Chalk this one up to Trade Deadline Hangover?
If watching a baseball game felt almost anti-climactic to Tigers fans after 24 hours of closely following the latest rumors - experiencing the high of getting Jarrod Washburn to help out the starting rotation, along with the slight disappointment of not finding a corner outfielder to boost the lineup - how must it have felt to the players and coaches who had to participate in it?
The Tigers didn't look lethargic to begin the game, however, as five of the first six Detroit batters reached base, resulting in two runs on a Clete Thomas single. But with two runners on, and only one out, the Tigers could've put even more runs on the board. Instead, both Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge flied out.
Missing out on that early opportunity may have cost them. The squandering was especially notable when Edwin Jackson let the Indians tie the score two batters into their lineup, on a Grady Sizemore single and Asdrubal Cabrera home run.
That first inning took 45 minutes, which hinted at what a long slog this game turned out to be. Jackson lasted only four innings, his shortest outing of the season, as Cleveland batters continually fouled off pitches, running his count up to 115. Jackson's stuff didn't seem particularly sharp, so he just couldn't put any hitters away. But credit a Tribe game plan that seemed intent on wearing him down.
Cleveland eventually took the lead in the fourth, and added some cushion in the sixth for a two-run lead. It looked like it was going to be another one of those nights in which the Tigers just couldn't score enough, a particularly demoralizing development after the front office's failure to acquire another hitter earlier in the day.
Virtually every Tigers fan has rolled their eyes over the past week when the front office and coaching staff said that a recovered Carlos Guillen could end up being the extra bat the team needs. And with one swing in the ninth inning against Kerry Wood, Guillen showed there might be some truth behind that contention. Having to throw a strike, as he'd fallen behind 3-1, Wood grooved a fastball down the middle. And Guillen didn't miss it, launching a game-tying, two-run homer to right field.
Unfortunately, those heroics only served to prolong the agony. On a night when nine innings took four hours, the Tigers and Indians played another four frames. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon did a great job keeping Detroit in the game, with five scoreless innings. Admit it, you thought one of those guys was going to blow it. (But how did Tomo Ohka pitched four of his own? Didn't the Tigers mash this guy three weeks ago at Comerica Park?)
Casey Fien couldn't hold the baton once it was passed to him in the 13th, however, allowing a leadoff double to Jhonny Peralta and a follow-up single to Jamey Carroll that drove in the winning run. It seemed like a merciful end to a miserable (though briefly exciting) night.
The Tigers' pitching staff could be in trouble for tonight's game. Detroit had to use seven relievers, in light of Jackson's short outing. And with Rick Porcello probably not able to pitch more than six innings, someone else will have to help out. But only Rodney and Lyon should be unavailable tonight, as they pitched extended innings.
Comment of the Night: