Detroit Tigers bats were the only thing colder than the temperature in today’s 8-4 loss to the Yankees. Mike Pelfrey‘s inaugural game in a Tigers uniform did not go as many fans hoped it would.
Detroit Tigers fans were somewhat critical of the signing of Mike Pelfrey, and the pitcher struggled on Saturday. Somewhere in the distance you can hear the Pelfrey haters laughing sadistically. The Detroit Tigers were looking to remain perfect on the season in the second game of this three-game Yankees series.
A newcomer to the team, Pelfrey toed the rubber for the Tigers who was out-dueled by a longtime member of the Yankees C.C. Sabathia. What was dubbed by a few fans today as “Poor-man’s Opening Day 2016” (an actual encounter a family member had with a fan whose t-shirt had that phrase on it) today’s game did not go the way of the Tigers as they dropped this one 8-4.
As fans were still finding their way to their seats in the first inning Alex Rodriguez came to the plate to a roar of boos. The boos did not stop there as A-Rod drove a Pelfrey sinker out towards the left-center field flag pole for a mammoth home run. So much for the ball not travelling in the cold.
Already down 3-0 Pelfrey surrendered a bases-clearing three-run triple to Jacoby Ellsbury. It was clear the cold was getting to Pelfrey, who was showing no command. After throwing 74 pitches in 3 2/3 innings Ausmus yanked Pelfrey. The pitcher’s sinker just was not sinking. Unable to command his pitches, he left everything up in the strike zone allowing hitters to elevate. One would hope that a pitcher with a 0.95 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio could keep the ball down in the zone in his next start.
Enter Buck Farmer, who did not pitch much better. In Farmers 2 1/3 innings of work he did not look like a major league pitcher, surrendering a two-run home run to Carlos Beltran. Logan Kensing and Drew VerHagen were the only pitchers to not allow a Yankee batsmen to cross the plate.
Brad Ausmus was ejected in the fifth inning by home plate umpire Paul Emmel for arguing balls and strikes. Ausmus may have been the real winner of that battle as the 31-degree game-time temperature registered as the coldest in Tigers history.
James McCann looked much more comfortable at the plate today hitting a two-run single off Sabathia. While Sabathia no longer has the overpowering velocity he once had back in Cleveland his command was steady and his Bugs Bunny change-up was working for him today. Jose Iglesias was the only Tiger to muster up a multi-hit game today.
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If there is one positive take away from this game it is the Tiger defense is solid. The McCannon was loaded today throwing out Brett Gardner in the first and nearly throwing him out again in the sixth. The defensive warlock himself Jose Iglesias ranged to his left to make a sprawling play robbing Didi Gregorius of a base hit. Even Miguel Cabrera and Logan Kensing flashed the leather in the top of the eighth with a 3-6-1 double play. Kensing’s stretch and scoop while covering first base is the best play a Tigers first baseman has made all year, so that’s something right?
Tomorrow night the Tigers hit the national stage. The Verlander vs. Tanaka match-up will be ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game of the week. After his six-inning, three-hit performance against Miami the national baseball pundits will be looking to see if Verlander can repeat on his quest for a bounce-back season. Verlander is 5-7 with a 4.03 ERA career against the Yankees.