I’ll admit that I did not know that Jhonny Peralta was stuck in an 0-for-17 slump. I knew he had been striking out at a higher-than-normal clip, but with the offense struggling as it did on this road trip, so far, he kind of blended in with all the others. He broke out in a big way today, and in doing so, he drove in all four runs for the Tigers. Peralta has had quite a few stretches this season where he’s been driving the ball well but with no luck. Either he hits the ball right at someone or his line drive dies on the warning track. I had not seen much of that recently, so this breakout kind of came out of nowhere. I’m certainly glad that it did, though, and I hope he can continue it.
The other half of this win belonged to Doug Fister. He continued his strong second half with eight outstanding innings. It was a very “art of pitching” type performance, to borrow a phrase from Jim Price. Fister did an excellent job of mixing his pitches and pitch locations. He did give up seven hits, but most of them were of the seeing eye variety and there was very little solid contact. Even though there were several innings where the Blue Jays put two runners on with two outs, I never felt like disaster would strike. And when Fister wasn’t getting the Jays to mishit the ball, he was getting them to swing and miss, piling up nine strikeouts. We haven’t seen much of Jose Valverde on this road trip, but he looked sharp with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save (then again, I don’t really feel the “rollercoaster” nervousness and apparently that makes me the exception).
And now it’s on to Boston, and there is still work to be done. The offense didn’t exactly bust out today. Brennan Boesch has been inconsistent. He had two hits yesterday but struck out three times today. Omar Infante probably hasn’t had the Tigers return that he wanted, but he did have a hit today and it’s going to take a little bit of time to re-adjust to American League pitchers. Regardless, Boston is kind of an unknown. They’re having a down year to be sure, but the Tigers have such a hard time winning at Fenway Park that it’s difficult to say who has the advantage. We shall see.