PREGAME: At least the Twins won’t win tonight. Aside from that though, a loss for the Tigers would be very disappointing. I know there are reasons why you play the games and all that, but this match-up tilts heavily in the Tigers favor.
Justin Verlander has owned the Indians this year allowing 1 run on 9 hits over 3 starts. And he’s fanned 30 Tribe batters.
Meanwhile, Carlos Carrasco is a highly touted prospect who has struggled in his brief big league career. He debuted against the Tigers and they took him deep 3 times for 6 runs in 3 innings. He’s improved slightly in his 2 subsequent starts allowing 5 runs and then 4 and going 1 inning longer in each effort.
It wasn’t the slam dunk that I thought this game would be, but it is still a W, still a sweep, and still a 4 game winning streak.
The offense did their part with Carlos Guillen headlining the BOOBs (bottom of the order boys). The boys got on a single, first to third, kind of roll in the 4th inning and they plated 4 runs without an extra base hit.
Guillen has killed the ball in this series and he followed his big night with a 3 for 3 plus a walk effort tonight. His last hit, a double, came right handed making it hard to take him out of the lineup – and a little bit easier to take Granderson out against tough lefties.
Brandon Inge looked more like April Inge than August Inge and he came up with 2 hits, including a double. He also ended the game with a slick diving play – also reminiscent of April Inge.
Verlander had moments of dominance (11 K’s is actually quite a few moments), but he escaped what looked to be a big inning in the 3rd allowing only 2 runs. Verlander does an excellent job of mixing pitches – until he gets in a jam. Then he shakes off every off speed pitch and just wants to throw 98 past everybody. Sometimes it works. This time the Indians laid off the high heat. The pitch sequence once the Indians put runners on 2nd and 3rd went:
Toreagas: 6 fastballs
Brantley: Change-up and then 5 fastballs
Choo: 6 FB
Hafner: 4 FB
I understand the fastball is his best pitch, but what’s the harm in the occasional change-up, curve ball, or slider? Twenty-six out of thirty pitches were fastballs.
- Fernando Rodney had the two quick outs before everything got dicey. Heck, he was up 0-2 on Choo before the 2 run homer. And he had Hafner at 2 strikes. Sadly he’s probably burned for tomorrow. Happily Brandon Lyon was efficient. Sadly, something appeared up with Bobby Seay.
- How big was Ramon Santiago’s stolen base in the 8th inning? By getting to second he scored easily on Placido Polanco’s single (also very big, don’t mean to underestimate that) and that proved to be the difference.
- The defense also came up big once again. Inge’s game-ender was already mentioned, but Polanco also made a nifty pick to start a double play.
- Also look back at the play that Miguel Cabrera made coming home with the ball in the 8th inning to gun Hafner at the plate instead of taking the sure out. The run looked expendable at the time. As an aside, did anybody notice how surprised Lyon was when Cabrera gunned it home? Lyon was running to cover first and had to hit the deck when Cabrera threw to Laird.