I think everyone is ready for a nice, long home stand. With 10 straight games in Comerica on the docket, hopefully the weather in the D will improve and make us quickly forget about this often frustrating California road trip, where the bullpen faltered a few times and the bats went flat more often than not. The Tigers will head east losing 3 of 5 on this trip, including 2 of 3 to the Padres. Miguel Cabrera continued his struggles but long term worries are nowhere near warranted at this point, as he did hit the ball hard and to the opposite field several times at PETCO. And he’s Miguel Freaking Cabrera.
Amid the Padres Sunday tradition of honoring the military with camouflage uni’s, the Tigers pitching and fielding was anything but cadet-crisp and it cost them a few runs, especially against a San Diego team that was mostly spic & span, making great play after great play and capitalizing on the reunion of starting pitcher Tyson Ross with his control. Ross’s slider was filthy at times and he looked much more like the pitcher he was in the back half of 2013 than a kid who started this season with 2 losses, a 4.35 ERA and 9 walks.
Speaking of control, Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer saw his falter a few times today, with 3 base on balls, including a critical leadoff walk in the 4th to Chase Headley, followed by a 2nd to Yonder Alonso, that lead to a 3 run inning for San Diego.
Detroit’s lone run came courtesy of a Victor Martinez RBI base hit in the top of that inning, though appreciation for the continued “clutch” at bats of VMart was quelled by his 2nd less than stellar performance of the week behind the plate.
Right fielder Will Venable lead the way for The Fathers, driving in 2 with a hard liner down the right field line to bring Headley & Alonso home in the bottom of the 4th. Tyson Ross helped his own cause in the 4th as well, with an RBI single for the Padres fourth run. All bad things come in 4′s? Jedd Gyorko lead off the scoring for San Diego in the 2nd with a leadoff solo shot and Xavier Nady popped up just long enough to troll my “Ian Krol Rightie Specialist” joke with his own solo HR off Krol in the 7th.
Those 5 runs were more than enough for Ross to take home the win, with the Tigers leaving 9 runners on base and Ross striking out 7 while surrendering only 1 free pass.
On a day where his stuff was inconsistent, Max Scherzer still managed to K 10 in only 5 innings of work. With a few more plays from molasses-slow shortstop Alex Gonzalez and a tighter ship run by Martinez behind the plate, the game could well have been closer – but it likely would not have mattered, with Ross, Benoit and keeping the bats at bay.
The sun will come out tomorrow (at least figuratively speaking), Justin Verlander had a nice audition for a future pinch-hitting role last night and a big series against a Cleveland team the Tigers dominated last year looms on the horizon.
Thanks for reading, Tigers fans.