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Tigers 8, Cardinals 7

Earned His Tiger Stripes: Pudge 2-4, HR (4), 3 RBI (21), .115 WPA

Earned a Lecture from Leyland: Jonesy for taking a few days off of my life

Tonight the Tigers' bullpen proved to us that at this point in the season, no lead is safe. In the 8-7 win over the Cardinals the group of Ledezma, Byrdak, Rodney and Jones combined for these less-than-impressive numbers:

IP H ER BB SO
4.0 9 5 4 2

That's not going to win you ballgames, especially on nights when the Tigers' starters aren't going deep into their starts. No matter how well the lineup is hitting the ball.

The biggest concern of the group would have to be Ledezma, who gave up two hits, a walk and two earned runs this evening in 0.1 innings. Over his last four appearances Wil has gone 4.1 innings -- giving up 11 hits, walking six and giving up a total of nine earned runs. Unfortunately Wil has been an example of the bigger picture with this pen. This was a strength last season, but they haven't been able to make their mark just yet in '07; of course it doesn't help to have Zoom out of the equation at this point either.

As for Jones, this is the kind of performance we've come to know over the last two years. It gets the heart going, that's for sure, but it's tough to get too down on a guy who has saved 14 games on the young season. I'd like to consider this evening's ninth inning more of a gutsy performance out of the Cardinals lineup, as opposed to a terribly poor one from our closer (although Jones may have even had some help from some front-row fans in the ninth).

Let's be positive now. The Tigers lineup was impressive for the second straight night against Cardinals pitching, banging out eight hits and scoring 11 runs. Sure, there were no nine-run innings this time around, but the Tigers were able to knock out two longballs and hit four doubles -- continuing their trend of good extra base hit production this season.

A Few Things of Note:

  • Buster Olney just mentioned that Maggs is a darkhorse for the Triple-Crown award this season based on his performance thus far. The only drawback of him is that he has never had a huge season for homers (his high is 38) and he's playing in Comerica. The Triple Crown is insanely tough to get for obvious reasons, but it's definitely great to hear Maggs getting some props -- he's been really good.
  • Before he gave up the run, Byrdak was looking very impressive after he relieved Ledezma in the sixth. He came in and automatically struck out Pujols and got Encarnacion to fly out in a dangerous situation. He's done a pretty good job for the Tigers in his time up this season, although he did leave tonight's game with a runner on and one already in.
  • On that same note, there weren't too many complaints with Rodney's appearance either -- despite his recent struggles trying to find the strike zone. Any knock on the bullpen performance from this evening, found above, lies mainly on the shoulders of Ledezma and Jones in this one.
  • Pujols is 5-7 with 4 walks in this series. He walked three times this evening. Coming into tonight's game he held a 1.488 OPS against Detroit in seven games. Here's hoping Verlander can cool him off a bit in Tomorrow's afternoon matchup.
  • Cleveland lost 10-5 to the Reds.
Up Next: Going for the sweep tomorrow afternoon, 1:05 pm