For one night, the Detroit Tigers solved their starting pitching problem. Now, they need to figure out that bullpen. In a sickening final two innings (1.2, really) that echoed far too many of the soul-bruising losses from last season, Brandon Lyon squandered a fantastic effort by Edwin Jackson, and what looked like a sure win painfully, stunningly slipped away.
This is a game, by the way, that the Jays almost literally threw away, with David Purcey overthrowing his catcher on an attemped intentional walk, and
Rod Barajas then airing a throw past second base that allowed Carlos Guillen to score in the seventh inning.
The Tigers still aren't close to matching last year's 0-7 start, yet a win tonight would've ended that talk immediately. Now, you have to wonder if a loss like this could hang with the team for another couple of games.
This is the easiest call of the night, isn't it? The Tigers (and their fans) needed a strong start from Jackson to give them some confidence, and he delivered big-time. One run and two hits allowed in 7.1 innings. And Jackson only took 89 pitches to do it. If pitching well makes you a #1 guy, as Jim Leyland suggested, Jackson was an ace tonight.
If only the bullpen made that 3-1 lead hold up. Lyon came in with two outs, gives up a hit to Marco Scutaro, and follows that up by hanging a curveball to Aaron Hill that he jacked out for a three-run homer. With one pitch, the Tigers' lead (and Jackson's gem) was gone. Not a great debut.
And I have no idea why Leyland had Lyon out there for the ninth after he blew the lead. Maybe he wanted to save Fernando Rodney or Ryan Perry for extra innings. But when the Tigers needed a key out, Lyon was incapable of getting one.
This is unfair to Adam Everett, because it was going to be a tough play, but if he manages to nab Scutaro's grounder up the middle, the Tigers get out of the inning and Lyon doesn't serve up that home run to Hill.
Comment of the Night:
I haven’t heard either way. Leyland was adamant the other day that Rodney was the closer — for Monday. From his other comments, it sounded more like a closer-by-committee-but-not-really kind of thing. Remember Lyon is still in there.
Thanks once again for a great GameThread. We had another nice turnout, and didn't even have to sell beer to get people in there. One of these nights, we'll have something to celebrate by the end of the evening.