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Getting the Bullpen Some Work Hasn’t Been Easy, but Saturday’s Loss Helped Detroit Tigers Do It

April 19th, 2015 at 11:58 AM
By Max DeMara

The Detroit Tigers suffered their first blowout loss of the season on Saturday afternoon, but lost amid the barrage of runs and frustration was a silver lining for the bullpen.

Finally, Detroit's middle relievers, which haven't seen much work during the first two weeks filled with plenty of excellent starting pitching, got in a game to see real, live batters, and the results were actually decent.

Of course managers, fans and players would love to see a seven or eight inning performance every single night, but in the major leagues, that's simply not feasible, even though the Tigers have made it look easy lately.

Saturday, Blaine Hardy took over for the beleaguered Anibal Sanchez (who gave up nine runs on his own) and pitched about as well as a man who hadn't seen time, giving up five hits, three earned runs and one walk.

After that, though, the bullpen pitchers did their jobs remarkably well in shutting down a Chicago White Sox team that was squaring the ball on the bat all day. The young Angel Nesbitt entered with runners on base and exited without giving up a run. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny fanned a pair in an inning of work, and between Al Alburquerque and Joba Chamberlain's two innings, only two hits and one walk were allowed with one strikeout.

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Chicago White Sox Pummel Anibal Sanchez, Hand Detroit Tigers Second Loss of Season

April 18th, 2015 at 4:54 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT— Even when a team is rolling along, they can still hit some major potholes in the road during a long season. The Detroit Tigers hit one such pothole Saturday, getting blasted by the Chicago White Sox 12-3

Anibal Sanchez flirted with disaster in the first inning allowing two runners to reach base and find their way into scoring position, but he worked around it and allowed Miguel Cabrera to get Detroit off to a fast 1-0 start with an RBI single plating Rajai Davis. Chris Sale had found trouble first.

Unfortunately for Sanchez, that would be the only time disaster wouldn't win on this day, while Sale calmly went about his business for the next six innings.

Chicago struck back for him in the second getting an RBI double from Melky Cabrera to tie the score, and Adam LaRoche busted things open a bit with a mammoth three-run shot to make it 4-1. Chicago loaded the bases in the fourth courtesy of two doubles and a walk, and was eventually victimized by a Cabrera single and a grand slam by Jose Abreu, bumping the lead to 9-1.

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Detroit Tigers’ Speed Helping Aid Team’s Fast Start as Much as Anything Else

April 18th, 2015 at 11:53 AM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT— Brad Ausmus admitted with a dash of wry stoicism Friday afternoon that he wasn't sure about the decision-making skills of Nick Castellanos in a pressure-packed ninth inning.

Castellanos took an aggressive turn around first base when Avisail Garcia bobbled his sinking line drive, and made the split-second decision to go for two. One problem? Garcia has one of the strongest throwing arms in the league, and had Castellanos pegged.

Did the throw beat him? It certainly got there at the same time. Did Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez get the tag on any part of his body? That's still up for debate in many circles.

What certainly shouldn't be up for debate is the fact that the aggressive mindset helped spark Detroit's late rally that was capped off when Jose Iglesias punched a single through the box to provide the Tigers with one of their best ten game starts in franchise history.

The offense has been able to win a variety of games, from close contests to blowouts, and a common thread amongst all has been the ability of speed to put pressure on the opposition. Even when the Tigers were failing to plate runners on Friday, their legs were wreaking havoc on White Sox defenders.

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Detroit Tigers, Jose Iglesias Walk-Off on Chicago White Sox After Supurb Pitchers Duel

April 17th, 2015 at 5:13 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT— With the Detroit Tigers setting the tone getting big name players, the Central Division has become somewhat of a literal arms race. Two of the best arms squared off Friday afternoon in David Price and Jeff Samardzija, but the bullpens decided the outcome, a 2-1 walk-off win by Detroit.

The Tigers couldn't score first, missing a two-run shot by mere inches. Avisail Garcia took David Price the opposite way in the second inning for the early 1-0 lead. Detroit continued to pressure Samardzija through the next few innings, but failed to get on the board, meeting a combination of slick defensive plays.

In the fourth, Detroit finally squared things up thanks to Yoenis Cespedes, who launched a moon-shot blast to left field. Price kept his team in the game with effective pitching, but the Tigers failed to capitalize on several chances in the middle innings to take the lead. In the seventh, they squandered a leadoff double from Jose Iglesias thanks in-part to a botched bunt by Rajai Davis.

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Detroit Tigers Pre-Game Notes: Victor Martinez Out as First Battle with Chicago White Sox Begins

April 17th, 2015 at 11:37 AM
By Max DeMara

The Detroit Tigers have started the season a perfect 6-0 against Central Division foes, and that's helped pace their hot start. This weekend, that will be put to the test as the improved Chicago White Sox visit Comerica Park for the first time.

When the White Sox improved over the offseason, they were thought of as a team that could make life at the top difficult for the Tigers. Instead, they have scuffled to a tough 3-5 start while the winning has largely remained the same for Detroit. This series represents a chance for Chicago to make an early statement and climb back into the race.

Here are five things to watch over the weekend as it relates to this series

1. Victor Martinez still banged up. After having a tough at-bat on Tuesday which included an uncomfortable looking wince, Martinez is being held out of the lineup Friday. Previously, Martinez hurt himself swinging at a pitch in Cleveland. Ausmus said the Yoenis Cespedes will bat at designated hitter, and it looks as if Detroit wants to keep Martinez healthy. Still, he will be available in a pinch-hitting role and did look good in batting practice before the game.

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