PREGAME: The Tigers look to salvage a split and stave off baseball irrelevance. The Orioles don’t win on Sundays. They have a 14 game losing streak on Sundays. And the Tigers have their ace on the mound. Maybe if the pitching staff can keep the O’s under 7 runs the Tigers have a chance.
Verlander is pitching on extended rest, which given his workload leading up to the break is probably a good thing. Of course he maybe rusty or overly amped up so that may back fire as well.
Brian Burres isn’t a particularly good pitcher. He doesn’t strikeout many and his walk rate isn’t great either. And he’s left handed. But offense hasn’t been the Tigers problem in this series.
Guillen is back with the team, arriving from the airport just before noon. But he isn’t playing. Instead the infield consists of Cabrera, Inge, Santiago, and Raburn.
Game Time 1:35
POSTGAME: Justin Verlander is my hero. He finally managed to shut down the vaunted Orioles offense, pitching a 3 hitter and recording 26 of the 27 requisite outs. And he did it efficiently too. Not a lot of strike outs, but a lot of weak grounders and pop-ups. He preserved the pen on a day when basically nobody was available and/or trusted.
The offense did enough, extending innings with 2 out hits, and getting some power from Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez.
The Tigers leave Baltimore achieving the bare minimum. On to KC.
- On the decision to take Verlander out with one out to go. Yeah, it kinda sucks. And Verlander had pitched well. But how important is the complete game in the scheme of things? It was a 100 degrees and Verlander had lost a couple MPH off his fastball. Eight of the ten pitches he had thrown in the inning missed the strike zone, and pretty badly. Say he leaves him in and he walks another batter, or worse yet gives up a hit, or grooves one when falling behind in the count. Then you’re bringing in Jones to a very high leverage situation.
- And Jones typically makes a situation high leverage without any help. A walk was followed by a phenomenal play by Inge. It probably would have been a web gem, but no Baseball Tonight because it is important to show the ESPYs.
- The 3-4-5-6 hitters combined for 2 homers, 2 singles, a double, and 5 walks. That’s some nice production on a day when the top two hitters didn’t get on base.
- Finally, let’s talk about Brian Runge. Runge is the ump who blew the 10th inning call on Saturday night. His handiwork at homeplate complete, he went over for a stress free day at third base. But given the opportunity to deny the Tigers a run, he jumped all over it. Marcus Thames hooked a deep fly ball down the left field foul pole. Thames kept rounding the base while Runge called it foul. Fortunately he was promptly overruled by home plate ump Greg Gibson. Runge is approaching Angel Hernandez in my book.