It certainly didn’t make much of a splash when the Tigers shipped Robbie Ray off to the Diamondbacks, and in return got Shane Greene from the Yankees (who got Didi Gregorius from Arizona). But if his first two starts are any indication, Shane Greene may turn out to be an absolute steal, not to mention the fact that he is not free agent eligible until 2021 and pulling in all of $515,000.
It would be hard to exaggerate how thoroughly Greene dominated the Pirates last night. There were only three base runners in eight innings, all on singles (no walks), and none of them reached 2nd base. Greene breezed through eight with only 81 pitches only 25 of which were balls (that’s 3 balls per inning)–and this after pitching eight his first start with only 85 pitches. If it were not an Interleague game (did I mention…yes, I did), Greene looked all set for a complete game shutout.
Ausmus said that he considered letting Greene bat in the 8th, until Iglesias made it to 2nd with a double, which was more like a single plus inadvertent defensive indifference. Ausmus’ logic was that scoring a 2nd run in that situation increased the probability of winning more than keeping a dominant pitcher in with a one-run lead. What do you think?
At any rate, the extra base taken by Iglesias may turn out to be one of those hidden pivotal plays, since it brought Soria into the game, which he closed like…a closer, which could possibly turn into something good.
Of course Greene didn’t do it all himself: there were a whole lot of good defensive plays: Kinsler robbed a single with a diving stop; Cespedes, Davis, and Martinez all made good running catches in the outfield, and Iglesias was a one game highlight reel–even the play he didn’t make was worth several replays, as he somehow managed to fling a cross-body throw to first while on his back. With an improved Castellanos at 3rd, dare I say the Tigers may actually have a good team defensively now?
Castellanos did provide one of the lowlights of the game, stranding another two on base, as did Alex “Shift Bait” Avila hitting ’em where they are. The real lowlight though had to be the weak pinch-hit at bat by Victor Martinez, who (shhhhh) does not look very good at all so far this season.
In other news, Justin Verlander pitched a simulation game today (I’m pretty sure he’s pitched a bunch of those the last two seasons), although it was cut short at three innings instead of the schedule four.
Today’s Undefeated at Night Lineup:
- Rajai Davis, CF
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- JD Martinez, RF
- Yoenis Cespedes, LF
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- James McCann, C
- Jose Iglesias, SS
- Alfredo Simon, P
Francisco Liriano goes for the guys with the yellow P on their hats, and he has bedeviled both Cespedes (1-for-10) and Kinsler (3-for-17, yikes). The Pirates should be familiar with Simon from his time on the Reds, but none of them have hit him particularly well.
Oh, and everybody is #42 today, to honor Jackie Robinson.