Maybe the Detroit Tigers could feel the pressing need to win a game. (Or score some runs. The two are not mutually exclusive, at this point.) Maybe they were pumped up to win a game for their starting pitching ace.
Maybe Jim Leyland's increasing exasperation and surly mood resulted in a word or two. Maybe those purpose pitches from Jason Grilli on Tuesday night stoked some anger. Or maybe the Tigers just caught the Texas Rangers' pitching staff on the right night.
Whatever the reason, Detroit's bats came alive for their last night in Arlington, and they started off the assault right away with a leadoff homer from Curtis Granderson. Although you had to wonder if failing to capitalize on a bases-loaded situation (albeit with two outs) by hitting yet another impotent infield pop-up would come back to haunt the Tigers.
This time, not so much.
Scott Feldman turned out to be just the right pick-me-up for a lethargic lineup, as the Tigers pounced on him for an early 4-0 lead, thanks largely to another homer from Granderson. (Kind of a surprising performance for Feldman, considering how well he'd pitched in recent starts.) Of course, a 3-0 lead didn't work so well for Detroit on Tuesday, but those fears were quickly settled with the Tigers adding two more runs right after Texas got on the board in the third inning. Also getting trampled in the run parade was former Tigers prospect Guillermo Moscoso, who was traded in the winter for Gerald Laird.
Detroit blew the game open in the fourth and fifth innings with home runs from Marcus Thames and Miguel Cabrera. Yet they continued to pour it on by scoring runs in the sixth and seventh. The Rangers finally shut off the spigot in the eighth, but by then, the game had long been a foregone conclusion. And what a refreshing change that was for the Tigers and the fans who watch them.
If concern was beginning to develop over Cabrera's failure to deliver with runners in scoring position, he swatted that talk away last night with a 4-for-6, four-RBI night. Sure, it was only one game, but it was reassuring to see BigMig bring out the heavy lumber and remind us all of what he's capable of doing. Hopefully, for the Tigers' sake, it's the beginning of productive streak for their biggest bat.
And did I just completely overlook a fine performance from Justin Verlander? He tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts last night, which almost made the 13-run outburst seem excessive. But Verlander also gave up four runs (three earned), which is the most he's allowed in approximately a month. He also didn't walk a batter for the fourth time this season.
Comment of the Night, Part Deux:
who put steroids in the gatorade?