Tigers Continue to Roll; Beat Indians for Second Straight Night

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I love when opposing A.L. Central announcers screw things up. I love when Curtis Granderson proves that he is better than his Indian counterpart. I love when JustinVerlander goes nine scoreless innings.

Two nights ago against the Cleveland Indians couldn’t of gotten any better. First and foremost, Justin Verlander was able to get off his snide against the Cleveland Indians in his career. Throughout his young time on the mound, Verlander was 1-7 with a 9.00 ERA at Progressive Field. His pitching though, alongside timely hustle from Clete Thomas and the gang helped the Tigers become victorious.

Timely hitting and strong starting pitching helped the Tigers win yet another pitcher’s dual tonight.

Edwin Jackson went seven innings strong, and the Tigers put together solid hitting, as Jeff Larish hit a solid triple, and Brandon Inge hit the furthest single possible in the seventh to secure the game for Detroit.  Jackson was hitting 98 on the gun in the eighth inning, as these Tigers pitchers continue to battle each other. Fausto Carmona pitched excellent for the Indians as well. Through  six innings, Cleveland’s secondary ace only gave up three singles. But it was the small ball effect yet again that helped get the Tigers on the board. Walking Jeff Larish and Curtis Granderson in the seventh to start the inning was followed by a beautiful executed sacrifice bunt by Brandon Inge. With one out, the Tigers scored the first two runs of the game on a groundout from Gerald Laird’s bat. Then the always ever so clutch Magglio Ordonez Ramon Santiago hit an RBI single right up the gut.

Manager Jim Leyland said before the game that he needed to get the back end of the pen in the game today, and in the eighth inning Joel Zumaya made his way to the mound. He pitched a solid eighth and in the ninth, Fernando “Straight Bill” Rodney came in and struck out two to end the game. The Tigers are now 16-13 on the season.

Impressions:

Edwin Jackson, SP- Before this season started, I had some hope in Jackson. I didn’t think he would come out dealing this well though. Jackson has one of the worst run support rankings in the league, but has kept the Tigers in the game after almost every single one of his starts. Four of his five starts have gone into the seventh inning, while giving up a run or less.  Jackson and Verlander have already done a good job of limiting the bullpen to work in the eighth and ninth inning. Jackson, who is now over 45, and Verlander, who sits at 44 innings pitched are setting the table for their teammates. One thing that people worried about was that Jackson struggles with control. That has not been the case so far. So far in 2009 he has tallied 35 strikeouts to just 11 walks.  Jackson is holding hitters to a .224 average.  After six starts last year, Jackson had walked 19.  He is going to hit his rough spots, but overall in the long run, this is going to end up being a good deal by Tigers management. 

Brandon Inge, 3B– First he helps Jackson out of a jam by turning a pretty double play. Then with two on, he laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners. Brandon Inge has been a huge part in this solid start. He is second on the team in RBIs and Homers, but his defense and small ball is just some whipped cream on top of the sundae. I love watching him play the game right, and it is translating into wins. For those naysayers out there, you have to start believing we at least have the Inge of 2006 back in there. Either way he plays the game the way it was meant to be, and I can honor that. 

Ramon Santiago, SS– Believe it or not, Santiago is one of the bigger clutch hitters on this squad. Every time he gets into the lineup, it seems he finds a way to help get the Tigers into a game either by defense or by being patient at the plate. I smiled when he laced that single up the middle. 

Next Game Preview: 

Progressive Field: 1:05PM EDT

Rick Porcello (2-3, 4.71 ERA) vs. Anthony Reyes (1-0 6.84 ERA)-

The Tigers go for the three game sweep. Rick Porcello will take the mound for the first time on Mother’s Day. Don’t forget to call your mother tomorrow! The Tigers go for win number 20. It took until May 22nd last year to accumulate that many wins.

Go Get ’em Motor City Bengals!