I have a friend who says she doesn't watch baseball because she doesn't understand it. But sometimes, this game can be pretty simple. Just give your starting pitcher enough runs to win. And the Tigers haven't been doing that very much for Justin Verlander this season. Tonight, however, Detroit scored more runs for him than they had in his last three starts combined. Not so coincidentally, everything seemed to fall into place en route to a Tigers victory.
When the opportunity presented itself, the lineup capitalized. Miguel Cabrera began the second inning by making Javier Vazquez work, dragging out the at-bat for 14 pitches (fouling off nine of them) and drawing a walk. Jeff Larish briefly let Vazquez off the hook by swinging and missing at high fastballs, and Edgar Renteria reached base on a questionable decision by Alexei Ramirez to try for the force at second. Maybe it was because Vazquez was tired out by the time Marcus Thames came to the plate. Or maybe Thames had seen enough pitches to know what might be coming. Whatever the reason, Vazquez threw a slider that didn't slide and Thames shot it over the left field fence for a three-run homer, giving Verlander the most run support he's seen in three weeks.
With some runs in his favor, Verlander cruised through the game without suffering the one bad inning that he has so many times this year. One can only imagine that he was able to relax some, without feeling as if he absolutely couldn't make a mistake. As a result, Verlander attacked the White Sox hitters, and most of them couldn't handle what he was dealing. Only three White Sox got a hit tonight.
Thanks to PBURGTIGER, rock n rye, pfuhrmeister, spotstarters (great avatar, by the way), MackAveKurt, Zappatista, and GermanTiger for participating in tonight's GameThread. Maybe not the most exciting game, but in a good way, because Verlander kept the White Sox from supplying too much drama.