When the Tigers re-signed Gerald Laird in the off-season it was to be the back-up to Alex Avila. Laird would spell Avila once a week, usually against left-handed pitching. He was not supposed to be the offensive spark ending losing streaks. On Sunday afternoon, Laird erupted at the plate, going 3-4 with a home run and double while helping the Tigers, and Rick Porcello beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-2.
Porcello threw 99 pitches over 7 2/3 innings on Sunday, holding the White Sox to five hits, and one run courtesy of a Dayan Viciedo home run in the eighth inning. With the win Porcello became the first Tigers starting pitcher to earn a victory, and lowered his ERA to 1.84 on the season. Porcello has pitched at least seven innings in both of his starts, and allowed only three runs.
The Tigers benefitted Sunday from some sloppy pitching from White Sox starter Chris Sale who allowed two runs on wild pitches. The help was appreciated due to the team’s struggles at the plate on Friday and Saturday. Before Sunday’s game the team was 0-7 with runners in scoring position, and had managed only 3 runs and 11 hits in the series. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera has been hitless for the past four games, and was 0-12 with one walk during the series in Chicago. The last time Cabrera was hitless in four games was 2007 when he was with the Florida Marlins.
Sunday marked the first time that Brandon Inge started for the team this season. After a pinch-hit grounder to end the game on Saturday, Inge was batting eighth as the designated hitter. He was 0-2 before being lifted in favor of Brennan Boesch in the sixth.
The Tigers bullpen continues its slow start to the season. Closer Jose Valverde coughed up another run, and three hits before finishing off the White Sox. Over the weekend the bullpen gave up six runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Daniel Schlereth continued to struggle with three runs in two innings of work over the weekend. The bullpen currently has an ERA of 4.46.
With the win the Tigers move ahead of Chicago into first place in the AL Central by half a game. They travel to Kansas City for a three game series against the Royals. The series begins tonight with Justin Verlander (0-1, 2.20 ERA, 0.55 WHIP) pitching against left-hander Danny Duffy (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) at 8:10PM from Kauffmann Stadium.
Other Notes: Clete Thomas was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins, and went 1-3 with a home run in his Twins debut yesterday…Pitcher Adam Wilk will not miss his next scheduled start after being drilled by a Prince Fielder foul ball while sitting on the bench Saturday…The Tigers fell one spot to #2 on the ESPN Power Rankings.
About the Author
Written by Jeremy Klumpp
I am a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Electronic Media and Film. For two years I wrote a baseball blog, "Ground Rule Double," and have contributed to a book on the 1968 Detroit Tigers. If you want to read my non-sports thoughts head to jklumpp1.posterous.com.