It was, inarguably, a perfect day for baseball.
The sky was clear, the sun was bright. It was the kind of day that makes people take looooong lunches or just skip the whole afternoon of work, the kind that makes kids in their classrooms stare mournfully out of the window, longing for freedom.
The Tigers played another game of tug-of-war with the Orioles, tying, then falling behind, then retaking the lead. The Martinezes — or “Martinii” as Mario Impemba called them — were responsible for a combined five RBI. No dust left on those two.
After what started out looking like the weather might be the only positive thing about the game, the Tigers showed they wouldn’t be bested by the Orioles, and revved up their collective offense engines. It wasn’t a runaway game, but it was still a much-needed win in a season where the Tigers need all the Ws they can get.
J.D. Martinez - Did someone order ANOTHER home run? Martinez hit the game-tying home run in the bottom of the third, proving yet again just how much the Tigers missed his offense when he was on the disabled list. Martinez has already knocked in five home runs in his short time back. Of course, the home run wouldn’t have been as sensational without some strong plate work from Jose Iglesias (and a failed throwout by the Orioles).
Justin Upton - Made a killer catch in the fourth inning for the second out, showing he’s really heating up defensively. He also very nearly snagged Adam Jones’ home run ball, missing it over the wall by a fraction of an inch.
Jordan Zimmermann - twenty pitches in an inning is never a good sign. Two consecutive innings usually implies the opposing team has a pitcher’s number early, and that was the case for the Orioles, who beat up on Zimmermann to take an early 3-0 lead. By the fourth inning, Zimmermann was building up some control again, finding his groove. Right up until he gave away another home run to Adam Jones.
Overall Zimmermann wasn’t too bad. Maybe instead of a hiss, he deserves a half-hiss. A hairball cough? We’ll go with hiss-ish. He struck out six, and did manage to get through six innings, which the overworked Tigers bullpen definitely needed. Ultimately, it was a decent showing that could have looked a lot worse without the aid of the offense.
STREAKS & INFO:
Alex Avila, who is likely going to see more playing time with Miguel Cabrera out, is still sensational, hitting .377/.479/.672, and extended his hitting streak to three games, two of those being multi-hit games. Admittedly it’s not a huge streak, but it does demonstrate he won’t slow down anytime soon.
The aforementioned bullpen was kept on a mighty short leash from the seventh inning onward. Blaine Hardy came on, gave up a home run to Seth Smith, and was promptly relieved by Shane Greene. As much flack as Brad Ausmus gets for his management of the bullpen he was on the ball today, not wanting to squander the team’s narrow lead.
Greene looked good, very different from his uneven and concerning starts of the early season. As the weather warms up he’s looking sharper and sharper. His fastballs were touching 97 miles per hour, so it’s safe to say he’s feeling his pitches again.
Alex Wilson came in for the ninth and collected his fourth career save.