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The Fat Lady Sang (on more than just the season)

Posted by Titus on September 20, 2012

Well folks, as most of you already heard, the Tigers lost on Saturday to the Brewers to end their season.  Now the Tigers will head back home.  That’s funny because that is the same place the Tigers left their offense on Saturday.  They managed to only score 1 run against a tough Brewers team.  The Tigers went further in the playoffs than any other Tigers/Rangers team in their history.  And speaking of history…………

Jeff Nelson, the former leader of the pack is calling it quits after this season (coaching only).  Jeff will still be back next year playing the field but he is handing over the reigns of the team to Dan Titus and Scott Harris.

Let me tell you about the first time I met Jeff.  I finished my season in the Roy Hobbs league because I was told that I was too old to compete with the kids.  I didn’t know any of the coaches or guys in the Over The Hill League so I spoke with the league director and asked him to put me on the team.  He kind of hesitated and said that he had a team in mind that needed a catcher.  I said (in question form) “Okaaaaaaaay?” because I sensed his hesitation.  The league director said “Well, I have a team in mind but they are not very good.  Actually, they’re terrible.  They haven’t won a game in a couple of years.”

I have to be honest with you, that didn’t sound too appealing.  I thought about it and decided that since this team needed so much help, I could at least try.  I joined the Tigers.  It turned out to be the best decision I could have made.   Jeff contacted me for the first team meeting before the season started at Buddy & Pal’s.  I walked in and saw the guys.  They looked older than the guys I was used to playing with.  No matter.  I met Jeff and he was a nice guy.  He liked to joke.  He liked to drink.  How can you NOT like a guy like that?  One of the first questions I asked Jeff was “What do you expect out of me this year?”  Without hesitation he replied “Don’t show up to the games drunk and get more than 2 hits this year and you are already better than the catcher we had.”  I laughed but then I knew that I could relax and enjoy the season.

The next 2 seasons showed slight improvements from season to season.  At the end of season #2 with The Tigers, Jeff made a decision that changes needed to be made if he ever wanted a team that can compete.  Losing is one thing, but knowing you are going to get your brains beat in takes all of the fun out of the game.  He did an extremely difficult thing and made a bunch of cuts at the end of the 2010 season.  It sounds easy to make changes to a team, but to tell a friend that you can’t play the game that they love anymore with you is truly a difficult thing to do.  But Jeff did it and it took guts.  For those of you that have followed The Tiger Den for the last 2 years know that the decisions that Jeff made turned out to be the right ones.  The team is better.  The chemistry is better.  The baseball is better.

Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he has a passion for the game.  Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he cares about the team.  Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he is genuinely a good guy.  I’m glad that I made the decision to play with The Tigers.  I gained a good team, but also made a great friend.

THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JEFF!  The fat lady has sung on your coaching career.

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Cubs 3 – Tigers 4

Posted by Titus on September 12, 2012

The Tigers just keep on rolling.  The Tigers won a nail biter last night to send the Cubs home and advance to the next round where they will face The Brewers.  Once again, while I got caught up in the winning celebration, I forgot to take the book home to give you a detailed description of the nights events.  I’ll have to do it from memory again.  Luckily is was less than 12 hours ago.

The first thing that jumps into my mind is that the Tiger pitching, except for 1 rough inning by Purkey, was exceptional.  Dave only gave up 1 earned run all night.  The Cubs first run was attributed to a bonehead play by Dan Titus on a drop 3rd strike.  According to Murphy’s law, that runner is supposed to score…………………..and he did to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead after 1.  Ryan Early would give the Tigers the lead in the bottom of the 2nd with a check swing rocket that scored 2 runs with 2 outs.  Big hit!

The Cubs would take a 3-2 lead after 3 due to a rough inning by Dave Purkey.  Dave didn’t panic and neither did the Tigers.  The Tigers would tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the 3rd.  With our confidence never wavering in Purkey, he trotted out to the mound in the 4th and shut down the Cubs.

Joe Anaya smacked a key hit in the bottom of the 5th and pinch runner Dave Hayes stole 2nd and made his way to 3rd due to a poor throw to 2nd base by the catcher.  Dave would score that inning to give The Tigers that lead.  That was all they would need because Ryan Early shut them down the rest of the game.  Tigers win!

Positives:

  • The defense was great
  • Pitching was terrific
  • Keys hits scored the runs we needed
  • This is the deepest the Tigers (or even previously The Rangers) have ever gone in the playoffs.  Let’s keep the train rolling!

Negatives:

  • Yep, that’s about it

The Tigers take on the Brewers Saturday at 1pm to see who will go to the championship game on Sunday.

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Tigers 13 – Red Sox 10

Posted by Titus on September 10, 2012

I don’t have the score book in front of me so I will do the recap from memory.  Here goes:

The Tigers came to the field on Saturday hoping to keep their season alive.  They felt that they had a pretty good chance against the Red Sox.  As mentioned in the well written game preview;  the Tigers split the season series with the Red Sox.  Was momentum was on their side?  YES

The Tigers started off the hot with a lead off single by Juan Sanchez followed up by a double to the gap by Dan Titus.  The Tigers exited the top of the first frame with a 1-0 advantage.  Good start right?  Well, the Tigers gave a little help to the enemy through 3 innings of work by giving the Red Sox 3 unearned runs.  The Tigers held a 4-3 advantage in the bottom of the 4th inning when the estrogen-filled noodle-like shoulder of Scott Harris exclaimed (in a tiny infant-like voice) “Hey, I wanna pitch!” so Scott took to the mound.  Scott was impressive.  Just like the Scott of old, he confused hitters with his curveball and has them buckling at the knees with his slider.  3-up – 3-down.

The top of the 5th was the inning The Tigers have been waiting for all season.  Hits, hits, and more hits. nothing cheap either.  Dennis McGarel highlighted the inning with a bases loaded double that cleared the base paths.  Clutch hitting by Joe Anaya and Anthony Perez (line drive double over the head of the center fielder), not only in the 5th inning, but throughout the whole game helped the Tigers all afternoon. 

The Tigers through 4-1/2 innings were up 13-3.  Scott Harris took to the mound in the bottom of the 5th to defy the odds once again, but with only 2 pitches into the warmup tosses, Scott’s shoulder did its best impression of France and surrendered right there on the mound.  His day was done.  The Tigers called upon Anthony Perez to come into the game cold and keep the Red Sox at bay.  Coming into the game cold is a difficult task for any pitcher to do.  It was a difficult inning for Anthony as he struggled to find the plate and when he did, the Red Sox hitters took full advantage.  The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Hit after hit kept falling and the Red Sox kept on coming.  They didn’t quit.  Anybody that knows the Red Sox wouldn’t expect anything less from them.  The sent 11+ batters to the plate that inning and scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 5th. 

The secure lead the The Tigers had, was now gone.  With momentum now of the side of the Red Sox, the Tigers went down in the bottom of the 6th 1-2-3.  So now what do the Tigers do?  Do they put Anthony back in the game after the rough outing?  Do they put in Mike Estrada who hasn’t pitched all year-long?  Jeff Nelson left the decision up to the catcher, Dan Titus.  Titus made the decision to stick with Anthony to close out the game.  His decision can be summed up with one word:  BRILLIANT!  The Red Sox didn’t score in the bottom of the 7th to send the Red Sox home and the Tigers on to the next round.

Our hats off to the Red Sox who had a great year.  The surprised everyone in the league by going from the bottom of the barrel last year to one of the top teams in the league.  Kind of reminds me of another team who did the same thing last year.  The Red Sox are a good group of guys and I know that we will see them play even better next year.

Positives:

  • The clutch hitting that the Tigers were used to all of last year and small portions of this year was back.  This should worry the Tigers’ next opponent (Cubs).
  • Dennis McGarel was, once again, (earmuffs kids) a Bad Mother Fuc#$r!
  • The Tigers are once again a team with a positive and confident attitude
  • The crowd support was great
  • The aggressiveness on the bases continued

Negatives:

  • Still need to cut down on the errors
  • Another team is done for the year (we all love to play, nobody wants to go home)

The crowd support will need to be even better for our next game with is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7pm against the Cubs.  Let’s go Tigers!!  Check out the Updated Playoff Bracket!

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Outlaws 11 – Tigers 1

Posted by Titus on August 29, 2012

The Outlaws did it to The Tigers again.  Not taking away anything from The Outlaws, but The Tigers did it to themselves again too.  The Tigers dropped their first game in the playoffs last night with a lack of defense and a complete lack of offense.

There were some bright spots last night like the game Tim Mullally had.  He had a couple of hits off of the dominant Outlaws pitching and made some great grabs in the outfield.

The Tigers need to regroup for their next game on Saturday, Sept 8 @ 1pm.  Check out the Updated Playoff Bracket which shows the new game days and times due to the rainouts over the past weekend.

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Outlaws (a lot) – Tigers (very little)

Posted by Titus on August 24, 2012

The Tigers lost to the Outlaws last night.  That’s about it!  Not much to talk about.

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Cardinals 4 – Tigers 3

Posted by Titus on August 11, 2012

The two teams showed up in full strength on a cool night to fight it out for 3rd place.  Both teams knew what was at stake and both teams knew that they had to get it done.

The Tigers had a rough first inning giving up 3 runs in the top half of the first.  The Tigers would put a run on the board in the bottom half to let the Cardinals know that they weren’t going to go down without a fight.  The Tigers played good ball through the 4th inning, adding another ruheh paying good defense to keep the game within reach.

Then came The Ryan Early Show.  Ryan has struggled at the plate trying to get his timing down.  That is a difficult thing if you haven’t played the real game in w while.  Ryan’s struggles are a thing of the past.  He drove the ball deep into the high winds going 2 for 3 and helping the Tigers come within 1 run with 2 innings left tp play.  Ryan took to the mound to help out his efforts and did not disappoint there too.  His knuckleball danced all over leaving some of the Cardinal hitters looking silly with hard swings only to come up empty.  When they did make contact, the ground balls and pop ups to the infield were all they could muster.  Ryan went the final 3 innings and gave up nothing.  If the Tigers had a chance to win that night, it was because of Ryan.

Going into the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers still had a chance.  Down 1 run with 1 out, guess who had a stand up double to put the tying run into scoring position?  Yep, Ryan Early.  Dan Titus came into to pitch run for Ryan.  That is as far as Dan would get because he would be thrown out by an absolutely perfect throw to 3rd tagging up to end the inning and the game.

Positives:

  • The Tigers did not give up
  • Ryan Early
  • Pitching was good after the 1st

Negatives:

  • The Tigers failed to clinch 3rd place
  • Dan Titus cannot find his swing………….still
  • Timely hitting was absent

This isn’t the end of the world for the Tigers.  They have 1 game left against the first place Outlaws on Thursday to build some momentum going into the playoffs.

 

 

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Tigers 9 – Red Sox 5 @ The Steelyard

Posted by Titus on August 10, 2012

The game that most of the players look forward to all year long was played on Tuesday (7-31-12).  They look forward to it, not because of the opponent or because of the significance of the game in the standings, but because it is the one game that most of our family and friends attend.  Plus, it is on a pretty sweet field.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a major league stadium and you look upon the field for the first time?  For some of us, that is the same feeling we get when we step onto the field at the Steelyard.  The green grass.  The monster wall in center field.  The scoreboard with our team name on it.  Everything is perfect.  Everything is the way it should be for a baseball game.

The Tigers had a rough stretch of games leading up to the game Tuesday night.  They lost 4 out of their last 5 games and needed something to spark the team again.  Tuesday night under the lights was just what the doctor ordered (Just a figure of speech.  Tim Mullally didn’t actually order any of that).  The Tigers came out strong with Purkey throwing heat with his fastball reaching up into the 80’s.  The hits were timely and the defense was stellar all night

Keys to the game:

  • Great Defense
  • Timely Hitting
  • Dave Hayes’ rocket arm throw from right field to nail a Red Sox runner trying to score
  • Steve Alessia’s drive to center (would have been a home run in our park)
  • Dennis McGarel’s, Dave Purkey’s, and Anthony Perez’s pitching was stellar
  • Juan Sanchez looking like a vacuum sucking up everything that went anywhere near shortstop
  • Perfect hit and run executed by Dan Titus and Dennis McGarel which scored Dan Titus from first base
  • Last but not least……Jeff Nelson’s inside the park home run!

 

Tigers 9 – Red Sox 5

The fan support was great and much appreciated.  With only 2 games left before the playoffs, the fan support will be needed to maintain the winning ways.

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Outlaws 10 Tigers 5

Posted by sharris2929 on June 22, 2012

As 7 pm rolled near last night, the Tigers were watching the parking lot, hoping to see a familiar car pull up.  As the umps called out, “Take the field!”, it still hadn’t happened. 

So the Tigers, ridiculously undermanned with just 8 players, took the field to take on the undefeated, first place Outlaws. 

Can you guess how that turned out?

The Outlaws did what good teams will do, taking advantage of the situation en route to a 10-5 victory, their 6th straight to begin the season. 

Despite the limitations, the Tigers got off to a promising start.  Scott Harris worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first to leave the Outlaws scoreless.  In the home half of the first, Anthony Perez lead off with a screaming double to left center.  Harris followed with a single, but Perez was held at third.  Dan Titus hit a sac fly, and just like that the Tigers had a 1-0 lead. 

But that one run was all the Tigers would fare off of Outlaw starter Gordon Sharkey.  He would mow through the Tigers order the next three innings before handing the game over to his bullpen with a comfy lead.

The Outlaws bats awoke in the second and third, taking advantage of the 8 players on the field for the Tigers as well as some other spotty defense.  They also banged out quite a few hits and made good of their opportunities with runners in scoring position.  Harris pitched three innings for the Tigers, and was relieved in the 4th by Dave Purkey.

Dan Titus made it more interesting in the 5th, bashing a 3 run bomb to left center (his 2nd of the year) to cut the lead to 9-5.  The Outlaws would tack on another run in the 6th to make it 10-5. 

It wasn’t a good performance for the Tigers by any means, but putting up a reasonable battle against the league’s best with a very limited lineup was a valiant effort.  It’ll be a much different game when these two teams play at full strength.

 

The Positives

  • Dan Titus drove in 4 of the 5 runs, including a three run bomb. 
  • Before the game Curt Lechner guaranteed that he would steal second and third base…AND HE DID IT!
  • Scott Harris went 2-3, continuing his hot streak at the plate.  He now has 13 hits in his last 16 at bats.

The Negatives

  • Only 8 Tigers showed up at game time.

What’s Next

The Tigers return to action on Sunday at 4pm against the Red Sox.

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Tigers 4 Cubs 1

Posted by sharris2929 on June 18, 2012

Over the previous two games, the Tigers used an overwhelming offensive output to bully their way to victories over the Cardinals and the Brewers despite shaking pitching and defense.  On Sunday night, it was just the opposite.

The Tigers played error-free defense to back terrific pitching performances by Dennis McGarel and Dave Purkey, winning a thriller 4-1 over the pesky Cubs.   

The Cubs took the lead in the 2nd on back to back doubles off McGarel, but that turned out to be the only run they would manage all game.  The Tigers tied it up in the 3rd on an RBI fielder’s choice by Ryan Lytle, and the game would remain knotted up until the Tigers’ turn in the top of the 7th. 

With runners on second and third, Lytle struck again, lofting a single just inside the right field foul line to score both runs, making the score 3-1.  Curt Lechner added an insurance run with an RBI single later in the inning.  Purkey finished off a hitless bottom of the 7th to secure his first win of the season. 

Both McGarel and Purkey were excellent on the mound, stifling a gritty Cubs lineup.  McGarel went the first 4 innings and only allowed the second inning tally.  Purkey was dominant in the final three frames, walking just one while striking out 4. 

The Positives:

  • Flawless, error-free baseball is a beautiful thing, and the Tigers played it for a full 7 innings on Sunday night.  Every grounder was fielded cleanly.  Every throw was perfect.  The outfield got to every fly ball.  Dan Titus even gunned out a runner stealing.  Four star, blue ribbon, grade A perfection from this defense. 
  • McGarel and Purkey were both terrific on the mound.  Two walks total and only one run allowed?  The Tigers will take that every time out.
  • Ryan Lytle reminded everyone that he is among the most clutch hitters in the league, driving home the game winning runs in the 7th inning, and 3 of the 4 Tigers runs overall.  In a lineup where a bunch of guys are off to hot starts, Lytle heating up could take this team to another level. 

The Negatives

  • Not much to complain about in a win like this.  Sure, it’s nice to pound out double-digit runs every game, but a squeaker like this can be very satisfying as well.

What’s Next

It’s showdown time, folks.  The Tigers take on the undefeated first place Outlaws on Thursday night.  Check back here at the Tiger Den for analysis leading up to that game.

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Tigers 21 Brewers 13

Posted by sharris2929 on June 14, 2012

When the Tigers played the Cardinals last Saturday, it was safe to say that the team had broken out of its hitting slump that had plagued the first few games of the season.  After Tuesday’s big performance against the Brewers, that slump is ancient now ancient history.  The Tigers put a league high 21 runs on the board this season, taking care of the Brewers 21-13 and avenging their only loss of the season thus far. 

You could summarize the Tigers’ offensive performance and just say that the entire lineup was responsible for the offensive explosion, and that would be true.  But let’s take the time to get into the details and some of the more gaudy performances that were put up.  Jeff Nelson continued his torrid start, driving in 4 more runs for a total of 10 RBI in the past 2 games.  Dan Titus went 3-3 with 2 RBI and 4 runs scored.  Dennis McGarel went 2-2 with 3 RBI.  Scott Harris went 3-4 with 2 doubles and  2 RBI.  Juan Sanchez scored 3 times and drove in a run.  Tim Mullally and Curt Lechner each added 2 RBI.  Dave Hayse added a 2 run triple in the first inning.

The top five hitters in the lineup (Sanchez, Harris, Titus, McGarel, and Nelson) combined to go 12-15 with 12 RBI and 13 runs scored!

And for all that offensive output, this game was much, much closer than the final score indicates.  The Brewers were in this game until almost the very end. 

Anthony Perez started and pitched a scoreless first, but some shaky defense allowed the brewers back in it, leading to a 10-9 score after just three innings.

Dave Purkey pitched the final 4 innings to earn his first win of the season.  This was Purkey’s first outing since injuring his hamstring back on June 3rd against this same Brewers team after just a third of an inning. 

The Positives:

  • The offense

The Negatives

  • Everything else.  This was a sloppy game for the Tigers.  A 21 run explosion makes everyone happy, but this team shouldn’t be allowing anyone to score 13 runs.  The defense and pitching will have to improve to keep this team rolling.

What’s Next

The Tigers return to action this Sunday at 7 pm to take on the Cubs.  Let’s hope they saved a few runs for that game.

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