This looked bad. I mean, really bad, Verlander’s not gonna make it to the fifth inning and they’re going to lose by double digits bad. Then Verlander suddenly got it together and the Tigers offense could not stop hitting, and they ended up winning 14-5.
It’s easiest to do this chronologically, so here goes:
After a couple pretty decent starts, Justin Verlander started the first inning horribly. He walked Yasiel Puig and allowed a single to Hanley Ramirez before allowing a double to Adrian Gonzalez that scored both runs. Matt Kemp’s single scored Gonzalez, and then Juan Uribe hit a hanging 0-2 curve into the Detroit bullpen to make it 5-0. Verlander was getting booed after the first inning and it looked like it could be a long night at Comerica.
Suddenly, the second inning happened. Torii Hunter was called out at second to leadoff the inning after hitting one off the wall in right, but replay review vitally indicated that Hunter was safe, thus turning the first out of the inning into a leadoff double (but replay doesn’t work and should be binned, right Jose Bautista?). The Tigers promptly became unstoppable against Dodgers started Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is no slouch. Seven of the next eight Tigers singled, leading to five runs to tie the game. Only a Hunter inning-ending double play prevented them from taking the lead in the second. That said, the entire feel of the game had changed, and Ryu was suddenly the starter under pressure.
The double play gave Ryu a reprieve, but it proved to be brief, as the third inning started much like the second: Nick Castellanos doubled, Alex Avila walked, Eugenio Suarez bunted him over (considering Ryu’s struggles, I don’t know why) and Rajai Davis singled in the go-ahead run, chasing Ryu in the process. Austin Jackson’s sac fly made it 7-5, and the Tigers never looked back. They scored four more in the fourth, another in the fifth, and two more in the seventh for a total of 14 runs and 20 hits – none of them home runs.
Among the offensive standouts, of which there were many:
- Five of nine Tigers starters had three hits: Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Torii Hunter, and Rajai Davis. Cabrera actually tripled. So did Martinez. Davis had three RBI out of the nine spot.
- Eight of the nine Tigers had multi-hit games. The only one who didn’t was Austin Jackson, who went hitless, but did have the aforementioned sac fly.
- The Tigers went 12-for-17 with runners in scoring position, good for a .706 average.
- If you use 150 PAs as the minimum, J.D. Martinez now has the best wRC in baseball at 177, just ahead of Mike Trout. His wOBA of .433 is second only to Troy Tulowitzki.
Amidst all this, by the way, Verlander got it together, retiring 13 in a row after that rocky third inning and only allowing one further hit in the six innings he pitched. Results still weren’t great, but he recovered nicely.
The Tigers can get a mini-sweep tomorrow as Max Scherzer opposes Zack Greinke in the afternoon game.