Tigers 7, Red Sox 5
Despite the fact that starting pitching is the hallmark of the 2013 Tigers and the fact that Justin Verlander (8-5, 97 IP, 3.90 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 2.8 WAR) entered the season as one of the game’s top starters, today wasn’t really a day for such things to be on display. Verlander was inefficient and off his mark, going just 5 innings, allowing 7 hits, 4 runs, and 3 walks while only striking out 4. He wasn’t knocked around, but he was not the master of the mound that we have come to expect. A key issuse, today at least, was the lack of horizontal movement on his curveball. Take a look at this comparison between his start today and his game averages last season:
His teammates helped him out, however, as Cabrera and Fielder knocked in runs in the first, Holaday scored on a passed ball in the 2nd, and then Jhonny Peralta delivered the tying run on a bases loaded hit by pitch in the 7th. It was a funky game that included a ridiculous play by Victor Martinez and a play in which Dustin Pedroia dropped a line drive, only to failed to get a double play because Napoli tagged the base before he tagged the immobile Jackson. Then of course, there was the 8th inning fly ball that Nava caught cleanly in RF that turned into a double because…well…I’m not entirely sure. The umpires just totally missed it. Then Holaday tried to sacrifice bunt and reached on an error and Jackson walked to set up a Torii Hunter go-ahead sac fly and a Prince Fielder go-further-ahead 2 RBI single. Thanks to some solid relief work by Smyly and Benoit (who gave up 1 R), the Tigers road the strange inning to a series win and a 42-32 record overall. They’ll take Monday off before turning to Rick Porcello (4-4, 76 IP, 4.74 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.3 WAR) to start the three game set with the Angels.
The Moment(s): Victor Martinez makes a circus play at first AND Garcia doubles on a fly out.