PREGAME: Once upon a time the Tigers were within one game of .500. With the team playing good baseball I figured that by the end of a 3 game series with the Twins (who weren’t the streaking Twins we see now) that they’d be well on their way to a winning record. Yeah, no so much. So it is with some trepidation that I view the next several games.
Marcus Thames, who Jim Leyland said wasn’t quite right, should return to the lineup tonight. As should Edgar Renteria. But in their absence the kids (Clete and Hollimon) did okay the last few games.
Jeff Francis takes the ball for the Rockies. The Royals blew him up in his last start and Francis is susceptible to the long ball with 16 homers allowed this season with 9 coming on the road where he has a 6.07 ERA. Slightly interesting, statistically insignificant factoid: In 16 starts this year the hitter leading off the game has reached base 9 times with 4 extra base hits. Good boding for Curtis Granderson to continue his hit streak?
Justin Verlander turned in a frustrating yet dominant performance in his last start against the Padres. The 10 strikeouts were good. That they came in only 5.1 innings was kind of amazing, yet problematic. It took Verlander 115 pitches to record those 16 outs, due in large part to a lot of full counts and 5 walks.
Game Time 7:05
POSTGAME: With ratings starting to sag it could be the end of Clete and The Shef. However the network may have another show in the pipeline tentatively titled Miggy and the Scrub.
Ryan Raburn acted the role of clean-up hitter tonight, even though it wasn’t by design. Raburn subbed in for an injured Ordonez and had the first big hit of the night in the form of a grand slam. He later walked and scored the winning run when Miguel Cabrera doubled him home in walk-off fashion (that darned first pitch swinging after a 4 pitch walk). The third walk-off win in the 5 games of the homestand so far.
- Todd Jones blew the save. The first time he’s done so this year and here we are at the end of June. Part of me was upset, but that part kind of went away. Jones hasn’t pitched that good this year, even by his standards. But he’d always found a way to not give a lead away until tonight.
- I particularly liked the moment in the post game celebration where Jonesy was hanging back, outside of the mob. But when Cabrera broke free Jones was standing there with open arms.
- When I started to think about the postgame write-up as Jones melted down, I was going to de-emphasize the Jones part and point out how many extra runs the Tigers left on the bases. A growing trend as of late. But it’s the 3rd such time I’ve had those thoughts of late and yet the team has scored at least 7 runs in each of those games. Maybe I’m just getting spoiled with all the opportunities that the offense is generating and should be focusing on the positive.
- Jim Leyland thought Marcus Thames would get 2 hits tonight, and indeed he did.
- Unfortunately Curtis Granderson had his 15 game hitting streak snapped.
- Verlander’s outing was reminiscent of his last time out. A decent number of K’s, a walk or two too many, and a pitch count that kept him from getting through 6 innings.
- Fernando Rodney seems to have found his old form. He did allow a walk, but that was it in a 12 pitch inning.
- Oh yeah, and the team isn’t under .500 for the first time since the morning of March 31st.