NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers is collides with Eduardo Nunez #26 of the New York Yankees as he steals second base in the top of the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 28, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
|Final - 4.28.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|New York Yankees||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||3||5||6||0|
|WP: Drew Smyly (1 - 0)
LP: Freddy Garcia (0 - 2)
Jim Leyland loves to say this, and it's true. Momentum is your next day's starting pitcher. After losing in heartbreaking fashion Friday night, the Detroit Tigers needed rookie starting pitcher Drew Smyly to come through in a big way against the New York Yankees. He did just that in a 7-5 Tigers victory, throwing a 6 inning, 2 hit, 1 run gem in front of his parents in historic Yankee Stadium.
Smyly has been the story of the season for the Tigers. He narrowly won the 5th starter job over Duane Below in spring training, and to be honest, little was expected. But Symly has been the Tigers most consistent pitcher in April, even more so than Justin Verlander. He now leads the AL in ERA at 1.23 and is the first pitcher to give up one run or less in his first four starts since Fernando Valenzuela. Smyly-mania may not equal Fernando-mania nationwide, but Smyly deserves all the accolades he's been receiving in Detroit.
Can Smyly continue to dominate as he did against the Yankees today? It's unlikely. It's entirely possible the next time through the AL, batters will start to figure him out. But he's a crafty lefty with a low 90's fastball who mixes his pitches well. That usually equals a long major league career (think Jamie Moyer, but with a fastball). Smyly may not become a star, but has shown he has the talent to be a solid member of a starting rotation.
I'd hate to think where the Tigers would be this season without him.
For the nuts and bolts recap:
Remember how despondent we all were last night? It only took one win and 6 innings of Drew Smyly to lift the funk.
Drew Smyly: The rookie has been beyond impressive in his first 4 career starts, the 4th being his best so far. 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 K.
Andy Dirks: After last night's 9th inning debacle, the Tigers badly needed a fast start today. Dirks' 1st inning 3 run home run was just that. He also played flawless defense in left field, making a pair of catches Delmon Young likely doesn't. HR, 3 RBI.
Miguel Cabrera: What slump? 2 H, HR, 3 RBI.
Jose Valverde: Mentioning non-save opportunity and Valverde in the same sentence will have Tigers fans reaching for antacid. Today was no different, as what was assumed to be a safe 7-2 lead became a 7-5 gut-wrencher with the tying run at the plate. 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB.
Curtis Granderson: He's become a Tiger Killer. Hit a home run, had 2 RBI and was an integral part of the Yankees' 3 run 9th inning rally..
Nick Swisher: 2 home runs, one being the only stain on Smyly's start, the other sending Valverde into a downward spiral. Bah.
GAME 20 PLAYER OF THE GAME
Austin Jackson topped Brad Eldred, 62% to 33%.
Game 21 Player of the Game
Miguel Cabrera (5 votes)
Andy Dirks (35 votes)
Drew Smyly (405 votes)
445 total votes