PREGAME: I don’t want to bash a team that went 7-2 in their last 9 games, but dropping the last 2 games of the homestand while only scoring 4 runs and seeing the top 3 inthe lineup fail to get a hit for 2 straight days didn’t really leave a good taste. Maybe some barbeque will get the offense clicking.
The trouble is they have to face Gil Meche. Individually the Tigers have some good numbers against Meche, but the offense never seems to do much against him as a whole with Meche turning in 5 straight quality starts against Detroit.
Hopefully the Tigers will only need a couple runs because they have Justin Verlander going for them. Verlander is on a 5 game quality start streak of his own. He’s also thrown a considerable number of pitches lately (averaging 118 pitches over his last 4 starts), so a “light” day in terms of workload might be nice.
POSTGAME: Well, Meche didn’t turn out to be a problem…at least not for the Tigers. He was wild from the get go and the Tigers were inclined to wait him out. Meche threw 73 pitches and only recorded 7 outs, and he clearly wasn’t helped by an error by Mark Teahen (who has a habit of gunning down Tigers at the plate). And really, pretty much every ground ball found a hole for the Tigers and ever broken bat flopped into the outfield. It was one of those days. With the lopsided final score the Tigers have now allowed the fewest runs in the American League.
Justin Verlander was awesome again, retiring the first 9 batters in a row and picking up the first 6 outs on only 17 pitches. He finished the day with an easy 7 innings and only 96 pitches. He was efficient enough that he had a decent shot at a complete game shutout, but given his recent workload I loved seeming him lifted with the game out of doubt. The ERA is down to 3.55 and Verlander is looking better than he ever has.