So Justin Verlander did what Justin Verlander does: comes in after a Tigers loss, becomes fairly dominant, and wins the game.
All by himself, it seems.
The Tigers got some surprise offense today; and lately it’s been mostly a surprise that there’s any offense; from one Quintin Berry, who launched his first career home run with Austin Jackson on in the first inning. The rest of the lineup did nothing more until after Verlander gave up a 2-run HR to Garrett Jones in the 7th inning. Berry would provide the winning run after Delmon Young singled him in, in the 8th inning. Verlander would close out his own game, winning 3-2 and salvaging the series vs the Pirates.
Continuing on Berry, he continues to surprise the lot of us with his play. Aside from his HR, he did reach 2 other times via the walk and managed to steal another base, giving him 11 on the season. He’s become a serviceable replacement for the Tigers dinged up outfielders; first Jackson, now Andy Dirks. And it appears that he will continue to fill that role, at the very least until Dirks is ready to come back. With Dirks’ achilles on the mend, there’s no real timetable for his return, which insures that ‘Berrymania’ amongst the Tigers fans will be allowed to continue.
Interleague is over. Back to the full-time DH, and no more awkward AL pitchers making awkward at bats or attempting bunts. (I’m sure the National League is a wonderful league full of wonderful hitting pitchers, but the American League wasn’t built to play like this. Time to move on.)
Ahem… speaking of moving on, the Tigers move from Pittsburgh to Arlington, where they will sweat out a 3 game series vs the Texas Rangers before running of the Tampa for 4 vs the Rays. In case fans were worried about seeing some offense, the Rangers and Rays will likely show us there is plenty to be had. Drew Smyly appears to be the first starter to try and stop said offense as he comes off the disabled list (blister), while Jacob Turner was optioned back to Toledo. The Rangers will throw rookie Justin Grimm on the mound to start the series.
A trade was completed today in the AL Central, though not involving the Tigers. The Boston Red Sox traded long-time third baseman Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. Youkilis, hitting only .233 in 41 games so far this season, will be an automatic offensive improvement at 3B, as anyone else playing there for the Pale Hose have hit a combined .167 for the season.
To be sure, it’s an upgrade to their lineup, but not a scary one. Youkilis has a bit of an injured past, and he’s no spring chicken and the power numbers are down. Albeit, his playing time was down thanks to someone named Will Middlebrooks, who has blossomed for the Red Sox so far this season. Tigers fans have their noted hatred for Youkilis (the Rick Porcello bout will forever be epic), so this Tigers/White Sox rivalry, at least down the stretch this season, should be an interesting one.
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