The Tigers are still hot, even in the snow.
Porcello said cold weather be damned, and pitched a gem, marred only by 3rd inning control problems. Austin Jackson continued to excel, provided power and patience, raising his SLG to 1.000 and his OBP to .650 in the process.
Non-obvious play of the game: with no outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Jim Leyland replaces Delmon Young with pinch-runner Clete Thomas. With an early jump, Thomas beat out a tailor made DP ball off the bat of Ryan Raburn, which meant that Peralta’s fly brought home a run and kept the inning alive for Gerald Laird, instead of ending the inning. The two insurance runs made life easy for the bullpen. Gold star for Smokey.
The Tigers will load up with lefties to take on James Shields today, and vie with Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks to see who the last undefeated team standing will be. Current Tigers actually have fared quite well against the Rays ace, compiling team numbers of .329/.366/.588/.954, with Jhonny Peralta leading the pack at 8-16 with 4 home runs.
Mr. CyVP himself takes the mound for Detroit, and looks to continue his early season dominance. He has done well historically against the Rays lineup (poor Ben Zobrist with a 2-23, and 7 Ks), with the exception of the Cat-Saver Matt Joyce. Joyce is 6-11 against Verlander, with a 1.183 slugging percentage.
Can you imagine the Tigers this season with Victor Martinez in the lineup? You may not have to imagine: it is possible he could return in August.
Today’s Player of the Pregame: Austin Jackson.
Ajax continues to lead MLB with a .650 OBP. On the other hand, he has yet to find first base in 4 career ABs against Shields. Which trend will continue today?
Today’s Debut of the Donkey lineup: