The Tigers took it on the chin Thursday night, losing to the Rangers and their famous Japanese import Yu Darvish 10-3. I can’t say that I was very surprised looking at the pitching matchups on paper, as the Tigers sent Adam Wilk to the mound against a dangerous Rangers offense.
Wilk, who was called up to replace the injured Doug Fister, had one of the more interesting lines I have seen in a little while. In four innings of work, Wilk gave up 10 hits to Rangers hitters, and allowed 1 walk, yet only gave up 2 earned runs. Needless to say if you are allowing almost 3 batters per inning to reach base, Wilk was playing with fire almost the whole evening he was on the mound. A couple of pickoffs helped the soft tossing lefty out of jams, and when he left the game, the Tigers were still within striking distance. That is until Collin Balester and Daniel Schlerethgot a hold of the game.
Schlereth in particular is looking a little rough to start the season, and tonight he didn’t make a case for himself to stay on the Tigers roster going forward when Doug Fister eventually comes back. Schlereth allowed 5 runs in his one inning to put the game out of reach for the Tigers, raising his season ERA to over 12.
Collin Balester didn’t look the best either, doing his best Ryan Perry imitation, walking 3 batters in the 2.2 innings that he pitched tonight.
Meanwhile, while the Tigers relief pitchers were struggling with the explosive Texas lineup, Yu Darvish was somewhat impressive, spinning a variety of breaking pitches, and moving his fastball around the plate as well. Darvish, who went 6.1 innings for the Rangers, didn’t have good command tonight as he walked 5 of his own, but the Tigers couldn’t cash in on their opportunities, getting only 2 hits off Darvish.
It may still be early in the season, but Texas right now is the best baseball team that I have seen so far. The defending American League champs put everything on display tonight for the Tigers; pitching, defense, offense, and base running. I wasn’t sure with the loss of C.J. Wilson if they were going to be as good, but that team might be even better than they have been the past couple of seasons.
The Tigers clearly didn’t have their “A” game tonight, so I will just chalk this one up in the “stinker” category. These things happen over the course of a 162 game season.