Tigers and Nats flip flop leads like flaky politicians, end in 10 inning tie

If the first six games of the spring meant anything, it was that the Tigers had a leg up on the competition given that, according to Jason Beck, they had six days of live batting practice this spring. What does that mean? Well, the hitters were allowed to get a better sense of their timing, and the pitchers were allowed to get a better sense of their command. Most teams don’t do that this early into the year, and neither do that Tigers, as this was Jeff Jones’ idea in his inaugural season as the Tigers pitching coach.

I can see that being a factor just as much as anything else, but also remember that baseball is a streaky game, and a random game, and a six game winning streak is just as likely as a six game losing streak.

Yesterday, the pitching, er, throwing, of Adam Wilk and David Pauley contributed to the first Tiger’s loss of the year, today, it was Casey Crosby, Jose Valverde, and Joaquin Benoit who gave up runs that eventually lead to a dramatic 10 inning tie.

Justin Verlander began the game with four shutout innings. He had the nerve to give up three hits and only strike out four, so it’s obviously he isn’t ready for the season. Thankfully, Brandon Inge, Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young played and staked him a 4-0 lead, or there’d be a revolution among Tiger fans.

Adam Wilk pitched well in the 5th inning, but had trouble in the sixth. He managed to induce a grounder to Prince Fielder for the first out, but then walked the next two batters. He then got a comebacker but threw the ball away for an error and a bases loaded situation. He immediately tossed a wild pitch then gave up back to back singles and the Tigers four run lead turned into a 4-3 affair.

Matt Hoffman came in and got a fly ball to right. Avisail Garcia threw out the runner who was attempting to tag from second to third base. Everyone cheered. The inning was over and the Tigers still lead.

The flip flopping began in the seventh, when Washington’s Corey Brown tied it with a home run off Jose Valverde.

Andres Blanco then decided to homer off of Joaquin Benoit in the eighth and put Washington in the lead. This was especially concerning because the Tigers best relievers can’t even hold a lead in a Spring Training game and everyone needs to panic.

Go ahead, panic.

To everyone’s relief Avisail Garcia and Argenis Diaz doubled back to back in the bottom of the eighth and tied the game up at five all.

Unfortunately, the desire of competition waned and the two teams called it quits after 10 innings. Actually, Ryan Perry pitched the 10th inning and all the Tigers cowered in fear and quit.

The 5th Starter Derby thru Game 8

Adam Wilk: 4.1IP, 6H, 3ER, 0BB, 1SO

Casey Crosby: 3.1IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 3SO

Duane Below: 3IP, 4H, 1ER, 0BB, 1SO

Andy Oliver: 3IP, 0H, 0ER, 3BB, 3SO

Jacob Turner: 2.1IP, 2H, 0ER, 4BB, 1SO

Drew Smyly: 2IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO

An interesting quote regarding the 5th starter competition from Jim Leyland via Jason Beck:

“The problem we’re running into now: As the starting pitchers start to extend out a little bit, that means less innings available,” Leyland said. “So we’re trying to be real careful. Oliver’s going to pitch Monday. Smyly’s pitching tomorrow. We’re working through things, but we’re getting to the point … even from the get-go, you can’t get nine, 10 guys ready to start. It’s pretty impossible, but you try to do the best you can to get them out there.”

When asked if there comes a point where they just can’t have five guys battling for one open starting spot, Leyland answered, “That’s a good point. I would say that’s accurate.”

Beck added that after the game Leyland told him that he’s not close to deciding anything regarding the 5th starter spot and he’s not even whittling down the candidates yet.

My take?: If you’re in this “competition” you’d better try to make Leyland’s job easier and start pitching lights out. Right now, there is no “best candidate” in terms of pure numbers because not one candidate has stood out.

Turner, Oliver and Crosby have had serious control issues. Wilk and Below both look plenty hittable and I don’t think Smyly is that serious a candidate.

Box Score via Yahoo Sports

WASHINGTON (5) AT DETROIT (5)

WASHINGTON       AB  R  H BI  DETROIT          AB  R  H BI  
R Bernadina lf    2  0  1  0  A Jackson cf      2  0  0  0
D Hood lf         2  1  0  0  M Young pr-cf     1  1  0  0
S Lombardozzi 2b  3  0  0  0  Q Berry pr-cf     0  0  0  0
J Kobernus pr-2b  2  1  1  0  B Inge 2b         2  1  1  1
D Espinosa ss     3  0  2  0  R Santiago 2b     2  0  0  0
A Blanco pr-ss    2  1  1  1  M Cabrera 3b      2  1  0  0
C Tracy 1b        3  0  1  1  A Ciriaco 3b      2  0  0  0
J Bloxom pr-1b    2  0  1  0  P Fielder 1b      4  0  0  0
J Flores dh       5  0  0  0  R Strieby 1b      1  0  0  0
M Teahen 3b       2  0  0  0  D Young dh        3  0  2  1
C Rivero ph-3b    2  0  0  0  B Holaday ph-dh   2  0  0  0
C Brown rf        4  1  1  1  B Boesch rf       3  1  2  2
J Solano c        2  0  0  0  A Garcia rf       2  1  1  0
C Maldonado c     0  0  0  0  J Peralta ss      2  0  0  0
E Perez cf        3  1  2  0  A Diaz ss         2  0  1  1
                              A Avila c         2  0  1  0
                              R Brantly c       2  0  0  0
                              J Henry lf        4  0  0  0
TOTALS           37  5 10  3  TOTALS           38  5  8  5

WASHINGTON                 000 003 110 0  --   5
DETROIT                    200 110 010 0  --   5

E--C Crosby, P Fielder. DP--WASHINGTON 1. LOB--WASHINGTON 6,
DETROIT 7. 2B--D Young, A Garcia, A Diaz. HR--A Blanco 1
(1), C Brown 1 (1), B Inge 1 (1), B Boesch 1 (2). CS--D
Espinosa, R Bernadina.

                                  IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
WASHINGTON                    
J Lannan                           2   4   2   2   1   4   1
A Bibens-Dirkx                     2   1   1   1   0   2   1
Y Maya                             2   1   1   1   2   0   0
T Clippard                         1   0   0   0   0   1   0
R Martin                           2   2   1   1   1   0   0
R Perry                            1   0   0   0   0   1   0

DETROIT                       
J Verlander                        4   3   0   0   0   4   0
C Crosby                       1 1-3   2   3   2   2   1   0
M Hoffman                        2-3   0   0   0   0   0   0
J Valverde                         1   1   1   1   1   2   1
J Benoit                           1   2   1   1   0   0   1
O Dotel                            1   2   0   0   1   0   0
L Putkonen                         1   0   0   0   0   1   0

WP--C Crosby, J Valverde. SO--WAS: C Tracy 2, J Flores 2, E
Perez, C Brown, D Hood, M Teahen. DET: A Jackson 2, J
Peralta 2, M Young, B Holaday, P Fielder, M Cabrera.
BB--WAS: C Maldonado 2, E Perez, D Hood. DET: B Inge, A
Jackson, M Young, M Cabrera. T--3:21 A--6,622
  • JenR

    Papi, I got an XL! Help! :(

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