Scherzer's Home Run Struggles

While the Tigers 12-game winning streak came to an end, possibly a bigger concern is the growing home run rate for starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who yielded three more homers in Thursday's game.

Time to do a load of whites after Tigers' streak ends

At least Tigers manager Jim Leyland can now put on fresh socks and underwear.

Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, too.

Detroit's 12-game winning streak came to a 6-1 end at Oakland on Thursday, although the Tigers need to win just one more game this season, or see Cleveland lose again, to officially clinch their first AL Central title. The White Sox were eliminated with their loss Thursday.

"Bad news is we lost," Leyland said, "the good news is I can change my underwear after 12 days."

McClendon also confessed before the game he's worn the same unwashed set of undies and socks during the entire streak.

Leyland noted at some point early in the streak he began wearing his without benefit of cleaning, threatening anyone who dared to change or clean them.

"That'll be a celebration," the manager said of wearing fresh undergarments.

Superstitions are a big part of baseball tradition. They clearly are thriving in Detroit.

Some players don't like to talk about them, another superstition.

The big factor keeping Detroit from winning its 13th game in a row was chasing too many high fastballs.

From time to time, opposing pitchers have been able to get away with reaching two strikes on a Tigers hitter, then getting him to swing at a high fastball. This was one of those games.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Max Scherzer is having problems allowing home runs this season. He gave up three Thursday at Oakland and now has yielded 29 for the year. The first was a three-run shot in the opening inning, and the other two were solo shots. Scherzer apparently has trouble with his arm slot. He throws from three-quarters, and when his arm gets too low or his hand isn't on top of the ball, his fastball tends to flatten out, which makes it easier to hit.

"Max just didn't keep the ball in the ballpark," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's in and out with his control a little bit. He hasn't been able to finish them off with his slider, some of the righties."

--LF Delmon Young provided Detroit with its only offensive thrill, lining a home run to left-center in the third inning. Young has nine home runs this season, five in his month with the Tigers. His batting average with Detroit is .306.

--1B Miguel Cabrera walked his first two times up in Detroit's 6-1 loss at Oakland, pushing his total to 100 for the first time in his career. He's saving his best hitting for the end of the season. Cabrera hit .390 in August and is batting .385 in September. He went 1-for-2 with a double rifled into the right field corner.

--CF Austin Jackson was one of a few Detroit players who had trouble laying off high fastballs. Jackson struck out swinging his first three trips to the plate, waving at balls up in the strike zone or out of the zone each time. The only time he made contact, a fly ball to right, was the only time he was ahead in the count.

--C Alex Avila returned to the starting lineup and sliced a single to left his first at-bat. Avila did not start Wednesday, pinch-hitting a score-tying two-run home run in the ninth. He's maintained his short, compact swing all season.

--RHP Al Alburquerque will be held out of action at Oakland this weekend in hopes that will clear up apparent soreness in his right hip. Alburquerque has pitched in three games since returning from a disabled-list stint caused by a concussion, but in the last two, he has been visited by trainer Kevin Rand while on the mound. "It is a concern of mine," manager Jim Leyland said. "It doesn't seem to be as concerning to other people, but it's a concern of mine. He's being treated. I'm going to shut him down for a few days and probably try to have him ready for Kansas City."

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Time in club history Detroit has gotten two pinch-hit home runs in the same inning. Researched showed the only time it's happened came Wednesday when 2B/RF Ryan Raburn and C Alex Avila pinch-hit homers in the ninth against the Chicago White Sox. Detroit had not even had pinch-hit home runs in the same game since OFs Wayne Comer and Gates Brown did it in 1968.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Bad news is we lost. The good news is I can change my underwear after 12 days." -- Manager Jim Leyland, who acknowledged before Detroit had its 12-game winning streak ended that he had been wearing the same set of unwashed socks and underwear during the run.


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