Baltimore 2, Detroit 4 (box)
Just one day after a terrible loss in Jarrod Washburn’s Tiger debut, the second of Detroit’s two aces took the mound to try to halt a losing streak before it could begin. Edwin Jackson, the Tigers all-star right hander, overpowered the Baltimore Orioles all night. He lasted into the ninth, allowing only two hits before an Adam Jones home run ended his day, still three outs shy of the complete game.
Jackson was as good as he has been all year. He consistently got ahead of hitters, starting the opposition with first-pitch strikes 21 of a possible 30 times. He also improved his pitch efficiency from his last start, where the Indians made him throw 115 pitches just to get through the fourth inning. Tonight, Jackson used 117 pitches in eight plus innings. Along the way, he hit a batter and walked two, but allowed just three hits and two runs en route to his eighth victory of the season.
For what it’s worth, Jeremy Guthrie was every bit as good as Jackson was. Baltimore’s best pitcher looked the part tonight. Through seven frames he had given up just one run, but the wheels came off in the eighth. Still, a very good effort, and one that would earn him a win on most nights. He went 7.1 innings, yielding three runs on six hits, but I felt it was his manager that let him down in the eighth, leading to three Tigers runs that would ultimately prove to be the difference.
Down a run in the top of the eighth, Orioles manager Dave Trembley sent Ty Wigginton to the plate to pinch hit for shortstop Cesar Izturis. Still trailing entering the bottom of the frame, Trembley took a gamble and left Wigginton in to play shortstop, feeling his bat may come up again, especially if the O’s could sent the game to extra innings.
Sadly for Wigginton, he appears to be about the size and shape of Sal Fasano (no offense, Sal) and he doesn’t exactly feature the legendary first step of Brooks Robinson. Simply put, Wigginton can get by at third base or first, he can play some outfield for you, but trying to hide him at shortstop just is not a good idea. Brandon Inge pulled a grounder into the 5.5 hole that looked like a sure out, until you realized that Izturis wasn’t out there anymore.
Wigginton could only watch as he was too late getting there and the ball wound up in left field for a lead-off single. Several batters later, after the Tigers had scored two in the inning, Miguel Cabrera found the same hole Inge had used, and got the same result. Another base hit that would not have been if anyone but Wigginton was playing short. Cabrera’s single capped the three run inning, scoring Placido Polanco to make the score 4-0 Tigers.
- Magglio Ordonez- he had a long home run to left which cleared the bullpens, and lined a sharp single to center. Occasionally, he does show signs of coming around. 114 PA’s left before his option vests.
- Polanco- his two-out, two run single in the eighth gave the Tigers some much needed insurance
- Dave Trembley- for the aforementioned Wigginton move
- Fernando Rodney- for not allowing Luke Scott to tie the game. Walking him was the only acceptable course of action. Make Greg Zaun beat you, not the biggest Tiger Killer of them all.
- Gerald Laird- made a bad baserunning error and got himself thrown out trying to run on Nick Markakis, and allowed two stolen bases, one of which included a throwing error. Then of course he was catching a shutout while all that was happening, too.
- Clete Thomas- for getting picked off with Cabrera at the plate, in a hitters count, against a pitcher that historically struggles in the first inning. I’m not saying El Martillo goes yard there, but Clete’s miscue made sure it couldn’t happen. You cannot take the bat out of Cabrera’s hand like that.
What’s on tap
Just the small matter of the ML debut of Alex Avila, who will start behind the dish on Thursday afternoon. I am personally quite angry that the brass decided he should catch the day game instead of backstopping tonight’s game. I’ll be at work during the game Thursday, so a rare chance to check in on the game thread at BYB, while watching the ESPN GameCast of the game. It’s not quite the stunning HD I’m used to, but it will do. Plus it frees up my evening to watch Burn Notice, only two episodes left this summer.