Rapid Reactions: Tigers Defeat Rays in Circus-like Affair
By Matt Snyder
Tigers 7, Rays 6 (box)
There were errors, there were home runs, there was an inside the park out. Matt Joyce went 3-4 with a homer, and got hurt twice. J. Peralta squared off against J. Peralta. Justin Verlander allowed six earned runs, but the bullpen shut the door (mostly). Not really a game that can be easily recapped — you had to watch it to understand — but I’ll try.
- We didn’t get vintage Justin Verlander tonight. Only two strikeouts and way too many hits. He exited after 101 pitches and six innings, with six earned runs charged against him. Minus one for the “pitching to contact” crowd.
- The bullpen actually held fast tonight. Daniel Schlereth pitched a perfect seventh inning (with two strikeouts), but he loaded the bases in the eighth after only retiring one hitter. Al Alburqurque came in and struck out his first hitter and got the second hitter to ground out on a ball that deflected off his glove right to Jhonny Peralta. Joaquin Benoit closed the game out (Jose Valverde was unavailable) without too much of a problem. His only blemish was a two-out single.
- It’s official. Alex Avila is my favorite Tiger. The position of MFT has been vacant since the Granderson trade, but Alex and I went official after he bombed his second home run of the night, a two run shot in the bottom of the eighth that gave the ball club the lead for good.
- Don Kelly was on base three times tonight. At this point I’d be in favor of a strict righty-lefty platoon at third base with Kelly and Brandon Inge.
- J(honny) Peralta came up to bat against J(oel) Peralta in the eighth inning. I thought the world might explode, but all that happened was a walk.
- Former Tiger Matt Joyce had himself a nice day. He was 3 for 4 with a home run, and made a few nice catches out in the outfield. He got a bit banged up though. He came up holding his elbow after sliding into home, and he limped a little bit after crashing into the wall while making a fine running catch to rob Andy Dirks.
- A funny moment occurred on that last Joyce catch. He caught the ball, hit the wall, and then hit the dirt, but apparently Andy Dirks thought he dropped it because he kept on motoring around the bases. Gene Lamont could be seen furiously waiving him around third before they both realized that the potential inside the parker was really just a fly ball out. Good hustle though.
- Scott Sizemore reached base three times to improve his OBP to .343. Say what you want about his .233 batting average, but he’s been useful in his ability to get on base. I’m not saying he’s been a good hitter, just that he’s not been useless.
- A question came to me tonight: how many Tigers have a shot at making the All-Start team? My quick count yields eight: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Jose Valverde, Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta. Not that they all have good enough numbers right now, but they’re all in position to make a strong case over the next month or two.
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