How good did that feel? Is it possible Tigers fans will never take a win for granted again? (At least for the rest of this season?)
This game was starting to look painfully familiar, as old friend Carlos Pena gave Tampa Bay the early lead. It was encouraging to see the Tigers come right back to tie the game, and go on to take the lead two innings later.
But then things took on that bleak feeling again when B.J. Upton blasted a three-run homer off Justin Verlander. Was this really going to happen again? For the second start in a row, Verlander tired out after racking up a high pitch count. He ended up throwing 108 pitches in six innings, and had to turn the game over to the bullpen.
Comerica Park was pretty quiet until the bottom of the seventh, with everyone likely wondering what the hell the Tigers had to do to win a game. Sean Casey hitting a home run was a good start. That seemed to wake everybody up, reminding the crowd and the team that the game wasn't over yet. After Casey's homer, the hit parade was on. The next five Detroit batters got base hits, bringing in three more runs, and thanks to the bullpen, that two-run lead stood up.
One Pitch, One Win
What a night at the office for Zach Miner (who's been dealing with a lot lately). Dude comes in and throws one pitch, getting Delmon Young to ground out. The Tigers had their four-run rally in the bottom half of the inning, and Miner was the pitcher of record. Did he even have to ice his shoulder or elbow after the game?
Of the four relievers that pitched in the game, however, perhaps the most important one was Fernando Rodney. Pitching on back-to-back nights would indicate whether Rodney was truly back and ready to start pitching like he did last year.
Granted, he faced the bottom part of Tampa Bay's batting order in the eighth inning, but Rodney looked sharp. His fastball hit 96 m.p.h. on the radar gun, which allowed him to mix in his change-up and induce some silly swings. Two games (and two innings) isn't enough to get truly excited about, but Rodney hasn't allowed a hit and looks to be throwing hard. Do the Tigers finally have their long-awaited bullpen help?