28-20, 1st place, 1.5 games ahead of Cle.
Happy Memorial Day everyone. Thank you Jim Eggers, judpma and any and all vets, active military, those who sacrificed their lives for this great country (baseball and all) and all military family.
Well, now that the Indians are playing, like, well, the Indians, order has been restored in the Central. For now. (RR watch – 0-3 in his one start v. Boston).
The Tigers took care of business against Minnesota, with Scherzer capping off the series clinching win by allowing 1 ER over 6 innings for his 7th win this year against 0 losses. Covering his last two games Scherzer, set down 25 batters without allowing a base runner, and 38 batters without allowing a hit. (That’s likely enough batters to cover a no-hitter, unless Dontrelle Willis is pitching.) Avisail’s clutch (can we use that word?) pinch-hit 3 run triple put the game out of reach for the hapless Twins, and the bullpen came in and shut down a Twins team who looked like they had their bags packed early. The final was a 6-1 victory and 3-1 series win.
Today’s early start kicks off an unusual day-night two game set, oddly followed by a two game set against the same team. Interleague.
The Pirates starter is some guy named…Francisco Liriano? FRANCISCO LIRIANO? Where the H did he come from? After 7 years with the Twinkies (he was pretty good pre-Tommy John surgery, remember?), he was flipped to CWS for the stretch last year where he managed a 3-2 record in spite of a 1.52 WHIP. Pittsburgh rewarded him with a two year deal last December, and he celebrated by breaking his arm over Christmas while “closing a door.” Well, not sure if he was “celebrating” but this sounds an awful like “moving boxes” over the off-season. And Zumaya never came back from that one… Anyway, Liriano’s now made 3 starts for the Pirates, and they’ve been pretty good: 3-0 covering 18 IPs. In 2013 he’s posting a 1.00 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and has punched out 25 in those 18 IPs. Liriano was always a K machine – 9.13 career K/9, but it’s his slider now that’s his go to instead of his fastball. Lefties have yet to get a hit off of him in 14 PAs in 2013, and he’s holding righties to a .250 BA.
Here are some not so fun facts about Justin Verlander. He hasn’t reached the 6th inning since May 5th. This is the first 3 game stretch that the hasn’t reached the 6th since…September of 2006. You remember 2006, right? Tough year…Pluto lost its planethood, Steve Erwin died, JV was 23… This month he’s got a scary 7.32 ERA and opponents are batting .296 off of him. But, Verlander is 19-2 with a 2.64 ERA vs. the NL in his career, and 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA over the last two season. I’m betting on JV. Things are turning around today.
A few notes:
– Check out these fascinating Fangraphs articles on Cabrera. The gist of it is that he’s a badass, but you definitely want to read them. I didn’t notice this live, but Cabrera’s 1st home run off of Holland last Sunday was the fastest and lowest trajectory HR this season…Holland initially thought it was coming right back at him. Think about that – for an instant, Holland thought it may hit the pitcher.
– Bruce Rondon is dominating at Toledo – 1 ER in 17 2/3 IPs. He has walked 6, so that’s a concern, but he’s struck out 21 and has a 1.21 GO/AO. Dotel coming back soon too, look for some bullpen shuffling in the coming weeks.
– Good overview of the Tigers top 10 prospects thus far this year.
Today’s Camouflage Lineup (with #’s v. Liriano):