At some point, if you want to stay in the game, you need to recognize the brains behind the technological end of the business. Just in case you were wondering who keeps us up and running, well, it’s Alex Hosmar. And he can write, too!
So we have given Alex the opportunity to take the spotlight for a bit and give us a rundown of the Tiger game from Sunday afternoon. Alex attended the game and has provided one heck of an analysis from a detailed game account to some tidbits from the crowd. Take it from here Alex!
By: Alex Hosmar
Typically, my role with Totally Tigers has been under the hood, making sure the site is operational and aesthetically pleasing, so that each day, you are able to immerse yourself with some of the best opinions and commentary there are about the Tigers.
But on Sunday, with the added privilege of viewing the game live from the stands, I had the honor of writing this post, recounting the 3-2 victory at Comerica Park. Because let’s face it, writing every day is a tall task, and Holly and Kurt could use a day off!
So, what about the game?
Well, this was a fast game with few stoppages, as the Tigers’ pitching staff ruled the day. After getting to the ballpark and reading the scouting report, it dawned on me that long reliever, Blaine Hardy, would get another start to allow Jordan Zimmermann to rest his shoulder. Like most spot starts, you just hope he can keep the team in the game.
Instead, Hardy gave the Tigers 7 strong innings, giving up 3 hits, issuing only one walk, striking out 6, and retiring the last 14 batters he faced. The hardest decision Ron Gardenhire had to make was whether or not to put Hardy out there for the 8th. Other than one mistake with his fastball to Yolmer Sanchez, who plated a run on a 3rd inning triple to tie the game, Chicago’s offense could not solve Hardy’s arsenal.
Joe Jimenez came on in relief to strike out the side in the 8th inning, which set up Shane Greene for the save opportunity. In what looked like a sure-fire save, with 2 strikes and 2 outs and the crowd on their feet, Jose Rondon roped a home run into the Tiger bullpen to make it 3-2. But despite this setback and walking the next batter, Greene settled down to record the final out, clinching not just the game, but a series win over the White Sox.
As for the offense, the Tigers did just enough to win the game, but unforced errors on both sides made the score closer than it needed to be. Grayson Greiner opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 4th inning, which marked the most consecutive games a Tiger has hit a double since 1934!
With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out after Greiner’s double, the Tigers had an opportunity to open up the game early against James Shields. But just as the crowd was getting into the game, John Hicks was picked off at 3rd (yes, 3rd base) for the 2nd out of the inning, taking the sacrifice fly out of the equation.
And, as luck would have it, a few pitches later, Jose Iglesias flew out to deep right-center to end the inning. What should have been 2-0 Tigers was only 1-0.
In the next half inning, after Chicago had tied the game, another run appeared to score on a dropped 3rd strike past Greiner. But after a video review between innings, MLB announced as the Tigers were coming to bat that due to batter interference, Jose Rondon was called out, and the run was wiped off the board—a huge break for the Tigers.
After looking at the replay, the tip of Rondon’s bat clipped Greiner’s helmet, something even the umpires didn’t catch in real time.
But the hero of the day was Nicholas Castellanos, who plated the 3rd Tiger run in the 5th inning to give them a 3-1 lead, which after the home run given up by Greene in the 9th, proved to be the game-winner.
Not only did he win the game, but he did so on his bobble head afternoon with family and friends in the stands! Sunday’s game was a sound effort, both offensively and defensively. The pitching staff threw strikes and timely hitting proved to be the recipe for victory on this incredibly hot Detroit afternoon.
How about off the field?
While the crowd may have looked sparse, any shaded area, whether it be the updated Pepsi Porch, Kaline’s Corner (definitely recommend), luxurious club seating, or even stands underneath the upper deck overhang were packed with passionate fans who were engaged and excited to see the Tigers.
Speaking to fans at the game and overhearing conversations around me, there is still talk of the past, but also a greater sense of optimism for more impressive performances by the new guard of Tigers, particularly Blaine Hardy, who could make the case for a starting rotation spot with performances like these.
Interestingly enough, Miggy’s lengthy stint on the DL did not even come up until I brought it up. But the couple I spoke to seemed more fixated on Joe Jimenez as he struck out the side.
Let’s face it, it’s tough to roam the grounds of Comerica Park without thinking about the past. The statues of Tiger greats in center field are a popular photo-op for spectators. But my favorite trip down memory lane was experiencing the interactive exhibits in the lower concourse, recounting the World Series victories, filled with newspaper headlines, informational graphics, and priceless images that define Tiger history (cue vintage Gibby in 1984 with both fists in the air).
Of course, many fans still wear Gibson, Trammell or Kaline on their back or gear with the circular “Mr. I” patch worn by the Tigers and Red Wings after their beloved owner and leader passed on last year.
While the loss of Mr. I and the effects of the recent trade deadline fire-sales are undoubtedly still in the minds of Tiger fans, Sunday’s game wasn’t just a great example of what’s to come on the field, but also a fan base that is fully focused on the future.
A healthy dose of reverence for those who brought the Tigers organization to this point can never hurt, but that no longer consumes as much bandwidth as it once did. Who knows, the newest statue could be playing right now.
Now…back under the hood!