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Verlander hit hard, Damon hits hard, in Tigers 8-5 victory

Final - 3.31.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 12 0
Detroit Tigers 0 5 0 3 0 0 0 0 X 8 13 2
WP: Justin Verlander (2 - 3)
SV: Jose Valverde (1)
LP: Zach Duke (0 - 2)

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On the next to last day of spring training, Justin Verlander's final spring tune-up was his worst of camp. The Tigers' ace allowed all of the Pirates' five runs (three earned), 2 walks, 1 HBP and 10 hits (1 an RBI double by Pirates pitcher Zach Duke) over 5.1 innings. Verlander ends Grapefruit League play with a 5.48 ERA.

But the Tigers' relief corps did their job. The combination of Phil Coke, Brad Thomas and Jose Valverde held the Pirates scoreless for the remainder of the game.

The Tigers bats covered for the not sharp Verlander today, as they came to life with 13 hits. The Tigers were led by former Unfrozen Caveman Outfielder Johnny Damon, who battered Pirates pitching to the tune of 3 hits and 3 RBI. Also putting together nice games were Ramon Santiago with 2 RBI, Miguel Cabrera continuing his hot spring with a 2-4 day at the plate and Scott Sizemore taking Duke deep as part of a 2-3 afternoon.

For the gamblers amongst us, those of you who had the glass jawed kneed groined hamstringed shouldered bodied Carlos Guillen suffering his first injury 5 days before opening day win the pool. Guillen is listed as day to day after leaving the game in the 2nd inning suffering from a left hamstring spasm.

In other injury news, a late scratch today was Gerald Laird, who tweaked a groin (It was his own! Grow up, people!) during morning drills. Ryan Raburn left the game in the later innings with (as diagnosed by noted physician Jim Leyland) "wobbly" legs. Make of that what you will.

According to Jason Beck, when the Pirates started to get to Verlander, he cranked up the heat behind his fastball, to little effect. Verlander was unconcerned.

"The big positive is I felt healthy, felt good," he said. "I was taking it a little easy, but obviously the competitive nature starts to get the better of you. So when you get in a jam there, the velocity started creeping up."

Leyland also claimed to be unconcerned by his ace struggling, but he was far from happy with Verlander's mechanics.

"He was falling off the mound, and he didn't get it straightened out. Mechanically, he was falling all over toward the first-base side and left balls in the middle of the plate. He threw it hard up in the middle, and they whacked it pretty good. He had to work real hard to get the ball down. He just couldn't get in rhythm."

With the 2010 MLB season finally starting this Monday, Verlander has 5 days to find his rhythm. From the tone of the post game comments by the Tigers, and in the BYB game thread, everyone is ready for games that count.

Comment of the night:

After allikazoo (who did a marvelous job of giving the unwashed masses here at BYB the gameday audio PBP) mentioned she had no idea which Pirates baserunner was on 2nd base, a stream of Pirate names popped up (Blackbeard, Jack Sparrow). But Tiger Tom cracked me up with his Pirate...


YARRRR, matey! Where be me CD-R?