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7 losses and counting: Tigers lose another late inning soul-crusher

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DETROIT, MI - MAY 02:  Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees scores a run past Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers during the second inning at Comerica Park on May 2, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MAY 02: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees scores a run past Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers during the second inning at Comerica Park on May 2, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images


Final - 5.2.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 11 0
Detroit Tigers 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 8 0
WP: Joba Chamberlain (2 - 0)
SV: Mariano Rivera (11)
LP: Jose Valverde (2 - 1)

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BOX

KEY STAT

Justin Verlander's 128 pitches in 6 innings. Yes, it was one of THOSE starts for Verlander. He went to 3-2 on nine Yankees batters, walked four, and took 32 pitches to get through the 1st inning alone. Yet Verlandfer was throwing 100 MPH heat in the 6th inning, showing he is a true freak of nature. Regardless, the Tigers' ace should be better than this, especially against the Yankees.

KEY PLAY

Jose Valverde walking Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to open the 9th. Granderson was caught stealing, but Teixeira came around to score, giving the Yankees back a lead they relinquished in the 8th. It can't be repeated enough. Bad things happen when you walk batters. Bad things, man.

KEY THOUGHTS

The Tigers losing streak has reached seven games. They are now eight games back of the 1st place Indians. Only two teams are farther from 1st place in the AL. Luckily for the Tigers, those teams are the White Sox and Twins

You know things are getting dire when, of all people, long-time Tigers employee and color man Jim Price ends the radio broadcast complaining how bad the offense has been.

If you haven't already heard, Scott Sizemore is joining the Tigers tomorrow. Will Rymes was optioned to Toledo to make room on the roster. After the game, Jim Leyland made it a point to not blame Rhymes.

"We are not blaming all of our offensive problems on Will Rhymes. I want to make that clear. But he's a 2B and so is Scotty."

The Tigers have issues on offense, it'll take more than freeing Sizemore to fix them. But it's a start.

Only three Tigers had hits tonight. Miguel Cabrera and, Ramon Santiago were 3-4, and the blistering hot Alex Avila 2-4 with a pair of solo home runs, the 2nd of which tied the game in the 8th. But three players does not an offense make.

Against the Indians, Austin Jackson looked to be coming out of his slump. Tonight, he struck out in his first three at bats, twice looking, finishing 0-4. Not a good night at leadoff for Jackson.

Speaking of struggling outfielders, Magglio Ordonez was 0-4 while batting 3rd. In the 8th, Ordonez actually pulled the ball, a liner to deep left. Unfortunately, Brett Gardner made a nice running catch. Right now, Ordonez can't catch a break...or catch up to a fastball. It's hard to win games when the 3rd man in the order is hitting .151 with no power.

The less said about Ryan Raburn's routes on fly balls to left, the better...

Valverde did not have a good outing. Brought in to start the 9th, Papa Grande seemed off, immediately walking two. He then acted as if he tweaked his shoulder while pitching to Nick Swisher. After Valverde said he was fine, Swisher drilled the next pitch up the middle for a 2 run single. Game over.

Remember how good we were feeling about the Tigers' chances at this time last week? It feels like a long, long time ago. Yes, there's lots of time left in the season. I'm not going to panic. But how long before a slow start becomes something worse?