|Final - 4.21.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Justin Verlander (2 - 1)
SV: Jose Valverde (4)
LP: Neftali Feliz (1 - 1)
Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes you can throw as efficient a game as it comes, yet you lose. Sometimes you run up high pitch counts, not come close to finishing the game, but still come home a winner. The Detroit Tigers won the second game of the day/night double dip over the Texas Rangers 3-2, as Justin Verlander tossed 116 pitches in 6 innings for the win, while Neftali Feliz thew a 119 pitch complete game, and got credit for the loss.
It only took one inning to cost Feliz a shot at the win. That being a 42 pitch 4th. Feliz had retired 10 consecutive Tigers, and was cruising, almost effortlessly. Then it all fell apart, if only for one inning. Feliz lost the perfect game, the no-hitter, the shutout, and ultimately, the game, thanks to his high effort, 3 runs allowed, 4th inning.
3 hits was all the offense the Tigers could muster on the evening, as Feliz was lights out for 7 of his 8 innings. But with Verlander on the mound, with a little white-knuckle help from the bullpen, 3 runs on an efficient 3 hits was enough for the victory.
The Tigers got 1 inning each from Octavio Dotel (making the 700th MLB appearance of his long career), Joaquin Benoit, and Jose Valverde, just as designed, save for the white-knuckle, chewing Tums by the fistful part.
For the nuts and bolts recap:
After struggling to get through 5 innings and 101 pitches, coming off a 131 pitch outing in his last start, it looked as if there was no way in Hell Verlander was going to start the 6th inning. The Rangers powerful lineup and aggressiveness at the plate had made Verlander work on every pitch. But we shouldn't be surprised at anything involving the freak of nature Verlander, especially when it comes to avoiding Jim Leyland's handshake of doom.
The first hint he was coming back out was there was no one up in the bullpen. The second being no handshake of doom from Leyland, signifying your night is over. Verlander came out for the 6th and dominated, needing only 14 pitches to get 3 outs. Those 14 pitches kept Verlander's streak of going 6+ innings alive at 46 games.
So the Tigers finally beat the Rangers in a nail-biter, after getting pounded in the first 2 games of the series. How's that for a statement win? Yes, I'm being facetious (Points toward Detroit sports talk radio hosts).
But will one win springboard the Tigers with some forward momentum? As Leyland likes to say, momentum is the next day's starting pitcher.
The teams with the top records in the American League go at it in Sunday's series finale. The 10-5 Tigers go for a series split by sending Drew Smyly to the mound, facing Colby Lewis and the 12-3 Rangers at 1:05 PM.
Justin Verlander: The Tigers' losing streak ends at 2, as expected. Inefficient Verlander is still one of the best pitchers in the game - 6 IP, 4 H 1 R, 8 K.
Ramon Santiago: Had the big hit of the night, a soft line single to left center, scoring 2 runs, breaking a 1-1 tie - 1 H, 2 RBI.
Delmon Young: Broke up Feliz's no-hitter and shutout with a 2 out, 2 strike RBI single, setting up Santiago's heroics. Sometimes being a hacker at the plate works for you - 1 H, 1 RBI, 1 R.
Brandon Inge: It was an awful double header for Inge. An 0-3 in the nightcap lowered his average to .059. He also botched a 1st inning double play by standing flat-footed on the turn, a foot off the bag, obviously not getting the phantom tag call from the umpire. The fan base has turned on Inge, in a very loud and ugly way. A wise bartender in the movies once said, "Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end." We've reached that point with Inge.
Jim Leyland: Leyland said he wouldn't use Inge against right handed pitching. Feliz is a hard-throwing right handed pitcher, correct? By sitting Jhonny Peralta in the nightcap, Leyland was forced to play Santiago at short, managing himself right into an Inge filled 2nd base. This wouldn't happen with Danny Worth on the roster.
Jose Valverde: Gave the Tigers fan base another in a series of heart attacks. The Big Potato was wild, walking 2 in the 9th inning. Which meant he had to face Josh Hamilton with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position. And of course, Valverde struck him out (Hanging a Golden Sombrero on Hamilton) for his 4th save, as Tigers fans lost another year or 3 off of their life span.
GAME 14 PLAYER OF THE GAME
Even though it's only been a few hours, I can safely call it for a very deserving Duane Below with 91% of the vote.