Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the perfect season is ruined. Now back to our regularly scheduled baseball season.
Not that there weren’t any positives to be found yesterday. Justin Verlander pitched 8 innings of the best baseball seen in these parts for a while. He also, and I quote Elias, was the 1st pitcher to do THIS in 23 years:
So there’s that.
In retrospect, Verlander was done when he threw the wild pitch to Pena that let in the 1st TB run. Radar gun says: 100. Remember that Verlander? The one who tried to blast his way out of every tough spot? Leaving him in for the 9th was the no-brainer move, but he clearly lost his focus.
So we got that first loss out of the way. And we also got the first “hey wait, Inge would have gotten to that one” out of the way.
Today it will be up to Drew Smyly to try to put the happy face back on Tiger Fan. In his tune-up start in Toledo, Smyly couldn’t make it out of the 2nd inning, giving up 3 runs on 50 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. Which means he could very well dominate Tampa today in his MLB debut, because that’s how baseball works.
Not that Drew Smyly is even his real name. But Todd Andrew Smiley is hoping to join Charles Brandon Inge and Jose Miguel Cabrera, and not become a Michael Clete Thomas.
At any rate, expect him to be on a short leash in his MLB debut, so we are likely to see some Balester-Below action as well.
Jeff Niemann takes the mound for the Rays, and he has been a solid bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher for Tampa Bay, going 38-23 in his 4-year career. And if nothing else, at 6-9, 285 he probably doesn’t have to worry about anyone charging the mound.
Brandon Inge will finish his rehab assignment on Thursday and will be back with the Tigers on Friday. Which means…? Well, it’s not Clete. He has already got the DFA to make room for Smyly. Clete has good speed, a good glove, a great arm, and is a lefty, so the odds of him getting claimed by another team are decent. If he is not, then he will be assigned to Toledo. Inge, meanwhile, didn’t get a hit yesterday in Toledo, but did get hit by a pitch, and no doubt swung the bat well, so he seems game-ready.
Today’s Player of the Pregame: Ryan Raburn.
The Tigers are still undefeated when Raburn starts.
Today’s Happy-faced Lineup: