The Tigers finally got to a starting pitcher early. Unfortunately Detroit’s starting pitcher wasn’t on his game. Fortunately the Tigers bullpen earned a cumulative save getting the last 12 outs.
The Detroit lineup had no trouble getting to Joe Saunders. They hit, they moved people over, the bunted, the sacrifice flied, and they scored in the first 3 innings. When Adam Everett hit the flyball to left to plate a run it was the first 2nd inning run Detroit has scored this season.
On the other side Justin Verlander had significant issues controlling his offspeed pitches leading to all sorts of trouble. Mostly in the form of rapid pitch count escalation. The irony is that Verlander often becomes fastball happy when in trouble. Yet when the other pitches weren’t working for him against the Angels, he stayed away from the heater. Only 17 of his first 35 pitches were fastballs.
Credit needs to go to the Angels also who fouled off 35 pitches for the night.
Joel Zumaya, Phil Coke, Ryan Perry, and Jose Valverde did a terrific job locking down the game once Verlander was lifted. Seeing Zumaya come out for two innings the night after throwing 33 pitches makes me nervous given his history, but he did fine. As a group they allowed 5 baserunners and fanned 5 in 4 innings.
The bigger news in all this though is probably the injury to Carlos Guillen. Guillen’s hamstring popped as he was coming around to score (pictured above) and couldn’t make it to home plate. Guillen is hitting the disabled list, which is an unfortunate annual tradition.