PREGAME: Once upon a time there was a surging team coming off of back to back series sweeps. They went on the road to play a team that many had given up for dead and who had just dropped 5 of 7. That surging team was swept and went on to lose 5 of the next 6.
Of course “a time” was last Tuesday when the White Sox came roaring in to Comerica Park. The Tigers, sweepers of consecutive series, will try to avoid the same fate when they face the Giants who have lost 5 of their last 6.
It’s a dandy of a pitching match-up tonight with Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander squaring off. Lincecum has been the best pitcher in baseball. He’s thrown a quality start every time out, so getting 4 runs would be quite the accomplishment. He has a freakishly small 1.99 ERA and has allowed only 3 homers in 90 innings while fanning 92. It’ll make it kind of hard for Marcus Thames to extend his homer streak to 4 consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Fortunately, Verlander doesn’t exactly suck and he’s spun quality starts in 5 of his last 6 including a 101 pitch complete game his last time out.
Game Time 10:15
POSTGAME: So much to say about this game and yet it’s so late…
- The Tigers had really good at-bats against Lincecum and they made him work for the most part. They hit into a couple tough luck double plays, one on a liner and another where a steal attempt led Vizquel right to the ball.
- Verlander was pretty good, and seemed to pick up steam as the game went on as he racked up the strike outs.
- Marcus Thames is out of this world right now.
- Mike Hollimon did a nice job getting to balls, but needs to set his feet and not rush things. He threw away a ball leading to the first run.
- Pudge is a terrific hitter as a platoon partner.
- The Tigers got a gift of a run on the sac fly when the home plate ump missed a tag on Pudge.
- Freddy Solid was sexy in his first inning, not so sexy in the second. He allowed a couple 2 strike hits before giving way to Fernando Rodney.
- The Rodney move was controversial because it was his first game back. But the Tigers needed a strike out with the tying run on 3rd and 1 out. And with a lefty at-bat the choices were Fossum or Rodney (with Seay probably not available given yesterday). The platoon splits for each are nearly a push. Rodney got ahead with 2 strikes but then allowed his first homer since June 23rd. And then he allowed some more 2 strike hits.
- The Tigers mounted a rally in the 9th but came up 2 runs short. Nice battle, disappointing result. It’s a shame they couldn’t take advantage of a shaky outing by Lincecum (by his own crazy standards) and a solid outing by Verlander.