38-31, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)
(Picture courtesy of Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press)
Well then! Apparently all it takes is a little ranting from yours truly, and all of a sudden the wins start piling up and the brooms get dusted off. Obviously, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but sweeping a division leader is something that is never easy. But the Tigers held fast, surviving a couple of rain delays on Friday, a rookie on the mound Saturday, and an old fashioned pitching duel on Sunday to get the sweep of the Brew Crew and get back on track in the standings.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Literally. Friday night’s game got underway with the threat of rain looming, and Armando Galarraga pitched like he was afraid of getting hit by a lightning bolt on the mound. The “Sick Cat” pitched the Tigers into an early hole, giving up a three run shot on a miserable changeup to Prince Fielder. Honesty, Galarraga just doesn’t have it right now and it’s really starting to show. Seriously, when he’s on the mound, does ANYONE feel like the Tigers have a chance to win? I sure as hell don’t.
Anyways, despite Galarraga’s best attempts to fail, the Tigers’ bats came alive and the baseball gods offered up a rain delay after the boys clawed back for a lead, mercifully ending Galarraga’s night. Marcus Thames popped a pair of home runs, and Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson added their own, fueling the Tigers to a 10-4 win.
Coming into Saturday’s affair, all of the talk was around 24 year old starter Alfredo Figaro, making his major league debut. However, the storyline quickly shifted to the re-energized Tigers’ bats, led by Thames and Cabrera, who both went 3 for 5 on the day. Add to that rookie Don Kelly adding three hits, and the Tigers offense was officially back in the swing of things (no pun intended.) This is not to take anything away from Figaro, though, who performed very well in his first start, going five innings while giving up two runs on eight hits and striking out seven.
With a sweep on the line, both squads trotted out their aces on Sunday, as Justin Verlander squared off against Yovani Gallardo. Neither pitcher disappointed, as they both threw late into the game and struck out eight each. But it would be Brandon Inge’s sixth inning home run that would be the difference in this one, giving the Tigers a 3-2 win and a series sweep to boot.
Like I said earlier, this was a big sweep for the Tigers. Not only did it give them a four game winning streak *knock on wood*, but it was a real confidence booster for a team that has struggled to sustain any sort of momentum throughout this season. That said, any momentum earned over the last four games will be put to the test when the Cubs come calling, and the Tigers will need to play to their full potential to win what is all but guaranteed to be a fun and entertaining series over the next few days.
Roster movin’: The Tigers will recall right-hander Freddy Dolsi before tonight’s game. Dolsi appeared in 42 games for the Tigers last year, and had a 3.97 ERA. (I also gave him many shouts of Budweiser infused encouragement last year during a warm-up session in the Safeco Field bullpen. Not that this has any bearing on his call-up. Just thought it was worth a mention.)
Also worth noting, Jim Leyland has said that he will move Alfredo Figaro in between Verlander and Edwin Jackson in an attempt to provide the bullpen with more regularity when it comes to their appearances.
And just because I forgot to mention it this weekend, Skippah’ Jimmay signed himself a two-year extension, ensuring that that ever-present cloud of Marlboro smoke in the dugout tunnel isn’t going anywhere.
On Deck: Chicago Cubs
- Record: 34-32 (3rd in NL Central, 2.5 GB of St. Louis)
Tuesday, June 23
- Tigers – Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.39 ERA, 72 SO)
- Cubs – Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 3.44 ERA, 59 SO)
Wednesday, June 24
- Tigers – Rick Porcello (8-4, 3.54 ERA, 41 SO)
- Cubs – Rich Harden (4-3, 5.27 ERA, 64 SO)
Thursday, June 25
- Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-7, 5.62 ERA, 45 SO)
- Cubs – Ted Lilly (7-4, 3.04 ERA, 75 SO)