Story of the game is short and sweet. Justin Verlander was good. CC Sabathia was better. Sometimes the other ace pitches better than your ace. That was the case today.
Unfortunately, it makes for hard game to watch when the offense shows less power than a pop gun and Verlander is only semi-human.
Regardless, there was plenty to get excited about this weekend.
- The Tigers took two of three from the Yankees at home.That's always good!
- When not having to swing bats in Arctic weather, the offense was unstoppable in the two wins.
- Verlander pitched more than well enough to win most games.
- Overall, the starting pitching was solid all weekend. It'll get even better.
- The Tigers are just fine in the standings at 3-3.
- No one is off to a crazy good start in the Central, unless you think the Twins' 4-2 record is running away from the pack.
In the post game, Jim Leyland put the long afternoon in perspective:
Today just seemed like a little bit of a blah.
Let's move on to the Blue Jays, shall we?
Think Detroit is excited about the Tigers? Today's announced attendance was 39,829. The Tigers drew 127,333 against the Yankees, the biggest opening series attendance sin team history. Not long ago the third game of the season would have drawn more flies than fans.
While you were chatting up a storm in the game thread, our own Phil Coke's Brain was making a guest appearance at James Schmehl's Mlive.com live blog.
PhilCoke'sBrain for MLive.com
Remember to support Belle Tire, the official necklace sponsor of Andy Dirks.
There was a movie made back in the sepia toned days of 1969 called "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium." To give the term a modern spin, "If it's Sunday, Jim Leyland must be emptying his bench in Detroit." Brayan Pena, Ramon Santiago and Matt Tuiasosopo were all in the starting lineup.
Donnie Baseball was left on the bench as a late game secret weapon, or to just give the skipper some companionship in the dugout.
Unavailable out of the bullpen were Darin Downs and Drew Smyly.
For those of you wondering if Brennan Boesch got an AL Championship ring, fellow Tigers blogger Lee Panas got the scoop from the Yankees broadcast:
Boesch was called into Girardi's office yesterday. He panicked thinking he was being released. But it was DD there giving him his ring.— tiger337 (@tiger337) April 7, 2013
Kevin Youklis doubled off Justin Verlander in the 1st, then got into a war of words with JV. Cue "Rick Porcello needs to beat down Youklis again" jokes on Twitter, including one from our angry fellow Tigers blogger, Rogo.
Get Porcello up in the pen. Just to plunk Youk. Good times.— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) April 5, 2013
Austin Jackson had reached base when leading off in all five games this season. The streak came to an end today when Jackson flew out to right field. But he reached base for the sixth straight game, drawing a walk in the 3rd.
Francisco Cervelli's run scoring double in the 2nd wasn't an easy play for Matt Tuiasosopo, but it was one a better defender, such as Andy Dirks, likely makes.The home run later in the inning made the play a real killer, as there would have already been three outs if Tuiasosopo makes the catch.
The swirling winds was causing weird doings on the field, such as on a foul pop behind the plate off the bat of Vernon Wells in the 3rd:
Wow ... that pop foul came back toward the field, and landed on the track behind the plate. Nobody went after it.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) April 7, 2013
Ramon Santiago can't buy a break at the plate in what is being called a job audition by some in the media this weekend. He hit a line drive on the nose in the 3rd inning, but Wells robbed him of a base hit with a sliding catch. He finished the weekend audition (if that's what it really was) 1-8 with three strikeouts.
I may complain about Tuiasosopo's glove, but not his bat. He reached base three times against C.C. Sabathia, singling twice and walking. A actual bat coming off the bench? Can it be true?
We also heard the "Tuiasosopo emailed the Tigers about a job" story in the 6th. Expect to hear the email anecdote every time Big Squiggles makes an appearance for the team. By the way, the same approach didn't work for Rogo.
My email to Dombrowski resulted in a restraining order. Go figure.— Scott Rogowski (@DNR_Rogo) April 7, 2013
I'm not surprised, especially if Don Kelly was mentioned in the body of the message.
Verlander became the first Tigers pitcher to pitch more than six innings and post a quality start in 2013. He also kept his streak alive of never starting a season 2-0.
Jayson Nix, Verlander Killer. He went yard in the 2nd, then yanked foul by a foot what would have been a second home run in the 7th. After narrowly missing a solo shot, Nix singled to center. Like I said, Verlander Killer.
Both Omar Infante and Santiago manned the center of the infield, so Freep sports writer Anthony Fenech dug up a blast from the distant past, otherwise known as the season we'd all prefer to forget, 2003:
The first DP Infante and Santiago turned was 10 years ago, Opening Day '03. Infante SS, Sant 2B, Matt LeCroy hitting, Mike Maroth pitching.— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) April 7, 2013
Jim Leyland take note. Every right-hand hitting bat Phil Coke faced in the 8th reached base (Well, so did the left-hand hitting Hafner, but you get my drift). Right-handers are 4-5 against Coke in three appearances this season.
Hunter is off to a historic start as Tiger. When he singled in the 8th, Hunter became the ninth Tigers player since 1916 to have multiple hits in five of the first six games of the season.
The Tigers were shutout for the first time this season. Hopefully there won't be many more like this, a long, slow slog of a game.
Matt Tuiasosopo: Reached base three times against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Big Squiggles earns big props.
Torii Hunter: Two more hits for the former Twin (UGH) raised his average to .393 on the season. Hunter has been an absolute pleasure to watch.
Justin Verlander: Wasn't at his sharpest, but he put up a quality start and was the first Tigers' starter to pitch deep into a game. Verlander usually gets a W posting the same stat line - 7.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 111 pitches, 79 strikes. But not today.
Phil Coke: If it wasn't clear before, it should be now. Do not use Coke against right-handed bats.
Octavio Dotel: Ineffective, allowing a pair of runs on three hits. Not a good game for the bullpen.
Kevin Youklis: Just because. And I didn't feel like listing the entire Tigers' offense.
GAME FIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
There were several deserving choices, but Miguel Cabrera's four hits, a walk, two runs scored and an RBI put him over the top with 48% of the vote.