there's nothing like hearing the grumbles and seeing the bumbles first hand to get a grip on the situation.

Ilitch has another huge payroll on his hands for next year, money spent when the bloom was on the rose. What the heck does he do now with the bloom fading?

The Tigers were no-hit on Wednesday through four innings by Sean Gallagher, a pitcher who loaded the bases twice with walks before departing early because of an elevated pitch count. Nice, eh?

They blundered on the bases, the game ending with Curtis Granderson, smart as he is, getting thrown out while retreating to first after thinking a ball to center wouldn't be caught. Nice, eh?

And they lost two in a row at home to a team that had been 9-25 in its previous 34 road games. One more time, nice, eh?

Leyland keeps saying the Tigers want to win as many games as they can, an admirable intention, but they aren't winning every game they can -- because they could have won the last two against an overmatched team and didn't.

It looks like the season will remain until the end the disappointment it's been from the start.

Then say good-bye to 37,194 tickets sold.

And hello to square one at the gate which, in these economic times, the Tigers might find themselves returning to next year.

They're going to take a hit because of losses like these, and a season like this. How much of a hit remains to be seen. But like the way they've too often played, it won't be pretty.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:42 pm

09/12/2008 10:30 PM ET
Tigers to play two in soggy Chicago
Rogers gets the start in Saturday's opener vs. White Sox
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander will have to wait for his grudge match with the White Sox. A steady dose of rain on Friday and no letup in sight for the evening forced the postponement of the Tigers' series opener against the American League Central leaders.

The game appeared to be on track to start on time. Shortly before game time, however, the tarp was put back on the field.

The two teams will attempt to make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. Kenny Rogers, who already was scheduled to start Saturday's game, will stay on that track. He hasn't pitched since Sept. 4, so the Tigers did not want him pushed back any longer. That game is scheduled to be a regional broadcast on FOX at 3:55 p.m. ET.

The second game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest, weather permitting. Zach Miner, who had been slated to start Sunday's series finale, instead will pitch on Saturday night. The White Sox have not announced their starter for the nightcap, as of Friday evening.

Verlander and John Danks will have their matchup on Sunday night. Both of them went through their full pregame warmups on Friday before the game was delayed and then postponed, so they'll get a day of rest before trying it again. That game will remain a national broadcast on ESPN beginning around 8:05 p.m. ET. If they must make up one of Saturday's game on Sunday, that game would start around 2 p.m. ET as part of a day-night doubleheader.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:45 pm

Attempt is right! Big Smile
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:49 pm

09/13/2008 5:20 PM ET
Rain pushes back Tigers' twin bill
Detroit to face Chicago in Sunday doubleheader
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Tigers came to town a couple of days ago, hoping to play a spoiler role in the American League Central race. The only spoiler so far has been the rain, and it's putting Detroit into uncertain territory.

Another day of steady downpours on Saturday rained out the Tigers and White Sox, this time postponing the entirety of what the two teams hoped was going to be a doubleheader. At the very least, the clubs wanted to try to get one game in and play the other game as part of a doubleheader on Sunday if necessary.

Now, they're scheduled to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. The first game, scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET, will pit Detroit ace Justin Verlander against Javier Vazquez. The regularly scheduled ESPN Sunday Night game will be the nightcap, starting around 8:09 p.m. with Kenny Rogers on the mound for Detroit against John Danks.

Even if both games are played -- and that's a big if, given the forecast for more rain on Sunday, along with gusty winds and falling temperatures -- that still leaves one game to be made up. And with the White Sox in a close race for the division, there's a realistic chance that the result could mean something for October. The teams don't have a common off-day over the final two weeks of the regular season, so they could need to play the game on Sept. 29, the Monday after the regular season is scheduled to end.

Right now, the Tigers are trying not to think that far ahead. They have enough on their hands just adjusting to the twists and turns of the weekend. They were on their way back to the team hotel after Friday's rainout, expecting it to be rescheduled for Sunday, when they were told about the Saturday doubleheader.

"Maybe we can play it in the [batting] cage," Magglio Ordonez joked.

Miner was originally scheduled to pitch the Sunday night game, then was pushed up to Saturday night as part of the doubleheader. He hadn't changed out of his street clothes after arriving at U.S. Cellular Field when the announcement came that Saturday's games were postponed. Now, he's slated to pitch on Tuesday at Texas, in between Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia in the series.

"Whenever they tell me to take the ball, I'll take the ball and hope it goes good," said Miner, who played long toss on Friday to loosen up his arm. "I was ready to do it today. I was ready to go tomorrow. I'll be ready to go whenever. It's not a big deal. It is what it is."

It's a similar attitude taken by manager Jim Leyland.

"I don't worry about stuff like that," Leyland said. "You can't control that stuff. This is obviously a very meaningful series. We're trying to win as many games as we can, and it's very significant to the White Sox and Twins.

"That doesn't bother me. I don't get excited about it, and there's no sense getting upset about it. Whatever they say, that's fine."

At this point, the Tigers are trying to make the best of it. Center fielder and Chicago native Curtis Granderson, for one, has had a chance to get a good taste of his investment in a local restaurant. He has eaten at Fifty/50 in Wicker Park for the last three nights and has taken teammates and family there. He's a partner in the business with some friends who have experience in the restaurant field.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:02 pm

09/14/2008 9:51 PM ET

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Verlander stong out of gate, slides late
Righty allows four runs; offense quiet in Game 1 of twin bill
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander has faced the White Sox here three times. Each time, he has taken a close, low-scoring deficit and a quality start into the eighth inning, and each time he has given up add-on runs to seal his defeat.

Monday was better compared to his recent outings in general, but his result against the White Sox was the same. A seventh-inning solo home run from Alexei Ramirez helped Chicago build a slim lead before back-to-back doubles from Dewayne Wise and Jermaine Dye sank Detroit's young ace and sent Detroit to a 4-2 loss on Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Verlander (10-16) lost for the fifth time in six outings against the White Sox this season, but 7 2/3 scoreless innings from Chicago starter Javier Vazquez all but ensured that fate on Sunday. All Verlander could do is keep the game close and hope that his offense could rally late to support him.

Eventually, the offense came around with two runs in the ninth off of closer Bobby Jenks, who had allowed four earned runs in his previous 32 career innings against Detroit. In this case, though, Sunday's eighth-inning runs eventually stood as the difference.

"It's particularly tough when you throw the ball so well for that long of a time and then give it up late in the game," Verlander said. "It's nice to be able to throw the ball well, especially in a game like today when it's a doubleheader. You know our bullpen is going to have to be taxed a bit, so it was nice to go late in the game and be able to log some innings. I felt like I made some good strides today. I felt like I threw the ball pretty well."

In light of his previous couple starts, the progress was evident. After Verlander yielded 14 earned runs on 22 hits over 13 1/3 innings in his previous three starts, Verlander and manager Jim Leyland agreed that he needed to command his fastball better.

The combination of between-starts work with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, a couple extra days of rest thanks to back-to-back rainouts and a Chicago offense that might have been rusty from the time off seemed to make a difference. Verlander needed just 91 pitches to get through his first seven innings while walking two batters and reaching just two other three-ball counts.

Just two of the six hits Verlander allowed over his first six innings went for extra bases, but both were costly. One was a fifth-inning double from Ken Griffey Jr. that put him in position to score when Juan Uribe laced a two-out line drive back through the middle and into center field. The other was Ramirez's drive to left field in the seventh for his 17th homer on the year.

It wasn't enough to get him a lead, thanks to Vazquez's scoreless ball, but it left the Tigers with a workable 2-0 deficit heading into the eighth.

"I thought Verlander was very good," Leyland said. "He didn't get the ball in there to Ramirez [on the] first pitch and he turned on one, but overall, I thought he pitched very, very well. He pitched a good ballgame. We didn't do much for him."

He was an out away from retiring the side in order in the eighth, having retired Nick Swisher and Uribe to start the eighth. His first pitch to Orlando Cabrera, however, ended up grounded through the left side for a single that extended the inning for the heart of the White Sox order.

In this case, one of the add-on runs came from a lesser-known former Tigers player. Wise, a former Tigers farmhand, shrugged off one breaking ball before lining another one to the opposite field for an RBI double and a 3-0 lead.

Up until that point, Verlander's command had even managed to keep his usual White Sox nemeses contained. Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome, 22-for-68 with 10 home runs combined off of Verlander for their careers, were 0-for-6 at that point with just one ball hit out of the infield. Dye's fourth time up on Sunday broke the string with another double to right.

With that, Verlander (10-16) was out, having given up four runs on nine hits over his 7 2/3 innings and lost his third straight decision. He's 2-9 this year against the White Sox and Indians, the latter of which he faces in his next start. He's 8-7 against every other team he has faced.

"It's nice to go throw the ball well here," Verlander said, "but I've thrown the ball well here three times and not done well the last inning -- or last out. You can narrow it down to the last out of the game. But I think pitching here, I've done a lot better here than in years previous. Just overall, the way I've thrown and how I've attacked hitters, I think it's been better this year than the first two."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:02 am

09/15/2008 1:52 AM ET

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Tigers roar back, but lose on slam
Farnsworth gives up go-ahead runs late as club drops twin bill
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Marcus Thames couldn't be happier that his former Toledo Mud Hen teammate Dwayne Wise is making the most of his opportunities in the big leagues. He just would've rather not seen Wise get an opportunity on Sunday night.

Somewhere along the Tigers' way toward dropping both games of a twin bill and ending a long, winless, rain-soaked weekend in Chicago, a slugfest broke out. Thames' grand slam in the top of the eighth inning finished Detroit's comeback from a seven-run deficit. Wise's pinch-hit slam in the bottom of the inning finished off the Tigers.

With a high hop on a potential third out and the crack of a well-traveled bat, a Tigers team playing out the schedule on a disappointing season saw a sign of life vanish into a suddenly dry Chicago evening. The 11-7 loss finished off a Sunday in which Detroit finally got back onto the field and fell back into its struggles, no matter how hard it tried to get out of them.

"We just didn't quit," Thames said. "It's been a long day, but we're professionals. We've got to go out and play the game, and play the game the right way, and hopefully something good will happen."

For one eighth-inning rally, it did.

Thames and Wise were together in Toledo for much of the 2005 season. Thames was a feared Triple-A slugger waiting for another chance in Detroit, which he would get the following year. He hasn't been back in the Minor Leagues since. Wise struggled in Toledo, never reaching Detroit, and bounced around Cincinnati's farm system before finally landing in Chicago this summer. They still keep in touch to this day.

Thames was on the bench while Wise had two hits and a key RBI double in the Tigers' 4-2 loss on Sunday afternoon to open the twin bill. The roles were reversed for the nightcap, with Thames back in the lineup against White Sox left-hander John Danks.

Once Danks left after 95 pitches over six scoreless innings with a touchdown-sized lead, Detroit began its rally with Mike Hessman's two-run homer in the seventh off Scott Linebrink. Curtis Granderson greeted lefty specialist Boone Logan with his 19th home run of the season leading off the eighth before back-to-back singles from Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez built up the belief that they could win this game.

Octavio Dotel entered and put Miguel Cabrera in an 0-2 hole, but missed on four straight pitches after that for a walk that loaded the bases with no one out. Dotel recovered to send down Gary Sheffield with a called third strike on the inside corner, but his first-pitch cutter found enough of the plate for Thames to send toward the left-field seats in a hurry for his 25th home run of the season.

"I was just trying to find something up in the zone, and I was just trying to do something to help the team," said Thames, whose personal 0-for-12 slump at U.S. Cellular Field this year before the homer included a broken-bat double play after back-to-back singles led off the fourth inning. "I tried to stay focused and I tried to do something positive."

Suddenly, a Tigers club that hadn't led all weekend -- for that matter, it hasn't led since Tuesday -- was back in a game that seemed doomed after five fifth-inning runs off struggling lefty Kenny Rogers.

"I got the effort I was looking for from the club," manager Jim Leyland said. "We couldn't quite close it out, get that one extra one we needed to take the lead. You feel pretty good when you tie it up like that. I really felt like we were going to win the ballgame."

After Chris Lambert and Freddy Dolsi retired seven straight White Sox following the Ken Griffey Jr. two-run double that knocked Rogers out of the contest, the late-inning portion of the Tigers bullpen took over the tie game. A bloop single from Jerry Owens to greet Bobby Seay leading off the bottom of the eighth, however, put Chicago's offense in motion to get the go-ahead run in position. Juan Uribe sacrificed Owens over to second, prompting an intentional walk to Nick Swisher in order to face Toby Hall instead.

Seay (1-2) retired Hall on a fly ball to right before giving way to Kyle Farnsworth against Orlando Cabrera. Farnsworth's inside fastball -- a pitch with which he had struggled last month -- jammed Cabrera into what initially seemed like the third out at third. Just as Hessman waited for the ball to bounce up around his waist, it instead took off for his chin.

"I tried to knock it down and hold onto it," Hessman said. "When it bounced up, I tried to go with my glove. I didn't want to risk deflecting it with the glove and having to shoot out into the outfield. Once it took a bad hop, I was just trying to knock it down and keep it in the infield.

"It was unfortunate. Farnsworth came in, made his pitch and got the ground ball for us. It didn't work out."

A bounce off of Hessman's bare hand kept it from scurrying too far, holding the runner at third with two outs. There was no such fortune for Farnsworth's 0-1 fastball to Wise, who deposited it into the Tigers bullpen.

It was Wise's first big league grand slam, which Thames could certainly appreciate after all he went through to make it in the Majors.

"I'm happy for him to get back to the big leagues," Thames said. "I know how hard he works, and he didn't really have a job at the beginning of Spring Training. He finally got one and he's just trying to make the best out of the situation he's got right now."

The best of Sunday's situation was the worst scenario for Detroit.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:02 am

09/16/2008 12:47 AM ET

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Willis' strong start goes for naught
Starter effective over five innings but bullpen can't hold on
By Drew Davison / Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The night belonged to Detroit starter Dontrelle Willis, who left his first Major League game since June 11 in line for a win.

But after a wild game that included Tigers manager Jim Leyland getting ejected and Gary Sheffield's 497th career long ball, instead of a win, all Willis got were a few pats on the back from Leyland and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez.

In the end, the Tigers' bullpen couldn't hang on to give Willis his first win since Sept. 25, 2007, as Detroit fell to the Rangers, 11-8, in the series opener on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"I'm really happy about my outing," Willis said. "I was really looking forward to this. I wasn't sure if I was going to pitch in the Major Leagues this year, but it was a lot of hard work and a lot of people believing in me.

"But I want to win ballgames and that's what I'm here to do. I'm disappointed we lost, so we can go back to the drawing board and try and keep getting better."

Willis started the game by issuing a leadoff walk to Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias, but then retired the next eight batters.

The most impressive at-bat for Willis, though, came in the fourth inning. After issuing his third walk of the game, Willis struck out former All-Star Hank Blalock with a 93-mph high-and-tight fastball.

But that strikeout was followed by another walk. Then, Willis' only real mishap occurred, when he served up a fastball to Rangers' third baseman and No. 8 hitter Travis Metcalf, who sent the ball into the left-field seats for a three-run home run.

Still, Leyland decided to stick with Willis for the fifth inning, and it paid off. Willis started the inning with another walk, but then retired the next three batters and left the game with the Tigers (70-79) ahead of the Rangers (74-77), 4-3.

"In the fifth inning, I was really pleased because I didn't leave him in just to get a win," said Leyland, who added that Willis would start on Sunday. "Hopefully, we can look back and that inning will get him over the hump. I don't want to get over-excited, but I'm very pleased and it's something we can build on."

For Hernandez, the biggest thing Willis can improve upon is his delivery. The Tigers' pitching staff has been working to simplify Willis' delivery, so it becomes easily repeatable.

"When he was in the stretch, he was not going to the highest points, which was good," Hernandez said. "It was more under control. We still have a lot of work to do, but this was a very positive outing. I don't think Dontrelle has left a Major League clubhouse feeling as good as he does tonight."

The Detroit bullpen, meanwhile, isn't leaving feeling very good after giving up two leads late in the game.

The Tigers had a 5-3 lead heading into the sixth, but the Rangers tagged reliever Gary Glover for four runs. Blalock led off the inning with a single, then Glover plunked Max Ramirez on a controversial call that got Leyland ejected. Two batters later, the Rangers' Taylor Teagarden hit a grand slam off Glover to put the Rangers on top, 7-5.

"I think I threw the ball fine, but the results weren't what I wanted," Glover said. "The pitch to Teagarden was a decent pitch, below the knees and out of the strike zone. Teagarden just did a good job of getting the barrel of the bat on the ball."

Detroit, though, responded with two runs in the seventh on RBI singles from Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera to tie the game at 7.

In the eighth, Placido Polanco gave the Tigers a one-run lead with a single to center off Rangers reliever Frank Francisco, which scored Ramon Santiago.

But that didn't last long, as Texas answered in the bottom of the frame when Teagarden hit an RBI double off Detroit reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who took the loss. Farnsworth (2-3) then gave up a two-run triple to Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd as Texas sealed the victory.

Asked about the bullpen's struggles, Leyland said: "If you look at our club, that's happened way too often. It's a downer. Nobody is trying to do it. Over the course of the year, we've let way too many leads get away like that. That's what hurts your club more than anything."

Especially when a once promising starter, Willis, pitched well enough to win.

Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:19 pm

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Rangers 11, Tigers 8
Willis returns and Rogers goes for Tigers
Left-hander goes five innings and gets no decision; veteran might be finished in Detroit.
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A second look at Dontrelle Willis, a last glance at Kenny Rogers and yet another defeat.

On the night Willis returned to the mound after months of trying to rid himself of control problems, Rogers, it was learned, has probably thrown his last pitch as a Tiger.

With the Tigers eventually losing 11-8 Monday night to the Texas Rangers on four runs in the eighth off Kyle Farnsworth, Willis didn't get a decision in his first start since June 9.

When he exited, however, after allowing three runs on two hits and five walks in five innings, the Tigers led 4-3 so it wasn't his fault they lost their fifth consecutive game.

Gary Sheffield hit the 497th home run of his career in the loss.

Manager Jim Leyland was ejected after an argument in the sixth, and yes, the bullpen collapsed again, Farnsworth having a terrible time of it in the eighth.

But this game was more about Willis than anything else.

"I was encouraged," Leyland said.

"I thought he took steps forward. Overall I was very pleased. He threw some pitches very well."

As for the loss, Leyland said: "It's happened way too often, from the beginning of the year, and it's still going on. We've let way too many leads get away."

When he threw strikes, Willis was effective, except for a home run by Travis Metcalf.

When he didn't throw strikes, he got himself in trouble the same problem he had earlier in the year.

Metcalf's blast was a three-run shot because of two walks ahead of it.

Taylor Teagarden's grand slam off Gary Glover in the sixth was another damaging blow.

There were stretches of real promise in the way Willis pitched, though, such as the eight consecutive hitters he retired after a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced. In all he threw 89 pitches, 47 of them for strikes.

That ratio needs improvement, but with possibly two more starts before the end of the season, Willis will get a chance to end the season on an encouraging note.

"I wasn't sure I would pitch in the big leagues again this year," he said. "It's taken a lot of hard work and people believing in me to get back to this point.

"This was a big game for me, but there's still a lot of work to do. It doesn't stop here."

The next step for Willis will be to start in Cleveland on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rogers' season already has ended -- and perhaps his career has, too.

Leyland said on Monday that he's "shutting down" Rogers for the rest of the season. Had Rogers taken his regular turn, there was time remaining for him to make two more starts, but those will now be made by someone else.

In his last nine starts since July 22, Rogers is 1-7 with a 9.00 ERA -- and at age 43 doesn't appear to figure in the Tigers' plans for next year.

As Leyland was quoted saying about the way Rogers threw Sunday night against the White Sox: "His equipment isn't quite what it was."

Nothing is to be gained, therefore, by having Rogers start again not with Willis and Freddy Garcia needing multiple looks.

If indeed he has come to the end of his time as a Tiger, Rogers was 29-25 in three seasons. He had a stellar 2006 season with a 17-8 record. Because of injuries and increasing ineffectiveness, however, his record for the last two years was 12-17. He was 9-13 with a 5.70 ERA this season.

Still not right

The Tigers are hoping that Carlos Guillen also won't have to be shut down for the reason of the season. But that will happen if his stiff back doesn't improve.

Guillen missed his 18th consecutive game on Monday because of the back condition that he says bothers him more when he's swinging right-handed than left. Regardless of which side feels better, Guillen can't come back until he tests his back during running drills, and he said before Monday night's game, he has not done that yet.

Guillen said he hopes to play again in the remaining two weeks, but sounded far from certain he'd be able to.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:09 am

09/17/2008 1:55 AM ET

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Tigers let one get away in Texas
Rodney surrenders three runs in ninth inning
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Jim Leyland, the straight-shooting Tigers manager, has made a reputation as a man of many words and zero excuses during his four decades in the big leagues.

He lived up to the reputation again Tuesday. He had no other choice. His club gave up three runs in the final inning to turn a near-victory into a 5-4 loss at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"It's been the same story," Leyland said. "We got a two-run lead in the ninth and we don't hold. They got three runs before we got an out. That's not good. I can't make it any more simple than that. I'm sorry. I'm not mad at anybody or upset with anybody, but last night we come in and don't hold it, tonight we don't come in and don't hold it. That's as simple as it is."

Leading, 4-2, in the bottom of the ninth, Tigers reliever Fernando Rodney got ahead of Michael Young with a 0-2 count, but the Rangers shortstop eventually drew a walk after an eight-pitch battle. Josh Hamilton followed with a single and eventually scored along with Young on a triple by Marlon Byrd to tie the game at 4. Intentional walks to Hank Blalock and Nelson Cruz loaded the bases for rookie Chris Davis. Davis followed with a line drive to left field that scored Byrd for the game-winner.

Chaos ensued.

The Rangers dugout erupted in cheers. Leyland erupted in anger, expressing his displeasure with home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez over the result of Young's at-bat to start the inning and Rangers' rally.

The skipper did not mince words.

"Michael Young was struck out," Leyland said. "Everybody thought Michael Young was struck out including, Michael Young. He started to walk away to the dugout. That's no excuse for us not winning the ballgame, but Michael Young was struck out clearly. I don't say anything, but you get tired of not saying something every time."

Rodney's breakdown ruined an effective outing for Tigers starter Zach Miner. The young right-hander outdueled Rangers starter Kevin Millwood, allowing only five hits and two runs in 7 1/3 innings. Miner struck out three batters and walked one in the 104-pitch outing, his 11th start of the season. His first 32 appearances with the Tigers came in relief, so he could sympathize with Rodney's plight.

As for Millwood, he allowed four runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven hitters.

"I've been there myself," Miner said. "You just feel for the guy, and obviously Fernando is going to get the job done more often than he does not. You just got to forget about this one and go get them tomorrow."

The Tigers scored first in the first inning, when Curtis Granderson scooted home on a two-out single by Miguel Cabrera. Miner made the lead stand for the first two innings until Davis scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Boggs to tie the game at 1 in the third. Hamilton scored on a single by Cruz in the fourth inning to give the Rangers a temporary 2-1 lead.

But the resilient Tigers rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, the first two coming on a single by Brandon Inge that brought home Cabrera and Matt Joyce for a 3-2 lead. Inge advanced to second on a throwing error by Byrd on the play and scored on a single to center by Dusty Ryan for the Tigers' fourth run of the game.

With Miner on the bench, Tigers reliever Casey Fossum retired the last two hitters of the eighth inning with a two-run lead to set up Rodney in what appeared to be a Tigers victory. It wasn't.

"I'm upset we lost the ballgame. I don't put the blame anywhere," Leyland said. "I'm just saying when you are in something, you should get it, and Michael Young struck out. The rest of it we didn't earn. If they beat us with one out and nobody on, I don't have any problem with that."

The Tigers close out the series on Wednesday hoping to avoid the sweep by sending veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia to the mound against Rangers righty Dustin Nippert (3-4, 6.20 ERA). Garcia, who is making his first start since June 2007, doesn't expect to throw more than 75 pitches.

"I'm looking forward to it," Leyland said. "It will be exciting to see him get back out there. He's a workmanlike pitcher. He's very sharp and very smart. He knows how to pitch. We'll see what he brings to the party [on Wednesday]."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:53 am

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Rangers 5, Tigers 4
Rodney blows another save as Tigers drop 6th straight
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The anatomy of the Tigers' latest loss began with Michael Young's leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Setting the scene: After a strong start from Zach Miner and three runs in the seventh to take a two-run lead, the Tigers were three outs away Tuesday night from ending their losing streak at five games.

Instead, it grew to six when the Rangers came back with three runs off Fernando Rodney (0-6) in a 5-4 victory.

On a 2-2 pitch, Young checked his swing. The Tigers thought they'd struck him out, but without an appeal to first, the pitch was called a ball. Rodney eventually walked Young, after getting ahead of him with an 0-2 count, to start the Tigers rolling downhill again.

A single and Marlon Byrd's two-run triple later, the score was tied.

Two intentional walks loaded the bases, and Chris Davis drove in the winning run with a single to left.

Their bullpen blowing up for a third consecutive game, the Tigers fell to 70-80. They're only 3 ˝ games ahead of the last-place Royals with 12 games remaining.

The way the Rangers' comeback started was what angered manager Jim Leyland, however.

"Michael Young was struck out," he said. "Everyone thought Michael Young was struck out including Michael Young. He started to walk away to the dugout.

"That's no excuse for us not winning the ballgame, but Michael Young was struck out, clearly. But we didn't close it and that's been the story all year long.

"They got three runs before we got an out. That's not good. I can't make it any more simple than that. Last night we didn't hold it. Tonight we didn't hold it."

In 56 save situations this year, the Tigers have 31 saves and 25 blown saves. In his 16 opportunities, Rodney has 10 saves and six blown saves.

"We just haven't done enough throughout the bullpen," Leyland said. "I'm upset we lost the ballgame, but when you earn something, you should get it and Michael Young was struck out. The rest of it, we didn't earn.

"If they beat us with one out and nobody on, I have no problem with that, but Young should not have been on."

Around the horn

Still in the chase for a second consecutive batting title, Magglio Ordonez had two hits to raise his average to .324. Boston's Dustin Pedroia leads the American League at .327.

... Of Freddy Garcia's first start tonight, Leyland said, "I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure it will be a big thrill for him to get back out there. He's very smart, knows how to pitch, we'll see how he does."

... Miner allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings, but the blown save prevented him from getting his ninth victory.

... Byrd's triple in the ninth was the only extra-base hit of the game.

... Since they were 55-52 on July 30, the Tigers are 15-28 -- two games worse than their 17-26 start in the same number of games. Their slump has included a two six-game losing streaks, a four-gamer and a three-gamer.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:57 am

09/18/2008 1:35 AM ET

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Tigers roll in Garcia's return
Detroit lineup backs veteran in first start of the season
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- It feels good to be Freddy Garcia.

It might feel even better to be a baseball fan in Venezuela.

Pitching in his first game since June 2007, the Venezuelan right-hander and his repaired right shoulder stymied the Rangers offense while his teammates battered Texas pitching in a 17-4 victory in the series finale at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Magglio Ordonez, Garcia's countryman, finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored, raising his batting average to .326 and putting him in a virtual tie with Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia (.3264) in the race for the American League batting crown. Ordonez (.3263) is the defending American League batting title champion.

"I'm just trying to do my best to help out the team and finish the season strong," Ordonez said. "I know I'm in the race for the batting title, but I'm just going to keep doing what I have been doing -- working hard and concentrating every at-bat. We will see what happens at the end of the season."

What happened Wednesday was the Tigers (71-80) snapped a six-game losing streak and racked up 17 hits in a victory. The club still dropped the three-game series to the Rangers, but it heads to Cleveland for a series that starts Friday with some momentum.

"It's important to win any time -- whether you are getting here, or leaving or in between games or whatever," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's great to win a ballgame, and we are tying to win as many as we can."

Garcia (1-0) allowed one unearned run and two hits in five innings. He walked one batter and struck out three, primarily with a fastball that hovered between 88-90 mph.

"For me, it's been one year and really hard for me to be away from baseball," Garcia said. "I did my therapy to try to get back. Tonight we hit and I started on the right foot. I pitched my game and threw my pitches like I always do."

After the game, Leyland complimented Garcia's presence on the mound, his confidence and velocity. He didn't know what to expect from Garcia, but he didn't expect what Garcia delivered.

"The thing I got a kick out of him is that it was like riding a bike for that guy," Leyland said. "I was shocked, to be honest with you. I didn't expect him to do as well as he did, but I'm so happy for him. I know he's got so much moxie. He's got courage. He's been a winner. I'm so tickled for him."

Garcia did not do it alone.

Leading, 2-1, after four innings, Detroit rallied for nine runs in the top of the fifth inning to turn a close game into a blowout.

The Tigers added five more runs in the sixth, including three on a home run by Miguel Cabrera, and one final run in the ninth.


The runs were more than enough for Garcia.

"It's almost amazing that a year after surgery -- and that kind of surgery -- [Garcia] is pitching in the big leagues," Leyland said. "It's not so much that he won the game, but that he is even pitching in the big leagues. And he acts like nothing ever happened. ... The big step will be [Thursday] and the next day [to see] how [Garcia] feels. There are so many things that go into it. But as far as one night, it was impressive."

The Tigers offense rolled early.

In the top of the second inning, Cabrera led off with a single and Gary Sheffield followed with walk. Two outs later, Brandon Inge smashed a double over the head of Marlon Byrd in center field to score both runners.

The Rangers added a run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead in half. Joaquin Arias motored home from third base on a ground ball by Brandon Boggs. Arias led off the frame with a single, and he raced to third base on a fielding error by Tigers left fielder Marcus Thames.

The Rangers' other three runs came off Nate Robertson, who had relieved Garcia to start the sixth. Robertson is scheduled to start against Kansas City on Wednesday. Garcia could start Tuesday.

Expect more of the same when the Venezuelan takes the ball again.

"I threw a lot of strikes and made a good pitch when I needed it," Garcia said. "I tried to be aggressive, and I was feeling good. I got ahead in the count and tried to get people out."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:04 pm

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tigers 17, Rangers 4
Garcia debuts with 'W' for Tigers
Tigers bats hammer Rangers, giving pitcher plenty of run support in comeback effort.
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The start of a beautiful friendship?

More than the closing line from Casablanca, perhaps

With the Tigers trouncing the Texas Rangers, 17-4, on Wednesday night in Freddy Garcia's debut, it could describe the budding relationship between a once-dominant starting pitcher and a struggling team that might find a spot in its rotation for him next year.

Making his first major-league start in 15 months, also his first since last year's shoulder surgery, Garcia wasn't overpowering in his five innings of work. He didn't need to be.

Nor did he have worry about run support. Not after the fourth inning, anyway.

"It was a thing of beauty," manager Jim Leyland said of Garcia's return to the mound.

Emphatically ending their six-game losing streak, the Tigers had 17 hits, scored nine runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth. Magglio Ordonez had three of those hits as he continued -- in search of a second straight batting title -- to close the gap by which he trails Boston's Dustin Pedroia.

It's now down to fractions of a point.

Ordonez is at .3263 with Pedroia at .3264. An error that was changed to a hit for Ordonez in the Tigers' lopsided victory enabled his average to climb two points up from .324

"It would mean a lot," Ordonez said. "I don't know how many players have won two in a row. Two weeks ago, I didn't have a chance. Now I do."

Rookie catcher Dusty Ryan and Miguel Cabrera each had four hits. Cabrera also had a three-run home run. That's nothing new, but Garcia in a Tigers' uniform was.

The right-hander looked right at home on the mound -- and the thought he might become an effective pitcher again is intriguing. After all, Garcia has won more than 15 games in a season four times, with a career high of 18 for Seattle in 2001, the year he finished third in Cy Young voting.

This was his initial test, however, and he could hardly have done better. Of his 59 pitches, 36 were strikes. But he never appeared rushed, never looked like he was struggling or searching for pitches that weren't there.

He allowed two hits and a walk. The run off him was unearned. He topped out at 90 mph, but thrived at all speeds.

It was as if he'd fallen off a bike but was back on a year later.

"He was calm like nothing was going on," Leyland said, "You could see that with his mound presence. He doesn't get excited, doesn't panic, stays confident. He knew what he was doing and actually had better velocity than I expected.

"He's a pitcher. But once again, we're not going to get carried away. As far as one night, though, I was very impressed. I was shocked, to be honest with you.

"I don't know how this thing will play out down the road," he said. "I don't want to put the cart before the horse, so I don't want to predict anything, but I was really happy for him.

"It's amazing that with the major surgery he had, he's pitching in the big leagues again, acting like nothing ever happened.

Garcia said he was nervous at first, because his return to the majors meant so much for him, but he calmed down as soon as he started throwing strikes.

"For me, it's been really hard to be away from baseball," he said. "I was happy to be here. I started on the right foot, made my pitches and we hit.

"I was excited, but I threw a lot of strikes. That's always been the key for me."

Around the horn

Nate Robertson pitched in relief of Garcia but will get one more start next Wednesday night at home against Kansas City.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:03 am

09/20/2008 1:34 AM ET

Box >

Cabrera's big night not enough
Two homers from slugger can't offset Tribe; Sheffield ejected
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Long before Progressive Field held its postgame fireworks promotions, the Tigers and Indians had plenty of their own Friday night, both at the plate and in the field. Yet after all the punches and all the homers, the knockout blow the Tigers took was far from big.

Fausto Carmona and Gary Sheffield exchanged shots, causing a benches-clearing fracas that stopped a nip-and-tuck game for more than 12 minutes, but home runs were largely the deciding shots of the night. Miguel Cabrera's pair of two-run homers had given the Tigers a lead heading into the late innings, but Shin-Soo Choo's three-run homer tied it.

The only run to score on a hit other than a home run or sacrifice fly was the last, with Jamey Carroll's single to the right-field fence scoring Josh Barfield in the ninth for a 6-5 Tigers loss. It was a strange, emotional night, but it had an ending all too familiar for the Tigers, whose 81st loss of the season was also their 26th blown save in 57 opportunities.

"Anytime you lose games late -- certainly, we've had our share -- they're tough to handle," said hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who managed the game in place of the suspended Jim Leyland.

Sheffield and Carmona exchanged words, then wrestled on the first-base side of the mound with one out in the seventh inning after Carmona hit Sheffield with a pitch. Sheffield walked slowly to first base while still holding his bat before finally giving it to the bat boy, who had followed him down the line. After Carmona threw over to first base, Sheffield waved for Carmona to throw to the plate. The two exchanged words, then charged at each other as both benches and bullpens cleared.

By then, however, Cabrera had inflicted his damage on Carmona's pitching line. Two batters before Sheffield's hit-by-pitch, Cabrera took a Carmona pitch on an estimated 424-foot line to straightaway center field before the trees finally stopped its path. The impact on the game was just as swift, scoring Magglio Ordonez and pulling the Tigers ahead, 4-2.

Combined with Cabrera's two-run homer in the fourth, the twin shots pulled Cabrera into a tie for the American League lead with injured White Sox slugger Carlos Quentin with 36. Eight of those have come off of Cleveland pitching, though these were the first against Carmona.

"He had a great night against a real tough pitcher," McClendon said.

Once Ramon Santiago tripled and scored on a Dusty Ryan sacrifice fly in the eighth, the Tigers took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the inning for Armando Galarraga, whose damage to that point consisted of solo homers from Choo and Grady Sizemore. The wildness that had marked some of his previous outings was gone, with no walks and five strikeouts.

"Gally threw a heck of a game for us," McClendon said. "[He] kept the ball down extremely well. You could see he was working to keep the ball down in the zone."

Back out for the eighth, Galarraga retired the first two batters of the inning before Sizemore lofted a line-drive double inside the left-field line to extend the inning and bring the potential tying run to the plate.


With Galarraga at 110 pitches and a left-handed hitter coming up in David Dellucci, McClendon made the move to lefty Casey Fossum. Galarraga made what seemed like a joking gesture to try to stay in the game, but to no avail.

The Indians answered Fossum's entrance with pinch-hitter Ben Francisco, who drew a four-pitch walk. That brought up Choo, who sent a 1-0 pitch 425 feet to right-center to tie the game.

After Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez (4-3) sent down the middle of the Tigers lineup in order in the ninth, Freddy Dolsi (1-5) put the eventual winning run on base when he hit Kelly Shoppach to lead off the bottom of the inning. Bobby Seay entered to strike out Travis Hafner, but Ryan Garko's single off Gary Glover sent pinch-runner Barfield to third with one out.

Carroll drove the first pitch he saw from Glover deep to right. The ball one-hopped the fence as Barfield trotted home. After all the big flies and the seventh-inning big tempers, that was the difference.

Whether they won or lost the fracas was irrelevant. They lost the game.

"That certainly was the No. 1 goal for us, to try to win a ballgame," McClendon said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: DET. TIGERS 2008 REG SEASON SCHEDULE & SCORES   Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:19 pm

Saturday, September 20, 2008
Indians 6, Tigers 5
Cabrera's totals soar as fists fly between Tigers, Indians
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

CLEVELAND -- Tempers, postgame threats, and, oh yes, Miguel Cabrera's production soared to new heights on Friday night.

Wreaking more havoc on the road, Cabrera hit a pair of two-run home runs in the Tigers' 6-5 loss to the Indians, giving him 36 home runs and 125 RBIs, both totals career firsts for him.

The game featured more fists than firsts although it was far from a first for the bullpen to blow another lead. As late as the eighth inning, the Tigers led by three runs.

Four players, including the Tigers' Gary Sheffield and Placido Polanco, were ejected following a bench-clearing brawl in the seventh inning -- not your garden-variety squabble, either.

The incident occurred after Indians' starter Fausto Carmona hit Sheffield with a pitch two batters after Cabrera's second homer off Carmona.

Sheffield glared at Carmona, but slowly walked to first base with no words being exchanged. When Carmona made a pickoff throw to first, however, not only words were exchanged but punches as Sheffield and Carmona met between first base and the mound.

Carmona, along with Indians' catcher Victor Martinez were the Cleveland players ejected.

"If you send a message to me because someone else is hitting home runs off you," Sheffield said, "we're going to have problems. I don't care who you are, how big you are, any time I get hit because a pitcher is upset about something else, we're going to deal with it during the game, after the game, any time you want to deal with it."

Sheffield said he was "absolutely" hit on purpose. "This is the third time he's hit me this year (actually the second) and with three strikes, you're out. If there's a fourth, it gets more violent, trust me.

"When he threw to first base, I told him to throw the ball to home plate. He called me out at that point, and I answered the call. When he said, 'Come on,' I went."

"I got the one hand in I needed to get and I guarantee you, he felt it."

Of Martinez, the other Indians' player ejected, Sheffield said, "His act is tired. All that macho, throwing your equipment off, trust me, he doesn't want any of me. If he does, just let me know when and where. I guarantee you, he won't want any more."

Of the players Sheffield saw on replay as the ones punching him in the head, he said, "They don't know I know who they are, but they're going to have to deal with me. Call it whatever you want, I don't sugarcoat anything when it comes to that, you're going to deal with me."

Sheffield said he kept telling himself as he walked to first after getting hit, "Don't do nothing, don't do nothing, but another side wanted to do something. There's a certain point I get to that's hard to come back from. They brought it out.

"When I get there, you're going to deal with it today, tomorrow, until the day I get you."

Said Martinez of Sheffield, "He's got an attitude. Who's he to tell a pitcher to throw home. Just shut your mouth and play the game."

Cabrera was one of the peacemakers, moving Martinez away from the scrum and restraining him from getting back in it. Blessed are the peacemakers, but that's not the reason Cabrera has been more than everything the Tigers could have expected, though.

Overlooked during the Texas series earlier this week because of the attention on Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia, Sheffield nearing the 500 mark in home runs and Magglio Ordonez pulling even in the chase for another batting title were Cabrera's personal bests.

His previous highs were 34 home runs and 119 RBIs.

"I can't say enough good things about him," manager Jim Leyland said before the game.

Not only that, but as the season has progressed, it's become clear the Tigers didn't give up anything in the six-for-one trade with the Marlins that would have helped them this season because none of the six substantially helped.

The supposed gem of the deal for the Marlins was Cameron Maybin, who might still prove valuable and judging by the consecutive four-hit games he had for the Marlins obviously has potential but he's had only 11 major league at-bats for the Marlins this season.

In essence, the one-year scorecard on the trade shows it's been nearly a shutout huge numbers for Cabrera, nothing of value so far for the Marlins.

And at 25, but already with more than 1,000 hits and a home run total that will reach 200 next year, Cabrera appears to be on a fast path toward a great career.

"He could put up A-Rod numbers," Sheffield said, before the game and the fight, referring to the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. "The sky's the limit."

That's not all the sky was the limit for on Friday night, though.

Around the horn

Carlos Guillen was examined by another back specialist and the diagnosis was the same: There's nothing of a major nature wrong with his back, nothing that should carry into next season, that is.

Having missed the last 21 games with spasms, however, it's doubtful that he will start another this season.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom.gage@detnews.com


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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