“A baseball manager is a necessary evil.” -Sparky Anderson
Some are more necessary and less evil than others, and today the Tigers honor Sparky Anderson and officially retire his number 11. Many ex-Tigers will be on hand for the ceremony, including Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell of the Diamondbacks, Rod Allen, Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Gates Brown, Dick Tracewski, Dave Bergman, Darrell Evans, Mike Henneman, Larry Herndon, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Frank Tanana, and Milt Wilcox. (That’s a somewhat pitcher-heavy list for a guy known as Captain Hook).
It that weren’t enough excitement, fans are still buzzing about Justin Verlander’s impressive 14-strikeout performance last night. In the 8th, he let the first two batters get to 2nd and 3rd, seemingly as a tease, just so he could strike out the side, making Upton look particularly helpless. I’m sure he has a bad game in him somewhere, but it has been so long it will seem strange and foreign when we see it: since May 29 he is 6-0 with a 0.72 ERA.
Brady Penny is no Verlander, but he has been good enough lately. Penny is matched up against Joe Saunders, who is 4-7 4.35 for the season, but has been improving of late.
Alex Avila is notably missing from today’s lineup–he is resting a sore wrist he received from an errant Ryan Perry pitch.
Today’s Player of the Pre-Game: Casper Wells
The Ghost has quietly put together an impressive June, hitting .333 with a 1.108 OPS.
Today’s Lineup With a Spark: