The one where Verlander returns to form
It appears that Justin Verlander seems to have found some of that rhythm that had proven so elusive this season. Unfortunately the Tigers bats couldn’t muster enough against Ryan Rowland-Smith and the Tigers dropped their 3rd game in a row.
Verlander had a shaky first inning, but then found a groove and became the first pitcher to see the 7th inning. Along the way he picked up 6 K’s and did a nice job mixing his pitches. During the game that appeared to happen by design, in the post game though Verlander said it was out of necessity because he was struggling to command the fastball.
Even struggling with his command he managed to throw the heater for a strike 69% of the time.
Offensively the Tigers couldn’t generate many rallies against Smith. There were too many balls popped up, and the balls that were hit hard didn’t find grass (Raburn and Guillen lined balls to left field and Cabrera drove two shots to Ichiro). The Tigers offensive highlights amounted a Magglio Ordonez blast and a pinch hit RBI for Johnny Damon.
- Unusual play in the first when both managers came out to ask the umpire to overturn a call on Carlos Guillen’s run-saving error.
- It looked like Milton Bradley was out on his stolen base attempt, but Ramon Santiago seemed to catch the ball behind Bradley instead of in front of the bag and the umpire couldn’t see the tag.
- Verlander became the first Tigers pitcher to get outs in the 7th inning. The next “first” will be the first non-Venezuelan born Tiger to homer this year.