Game 2102.5: Rays at Tigers

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.

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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.

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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:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Brennan Boesch RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta SS
  6. Alex Avila C
  7. Andy Dirks DH
  8. Ramon Santiago 2B
  9. Don Kelly LF

35 thoughts on “Game 2102.5: Rays at Tigers”

  1. Verlander certainly has no-hit stuff today, even with Zobrist’s base knock.

  2. 5 pitch 8th inning. This is probably Justin’s best non-no hitter of his career.

  3. I think that’s exactly the situation people were wondering about…

    If a better defender was playing 3rd this inning, maybe the game would be over now, or at least not tied.

    On the other hand, a defensive replacement would take away having the best hitter in baseball lead off the bottom of the ninth.

      1. It looked like a tough play, but it was hard to judge as a faster 3rd baseman may have gotten to it before they needed to lunge for it.

      2. Not sure what it’s worth, but here’s what Lynn Henning tweeted about it: Double-play ball by Longoria. Tigers will live with the double-edged sword.

        Hopefully we’re about to be reminded of the up-side of a Cabrera-Fielder combo.

    1. 9th inning, 2-run lead and Cy young pitching, you have to very seriously considering going for defense. Anybody not named Cabrera playing third and Leyland makes the switch. So it goes.

      1. What made it even harder to make a switch was having Cabrera and Fielder due to lead off the next inning.

    1. I trust Schlereth in a tight game less than I would trust a pedophile to babysit children. He cannot be trusted to throw strikes………ever. Whne Fister comes off the DL Ihope they move Smyly to the bullpen as a situational lefty and boot Schlereth to the curb. Meant to post this after Wednesday’s game but didn’t have the time.

  4. Two things we can learn from today’s game:
    1. Don’t bring in Valverde in a non-save situation.
    2. Don’t bring in Schlereth.

      1. Jeff,
        Actually I think that in today’s game it was even more justified to leave Verlander in to finish than last time: 1 hit and only 81 pitches over 8 innings looked like it should have been a slam dunk. And I agree that if a closer is going to be used (even in a non-save situation) it should be at the start of an inning. Technically of course they should be able to pitch in any situation, but too many times over the years (not just with Valverde – think Todd Jones) I have seen them fail miserably in situations outside of their normal role. They are kind of like super-stud bulls or roosters, which are bred for…. well, you know, and just don’t perform at such a high standard in any other situation. I don’t know if there is any way to prove this theory, and perhaps I have some deep seated biases, which unbeknownst to me, are leading me to this conclusion.

        I am 99% confident in my assessment in Schlereth however 🙂

        1. I agree on both counts. Why the heck was Schlereth even warming up? He’s way</em too low on the depth charts for a situation like that.

          1. He’s a LOOGY, although since he invariably allows the first couple of guys he faces to get on, that seems to be a rather mistaken role for him. I’d limit him to a mopup duty (ahead by 10 runs or behind by 10 runs) when he could at least provide a breather for the other relievers on the staff. Better yet would be just to replace him, but since he is left-handed….

            1. Verlander was throwing too well and too economically to bring in a reliever to start the 9th. So don’t blame Leyland.

              Verlander overthrew a couple times in the 9th, but also threw some fantastic pitches that the TB hitters handled extremely well. So don’t blame JV.

              The bullpen wasn’t great, but pitching well when coming in unexpectedly on a cold afternoon against a good-hitting club isn’t easy. So don’t blame the bullpen.

              You want to hang the loss on somebody, hang it on the offense.

  5. Thomas DFA for the Smily call up. Interesting roster manipulations after his start tomorrow with Wilk scheduled to be added to the roster Sat. And then there is the Inge decision coming up.

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