The Detroit Tigers started off September looking like a different team. Their starting pitcher struggled a bit. But the lineup hammered a pitcher they'd never seen before. And a late-season trade acquisition finally produced some offense.
Welcome to the major leagues, Carlos Carrasco. Throwing fastball after fastball against a team that likes to hit fastballs probably is no way to get through life, son. The Tigers jumped on that low-90s stuff right away, immediately greeting Carrasco with a double and back-to-back home runs. Altogether, the first six Detroit batters reached base.
And the Tigers actually could've scored more than the four runs they put on the board. If Curtis Granderson hadn't been thrown out at second trying to stretch that double into a triple, and if Gerald Laird's drive to left field had lofted just an inch or two higher to get over the fence, another four could've been added to the run parade.
Unfortunately, the Tigers didn't just cruise to the finish, as Edwin Jackson struggled to get through five innings. Maybe he just didn't know what to do with that early run support. More likely, however, is that the Indians learned in their last meeting that making Jackson work by taking pitches and fouling them off would tire him out.
After his first three innings, Jackson had thrown 60 pitches, virtually ensuring he wasn't going to pitch deep into the game. And following a fifth inning in which he allowed three runs and five hits, Jackson was done for the night, clearly dissatisfied with his effort. Considering how many times he's been deprived of a win this season, however, Jackson was entitled to letting the lineup and bullpen carry him through.
With the exception of Zach Miner giving up a home run to Andy Marte to begin the sixth, the Tigers' bullpen made sure the night had no more drama. Cleveland only got two hits over the last four innings, never really threatening as the late-inning relief worked out just the way Jim Leyland likes to use it. And yes, that is now 30 saves for the season by Fernando Rodney.
Playing their first meaningful September baseball in three years, the Tigers apparently intend to make it count.
Hey, who was the guy in the #19 jersey and high socks driving in all those runs last night? Aubrey Huff? But wasn't he batting only .100 (3-for-30) since joining the Tigers? Maybe joining The Brotherhood of the High Socks made the difference. Or turning the page on his calendar. Regardless, Huff made his first meaningful contribution to Detroit's playoff drive, driving in three runs with a single and double. He also walked twice and scored a run.
I've been of the opinion that Huff just needed that one big hit to get him going. Now that he's finally unloaded that monkey off his back, it'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up and provide the big bat the Tigers were hoping for.
Comment of the Night:
Prepare to be dominated!
That new pitcher is going to pitch a perfect game.
…am I doing it right?by 13194013
And a very strong runner-up. I'm just not sure everyone is ready for the visual.