It was the best of outings, it was the worst of outings. It was the at-bat of wisdom, it was the at-bat of foolishness. Okay, I think you get the point. Through four, Max Scherzer’s season of Light was on a roll. (I promise, the literary references are almost behind us. Here’s a link if you’re lost: http://bit.ly/bwb58f) In the fifth, Max labored through an inning of Darkness. And it made all the difference. One hanging breaking ball and two Will Middlebrooks RBI’s (previously called “Ribbies” only for the sake of the pun) later, the Tigers were down 2-1 and the Red Sox never looked back.
The Tigers would out-hit Boston 9-6 in this game but the Red Sox got the bigger hit in the better situation, despite also having a worse game than Detroit with Runners in Scoring Position (Tigs 2-8; Sox 2-9). Both teams left 8 runners on base total. Red Sox starter Jon Lester (Peralta borrowed his “h”) threw the same number of pitches (111) as Scherzer and allowed three more hits (8 vs. 5) despite throwing 11 more strikes. Lester K’d one more than Max. My point? To say Scherzer was “out-dueled” for his second loss of the season would not be a water sandwich but may not be 100% fair. It may be more accurate (you can call it biased if you want, I won’t make time to argue) to say that Boston’s hitters and runners took better advantage of one of their big opportunities than Detroit’s.
With runners on 1st and 3rd in the top of the second inning, Jose Iglesias drove an RBI double to deep center. Then Tom Brookens happened. Okay, we can’t blame the entire game on him. After all, the Tigers hitting messiah did fail to plate a run with the bases loaded in the fifth. But who’s going to blame Miguel Cabrera over Tom Brookens? Not this guy. Kidding aside, it was a team loss. It almost always is. That said, Tommy might want to hold the replay of Pena getting thrown out by an Andy Dirks Mile (“Country”) close in his memory bank for the foreseeable future. I don’t know about you but if y’ask me, the outfielders would have to be reenacting a Three Stooges episode for me to bet Brayan could score from 1st. The Tigers took the field in the bottom of the 2nd with one run instead of two. As mentioned, that run, like the back up catcher who was mistaken for a Cuban track star, was quite big.
Both bullpens were solid in relief, with perhaps a bit more flash on the part of Boston’s. Coke did his job well for the 2nd night in a row, getting the always dangerous David Ortiz to fly out to right with two on for Boston in the 8th. Putkonen then made things a bit too interesting, allowing a Mike Napoli single to load the bases before getting Drew to ground out and end the threat.
Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two against the Tigers 7,8 & 9 hitters to close the game and earn his 17th save.
Final Score: Red Sox 2, Tigers 1
Scherzer lost for the first time since July 13th and was denied his bid to become only the 2nd pitcher to open his season with a 20-1 record. He clearly did not get the run support he’s become accustom to. But I’ll take an outing like this on any day that ends in “y”.
Rick Porcello faces Ryan Dempster in the rubber match tomorrow as the Tigers try to increase or hold their now 7.5 game lead over Cleveland for the Central Division. (The Indians won 4-3 over Baltimore tonight to gain a game on Detroit.)
Thanks for reading and g’night all.