This season, the Detroit Tigers seem to be allergic to winning more than three games in a row. The chance of one more elongated winning streak died prematurely thanks to another terrible offensive effort, as the Tigers went down 3-1 at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals and the right arm of Jake Westbrook.
Tonight’s game featured a pitching matchup reminiscent of old Cleveland and Detroit battles. Westbrook departed the Indians at the 2010 trade deadline, and was returning to Comerica Park for the first time since that year. Despite plenty of Tigers holding great numbers against him, Westbrook actually did a decent job the first few innings. In the third, the Tigers finally got to him with a bloop double by Gerald Laird. Austin Jackson quickly shot a double down the right field line, scoring Laird and giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Rick Porcello, the other half of the A.L. Central throwback on the mound, went to work, getting tons of ground balls the first four innings and holding the Cardinals scoreless. They tied the game in the fifth, finally getting some ground balls through holes in the infield and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Descalso, but failed to plate the lead run, who was thrown out at home by Quintin Berry. By the sixth inning, St. Louis had caught on. Porcello got hit around, and the Cardinals took the lead on a double play groundout by Yadier Molina. One run was all the damage they’d do, and the Tigers trailed 2-1 heading into the late innings.
Porcello continued through the seventh, and his offense was unable to help him much against Westbrook, who matched him by staying in the game and keeping Detroit off the scoreboard. Brayan Villarreal entered, and gave up a run thanks to a walk and a dropped line drive by Jhonny Peralta. The Cardinals led 3-1 in the eighth inning, and with the way Westbrook was dominating Detroit’s lineup, they didn’t even need the bullpen. He went the distance, putting the bow on St. Louis’s victory.
Big Cat: Nobody. If you can find a single player who was deserving of this honor tonight, be my guest. Other than Rick Porcello, who kept his terrible offense in the game, the Tigers didn’t get much of anything going. That’s not a good effort.
Stray Kitty: Miguel Cabrera. Lately, Cabrera has been hot and cold. Tonight certainly qualifies as a cold night. 0-4 with one strikeout against a pitcher he usually tattoos? That’s pathetic. The Tigers needed their big bats to carry them on a night when literally nobody else was hitting, and Cabrera failed them again and again in this game, not looking particularly comfortable at the plate.
Best Play Of The Game: Porcello’s big double play ground ball in the sixth. Don’t blame the pitcher for tonight’s loss, especially considering the fact that Porcello got out of his trouble nicely with ground balls all night. The biggest side stepping of danger should have been the sixth, when St. Louis loaded the bases with nobody out. Porcello worked around the jam by only surrendering one run, but still lost the game. That play should have sparked a late rally and been a turning point, but instead, it went by the wayside.
Worst Plays Of The Game: The Tigers’ offensive approach against Jake Westbrook and Jhonny Peralta’s muffed catch in the eighth. Considering plenty of hitters knew him from his time in Cleveland, Westbrook should not have had such an easy time carving through Detroit’s lineup. Instead, the Tigers were largely dominated and Westbrook looked like the second coming of Greg Maddux. With a rookie pitching tomorrow, this was a game the Tigers needed to win and pound out some runs. Peralta’s ugly mistake cost the Tigers another late run, and was yet another example of pathetic defense costing the Tigers this year. This whole game could qualify, but the offense and Peralta stand out as the worst.
Central Focus: The White Sox and Indians were both winning, meaning Detroit will likely lose games in the standings. They’ll trail first place by 3 games.
On Deck: The Tigers send Jacob Turner to the mound tomorrow trying to win this series, and the Cardinals will oppose him with Kyle Lohse. The game begins at 1:05 p.m.