The temperature at first pitch on Tuesday night was 103 degrees.
You can’t call the Tigers’ bats in the first inning that hot because they only had one hit, but two runs to start the game will always be a welcome incense.
But after the first inning, Yu Darvish acclimated to the climate, did not issue another free pass the rest of the game and had the Tigers acting like their trusty fan in the dugout crapped out and they would die of heat stroke if they didn’t start fanning themselves. Darvish’s final line consisted of four hits in seven innings (to three batters) and 10 strikeouts, all swinging.
Drew Smyly, on the other hand, healed from that hideous omelet of a blister that kept him out two weeks, was unwelcomely underwhelming in four-plus innings. After allowing a leadoff home run to Ian Kinsler in the first inning, Smyly must’ve had some leftover pickle juice and brown rice on his fingers in the fourth when he threw the second out away and proceeded to give up five hits to the next seven batters he faced, allowing five runs to score and the game to completely sway in favor of the Rangers.
Down 7-4 in the eighth, the Tigers would put the heat on the Rangers one last time against Mike Adams, who the Tigers handed a loss to last August. Austin Jackson led the inning off with a single and Quintin Berry followed by walking on four pitches to put the two runners on with nobody out and the meat of the order due up.
Unfortunately, Miguel Cabrera and Delmon Young sandwiched a Prince Fielder RBI groundout, his fourth of the game, with 785 feet worth of fly ball outs. One would think the sweltering heat would help the Tigers’ deep flies, but much like many other losses this season, and their hunt for .500, they would come up just short yet again.
- Prince Fielder had four RBI, including his 12th HR of the season when he took Darvish deep in the fourth.
- Quintin Berry continued to impress with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
- Josh Hamilton hit his league leading 24th HR in the 7th to add an insurance run for the Rangers. He’s good.
- Miguel Cabrera was plunked in the helmet by Darvish in the 1st inning, but it didn’t lead to anything. Cabrera wasn’t happy and had a long look at Darvish’s girlish looks, but I think everybody in the league knows that Darvish’s control is generally iffy.
- Jose Valverde, pitching in a non-save situation, worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his first action since going down with a wrist injury about a week ago. Leyland must not have been very confident in a Tigers comeback because had the Tigers scored a few runs in the top of the ninth inning off Joe Nathan (they didn’t), they would have had to go to someone else for the save (unless Leyland was stupidly thinking of using Valverde for two innings). Benoit threw 31 pitches on Monday night, so Octavio Dotel probably would’ve been the guy, but I doubt the thought ever crossed Leyland’s mind.
- Remember when Brennan Boesch was turning it around? Yeah, after an 0-for-4 he’s now 3-for-his-last-33 since his scorching 7-game hitting streak.
- Jhonny Peralta, hitting .303 with a .811 OPS in June heading into Tuesday night’s game, was 0-for-4.
- Ramon Santiago, hitting .286 with a .766 OPS in June, was 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts.
- The White Sox won, so the Tigers are back to being 3 games back going into June 26. Oh boy. I still believe the Tigers are going to get hot at some point like the Texas temperatures, and they have a chance to win their fifth series in their last six on Wednesday, so I’m not going to get overly dramatic and serial about this loss.
- Fister vs. Roy Oswalt on Wednesday night. I would love nothing more than the Tigers to light Oswalt up like a pinball machine for rebuffing DD’s offer in the offseason, claiming he did not want to play for the Tigers. Make. him. pay. (for not taking a lot of pay).