It definitely wasn't pretty, but on a night when Justin Verlander was terrible (and looked absolutely unable to comprehend how it was happening) and Fernando Rodney had his worst outing of the season, the Detroit Tigers kidnapped Anaheim's Rally Monkey and stole its restorative powers for their own big comeback.
Forget all the talk from Friday about Verlander achieving some sort of breakthrough and figuring things out. He gave up a 2-0 lead right away, and though he wasn't very good in any of his five innings, it was that fifth inning that once again bit him hard. After his lineup gave him a 5-4 lead, Verlander gave up four straight singles that resulted in three Angels runs. And it could've been worse had Gary Matthews, Jr. not hit a ball right back to Verlander to start a 1-6-3 double play.
Fortunately for the Tigers, LAAnaheim had a pitcher who was just that much worse last night in Scot Shields. The Angels' formerly lights-out middle reliever looked like a pitcher who may be shot during an awful seventh inning. The first four Tigers batters he faced reached base on two walks and two singles, eventually leading to three Detroit runs and a lead the Tigers never gave back (though Rodney sure tried his best to do so). Shields didn't retire a single batter, loading the bases, and walking in a run in just 18 pitches. He was efficiently bad.
Adam Everett barely hit anything over the infield dirt last night, yet dropped in three hits and drove in two runs, including the go-ahead score. He also showed some of that old defensive flash, starting a slick double play in the seventh by fielding a ball up the middle and flipping it to Placido Polanco for the turn. Everett doesn't look content to give up that shortstop job to Ramon Santiago just yet.
How long would Ryan Raburn like to stay in the major leagues? Here at BYB, we've often stuck up for Raburn, but by the third inning, I think the Tigers were ready to call up Jason Tyner and maybe insist that the Brewers take Raburn in return.
I'm hoping that Leyland's first words to Raburn after the game were, "Letting two catchable fly balls go over your head is no way to get through life, son." (Though publicly, Leyland had his back in post-game comments.) Raburn looked like me playing right field in softball, badly misjudging two balls hit to him that resulted in at least one run and surely prolonged Verlander's agony.
Can you get more of a vulture win than what Juan Rincon stole last night? He gave up one run on two hits, two walks, and a wild pitch in just one inning, but he was the pitcher of record in the seventh, and thus got the win. That was some master thievery.
Comment of the Night:
the 2008 Tigers lose that game. Either they pack it in after going down 7-5, or they blow it in the 9th.by ThaWalrus9