Earned His Tiger Stripes: Placido Polanco 3-5, HR (3), RBI (38), .213 WPA
Nothing like a good ol' @$$-kicking to get you feeling confident about your team again, eh? The Tigers definitely needed last night's win, just to show they could win a close game against the Indians. But flexing the muscles and putting up double-digit runs sends a pretty good message, too. Even better, Detroit laid the smackdown (10 hits, three home runs) on the Tribe's best pitcher, and maybe they can carry that into tomorrow night's series opener against Boston and Julian Tavárez.
It seems silly (and unfair) to say today's game might determine whether or not C.C. Sabathia starts the All-Star Game next Tuesday for the American League, and I think Jim Leyland has shown he's pretty unbiased when it comes to making these types of decisions. But if the freshest thing in Leyland's mind is his team hanging seven runs on him in four innings, and either Josh Beckett or Dan Haren pitch well in their next appearance, maybe the loss did cost Sabathia that spotlight start.
But really, so what? Do you even remember who started last year's All-Star Game? (I'd have to look it up, myself.) Dude had a bad day today. It happens. Verlander had his last week. Speaking of which, did he pitch well enough to get the All-Star start? Well... maybe. 10 wins looks impressive enough, especially when one of them was against one of the better lineups in the league. And there's also that no-hitter on the resume. Leyland couldn't go wrong with choosing his guy. But if he doesn't, the season goes on.
Still "C-Mendo" For Now
Is Craig Monroe's slump over? Well, he did get a hit and RBI in five at-bats, so perhaps in the strictest sense, he busted the hex hanging over him. But we're talking about a bloop single into right-center. And it's only his fourth hit in his last 10 games.
However, as I mentioned in the game thread, Monroe scorched a ball into the right-center gap in the second inning, only to see Grady Sizemore sprint across the field and track it down. It's an out in the box score, but Monroe can say he hit the ball hard, and maybe that's a promising sign.
Anything For Larry Doby?
Should the Indians have worn something to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Larry Doby's first major league game today? He was the first black man to play in the American League. Unless I missed a patch or something like that, it didn't look like the occasion was noted. Kind of a shame. If anyone reading this was at the game, was anything mentioned? How about on the FSN Detroit telecast? (I couldn't watch after the fifth inning.) He played part of his last season with the Tigers.
The Indians, however, will all wear Doby's number 14 on August 10 for the Hall of Fame weekend celebration.
Up Next: Tomorrow vs. Boston, 7:05 p.m. EST