Sunday, July 20, 2008
Game 98 Recap
I was listening to the above CD over the weekend, and after a Tiger performance like this today, it's hard not to follow the title track's advice to "Stay Positive".
Justin Verlander is the tourniquet, the stopper. He went 8.2 allowing only one run and three hits. He could have and maybe should have finished the game, but was yanked after his second walk of the inning in the ninth. He had thrown only 105 pitches at the time, and he regularly gone in the 110s, but today JV was shut down one out away from a complete game. At one point Verlander retired 16 in a row, before a double by Kevin Millar in the 7th. In every start since April 27th, Verlander's ERA has decreased. It has gone from 6.50 to 3.95. If the Tigers had just a few more guys pitching like this, I'd feel better about their chances.
At times, it looked like the Tigers were going to waste this performance by Verlander. After loading the bases in the first, the inning ending with the bases still loaded and no runs scored. Magglio's HR in the 3rd tied the game up, but the Tigers could only manage 3 base runners in innings 2-5. But just as the pitch count for Oriole pitcher Brian Burres hit 100, everything started to turn in the Tigers favor. Marcus Thames added a homer, and Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn followed with hits to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead and send the O's to the bullpen. The Tigers tacked on two more insurance runs and that was that.
The Tigers head now the Kansas City who they have not beaten all year. The same Royals who have given the White Sox a handful in their weekend series.
Tigers 5 Orioles 1
W: Verlander (8-9)
L: Burres (7-6)
W - L
48 - 48
3rd Place AL Central (7.5 GB Chicago)