|WP: Matt Harrison (3 - 0)
LP: Rick Porcello (1 - 1)
What is there to say about a game where the Texas Rangers put Detroit Tigers in a 8-0 hole after 1/2 inning, ultimately crushing the Tigers 10-4? In the snap reaction, Kurt, always the wordsmith, put it succinctly: "It was a stinker."
We sung the praises of Rick Porcello in this week's BYB Podcast. I think we jinxed him. Porcello allowed the first 7 Rangers batters to reach base safely before recording an out, including a Josh Hamilton 3 run home run, which started the inning on the way to Hell in a handbasket. Porcello had his worst outing of the season, throwing 51 pitches, only lasting 3 batters into the 2nd inning. His line of 1 IP, 9 R, 8 ER, 10 H caused his ERA to skyrocket from 1.84 to 6.32 and his record to fall to 1-1.
But Duane Below to the rescue...of the bullpen, anyway. Below replaced Porcello in the 2nd, and tossed 6 scoreless, 4 hit innings against a powerful Rangers offense. Below, who only made the roster due to Luis Marte's injury, has been gold in long relief, yet to allow a run in 11 innings.
The Tigers using the Human White Flag, Daniel Schlereth, to finish out a game says it all. Schlereth allowed the Rangers' final run, a 9th inning home run to Mike Napoli. The ERA and WHIP of Schlereth continued to reach uncomfortable levels...to the point where the Tigers had seen enough.
After the game Dave Dombrowski announced the Tigers had optioned Schlereth to Toledo and purchased the contract of right handed reliever Thad Weber from the Mud Hens to take his place. Weber will be in the bullpen for the second half of the today's twin bill. After getting the news, Schlereth told the media, "I totally deserve this." I doubt anyone would argue the point.
For the nuts and blots recap:
There wasn't much to excited over in a blowout loss. But I can get excited over Miguel Cabrera getting 3 hits, including his extra base hit (a 2 run home run the 8th) in 10 games. If anyone can light a fire under the Tigers moribund offense, it's Cabrera.
Also flashing power was Austin Jackson, who smashed a long home run to left center in the 4th. Delmon Young added a pair of hits and an RBI. That was the extent of the Tigers' offense, as Rangers starter Matt Harrison cruised to his third win of the season.
Though this game brought back uncomfortable memories of the season ending blowout loss in the ALCS, I think fans would be best served to wipe the game from memory, and quickly move on. Burn the tape, so to speak. It's only one game of 162, despite what some local columnists and sports talk radio hosts would have you believe. It's far too early for "statement" games and series. To say otherwise is ridiculous.
Plus, Justin Verlander takes the mound tonight. Who better to keep a short losing streak just that, short.
Daune Below: He not only pitched 6 scoreless innings in relief, Below saved Jim Leyland from having to burn up the bullpen with 2 games left to play this weekend.
Miguel Cabrera: Lets declare his slump officially over! 3-4, HR, 2 RBI.
Daniel Schlereth: Well, fans calling for his head on a Toledo bound platter would say his demotion deserves a roar.
Rick Porcello: Pitched into some 1st inning bad luck, allowing a few seeing eye hits. But taking 46 pitches to get 3 outs in the 1st inning is more than just bad luck, it's a bad performance. The worst by any Tigers starting pitcher this season.
Brandon Inge: Did Porcello no favors by botching a 1st inning double play opportunity and not coming up with a ground ball which went for a 2 RBI single (Rod Allen on FSD: "Ball should have been knocked down."). Adding fuel to the rising anti-Inge feelings was an 0-4 day at the plate, dropping his average to .071 (Lower than even First Half Ryan Raburn). The fans at Comerica were not kind.
The 1st inning: It was absolutely brutal to watch. Had to be even more so for the fans in the stands who had bought tickets expecting to see Justin Verlander. Instead, they got an ineffective Porcello and a punchless Tigers offense.
GAME 12 PLAYER OF THE GAME