The Philadelphia Phillies, a team that may be still fuming over the Placido Polanco for Ugueth Urbina/Ramon Martinez trade, traveled to Lakeland today to face off against the Tigers in Spring Training action.
Last night a dominating pitching performance by Justin Verlander and company would bring a victory. Today, on the other hand, saw an offensive outburst deserving all the credit for leading the Tigers to the win over the Phillies 12-9.
The statline of the day belonged to Tigers' third-baseman Brandon Inge: 2-4 with five RBI. An unfortunate sidenote from this would be that the performance today raised Inge's batting average to a measly .182 on the Spring. And on that note he leads the Tigers' batters with at least 30 at-bats in strikeouts at nine (not too worry too much, though, Carlos Guillen has seven in the same amout of ABs).
Inge was not the only bat that warmed up today: Curtis Granderson, who recently had a four hit performance, went 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Guillen knocked in two while going 2-2. And surprise, surprise, Timo Perez hit a three-run shot in the eighth -- his second homer of the Spring.
On the mound the Tigers saw Mike Maroth, who was recently mentioned to be in the starting rotation to start the regular season, give up a three-run homer to the Phils' Shane Victorino. The longball accounted for the only runs off Maroth all day in five innings of work.
On the bullpen front, today's game brought some less-than-impressive performances. Jose Mesa gave up four hits and three earned runs in one inning. Edward Campusano, someone who is fighting for one of the last bullpen spots on the opening day roster, had the exact stat-line.
One piece of good news for Tigers relievers: Jason Grilli lowered his Spring ERA to 11.37 with a one inning shutout outing.
** One more thing to check out: In regards to last night's one-hit victory over the Nats, the Detroit Free Press' Jon Paul Morosi had this to write about Verlander:
He walked no one. He allowed only two balls out of the infield. And he struck out D'Angelo Jimenez with a devastating backdoor breaking ball.
"Very, very good," manager Jim Leyland said.
One thing we've noticed this Spring is JV's low strikeout numbers -- he only has three of them in nine innings, and only had one in four innings last night. It's tough to complain about a guy who won Rookie of the Year last season and tossed a no-hit four innings last evening, but should we look into this at all?
If he can continually hit high numbers on the gun and keep hitters off balance with the breaking ball (something that helped produce nine ground ball outs yesterday), I think he's due for another solid season.