Life seemed to be going just fine for the 1968 Tigers as they prepared for three games at Boston on Aug. 16, but as mid-August hit, some concerns hit the Tigers.
On the win-loss ledger, life was okay at Boston as Detroit won two of three games. Denny McLain tossed a seven-hit shutout in the opener, improving to 25-3 on the season. Al Kaline hit a two-run home run in the third, providing all the offense the Tigers needed to earn the win.
A day later, the Tigers earned an 11-inning victory when Freehan hit a solo home run, giving the Tigers a 10-9 win. Cash and Dick McAuliffe also hit home runs in the contest. Detroit closed the series with a 4-1 loss to the Red Sox. Dalton Jones hit a two-run home run during Boston’s three-run seventh, sparking the victory.
A day later on what was supposed to be a quiet off day as the Tigers prepared for a twinbill at home against the Chicago White Sox, McLain got himself in the news.
“I’ve got a torn muscle in back of my shoulder and that’s giving me a lot of pain,” McLain said. “The pain is there all the time. ... When I go out to warm up, I have to throw sidearm at first because it pains so much.
“I don’t want to sound like a disabled veteran or anything like that, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse.”
The Tigers took three of four against the White Sox. In the Tuesday doubleheader, Detroit cruised to a 7-0 victory as John Hiller tossed a one-hitter. Ron Hansen hit a leadoff single in Chicago’s fifth for the Sox’s only hit. At the plate, Brown hit his fourth home run of the season and drove in two runs. Stanley also drove in two runs.
The second game was the bigger concern as McLain allowed nine runs (only two earned), resulting in a 10-2 Tigers’ loss. McLain took earned his fourth loss just a day after talking about arm troubles.
“No, it isn’t a torn muscle,” McLain said after the game. “It’s more like it’s stretched and strained. I’ll live with it. I have for four years. I just want to be able to keep going into the middle of September.”
The series continued with Detroit winning another extra-inning game. This time, Jim Price hit a walkoff home run in the 10th with one out in the Tigers’ 3-2 victory. Stanley also homered in the contest.
Finally, the Tigers also won the final game, 4-2. Lolich pitched seven strong innings and Kaline and Horton each hit home runs in the victory.
Detroit (81-45) will still doing their share of winning, but were only 7 1/2 games ahead of the pesky Orioles, who refused to wilt. Up next was a trip four-game road trip to a sub-.500 New York Yankees squad. The Yankees couldn’t provide the Tigers with any troubles, right? We’ll find out soon.