Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tigers flex their AL muscle all over the Dodgers

About the only thing the Dodgers can say about the last two days in Detroit is that they're glad it's over with.

Zack Greinke gave up a couple of runs in the first, and the offense continued to nothing with runners on in a 4-1 loss to the Tigers.  Take away a five-run first inning yesterday, and the Dodgers were absolutely pounded 18-1 in only two games.


The Dodgers had to like Greinke taking the hill, as he's been very good taking the ball whenever the Dodgers lose the previous game.  But, the tone was set right away that it was going to be a long day.  Yasiel Puig tripled with one out, but was then thrown out trying to get back to third on Hanley Ramirez's grounder to short.

Greinke then watched Austin Jackson hit a leadoff triple, score on Ian Kinsler's single, then get another run on a two-out RBI single from Don Kelly.  At 2-0, the game was virtually over already.

If you watched these games, then one thing that was very obvious to me was each team's approach at the plate with runners on base.  The Tigers exuded confidence, as they scored 18 runs without a single home run.  They knew what they wanted to do, stayed patient, and took good swings.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, went 0-for-5 with RISP and struck out 11 times today.  That was one day after failing to score following the first inning and gathering only three more hits the rest of the way.  It was hard to watch.

Take away the first career home run by Miguel Rojas in the sixth, and the Dodgers never really were in this.  That cut the deficit to 3-1, but Brandon League soon gave it back in the eighth.  Joe Nathan, for all of the trouble he's had this year, pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for the save.  He made Matt Kemp look absolutely silly in the last at-bat.

The Dodgers obviously have sky high expectations, and even though it was just two games and Clayton Kershaw did not appear, this was pretty disappointing.  Throw in the fact that Miguel Cabrera didn't play today and Victor Martinez missed both games, it's an opportunity lost.

Other thoughts from the game:

* All things considered, Greinke ended up having a solid day with seven innings, seven hits, three runs, no walks, and eight strikeouts.  It sure didn't look good at first, but his slider was fooling the Tigers enough to get a good start out of it.  He'll head into the All-Star break at 11-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

* Adrian Gonzalez continues to tumble, as good at-bats for him are getting few and far between.  After hitting .222 in June, it's only .231 this month, with only nine extra-base hits since the end of May.  He also made a bad play on a ball hit to him where he tried to get Jackson at third and wasn't even close.  He really worries me because after starting the season off so hot, he's more than cooled down.  I'm hoping to see more of Scott Van Slyke at first after the break.

* Andre Ethier is another guy who isn't having a bad season, but not a good one either.  He's hitting .250, with a pathetic .190 against lefties.  At this point he is what he is, and that's a guy who plays a pretty good center field, but won't dazzle with the bat anymore.

* Max Scherzer is really, really good.  That boy might just make the $200 million he's looking for after the season.  It's hard to get anything to hit against him.

The final series before the break starts at home on Thursday against the Padres.  The Padres stink, but to show you just bad the rest of the NL West is (Rockies, DBacks), they're actually in third place.  It's Kershaw time, as he puts his 36 inning scoreless streak on the line.  That's the perfect way to forget about the last two days.

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