A top prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, Jackie Bradley Jr. has disappointed mightily in the big leagues (coming in with a .121 average)–until he faced the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon in Detroit. All he did was corral an over the shoulder catch in deep center, earn a bases loaded walk, hit a solo homer and a bases-clearing triple to score three runs to, basically, single-handedly beat the Tigers 7-2 on Sunday.
The loss meant the Tigers have dropped four of the six games in the season series to the last place Red Sox. Inexcusable pre- or post-sell. They are also now 1-9 in Justin Verlander starts this season. Ouch.
Verlander started for the Tigers and pitched very well, going six innings of four hit, two-run ball, although both of those runs were unearned. He received 16 swinging strikes and fanned seven batters while walking three. He had good secondary pitches while his fastball was consistently in the mid-90’s, going as high as 97 on a few pitches.
The Red Sox scored both of their runs against Verlander in the second inning. With one out the fun started–and by fun I mean dumpster fire.
Allow Oakland Press beat writer Matthew B. Mowery to outline the foibles of this inning:
Of course, despite the defensive issues, Verlander didn’t do himself any favors by walking .121 hitter Bradley on five pitches to force in a run. The extra pitches J.V. had to throw in that inning limited him to six innings, and while that would bite the Tigers in the second inning, with the two Boston runs scoring, it would also bite them later on.
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After another botched threat by Detroit’s offense, the first hitter to face newly recalled Tom Gorzelanny (who was DFAed earlier this year and recalled with Shane Greene being sent down last night) faced, Bradley Jr., hit a solo shot in the seventh to make the score 3-1.
Welcome back Tom. Good to see nothing’s changed.
The Tigers scored their runs when lead-off hitter Rajai Davis reached third base after a walk in the fourth inning, stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball. Two batters popped out until Victor Martinez hit a single to plate Davis.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, after Boston took a two-run lead, Jefry Marte hit a solo homer to pull the Tigers back to 3-2. Marte’s bat was in gear Sunday afternoon, driving it to the warning track before Bradley made a nice over the shoulder catch in deep center.
Detroit’s two best relievers, Alex Wilson (shoulder soreness) and Blaine Hardy (regular day off) were unavailable to pitch on Sunday, so that meant the club had to dig deep in the depths for pitchers.
With a lefty-heavy inning in the bottom of the eighth, Brad Ausmus decided to counter with Ian Krol, who promptly allowed every lefty he faced (four) to reach base, culminating with Bradley’s triple with the bases loaded. Krol allowed another hit to make it 7-2 and was lustily booed off the mound.
The Tigers now head out on yet another lengthy road trip to face some of the top teams in baseball in the Royals, Astros and Cubs.
The first stop is to Kansas City to play the AL-leading Royals on Monday night at 8:10. Matt Boyd makes his first road start for Detroit against Johnny Cueto, making his debut in Kauffmann Stadium as a Royal after going 0-1 in two road starts, including the 2-1 loss to the Tigers last Wednesday.