|Final - 7.26.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Chicago White Sox||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||4||7||0|
|WP: Justin Verlander (14 - 5)
SV: Jose Valverde (27)
LP: Will Ohman (0 - 2)
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KEY STAT A
According to baseball-reference, opponents entering tonight were batting 24-for-59 off Peavy once he gets to 75 pitches.
White Sox starter Jake Peavy was on his game through the first five innings, making Tigers batters look silly at times. Then came the 6th, when Peavy was well over the 75 pitch mark. Five hits, one walk, a sac fly, three runs, and nine batters later, the Tigers had taken a 4-2 lead. Peavy's 111 pitch night was done. He's nothing more than a five inning guy at this point of his career.
KEY STAT B
Justin Verlander's 120th pitch was a 100 MPH fastball, striking out Tiger killer Paul Konerko. The entire Tigers fanbase had been holding their breath, as Konerko had taken Verlander deep for a game tying two run home run in his previous at bat. There were no late game heroics this time.
Verlander = Freak. Of. Nature.
Brennan Boesch bunting for a base hit leading off the 5th.
Just as nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects Brennan Boech to bunt. He caught EVERYONE in Chicago flat footed, laying a perfect bunt down the 3rd base line, not even drawing a throw. Boesch's sneakiness ignited the Tigers' three run rally.
KEY MANAGERIAL MOVE
Jim Leyland inserting Andy Dirks as a pinch runner for Victor Martinez in the 8th inning.
Leading off the 8th, the not fleet of foot Martinez worked a walk. He was pulled for the fleeter of foot Dirks, who easily stole 2nd with one out. With two out, newly acquired 3rd baseman Wilson Betemit lined a single to center, easily scoring Dirks with the game winning run.
For all the grief Leyland received last night, he deserves credit for the Dirks move tonight. The inning likely turns out much differently if Martinez had remained in the game.
At this point, I'm stunned whenever the .161 hitting Adam Dunn gets a bat on the ball. Yet he was able to put the Tigers in a big hole early, hitting a two run homer after Konerko had just missed one himself. That's the second consecutive game against Verlander the horrifically struggling Dunn had come up with an RBI hit. The long home run didn't appease White Sox fans, who booed lustily when Verlander K'ed Dunn with a hammer of a curve to end the 8th.
There's one player on the White Sox truly scares me at the plate. Konerko. He's a Tiger killer. One player on the Sox truly annoys the living Hell out of me. Juan Pierre. He's like a mosquito that won't go away. There's one player on the Sox I truly hate. A.J. Pierzynski. No explanation needed.
The Tigers are hitting the ball against the White Sox, but have stopped hitting for extra bases. They have one home run, one double and 21 singles in the first two games of the White Sox series. (Hat tip to Mlive's Chris Iott for the stat)
It can't be said often enough. Justin Verlander is good at baseball. He's also a beast. Verlander gave off a HULK SMASH vibe on the mound after he gave up the homer to Konerko.
Jose Valverde pitched an uneventful 1-2-3 9th for his 27th save of the season. The Big Potato, indeed.
Ryan Raburn, defensive specialist? Apparently so, as he replaced Brennan Boesch in left field for the 9th inning. I can't figure out Leyland's thinking either.
There's a hot new hitter playing for the Mud Hens. His name? Brandon Inge. His first game in Toledo was a big one, going 3-for-4 with a double, a three run homer, and four RBI. He's a prospect to watch! Wait...what?
There was no walk off magic for the Indians tonight. They had the bases loaded with no one out in the bottom of the 9th, down 2-1 to the Angels. The game ended 2-1 Angels. Thus, the Tigers upped their lead in the Central, now two games up on the Tribe, and 4.5 in front of the White Sox.
The road trip ends Wednesday with an afternoon game on Chicago's South Side. A Tigers victory would make what's been a good trip into an excellent one.