Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Eliminated, But Looking Good Doing It

Photo: AP

With the Twins and Rays both winning yesterday, the Tigers’ playoff aspirations for this year are officially impossible, as they were mathematically eliminated from both the division race and the wild card. However, they still played a damn good game. Justin Verlander was tremendous (I watched the end of the game when I got home, and then I watched the archived game later). He has been doing some really sexy pitching recently. He ran into trouble in the fifth, against the bottom of the White Sox lineup, but proceeded to retire the final 13 batters he faced. It’s hard to believe he’s only on track to have two more starts, but at least I’ll be able to watch the next one.

It’s nice to see some of the rest of the Tigers picking up the slack while Miguel Cabrera seems to be trying to work his way through a slump (he went 0-for-5 yesterday after striking out four times on Friday). Ryan Raburn and Will Rhymes both knocked in runs early in the game, and Brandon Inge had two hits. The offense kind of quieted down after that until the top of the eighth inning in a tie game. Chris Sale has been devastatingly good in his other appearances against the Tigers this year. It’s been scary just how bad the Tigers’ swings have looked against him. However, he’d never pitched to Scott Sizemore before. Sizemore pinch-hit for Rhymes, found a pitch to his liking, and bombed a three-run homer way into the seats. With Carlos Guillen likely to miss the beginning of next season, I’d like for both Rhymes and Sizemore to finish up the season strong and get set for spring training.

The road trip and the season series wraps up tonight on ESPN (blech). Jeremy Bonderman is coming off a rather rough start in Texas (though he was victimized by errors). He had one of his best starts of the season the last time he faced the White Sox. They’ll be facing John Danks, who was defeated by Jeremy Bonderman, but he usually does not give the Tigers much. Plus, they’re on ESPN, and crazy stuff tends to happen then and the Tigers don’t play well.

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