The Tigers pounced on an ineffective Kevin Correia, rollicking to a 10-1 lead after a seven run third inning. The game should have been a stress-free laugher, but—thanks to the Tigers’ bullpen—it ended up being a much closer finish.
After the Tigers scored a single run in the sixth to take the aforementioned 10-1 lead, the Twins ambushed starter Rick Porcello for four runs. Porcello, who’d been sitting around 92-93 and touched 95 earlier in the game, struggled to throw a fastball over 91mph. Porcello’s sudden drop in velocity, along with a drop in arm slot (as pointed out here by the eagle-eyed folks at Bless You Boys) and a visit from the trainer hastened his exit. Porcello had been hit in the elbow by a comebacker earlier in the game, and according to a BYB commenter Bert Blyleven speculated on the Twins’ broadcast that the affected area might have tightened up on Porcello in the sixth. Whatever the case, Porcello lost it all very quickly and after a homerun to Brian Dozier and a single to arch nemesis Joe Mauer, Porcello handed a 10-1 lead to the Tigers bullpen.
More after the jump
As you can see by the final score, and the fact setup man Joba Chamberlain and closer Joe Nathan got into the game, the Tigers bullpen did Tigers bullpen things. Justin Miller, recent Toledo call up, was hit hard. Evan Reed proved he’s still a work in progress, as he struggled mightily with his command. Reed struggled enough that Ausmus had to turn to Joba with a four run lead and actually had Nathan warming that inning.
Would Ausmus have turned to Nathan had Joba faltered? Luckily we didn’t have to find out but good lord, do the Tigers need to sort out this bullpen miasma. Unfortunately it’s the same thing we’ve seen for the last few years. You can probably expect the Tigers to make another trade for a reliever at the deadline. Maybe Jose Veras will be available. He seems to have fallen out of favor in Chicago kinda quickly!
All bullpen snark aside, the offense looked healthy tonight. Cabrera looks like he’s getting closer and closer to being himself, as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI and raised his batting average to .259.
No, Cabrera’s numbers are still nowhere near what we’re used to, but considering his batting average was at an un-Cabreralike .206 just five days ago, and the fact he’s raised his OPS over a hundred points from .609 to .718 in that span, maybe he’s starting to feel more like himself. He’s also starting to hit balls to the opposite field, which is an encouraging sign.
Rookie Nick Castellanos also had a big night, as he contributed a two-run homerun and an RBI single. Castellanos lifted his batting average 13 points in five days with the help of back-to-back two hit games.
In non-fun news, the formerly Titanium Catcher, Alex Avila, left the game due to a shin contusion. He’s said to be day to day. Aren’t we all?
The Tigers take on the Twins at 2:10pm ET tomorrow. Winless Anibal Sanchez takes on the Twins while Phil Hughes, he of the 1-1 record, attempts to tame some Tiger bats.