One of the biggest reasons the Detroit Tigers have failed to live up to expectations is their defense. It's hardly a new theory -- the doubts over the Tigers' ability to field the ball have been voiced since the end of last season. On Sunday, the Tigers were in position to take over first place, but if they fail to do so and miss the playoffs, critics of the construction of this team will only have to point to the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Twins.
The play was ruled a triple -- with no error on Dirks. With Revere on third, Joe Mauer hit a dribbler to second baseman Omar Infante. There was no question Revere would score, but then, Infante short-hopped Prince Fielder, who couldn't come up with it.
Again, no error was called, but it was a play all the players involved would say they should make.
That was followed by a Josh Willingham double, chasing starter Max Scherzer from the game. Phil Coke then gave up bloop single to Justin Morneau, scoring one. Coke walked Ryan Doumit to load the bases before being replaced by Brayan Villarreal. Trevor Plouffe singled in another run to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead with no outs and bases loaded.
At that point, Villarreal needed a strikeout -- and got it, striking out Eduardo Escobar. However, the wild pitch got past catcher Gerald Laird. Laird ran down the ball and got it to the covering Villarreal in plenty of time. However, Viallareal apparently believed it was a force play at home. It was not, allowing Morneau to score.
In all, the Twins batted around, taking a 5-2 lead in the first game of a doubleheader. While all the runs were earned and no errors were charged, the Tigers' defensive shortcomings could cost them the game and a chance to take the AL Central lead.