DETROIT, MI - APRIL 11: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the fourth inning during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park on April 11, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Snap reaction: Can't win 'em all. *&^#!
Justin Verlander with just another incredible Verlander performance ... for most of the game. Just not enough of it. Verlander shut down the Tampa Bay Rays for eight innings, allowing just one hit and a walk, but they finally broke through with a pair of runs in the ninth to erase any chance he had of getting a positive decision. Receiving no help from his bullpen, Verlander's final line saw a "4" staring red daggers under the ER column when Daniel Schlereth and Jose Valverde couldn't erase the baserunners Verlander left.
Those who thought Jim Leyland pulled the hook too early Thursday are probably saying he pulled it too late this one. I think it was the right move to let Verlander try to finish things out, because his pitch count was much lower to begin the ninth than it would have been Thursday. But again, it didn't work out well. As far as going to Schlereth goes, I agree with what you're thinking.
The Tigers scored quickly to open the game. Austin Jackson led off with a single and Miguel Cabrera drove him in. In the fifth, Andy Dirks scored on a balk after reaching with a leadoff double to make it 2-0. Tampa knotted it after Verlander allowed a walk and three singles while getting just one out. Leyland pulled the plug after that.