Answering Questions


Earlier today, our own Chris Hannum posed a couple of questions in need of answers for today ballgame. The Tigers, for their part, came up with some decent answers.

Brad Penny got the start for Detroit and although he gave up more than a few hard-hit balls, he managed to escape his start after 6.2 innings and only three runs allowed. he was in-line for the victory until Joaquin Benoit coughed it up in the eighth.

Penny is a better pitcher than he has shown himself to be in his first two starts for the Tigers and while his outing today wasn’t probably as good as his final line would indicate (there was plenty of great defense to help him out), it certainly was a step in the right direction. As far as whether or not he’s better than Armando Galarraga, I still maintain that he is, if for no other reason than Penny competes. by that I mean he attacks hitters and doesn’t nibble the way Galarraga did for so many of his starts.

The real question should be whether or not Penny is an upgrade to Jeremy Bonderman, as both would refuse to back down from hitters. I can only hope the answer to that question proves to be yes.

The Tigers lineup also came through today against a good left handed pitcher, something Chris was concerned about coming in. While they didn’t take advantage of every situation, they did get C.J. Wilson for seven hits and four earned over 6.2 innings. That was plenty of offense for a lineup that has struggled versus southpaws so far.

The Tigers collected four extra-base hits this afternoon, all against Wilson. Austin Jackson tripled to lead-off the bottom of the first and doubles were added later by Ryan Raburn, Casper Wells and Miguel Cabrera. Raburn, in particular, had a strong day at the plate (and in the field). He wound up with a line-drive single, a line-drive double and a hard smash to third that was caught to snuff out a rally. Raburn also drew a walk in the bottom of the ninth, taking a very tempting 3-1 pitch from Darren O’Day. that walk loaded the bases to bring up Cabrera.

With nowhere to put him this time, the Rangers had to pitch to Cabrera with the game on the line and the big fella came through with a walk-off single to left, giving the Tigers a much-needed home victory.

The game was anything but perfect, but the defense played very well and kept the Tigers in the game early. Jose Valverde was effective in the ninth to earn the win. Penny wasn’t great but survived his outing and Benoit will have better days than today. the important thing was that he managed to keep the game tied despite giving up the lead. It could have gotten ugly at that point, but didn’t.

The Tigers got a win today on the bat of Cabrera. But he didn’t have to do it alone, and that’s why he was in a position to knock in the game-winner.

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