There will be considerable focus on the Denard Span play (pictured in a series of screen grabs above) as it comes with considerable controversy. That play though was only a part of what proved to be an offensive onslaught by the Tigers. Detroit didn’t win because of that call, but it was a large factor.
When Damon came up with 1 out and Austin Jackson on first the Tigers win expectancy was 40.4%. After the play that had pushed through to 55.1% with the go-ahead run getting into scoring position with 1 out. The run expectancy went from 1.16 to 2.09. If the play is ruled as a made catch and Jackson returns to first, the run expectancy drops below 1.
Here’s the thing though, the play would not have ended the inning, like Ryan Raburn’s play the night before would have. The Tigers still followed with a walk, a HBP, and 3 doubles before the Twins recorded another out.
You can consider the Tigers fortunate to get the call, but the team had already closed a 6-1 deficit to 6-5 at that point and they went on to plate 6 more runs while keeping the Twins at bay. A game without controversy is always preferable, but this isn’t a Paul Emmels induced win.
Scherzer got banged around and once again the Tigers had to turn to their bullpen early. Scherzer was neither efficient, nor effective. To his credit I guess he didn’t walk anybody on a night when the zone seemed to be quite tight.
Brad Thomas struggled in his spot start, but he was a big factor in tonight’s victory and earned the win. He held the Twins off for 2.1 innings and bridged the gap from Scherzer’s short night to the more dominant back of the pen pitchers. Phil Coke managed to get Jim Thome out along with 5 other outs while allowing just 1 hit. Jose Valverde finished the game, and he issued the only walk of the night by Detroit pitchers.