Previously here at DTW we pointed out how much better Brad Penny was pitching at night vs pitching during the day, and hoped that Leyland would change the rotation to get him off of the day shift.
Sure enough, he returned with a solid night start against Minnesota and a great 1-run evening win against Tampa Bay.
Leyland, being the scientific type that he is, clearly decided to test whether the night start was responsible or Penny was just getting better, but starting him in another day game. So even if he is awful this afternoon, the knowledge gained will be invaluable, so the Tigers really can’t lose.
Meanwhile, the Tigers can bask in the glory of Justin Verlander’s 20th win, especially since, for a change, it was a real team effort, as Justin had a merely human outing. Verlander becomes the earliest 20-game winner in MLB since Curt Schilling in 2002.
Detroit faces Brian Duensing (8-13, 5.12) who has had a rough August (0-5, 8.65). Duensing said “I’m just kind of wrong right now.” Stay wrong Brian, stay wrong.
And just for fun: Detroit is now only 1 game behind Texas for the playoff 2nd-seed.
Player of the Pre-Game: Alex Avila
He just keeps going. August Alex is now hitting .408 (1.300 OPS), with 7 HR and 17 RBI for the month. The Tigers are 16-8 for the month, which ties them with Tampa Bay for AL best (the Brewers have somehow gone 20-5).
Today’s Because-Whoever-Plays-RF-Has-To-Bat-2nd Lineup: