With the aid of a bad call on a fly ball by Avisail Garcia to Daniel Nava, the Tigers beat the Red Sox 7-5 and won the 4 game series 3-1.
With the score tied 4-4, Garcia led off the bottom of the 8th with a deep fly ball to right field. Daniel Nava caught the ball but dropped it when transferring it to his throwing hand. The umpire ruled it a dropped ball and Garcia was safe at second. Bryan Holaday sacrificed Garcia to third and was safe on pitcher Andrew Miller’s throwing error. Torii Hunter sacrificed Garcia in to break the tie. The Tigers went on to score two more runs making it 7-4 heading to the top of the 9th.
Benoit gave up one run in the 9th but the Tigers were able to hold on for the 7-5 victory.
On a different note, Justin Verlander started the game. He went 5 innings and gave up 4 earned runs. His ERA is up to 3.90 and frankly he has not looked like a number one pitcher for most of this season. For the last two months JV has looked like a back of the rotation guy.
It doesn’t seem like Verlander can command any of this pitches, including the fast ball, but especially his curve. His curve hasn’t been anywhere near the strike zone for the last few starts at least. As a result, he’s not getting ahead of hitters. When he does get ahead he can’t put them away and teams are constantly working his pitch count up. Recently, the Tigers have been lucky to get 6 decent innings out of him.
Curt Schilling on ESPN thinks that JV has lost some of his “stuff”. Schilling thinks that Verlander still has number one “stuff” but not what it once was. I’m not an expert but this is hard for me to believe. JV looked ok in April but seemed to collapse when the calendar turned to May. He needs to figure it out or he is going to make the contract he signed in the off season look like a monumental mistake. A case can arguably be made that JV is the fourth or fifth best pitcher in the Tiger rotation right now.
I’m not making excuses for JV but I didn’t think his defense helped him much, especially, in the top of the 3rd. Although they weren’t charged with an error, I think the Tigers could have been charged with three. First, Pedroia leads off the inning with a ground ball in the hole at short. Peralta fields the ball but doesn’t make a strong throw to first and Victor Martinez didn’t help him out any. As a result, Pedroia was on with a lead off, infield single. Next, David Ortiz hit a sharp ground ball to first that went under the glove of Martinez. It wasn’t scored an error but I think Martinez should have made the play. This put runners at first and third with nobody out. Next, Mike Napoli, hits a tailor made, double play, ground ball to Peralta. Peralta feeds Infante and Infante throws the ball to the moon. Again, no charged error but the defense definitely didn’t do JV any favors.
When JV was pitching well, he bailed his defense out plenty of times, especially last year. Maybe some help from his D can get him going.
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