The Mariners' Carlos Silva was knocked out of the box during 7 run 1st inning, as the bats carried the Tigers to a 7-4 win Friday night in Seattle. Nate Robertson was the beneficiary of a Detroit offensive explosion for the 2nd straight start, winning his 3rd game of the season. It was also Detroit's 4th consecutive win over the hapless Mariners.
This afternoon, the Tigers hope to keep the streak alive, sending Justin Verlander (2-7, 5.16) to the mound. Verlander has pitched much better as of late, though his record has yet to reflect it. He ERA has dropped nearly a point over his past 3 starts, allowing only 4 runs in 19 innings. Verlander's pitching to his immense capabilities would go a long way towards the Tigers turning their season around.
Facing Verlander is Seatle's own pitching phenom, Felix Henandez (2-5, 3.60), aka King Felix. In his last 6 starts, King Felix has a 5.54 ERA while walking 21 batters in 37.1 innings. He's struggled as much as the Mariners have this season.
The bigger news coming out of Seattle was the announcement there will be more changes in the Tigers' everyday lineup, as decided by both Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski.
1. Miguel Cabrera has been moved down to 6th in the batting order. (This is Leyland playing head games with Cabrera, essentially demoting him in an attempt to light a fire under his ass.)
2. Carlos Guillen will add another position to his resume, as he will share time in left field (!) with Marcus Thames. He'll continue to play 3rd as well. (I feel for Guillen, as this will be his 3rd position change in less than a year. Why he's not DHing at this point is beyond me. This move reeks of desperation.)
3. Brandon Inge will play more at both 3rd base and catcher. (2 things seem to be at play here. The Tigers want Inge's glove in the lineup, as it sure as Hell isn't because of his bat. They must also think Pudge Rodriguez is playing too much.)
4. Dontrelle Willis will start a game in the Oakland series, going 4-5 innings, then be replaced by Armando Galarraga. (The Willis to the pen experiment wasn't going to last long, as his sizable contract pretty much demands the D-Train starts. This piggybacking of starting pitching has the whiff of desperation to it. It also removes an arm from the bullpen.)
The Tigers haven't given up on the season yet, as these moves attest. If they work, and the Tigers start winning, great! But if they don't? Detroit's brass will have some tough roster decisions looming on the horizon.