|Final - 7.22.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||9||0|
|WP: Justin Verlander (12 - 5)
SV: Jose Valverde (20)
LP: Ricky Romero (7 - 7)
The Tigers need to string a few wins together, if only to convince a wary fanbase, and ready to write them off media contingent, they really are a contender. Put together a winning streak, if you will. Can you consider two consecutive victories a winning streak?
Two in a row counts as a streak in my book.
A long streak it's not. A season changing streak it isn't. Nor is it a streak that changes what may be done at the trading deadline. But after the seven game Hell we just suffered though, I'll take a pair of wins!
As for today's victory, it's worth bringing up...again...Jim Leyland's quote about good pitching curing what ails the Tigers.
"But it's a matter of some pitcher going out and sticking it to the other team."
For the second game in a row, sticking it to the other team is exactly what the Tigers' starting pitcher did. Wednesday, Max Scherzer stuck it to the Rangers. Today it was Justin Verlander pitching like the season depended upon the result in knocking off the Blue Jays.
After getting out of a 1st inning based loaded jam, then giving up a 2 run shot to John Buck in the 2nd inning, Verlander settled down and was his usual inefficient (120 pitches), yet dominant, self. The Tigers needed their ace to go deep into the game. Verlander gave the Tigers 8 solid innings, getting better as the game went on, allowing only two runs and eight hits, while striking out five.
This is the Verlander I expect to see every five days. He's the All-Star stopper, the rock of the rotation, not the impostor who couldn't hold three run lead against Cleveland over the weekend.
When Verlander is on the mound, pitching as he did against the Jays, the Tigers are an upper echelon team.
Speaking of upper echelon, the player of the game was easily the Tigers' own Triple Crown candidate, Miguel Cabrera. Miggy's 8th inning, tie breaking double into the left field gap won the game for the Tigers. It was his second RBI and third hit of the game, raising his average to a crazy good .347. If Cabrera isn't the favorite for AL MVP...let's just say if he isn't, there's mental issues with the voters.
When the Tigers are struggling, the Tigers need their biggest stars to step up and put the team on their shoulders. Today, Verlander and Cabrera, the Tigers' unquestioned stars (and highest paid players), did just that.
It's also worth noting Papa Grande, closer Jose Valverde, had an uneventful 9th inning, nailing down his 20th save. After witnessing his bizarre 9th inning last night, where the Big Potato channeled his inner Dontrelle Willis by throwing the ball everywhere but over the plate, seeing Valverde close out the game with little trouble was a big time relief.
- Recently recalled Scott Sizemore got the start, playing his first big league game at 3rd base, It wasn't the best of debuts at the hot corner, as Sizemore committed a throwing error while going 0-4.
- The less said about the Tigers' base running, the better. (I'm looking at you, Magglio!)
- Gerald Laird had a sacrifice fly during the 8th inning rally, making it two (!) games in a row with an RBI. Stranger things may have happened, but I can't think of many.
- An obviously pressing Brennan Boesch got the day off after his 1-14 series with the Rangers. Johnny Damon played left in his place, contributing a pair of hits, and scoring the tie-breaking run in the 8th.
Magglio Ordonez was semi-rested as the DH against the Jays. He's been dealing with a sore ankle since the lost weekend in Cleveland. It doesn't excuse his misadventures on the basepaths, but it does get him the benefit of the doubt...somewhat.