CHICAGO, IL- APRIL 15: Gerald Laird (aka G$) of the Detroit Tigers runs after hitting a home run during the game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on April 15, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Both teams wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
|Final - 4.15.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Chicago White Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||8||0|
|WP: Rick Porcello (1 - 0)
LP: Chris Sale (1 - 1)
What the best way to keep a short losing streak from turning into a long losing streak? When you are having trouble scoring runs and your best middle of the order hitter is badly slumping, how do you compensate? By having your starting pitcher step up and shut down the opposition while the offense gets semi-untracked.
Rick Porcello did just that, winning his first game of the season (the first by any Tigers starting pitcher) by tossing a 7 2/3 inning, 1 run, 5 hit gem, his second strong performance in as many outings. It also helps when your light hitting backup catcher leads the offense with 3 hits, including a home run and 2 runs scored, as Gerald Laird did today. It helps even more when 2 of your runs score via wild pitches.
But it needs to be said. G$ was money, as was Porcello.
For the nuts and bolts recap:
As nice as it was for the Tigers to get off the schneid in Chicago, it wasn't easy.
Just as in the first 2 games of the series, the Tigers' offense had multiple opportunities to break the game wide open, but failed to do so. They had the White Sox on the ropes in the 5th and 6th innings, but could only score 2 runs on wild pitches.The Tigers did manage to score 5 times, but are scuffling at the plate with runners in scoring position.
As expected, with left handed Chris Sale on the mound, Brandon Inge got the start. Inexplicably, it was as the Tigers' DH. As expected, Inge was ineffective, 0-2 with a strikeout. As you would expect, Tigers fans went into apoplectic fits. The numbers say Inge could still be an effective player if used correctly. I don't think anyone believes Inge as DH is using him correctly.
But there is one big reason why the Tigers' offense is missing its normal thunder. Miguel Cabrera struggled mightily at the plate all series. His 0-5 afternoon leaves him with a .242 batting average, hitless in the 3 game series, and in midst of a 0-18 funk. Though It's worth noting Cabrera made a couple of excellent defensive plays at 3rd base. He may be slumping at the plate, yet it hasn't affected his defense.
A Tigers win soothes the soul, calms the nerves and eases the mind. It also has them back in 1st place with a 6-3 record. And we can stop wondering when a starter will finally nail down a W, thanks to Rick Porcello.
As for the Tigers' gimpy bats? I expect them to get well, and quickly. The Tigers are off to to Kansas City for a 3 game series. The pitching shy Royals have given up 37 runs during a 4 game losing streak, which includes a weekend sweep by the Cleveland Indians.
The Tigers have to be licking their chops.
Rick Porcello: 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 4 K, first win of the season for a Tigers starting pitcher.
Gerald Laird: 3 hits, a home run, 2 runs scored, a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
Prince Fielder: 2 hits, 1 RBI.
Miguel Cabrera: 0-5, hitless in his last 18 at bats (though his defense was stellar).
Ryan Raburn: 0-2 day dropped his batting average to .074, glove malfunctioned in the 9th.
Jose Valverde: Nerve wracking 9th, allowed 1 run and the tying run to come to the plate.
Game 8 Player of the Game
Austin Jackson out polled young Adam Wilk, 58% to 37%.
Game 9 Player of the Game
Rick Porcello (496 votes)
Gerald Laird (171 votes)
Prince Fielder (9 votes)
676 total votes