PREGAME: It seems like only yesterday we were anxiously awaiting the Tigers first round pick, and waiting to see if the Wings would clinch, and kind of dreading a Buehrle-Willis pitching match, and trying to figure out how to fix my refrigerator. Well, it was only yesterday. The Tigers got their flame thrower, we’re still waiting on the Wings, the Buehrle-Willis pitching match-up wasn’t so bad, and my refrigerator still doesn’t work.
With that in mind let’s turn our attention to the less dreaded Justin Verlander and John Danks pitching match-up. Verlander has been kind of awesome for about 6 weeks now. BUT…things haven’t always gone swimmingly for Verlander at the Cell. In his career he has a 5.92 ERA and 11 homers allowed in 51.1 innings.
Danks has been struggling this year, sort of. He only has one quality start in his last 5 outings and his ERA is 5.10. BUT…his peripherals aren’t as bad as his ERA. He’s actually striking out more batters this year than last, but he’s also walking more meaning the ratio has dipped from 2.79 to 2.25. Not as good as last year but not bad either. What has hurt him is that he’s allowed 1.35 HR/9 this year compared to .69/9 last year. And really, it’s not like the Tigers have been feasting on struggling pitchers anyway.
POSTGAME: The Tigers had lost 4 games in a row, people were freaking out and the Twins were only a couple games back. Then Edwin Jackson pitched a complete game 1 run effort striking out the heart of the Angels order to end the game with 98mph heat. That started a run of 5 wins in 6 games culminating with Justin Verlander pitching a complete game 2-1 effort and punching out Josh Fields (who came in for Paul Konerko when Verlander jammed him on a ground ball) with 98mph heat. I like symmetry.
Verlander was incredible once again with only one bad pitch to Thome against 121 pretty good ones. Some of you may be expecting me to be upset about the pitch count, and I’m not in the least. This is the time to extend him, in a tight game where he’s still got gas against a team he’s owning, on a night with a depleted bullpen. This is when you lean on your guys.
The offense wasn’t much to speak of, but Adam Everett homers always deserve mention. The other run came on a bases loaded walk so the Tigers weren’t really crushing Danks. But with a series win assured, there isn’t really anything to complain about.