Detroit 6, Cleveland 5 (box)
Magic Number 8
Carlos Guillen has officially gotten hot, and the Tigers rode his bat to a series sweep of the Indians last night.
Justin Verlander worked seven innings to earn his 17th win, and run his record to 4-0 against Cleveland this season. Verlander (17-9) struck out 11 while allowing seven hits and two runs.
The Indians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third when Verlander looked as if he would run into the one big inning that has plagued so many of his starts this year. After a lead off single by Trevor Crowe, Andy Marte followed with a double and Verlander lost Wyatt Toregas to a walk to load the bases with no one out. Micheal Brantley’s broken bat single through the right side plated two runs, then Brantley stole second to keep the pressure on Verlander.
But Verlander fired back, striking out Jamey Carroll on a high fastball. Shin Soo Choo popped out to shallow right field and Toregas had to hold at third. Verlander then escaped the jam by getting Travis Hafner to fly out to left.
From there, the Tigers took command.
The first five batters of the fifth reached base against Carlos Carrasco (0-3), including RBI singles from Brandon Inge, Gerald Laird, and Ramon Santiago. Detroit added two more runs in the later innings, scoring once in the seventh and again in the eighth.
Choo made the game interesting with a two run homer in the ninth, and Fernando Rodney needed a diving catch from Inge to preserve the game, but Inge made the play and the Tigers held on in a game that would have been brutal to lose.
- Justin Verlander– An Ace isn’t always the guy that has to halt losing streaks, sometimes he needs to extend winning streaks, too. Verlander worked through his struggles in the third, and bounced back to keep the Tribe at bay from that point forward. It is efforts like last night that make me think the Yankees don’t want any part of seeing Detroit in the playoffs.
- Carlos Guillen– Guillen went 6 for 7 with two doubles, two homers, and five RBI in the series. Wow.
- Micheal Brantley– Brantley was the PTBNL in the CC Sabathia deal last year, and the Indians may have found a gem right there. Brantley is one good looking hitter, and his speed will play in the big leagues for a long while.
- Bobby Seay– Seay faced two lefties and gave up hits to both. He has allowed the last four left handed hitters he has faced to reach base. Trainer Kevin Rand had to come out to look at him, and Manager Jim Leyland seemed concerned after the game. Keep checking in for updates, when we know what’s going on with Seay, we will pass it along.
- Eric Wedge– Was this the last time the Tigers will face Wedge as the Indians manager? In all likelihood, the answer is yes. The Tribe has dropped 11 straight games for the first time since 1928, and Wedge has guided the team out of contention by May in each of the past two years. I know all the woes cannot by placed at his feet, but in baseball this is how it works, and Cleveland needs a new voice.
What’s on tap
The Tigers wrap up their final road trip of 2009 by visiting Chicago to take on the White Sox. Chicago saw its playoff hopes dashed with the Tigers’ win last night. Eddie Bonine starts the series opener against Jake Peavy, who will make his second start for Chicago. Peavy beat the Royals six days ago, allowing three runs over five innings. Bonine makes his second start versus the Sox this year, he allowed seven hits and three runs in a six inning no decision on July 24.
The Twins took the day off yesterday, and watched the Tigers’ lead grow to three full games. They open a series in Kaufman Stadium against the Royals, where they will face Robinson Tejeda tonight, and Zack Greinke on Sunday. This may be the only time we can ever watch Greinke pitch for Detroit, as that is essentially what he will be doing when he faces the Twins twice over the next 10 games. It would be nice to get some help from the Royals this weekend, as a Tigers sweep in Chicago seems highly unlikely.