Something you should all want to see a ton this year:
Austin Jackson singles on a line drive to the left fielder. With Brennan Boesch batting, Jackson steals second base. Brennan Boesch grounds out to the second baseman, Jackson advances to third base on the throw. There is one out. Miguel Cabrera grounds out but Jackson scores on the throw. Tiger lead 1-0.
That’s why Jackson is the Tigers leadoff hitter. Ryan Raburn can’t do that. Alex Avila can’t do that. Andy Dirks may be able to do that.
That’s how the game started on Saturday, and with Justin Verlander on the mound in his final start of the spring, the Tigers didn’t need much else. Granted, he gave up a run in the fourth inning on a Freddy Freeman single and Dan Uggla double. Uggla’s doubled was misplayed by the right fielder Clete Thomas, whether or not he could have caught the ball is debatable though most who saw it though he should have made the putout. However, Austin Jackson recovered the ball and tossed it to Ryan Raburn who fired the cutoff into third base, nailing Dan Uggla at the base.
Thomas redeemed himself by hitting a two out solo shot the very next inning to give Verlander the lead again, which was all he needed. With 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 K. Verlander finished the month that doesn’t count with a nifty 2.02 ERA.
Verlander managed a complete game victory as the game was called after six innings due to rain. There was a bit of concern as Verlander continued to pitch will the rain coming down. No one wanted to even think of the potential of Verlander slipping on the mound in the final half inning but he is as slick as the rain was and got out of the inning by giving up just a single meaningless hit for the victory.
Tomorrow the Tigers play a split game contest against the Houston Astros who come into Lakeland and one against the New York Mets which they travel to. On Monday the Blue Jays come to Lakeland and on the Tuesday the Tigers go the Jays home in Dunedin. Finally, an exhibition contest against the Toledo Mudhens wraps the spring up on Wednesday before the Tigers welcome the Red Sox into Comerica on Thursday afternoon.
I’ll try my hardest to wrap up the final games, but they’ve become so meaningless that once the final rosters are announced “minor league guy” might be true for every player on the field, therefore making any sort of wrap a pointless endeavor.