Detroit Tigers: 74-51, 1st Place (5.5 ahead of Cleveland). Best record in the AL.
Anyone who woke up this morning and looked at the 7-1 score of last night’s game would think the Tigers had an easy one, but it was anything but. Kevin Correia breezed through the Tiger lineup in what looked like it was going to be a 2nd consecutive hat-tip to the Twins’ pitching, and the inevitable stolen base led to the lone run against Anibal Sanchez as he left in the 7th with a 1-0 deficit.
Then the Tigers rallied in the bottom of the inning with 2-outs when Holaday singled, Jackson singled, and Torii Hunter came through with a big 2-run double. Still, the Tigers clung to a slim 1-run lead. Then came the play of the game; after an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder struck out, and the floodgates opened.
- The catcher couldn’t handle the pitch, and it flew his glove to the backstop.
- Fielder recognized the situation immediately and bolted for first (no trundling there–you always get hustle with the Prince).
- The inexperienced Caleb Thielbar stood on the mound and and didn’t think to cover home.
- The experienced Torii Hunter saw the above and scored from 2nd.
After that Martinez doubled, and the game was now a safer 4-1 score.
How good has Anibal Sanchez been in the 2nd half? (I cleverly waited until after the game for this, when the jinx was no longer in order). 4-1, 1.51 ERA, best among Tiger starters since the break.
The Tigers will try to take the series today with Justin Verlander matching up against Dreaded Rookie Pitcher Guy–make that Dreaded Lefty Rookie Pitcher Guy, this one named Andrew Albers. Pena says he is available to catch if needed (Holaday is starting), and Alex Avila is starting a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens tomorrow.
Fun With Small Sample Sizes
- Worst bunter on the Tigers: Omar Infante. 4 sac bunt attempts, 0 successful.
- Best bunter on the Tigers: Omar Infante, 4 bunt hits.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Not Victor Martinez again. Victor hasn’t been doing so well with the day games:
- VMart in the day: .233 BA .652 OPS
- VMart at night: .320 BA .809 OPS
Clearly we have a vampire on our hands.
We’ll go with the day splits of Matt Tuiasosopo here: .352 / .963 during the day vs. .219 / .832 at night.
Today’s Rubber Afternoon Lineup:
- Jackson, CF
- Hunter, RF
- Cabrera, 3B
- Fielder, 1B
- Martinez, DH
- Tuiasosopo LF
- Infante, 2B
- Iglesias, SS
- Holaday, C