PREGAME: The last time the Tigers went into Cleveland it looked like a sure sweep for the good guys. The Indians had just traded Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez and they were done. The Tigers were starting Edwin Jackson in the first game and there was reason for much confidence after the Tigers scored early. Turns out they lost 2 of 3 and needed extras to win that 3rd game. So while the match-ups look good I’m not taking anything for granted.
Jackson has been struggling but the Tigers thing it may be attributable to the fact he was tipping his slider. Jason Beck looked at Gameday data and noted that opposing hitters have been attacking his fastball. I really do believe these things happen quite frequently, but I’m always suspect when team’s make this kind of announcement prior to a game and view these things as attempts at either gamesmanship or changing a pitcher’s psyche.
Aaron Laffey takes the ball for the Indians. Laffey’s numbers aren’t particularly inspiring and the Tigers have gotten to him for 9 runs over the 2 starts he’s made against them this year.
Now for some bonus good news. Tim Bryant at Fox Sports Detroit passed a long a note that the series will be broadcast in HD. Indians games typically have been in standard def because the Indians don’t use a regional Fox Sports network and the HD broadcast capability isn’t usually available. Because this was a very late addition it is unknown if Dish Network will have the HD feed as we go to press.
So on a night with a microscopically small strike zone who would figure Fernando Rodney of all people to record a 3 out save with only 10 pitches? Yeah, I’m not raising my hand either.
Rodney’s effort capped a very satisfying win. I’m still skeptical about the Tigers fixing Jackson’s pitch tipping, but he didn’t allow a run thanks to 3 double plays. He only had 6 first pitch strikes and there were a number of hard hit balls. But if anyone had some good luck coming his way it was Jackson.
The Tigers also had a number of hard hit balls, the first 4 hitters had nice swings, but…they were also at people. Miguel Cabrera hit the ball hard 4 times, and had 1 hit and a double play to show for it. And with Ordonez on base 4 times, there were numerous unfortunate RBI circumstances.
But if there was a star of the game it had to be Ryan Raburn. He gunned down a runner in the first. He hit the homer that was the difference in the game for much of the tilt, and he singled and walked. Little Jimmy Jackson had himself a game.
The Tigers took care of business tonight. One more time.