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Still bleeding profusely, but there's a pulse: Tigers avoid Rays sweep, 3-2

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Final - 8.11.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay Rays 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 6 1
Detroit Tigers 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 X 3 8 1
WP: Justin Verlander (13 - 7)
SV: Jose Valverde (22)
LP: Matt Garza (11 - 7)

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Led by Justin Verlander's six strong innings, and Ryan Rayburn Raburn's 6th inning tie-breaking two run home run, a rocked and reeling Tigers team avoided being swept by the Devil Rays this afternoon, 3-2. They also got a modicum of revenge against Matt Garza, who no-hit the Tigers three weeks ago, saddling him with his 7th loss of the season.

Verlander was dominant at times, with a stretch of striking out seven of eight Devil Rays in the 3rd through 5th innings. But between stretches of being damn near unhittable, he was inefficient as Hell. As his throwing 47 pitches in the first two innings, and 119 in six, attests.

As Verlander's stint was shortened thanks to his inefficiency, the bullpen had to step up. Ryan Perry tossed a scoreless 1 2/3 innings. Jim Leyland, smelling a much needed victory, brought on Jose Valverde for a four out save. Papa Grande got the four outs, but gave up an unearned run in the ninth (set up by a Gerald Laird throwing error) to make things a bit more interesting than needed.

Other than Brandon Inge singling in Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Rayburn Raburn supplied the majority of the offense with a pair of hits, including his game winning two run shot. Three runs and eight hits aren't going to win you many games, but it was enough today.

The Tigers salvaging a win over the Devil Rays is the equivalent of applying direct pressure to someone with a cut artery. The worst of the bleeding may have been stopped, but death still lurks around the corner.

The win doesn't change much in the big scheme of things. The Tigers finish their latest homestand 2-7, sit four games under .500, are 9 1/2 games back of the battling for first place Twins and White Sox, their hopes of winning the Central division all but extinguished. This is a second division team with little depth playing too many bad to below average ballplayers.

It's going to take more than one win to change anyone's mind as to what this Tigers team can accomplish over the remaining 52 games. The direction this Tigers team is headed, finishing .500 will be quite the accomplishment.

Bullets!

  • "Protecting" Miguel Cabrera in the five hole today was shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Peralta's line going into the game was .200/.280/.356, and he went hitless in three at-bats, stranding four RISP. Cabrera continues to be mercilessly pitched around, drawing two more walks with the punchless Peralta batting behind him. There can't be any way the Tigers think Peralta is the solution to anything on the left side of the infield...is there? If the Tigers pickup Peralta's $7M contract option, I'm performing a citizen's arrest on Dave Dombrowski for murder...ing common sense.
  • Brennan Boesch still leads all AL rookies in home runs, RBI and extra-base hits, thanks to his ridiculous first half. But according to Jim Leyland, Boesch was nearly demoted to Toledo last week. But he's beginning to find his stoke again, hitting .312 in his last six games. When you have the likes of Peralta batting in the middle of your lineup, I'm thinking the Tigers were hoping against hope Boesch could fight out of his tailspin...which he may be on the verge of doing.
  • Danny Worth has been sent to Toledo for injury rehab. As his stint can last up to 20 days, it would end on August 31st. So odds are Worth won't be back in Detroit until the rosters expand on September 1st. Meaning we can expect more of Peralta at short.
  • In other injury news, Bobby Seay is going to miss more than just the rest of this season. After recently being examined by a pair of orthopedic specialists, it's been recommended he undergo reconstructive surgery on his damaged left shoulder. As surgery is considered a last resort with a torn rotator cuff, and rehab is expected to be a good 12 months, we may not see Seay in the Old English D again. He's a free agent at the end of the season.