Detroit Tigers, 68-58, 2nd place, 2.5 back, 1 back for WC spot.
The Angels came in to Detroit with the hottest 2nd half offense in baseball (.816 team OPS), but missing the big bat of Albert Pujols. The Tiger pitchers have taken advantage. Porcello had his best start in weeks, holding LA to 2 runs (and those in an inning extended by bad defense).
More bad defense put Smyly in a hole last night, but he kept his composure and held the Angels to 3 runs (1 earned) over 6 innings, and kept the Tigers in the game, a clutch performance by a spot starter.
The offense was in here-we-go-again mode: run-costing base running blunders, double-plays with a runner on 3rd and 1 out, which combined with the fielding follies made the game’s outcome seem inevitable. But it turned out to be evitable after all, thanks to a late inning splurge by the bottom of the order, and the much-awaited big day from Delmon Young.
Strangely enough, Miguel Cabrera was the hole in the lineup, and seemed generally unhappy at the plate. Leyland pulled the plug on him for today, giving him 2 days off with the off-day tomorrow.
Today Max takes the mound, and tries to make it 3-for-3 in strong starts this series. Max was his bad self last time out against Toronto, holding the Jays to 1 run and 5 hits in 7 innings, and striking out Too Many (8). The last time he faced the La-Las he held them to 1 run and struck out Too Many (9).
The Tigers will face Ervin Santana (7-10, 5.46), who is likely to be completely unhittable. Or Detroit will put up a bunch of runs against him. And either result will be completely predictable.
Stat of the Day: Gerald Laird has reverse splits this season: He is hitting .169 against left-handers, and .429 against right-handers. .429!
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Gerald Laird. Leyland forgot to rest Avila with all the lefties pitching, and now is stuck playing Laird against the RHP. Or is Leyland more clever than we think? (see above). Plus he is .333 lifetime against Santana.
Todays First Cabreraless Lineup: