Justin Verlander pitched a pretty good game. Justin felt he didn’t “have his best stuff”, but allowing two runs on six hits and 1 BB through 8 innings is an outing just about every other pitcher in baseball would feel pretty good about. And to be honest, that should be an outing that any pitcher in the big leagues should expect to win. The Royal’s starter Jonathan Sanchez would have killed for such a start in any of his last 6. He cam in to Detroit with an abysmal 6.75 ERA so far this season and hadn’t pitched deeper than the 5th inning yet this season. Enter the Tigers nearly unrecognizable offense. Sanchez held the vaunted Tiger’s offense without a hit for 4 2/3 innings and allowed just the one hit, 2 BB, and no runs in 5 innings. The KC bullpen continued to keep all but one runner, a walk, off the base paths for the next 2 innings. Then Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch hit a single and a home run off of reliever Aaron Crow (who has owned left handed hitters so far this season) to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th inning. Then Joaquin Benoit came in and allowed a double to Mike Moustakas and in infield single to Chris Getz in an 8 pitch at bat in which he fouled off 6 pitches. Then Jonathan Broxton came in although Alex Avila was able to reach base on a single the Tigers were unable to bring him across to tie the game again.
Justin Verlander said after the game that “once we get rolling and start hitting the ball every day we’ll be fine. It’s not my job to worry about run support. It’s my job to win baseball games, and obviously two runs was too many to give up today.” While I appreciate the Bull Durham-esque sentiment behind those words, I disagree with Verlander entirely. No I did not expect Avila or Peralta to have seasons like last year. No I don’t think that every Tiger’s loss is a reason for concern, but to get 5 hits and 2 runs in 9 innings against a pitcher who has barely found the strike zone this season, followed by a number of horrible offensive outings recently, has me feeling a great deal less confident in this season’s Tigers team. Yes they are only a game out of first in the division, however this season is not about winning the AL Central Division. That is an expectation, not a goal. This season, and more specifically the signing of Prince Fielder, is about winning the World Series and this Tiger’s team is far, far away from the type of team needed to get to the World Series much less win it.
In better news, Doug Fister pitched four scoreless innings for Toledo last night and all signs after the game signaled a likelihood that he will be available for Monday’s match against Seattle. Also, Drew Smyly , one of the few consistently pleasant surprises, is starting tomorrow against the White Sox. Hopefully he’ll get some more run support than could be mustered for Verlander yesterday. In less than positive news, Ryan Raburn was hitting in the 5th spot in the order for some unknown reason and went 0-for-4 with 2 K’s in his essentially season long slump. At what point do the tiger’s trade/bring up/sign a 2B who can actually hit? In my opinion it should have been the beginning of the season, but I can at least tentatively see the idea behind a raburn/santiago platoon (please don’t pretend Inge was ever an acceptable idea). Still, that experiment has appeared to be a failure so let’s either give the job to Santiago, promote Worth permanently and give it to him, or trade for/sign someone to take over permanently. Teams with holes and even some without them, don’t win the World Series very often, just ask the Rangers.
About the Author
Written by Brett Decker
I'm a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Social and Political Science. I love talking sports and welcome sports related tweets @decker_brett.