The Detroit Tigers were looking for a good showing this weekend to turn the tide of their home field struggles and earn some victories before setting out on a nine-game, three-city road trip to face a trio of teams vying for playoff spots. They took advantage of a weaker opponent to accomplish this and swept the Colorado Rockies out of Detroit with a 4-0 shutout victory on Sunday.
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Victor Martinez‘s unexpected power from earlier this year had seemed to dry up a bit since his time off before the All-Star break, but it was back in a big way in the series with Colorado, launching a pair of three run shots last night and today. His homer this afternoon gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the third inning immediately after Miguel Cabrera notched an RBI on a base hit. That rally came with two-out and nobody on.
Though the Tigers only scored in one inning, Cabrera, V-Mart, and Rajai Davis, making the most of his new semi-regular spot at leadoff, each had two hits.
Anibal Sanchez returned to the dominance he showed throughout the first half this season and avoided the pitfalls he has experienced with the third turn through the lineup recently. Sanchez joined Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello in turning in very solid performances by the starters this weekend, going seven innings, allowing just two hits and recording double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season with 12.
Though it is early, it appears that the logic of adding another starter that can go deep into the game limits the exposure of the bullpen is a solid one. Of course that will be put to the test against much better teams on this upcoming road trip.
Today’s bullpen appearances included an eighth inning outing from Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria in the ninth. Each reliever gave up a lead-off hit, but worked around it to retire the side in order. Good news for these guys, who had been struggling recently.
The Tigers will fly to New York to face the Yankees for the first time in 2014. They will face them Monday through Thursday and will be getting into New York well before their opponents. The Yankees will play the Red Sox for the 400 millionth time on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. After that they will have stops in Toronto and Pittsburgh.