"A good friend of mine used to say, 'This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.' Think about that for a while."
"Nuke" didn't have it entirely right, though. Baseball teams can win games when they take an early lead, get good starting pitching to stop the opponent from scoring. After the starting pitcher tires out, relievers come out of the bullpen to hold the lead they were given. And when the batting order provides a few more runs in later innings to make that lead bigger, it's much easier to hold. Follow that formula and you'll probably win some ballgames.
That sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Easier said than done, obviously. But the Detroit Tigers have made it look pretty difficult recently.
Led by Gerald Laird's two RBI singles, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead over Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays in the third inning. Rick Porcello made sure that lead held up by holding Toronto to two runs and four hits in six innings of work. But perhaps the key to the game was Zach Miner, Brandon Lyon, and Fernando Rodney pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk between the three of them.
Rodney's ninth inning was significantly less stressful, thanks to Aubrey Huff and Brandon Inge driving in three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Although with how Rodney pitches in non-save situations (5.76 ERA), I suppose you could say that actually made the ninth more stressful. At least a five-run lead gave him a sturdy safety net.
Put it all together, and you have the end of the Tigers' five-game losing streak. With the way September has gone so far, does that mean they're now back on a winning roll? Four games remain on this homestand.
I know Jim Leyland didn't want Curtis Granderson to sit out too many consecutive games with the Tigers facing so many left-handed pitchers. And it's probably better to have him in the lineup for his defense. But Grandy has to start doing something against lefties. After an 0-for-3 day (with two strikeouts), he's now batting .171/.240/.237.
Comment of the Day:
if you think we won because you watched, we won because you watched