Detroit Tigers’ Bats Sizzle, Bullpen Fizzles But Tigs Prevail 7-4


Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 this afternoon to split the season opening series with their division foes. Max Scherzer took the mound for Detroit and was pretty darn good, though his pitch count was elevated early, which led to a shorter outing and more bullpen participation. Which can be dicey for the Tigers depending on which bullpen shows up on any given day. Max finished the game with six innings pitched, gave up seven hits, two runs(one a home run off the bat of Adam Dunn to lead off the second inning), walked one and struck out ten. An interesting Scherzer fact was tweeted by the awesome folks at Baseball-Reference after today’s start:

Pretty impressive company for Scherzer. Not such an impressive outing for the Tigers’ bullpen yet again, though. While Al Alburquerque was solid in his inning, giving up a hit but also striking out two, the wheels fell off a bit for Joba Chamberlain today after several strong performances in a row. Chamberlain struggled pitching the eighth, striking out one,  giving up three hits, and two runs to allow the White Sox to pull within one run.

Thankfully, the Tigers’ offense was prepared to work. With contributions coming from the top of the lineup through the number nine hitter,  and four players contributing to the RBI game, the Tigers’ bats kept the bullpen out of serious trouble, managing to add insurance runs after the Sox pulled within one in the top of the eighth. Rajai Davis could share player of the game rights with Scherzer. Davis went three for three, with a home run and two RBI, plus a great diving catch in left field. Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos, and Bryan Holaday all put up two hits, and Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson, and Danny Worth all notched one. It should also be noted that with Cabrera’s two hits, came three RBI, including a two run, bases loaded single.

Joe Nathan took the mound in the ninth with a three run lead, and got the save in one of the most interesting game ending plays in recent memory. With one out and Marcus Semien on first after a walk, Nathan entered a ten pitch battle with Jose Abreu that ended with a strike out and a batter interference call during a steal attempt by Semien, which, according to rule OBR 7.09(e), led to Semien being the final out of the inning and the game.

The win today split the series with the White Sox and gave the Tigers a 5-4 record on their homestand. Rick Porcello starts for the Tigers in the first game of the season with the Minnesota Twins and starting pitcher Kevin Correia tomorrow at Target Field at 8:10pm,