Lost in the brilliance that was Justin Verlander‘s near no-hitter, there was some evidence of what else this Tigers team is capable of doing:
Providing some much needed offense.
And some rather balanced offense at that, as the Tigers did scatter 13 hits, with 1 from every batter with the exception of Ryan Raburn (0-4, K, GIDP). We even saw Brennan Boesch extend his hitting streak to 11 games, and even Jhonny Peralta had a 3-hit night. But perhaps the more important offensive stat line from last night came from free-swinging Delmon Young.
Young provided half of the Tigers run production in the 6-0 win over the Pirates, going 2 for 4 at the plate, which included a 2-run double and a solo HR. A welcome sight from a man who’s now been relegated to being the full-time DH, though his average is still a rather putrid .235 (.292 OBP). Never has anyone ever really seen a truly patient Delmon at the plate, but at some point he’s going to have to learn to be just that. If Jim Leyland is going to continue to plug him in to the 5-hole in the starting lineup, he’s going to have to prove that he’s worthy of that spot. Striking out on pitches out of the zone and/or grounding out weakly to the infield, something he’s done plenty of this season, just isn’t going to cut it in the long run.
The Andy Dirks experiment batting second in Leyland’s lineup has proven to be a big success: so far. Dirks is batting .360 so far this season (.418 OBP), and is really making some nice contact on the ball. I can’t imagine that this kind of production all year long, but for now I think Tigers fans can be very pleased with what they’ve seen so far. For what it’s worth, it’s allowed the free-swinging Boesch to have a little less pressure near the bottom of the lineup.
Off base thought: Thanks to teams playing a shift on Prince Fielder, I thoroughly enjoyed his swinging bunt that trickled up the 3rd base line in the bottom of the 7th last night. Since the shortstop was playing on the 2nd base side of the infield and the 3rd baseman was essentially playing in the area of the shortstop, there was no one available to field the wee dribbler. A good laugh I’m sure was had by all.
The Tigers face A.J. Burnett tonight. Let’s hope the Tiger bats remember just how terrible Burnett has been vs the Tigers in his career (6.33 ERA despite being 6-2).
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