Detroit 2, Boston 8 (box)
The day began poorly and only got worse from there. Prior to last night’s game, it was announced that Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello had both been suspended by Major League Baseball for their roles in the fight that took place during Tuesday night’s game. That Porcello and Youkilis would receive equal five game suspensions in nothing short of a terrible use of baseball’s judiciary system. Had Youkilis not thrown a tantrum (and his helmet) after being hit by the pitch, Porcello likely would not have even been tossed from the game. Instead Youkilis goes crazy and charges after Porcello, who then hip-tossed Youkilis to the ground.
I realize that Porcello’s ban only requires he be pushed back a few days before his next start, and that the Tigers might have tried to do that anyway, but the principal involved here is baffling. Youkilis caused the situation to escalate, not Porcello. Porcello maintains that the pitch was unintentional (though most agree the pitch to Victor Martinez probably wasn’t) yet gets suspended after earlier this season, both Matt Garza and Bobby Jenks admitted that they purposely hit batters and received no suspension. Where’s the consistency?
The news seemed to get better as the game drew near, however, as Armando Galarraga was scratched from his start due to illness. That and an ERA pushing six, anyway. Zach Miner made the spot start, much to the great delight of many… Including the Red Sox.
Miner pitched the way he typically pitches. He routinely fell behind the Boston hitters, then was routinely hit hard when he had to find the zone. It really was just like watching Galarraga, which is not a good thing. Miner gave up two home runs, one each to Jason Bay and Mike Lowell. He allowed nine baserunners in his 4.2 innings and was charged with five runs. Two of those runs scored after he left the game, as Freddy Dolsi did his best Zach Miner impression, allowing both of his inhertited runners to score, something Miner has been notorious for during his relief stints.
All the while, Josh Beckett was doing his best Josh Beckett impression. The Cy Young candidate was flawless through three, and did not allow a hit until Carlos Guillen took him deep to start the fifth. By the time Beckett gave up his second hit, a Marcus Thames homer in the seventh, the game was already well out of hand. Beckett had pinpoint control from start to finish, fanning six Tigers versus just one walk.
- Beckett– A true baseball fan has to be able to appreciate the greatness of all players, not just their favorites. Beckett now leads the AL with 14 wins and for my money, has to be the leader in the Cy Young race.
- Lowell– Even after the Sox acquired players to take his job, Lowell has remained a true professional. He has three home runs in the last two games.
- Ken Griffey Jr.– The aging superstar had a pinch hit walk-off single as the Mariners beat the White Sox 1-0 in 14 innings last night. The Mariners win kept the Tigers cushion at two games over Chicago.
- Dolsi– Though he was charged with just one earned run thanks to a Brandon Inge error, Dolsi was largely ineffective in his 1.1 innings of work. Instead of putting out the fire when called upon with two outs and the game still 3-1, Dolsi brought his gas can. By the time he managed to end the inning, the game was out of reach.
- Miner– Two baserunners per inning has been the norm of late for Miner, this game was no exception. Miner and Galarraga both have the same problem, they evidently don’t feel their stuff is good enough to attack hitters. Judging by the numbers, perhaps they are right.
- The bats– Carlos Guillen had two hit, Marcus Thames had one. That’s all. Tigers hitters fanned ten times in total. They had zero hit with RISP, but then of course, they never even got a man to second base. Ugh.
What’s on tap
Justin Verlander takes his 12 wins to the hill this afternoon against Clay Buchholz. Verlander is looking to rebound from his past two starts when he allowed five runs each time. Buchholz is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA this season after dominating AAA. Both starting pitchers have authored no-hitters in the past, Verlanders coming against Milwaukee on June 12, 2007, while Buchholz tossed his gem on September 1, 2007 against Baltimore.