This game would be one of those instances, at least from the pitching perspective. I mean, it seemed like Justin Verlander had good stuff. The eight strikeouts would attest to that, and not many of the outs were hit hard. Most of the damage came from Franklin Gutierrez and Milton Bradley, both of whom have hit Justin well in his career. Still, you’d hardly expect him to give up five earned runs to a team that has struggled offensively, not with the way he was pitching. I have no explanation for you. And I don’t have any problem with Leyland electing to let Verlander stay out there in the eighth. Usually JV will get the job done. This time he didn’t. He did get the #1 web gem, though.
I’m not gonna pick on the offense too much. Between Cabrera’s absence and the fact that Seattle has a good pitching staff, I wasn’t expecting them to score a lot of runs. And in the two instances where they had a runner at third with less than two outs and didn’t get him in, whoever was at the plate put a good swing on the ball. One turned into a hard groundout with the infield in and the other turned into a line drive double play and a hit and run. It was a good game for Brandon Inge, who had a single and a homer (I find it amusing that Mario and Rod finally noticed last night that his mohawk is gone, when it’s been gone for almost a week). Don Kelly can’t replace Cabrera in terms of power, but he did chip in with a single and was robbed of another.
It’ll be up to Jeremy Bonderman tonight to prevent a sweep. Safeco Field is the sight of his worst start of the season (yes, even worse than his meltdown in Cleveland that got wiped off the books). He gave up 10 runs (8 earned) in less than five innings, plus a ton of stolen bases. His career ERA against the Mariners is over 5, so this is nothing new (though if I remember correctly, the last few years have featured either great pitching performances or meltdowns, with nothing in between). Since he’s generally slow to the plate, it would behoove him to keep Ichiro and Figgins off the bases. The Tigers will be facing lefty Jason Vargas, who is also having a good year for the Mariners. Most of the Tigers haven’t seen him before (Johnny Damon and Adam Everett are a combined 1-4, which doesn’t say a whole lot). With the lefty on the mound, Ryan Raburn will be filling in at first for Cabrera today, and he will be batting third with Maggs once again in the cleanup spot. Not that I will see much of this game at all, since it’s on the west coast and I have to work. Hopefully I can get wind of the score at some point, otherwise the suspense will kill me.