During the early part of the season, the offense was keeping things interesting and the bullpen was chewing up innings for underperforming starters. As of late the the starting pitching has been keeping the team in the game, but not getting the same type of support they got in the first 40 games. That script played out for a frustrated Justin Verlander again today.
Verlander had a rough first inning allowing 2 runs. Sadly, that was enough to decide the game despite JV working through the 7th inning and picking up a quality start. His frustration bubbled over to home plate umpire Laz Diaz who got an earful from the Tigers bench.
Verlander thought he twice struck out Kevin Kouzmanoff prior to an RBI single in the 7th inning. The pitches were certainly borderline, but ultimately it didn’t matter.
The middle of the lineup which had been so potent was silent. Magglio Ordonez once again hit several balls hard, but directly at people, including a blast to center with two outs and two on. The main culprit that inning though was Johnny Damon who fanned in the infamous R3L2O situation.
The Tigers regularly got lead off men on, only to see them eliminated on double plays or stranded as the following guys couldn’t find holes.
In the end it was another day of frustration as the glow of the 40 game mark has all but evaporated. This team needs Amber Grand singing the National Anthem in a big way. (incidentally Grand sang during the 7th inning stretch on Sunday and we all saw what happened after that)
- Boesch has 6 walks this season. Three of them came today.
- The bottom of the lineup has been brutal, but Alex Avila and Brandon Inge each had 2 hit days, as did fill-in lead off man Don Kelly.
- Laz Diaz shouldn’t have followed Verlander out to the mound. But he had every reason to toss both Jim Leyland and Verlander. I don’t know if it is an example of restraint on Diaz’s part, or fallout from the Joe West/Mark Buehrle/Ozzie Guillen shenanigans.