Yes, I’m channeling 2009 Dennis Green for my theme. Here’s a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w to help set the mood.
Three of the many topics to spark concern among Tigers fans in this young season have been the “demise of Miggy”, “Avila nepotism” and “Phil Coke dumpster fires”. I think I speak for most of us here at Walkoff Woodward when I say that tonight’s game helped illustrate what we already believed in regards to these narratives. Namely that Miguel Cabrera will be just fine, Alex Avila isn’t Mike Piazza with a bat in his hands but his org support goes far beyond “Daddy” for plenty of reasons and, well, Phil Coke is about one more implosion away from becoming the left handed Kenny Powers.
The Tigers 8-6 win over the division rival White Sox featured a blue-collar 7 innings from Justin Verlander, a 3 RBI night from the Miggy of old, including an opposite-field 2-run homer in 3rd, a 3-4 performance at the plate by Alex Avila and a close-but-no-cigar cause the cigar turned out to be an m-80 9th inning from Phil Coke that left fans shaking their heads and throwing things at walls… again.
Thankfully Joba Chamberlain continued to earn the cautious optimism of Tigers fans by finishing what Coke could not, with a little help from J.D. Martinez (who made his first Tigers start tonight) on a liner to left off the bat of Alexei Ramirez for the final out of the game. Detroit’s bullpen surrendered 4 earned runs in just 2 innings of work, furthering the theme of “they are what we thought they were” but holding on nonetheless. Maybe Jack Morris is secretly consulting and merely has the pen pitching to the score? One could argue that things may not have worked out tonight for the Tigers had Chris Sale made the start for Chicago as originally planned, but one would also be wasting their time because none can truly predict such things in this wacky sport we love.
The Tigers pounced early on rookie pitcher Charlie Leesman who was called up to take Sale’s place, putting up a 6 spot after just three innings. J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila, Andrew Romine and Rajai Davis then teamed up to add 2 runs in the 5th and fan the budding flames of a speedster love affair in the D. Someone should probably tell Alex his feet are not quite as fleet as he seems to think though – he was caught trying to swipe second again tonight – an aggressiveness that isn’t likely to pay off any time soon.
All in all, the 8-6 win potentially eased a few concerns and probably magnified one. The Tigers got the W, held onto a 1-game Central Division lead and continued to be what we thought they were – a well rounded offensive team with the ability to beat you in multiple ways and a bullpen that could be sponsored by Xanax, Jameson or both.
The third of this 4-game home series against the White Sox pits young RHP Andre Rienzo against younger lefty Drew Smyly (25 vs. 24) at 7:08 ET. Tigers fans hope for a bounce back game by Drew and a better power play from the Red W.. oh wait. That’s another blog.
Thanks for reading. Go Tigers.