Tigers Split Twin Bill, Avoid Sweep
By Chris Hannum
Is one win in four what all we fans wanted? Of course not. But it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing. And lets not forget, the Boston Red Sox are really quite a good team. And, at least our guys made both games of that doubleheader close.
As has become usual, Tiger starting pitching excelled in both games and either got just enough from the other parts of the team to win or didn’t. Andy Oliver got a quality start in his first appearance in the bigs, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings. The Tigers followed with a pair in the bottom of the 6th to tie it up and make Oliver’s start relevant. Purcey made his Tigers debut (a scoreless 7th) and Benoit kept the Sox off the board in the 8th. Unfortunately, Valverde couldn’t hold the lead in the 9th and the Red Sox took the game with a pinch-hit home run by Big Papi. The Tigers had one final shot against Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t make anything of it. The game ended with a Raburn strikeout and no one was surprised.
In the second game, Beckett was wild, Verlander was sharp and the Tigers 3 runs (again!) was, this time, more than adequate. Leyland trotted out Benoit again in the 8th and Valverde in the 9th, decisions I was more than skeptical of – but which paid off in the end. Given the evidence for decreased effectiveness (to say nothing of injury risk) that stat nuts are compiled, I’m a little uncomfortable with relievers throwing innings on back-to-back days, so twice in the same day…?
Anyways, we’ll have to assume both of these guys are off limits for todays game 1 of the Minnesota series. If you are a tea leaf reader, keep this in mind: Boesch and Dirks started both games yesterday, and provided a big chunk of the offense. Raburn started game 1 (at second) and struck out 3 times in 4. Do we have a new starting outfield? Inge started only game 1, 9th in the order, and was also held without a hit.