I decided to head to Kissimmee to watch the Tigers take on the Astros today. For just $22 I was able to walk up and by a ticket to sit behind the bullpen on the first base side. A crowd of just 2,724 showed up to watch the game today. I’m not sure who designed the stadium but my legs would like to thank them. At 6’5 it was quite awesome not having to feel like I was watching baseball in a smart car.
ON THE BUMP:
Justin Verlander continued to dominate in Grapefruit League action. JV lasted 3 2/3 innings before being removed due to pitch count. He finished with three strikeouts and surrendered three hits. He was also charged with a balk in the fourth inning. Brenden Wise entered the game and quickly recorded and out, stranding the runner at second base.
Joaquin Benoit came in next and aside from one walk, quickly retired the side, striking out two.
Perhaps the most impressive pitching performance of the day came from Andy Oliver. Andy struck out four in two clean innings of work. He often got ahead in the count and his slider/slurve looked pretty impressive. I believe Oliver is a much better pitcher than what we briefly saw last season in Detroit. I look for him to take a step forward this season.
I got my first chance to see Adam Wilk with the big league club today. The results were similar to what I observed in the Florida State League. Nothing that the southpaw does really blows you away but he always finds a way to get things done .Today he pitched the final two innings without surrendering a run. He struck out two and gave up two hits. The development of Wilk this season is essential as things are getting a bit thin in the starting pitching department.
AT THE PLATE:
Victor Martinez went 2-4, driving in two runs at the plate today. In an attempt to become more familiar with the pitching staff, V-Mart handled things behind the dish for the majority of the day.
My dark horse outfield candidate Andy Dirks continued to impress me today going 2-4 with 2 runs-batted-in. Todays performance included a triple allowing Dirks the opportunity to showcase his speed. He might not impress the hell out of you on a stopwatch but this kid is definitely baseball fast. He later added a double continuing to prove that he has some pop in his bat.
Magglio Ordonez was a late scratch from the lineup with a left hamstring spasm. Follow the link for an update by Jason Beck.
Jhonny Peralta went 1-4 with a run scored. However, JP hit into two rally killing double plays. I know it’s just March…I’m just saying, hopefully he leaves that crap down here in Florida.
Brandon Inge was 1-3 with a walk and a run scored today. For some odd reason he fielded first base during batting practice today. Have no fear, he maned third base today in the game.
Ryan Strieby was 1-4 with a run scored. Strieby is having a solid spring but he’ll really need to turn it up to have a realistic shot at cracking the opening day roster.
Patrick Leyland reached base on an error and later came in to score his first run of the spring.
Tomorrow I return to Joker Marchant Stadium as the Philadelphia Phillies battle the Detroit Tigers. Ex-Tiger flame thrower Matt Anderson is scheduled to take the trip. Phil Coke is scheduled to make his third start of the spring. Duane Below, Ryan Perry, Jose Valverde, Lester Oliveros and Brad Thomas are also scheduled to pitch for the Tigers.