The opening night of the so-called Players Weekend saw some funky jerseys with cute nicknames, some crazy-looking hats, all for sale of course, and, oh yeah, there was a baseball game too. In said game, Chicago White Sox walked-off the Tigers 3-2 to start the three-game weekend series.
Nicholas Catellanos was a late scratch from the lineup with “left wrist soreness.” Was it a result of the previous day’s brawl and a sucker-punch from a certain Yankees catcher? I imagine the Tigers are gonna be like Johnny Tightlips on this one, but wild speculation is both fun and costs nothing, so feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Chicago fielded a team quite different from the one we saw frequently in the springtime: waiver-wire pickups and minor-league callups liberally peppered the lineup, and Tigers radio colour-man Jim Price remarked, “It’s not exactly a Murderer’s Row.” One of the few genuine threats, Jose Abreu, took Justin Verlander deep in the first to put the Sox ahead up 1-0.
Miguel Gonzalez, who has had a bizarre spell over the Tigers the last two times he faced them in Chicago, was similarly mystifying through four, striking out six and only giving up a pair of singles.
The Tigers got on the board in the fifth: Victor Martinez singled, Andrew Romine hit a ground-rule double, and Jose Iglesias singled to cash them both in, putting the Tigers up 2-1.
By then Verlander had settled-in quite nicely, finishing the bottom of the fifth with six strikeouts, having given up two hits, one of which was the aforementioned the solo Abreu dinger.
In the Sox’s sixth, their other threat, Avisail Garcia, singled home Abreu and took second on Andrew Romine’s bobble in centre, tying the game. Verlander quelled the threat by striking out the next two batters, though.
Yolmer Sanchez started the Chicago seventh with a single to right, was sacrificed to second, and took third on a dribbler to short that Adam Engel beat out for a single. Verlander then got Alen Hanson to foul out to third, and with Tyler Saladino at the plate, Engel took off for second on the second pitch. James McCann threw to second and Sanchez took off for home, but Ian Kinsler fired back to McCann to nail Sanchez for the third out, which ended Verlander’s day.
Alex Wilson started the eighth by giving up a double to Saladino and intentionally walking Abreu, and Tiger fans reached for the antacid tablets (or, they would, if they cared about the season anymore). Wilson then dispatched Garcia with a strikeout, and got Kevan Smith to ground into a double play. No biggie.
Joe Jimenez was inexplicably brought in to start the ninth, and Tim Anderson ripped a double to left on the first pitch, a fat fastball down the pipe. Yolmer Sanchez then drove in Anderson, and that was the game.
- Justin Verlander: Seven innings, six hits, eight whiffs. That’s our Late-Season-JV, right there.
- Victor Martinez: Three hits and a run scored. A decent day at the office.
- Jose Iglesias and Dixon Machado: Combined on a fantastic backhand-flip play to nail a runner at third.
- First five guys in the lineup: Combined to go 1-for-20, the only hit beig a single by Alex Presley.
- Joe Jimenez: For giving up the winning run on four pitches.
- Brad Ausmus: For making the previous bullet-point a thing I had to type tonight.
Potent Quotables from the Radio Guys
Dan Dickerson: “Aaron Judge was seen on video falling on Miguel Cabrera with a forearm to the head. Someone earlier today on MLB Network said that it looked like Judge slipped and fell.”
Jim Price: “I’ve got your ‘slipped and fell’ right here.”
Stats and Stuff
- Today is Justin Upton’s 30th birthday.
- The last time Miguel Gonzalez struck out more than the nine he set down tonight, it was on April 14, 2015 against the Yankees.
- Four people have hit home runs in the major leagues, both before their 20th birthday and after their 40th birthday, and three of them were Tigers for at least part of their careers: Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. This has no connection whatsoever to today’s game, I just thought it was pretty neat.