31-25, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)
(Photo courtesy of Duane Burleson/AP)
**FYI: Record has been updated to reflect the Tigers beating the White Sox in Game 1 of their doubleheader today. WOO!!!
So the last time we checked in with the Tigers, they had just been swept by the Red Sox, Jim Leyland got himself tossed from a game, the doubters were out in full force and the Los Angeles Orange County Angels of Anaheim and Surrounding Neighborhoods and Communities were on their way into town before the Tigers embarked on a week-and-a-half long road trip.
The Tigers needed to bounce back strongly and get some wins.
The answer started with Justin Verlander, who pitched another fantastic game in the opener, but got let down AGAIN by sub-par hitting from a mashed up lineup due to Miguel Cabrera’s hamstring injury. Verlander’s work was good enough to keep the team in the game, but Fernando Rodney came in and gave up a run, and with the sub-par hitting, that was enough for LAOCAASNC to escape with a 2-1 win.
Knocked down again.
But what do you do when you get knocked down? You get back up and punch that dude right in his mouth.
Detroit’s counter-punch? Edwin Jackson. The KO punch? Clete Thomas. (Clete Thomas?!?!)
Despite suffering from the same lack of run support that plagued Verlander, Jackson put the team on his back and just took over on Saturday night (and Rodney didn’t blow this one.) And on Sunday, Clete cleared the bases with a grand slam as the Tigers started to locate the offense.
KO delivered. Tigers take the series.
Look, the series win was important for the Tigers, despite being less than aesthetically appealing. The Tigers are in an interesting position where two to three games a week, they are going to get good/great pitching and then to to three games a week they will put up solid batting numbers. When those two line up, the Tigers win ball games. But the rest of it is a crapshoot.
I know Leyland is making an attempt to generate some offense by moving Curtis Granderson back up to the leadoff spot and adding in the newly rehabilitated Marcus Thames for some additional power. But I don’t think that is going to cure the inconsistencies of this team. The real trick for Jim is to find a way to start small with this team. This is NEVER going to happen, but they need to focus more on hitting for singles and sacrifices, and maybe even *GULP* the occasional bunt or two. Sacrilege, I know. Yes, the Tigers will always have power and yes, that power is a great thing, but yes, that power disappears from game to game and yes, if we stick to the power game for the entire season, we might finish somewhere around .500.
Anyways, it’s a thought. Maybe try it out one night when Verlander or Jackson is on the mound since nine games out of 10 you are going to get a top notch performance from them. I’m just sayin…
One last thing before we go: Jeremy Bonderman returns to the bump tonight finally. This could be interesting, as most of the folks that regularly cover the Tigers say that Bondo doesn’t have that “umph” back in his velocity, which means he should be less overpowering and more crafty.
Kenny Rogers, anyone?
On Deck: Chicago White Sox
- Record: 26-31 (3rd in AL Central, 5.5 GB of DET)
Monday, June 8 (DH)
- Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-6, 5.31 ERA, 41 SO)
- White Sox – Clayton Richard (2-1, 3.97 ERA, 34 SO) **Yes, THAT Clayton Richard. As in the Clayton Richard that used to be a backup on the Michigan football team. Whoa.
**Since the game is over and I already updated the records, here are the resulting lines for each guy. Joel Zumaya got the win for the Tigers, BTW. Rodney, the save.
- Galarraga: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, No decision
- Richard: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO, No decision
- Tigers – Jeremy Bonderman (0-0, –.—ERA, – SO)
- White Sox – Jose Contreras (0-5, 8.19 ERA, 17 SO)
Tuesday, June 9
- Tigers – Dontrelle Willis (1-3, 6.84 ERA, 13 SO)
- White Sox – Mark Buehrle (6-2, 2.91 ERA, 46 SO)
Wednesday, June 10
- Tigers – Justin Verlander (6-2, 3.26 ERA, 97 SO)
- White Sox – John Danks (4-4, 5.10 ERA, 54 SO)
Thursday, June 11
- Tigers – Edwin Jackson (6-3, 2.16 ERA, 62 SO)
- White Sox – Gavin Floyd (4-5, 5.35 ERA, 66 SO)