33-26, 1st place, 3.5 games ahead of Cle.
Good win last night, great effort by everyone except for Jose Valverde. He was flat out awful. I am certain that he won’t be closing games much longer. I can’t help but wonder if Valverde is the cause for the Verlander/Leyland miff from last night. (Miff seems appropriate, as i don’t think it qualifies as an imbroglio). In case you missed it, Verlander whimsically sought to avoid the Leyland “good game, you’re done” shake after a 7 pitch 7th last night (and rightfully so). Leyland didn’t find it to be very funny. I wouldn’t generally classify Leyland as having a “sense of humor”, but Verlander’s smirk let the whole world know what he was thinking. But I think that Leyland’s reaction after the game may have been caused by Valverde’s home run derby tryout. Here’s what I’m thinking:
The Tigers have a comfortable lead, at home, against the division rival, for now. A 4 run lead with your ace on the mound and at a reasonable pitch count is no time to think about your closer. But because of Valverde’s struggles, Leyland has to get him some easy work. So he makes the decision to go Benoit/Valverde to make it look like it was his plan to do a standard 8 – 9 routine. Then Valverde comes in and gets lit up like the 4th of July, so JL is in no mood to discuss JV (or get second guessed on anything). Thus his response.
DD – the clock is ticking.
A few quick notes.
– Tigers are 20-10 at home this year, 13-16 on the road.
– Tigers starts have posted a quality start in 13 of the team’s last 14 starts, and their ERA is 2.58 during that stretch.
– Anibal Sanchez scratched for tomorrow, Jose Alvarez up. More on him tomorrow.
I’m looking for VMart to keep up his hot bat, as he’s a career .500 hitter off of Carrasco (tiny print – that’s 1-2). To follow-up on yesterday’s JV post, that could have very easily been a 1 ER game. We’re seeing Hunter’s range diminish by the game. Still a very valuable player, but that’s just aging.
1. Dirks, LF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Peralta, SS
6. Peralta, SS
7. Avila, C
8. Infante, 2B
9. Garcia, 2B