This was a very strange game. The offense looked sluggish, which was not all that surprising, considering it was the first home game after a long road trip.
I thought JV looked good for 7 innings. The odd thing about this start was that Verlander kept getting the first two outs in the inning but then surrendered hits to extend the innings. I don’t think he had a 1-2-3 inning but through 7 had allowed only 1 run on 100 pitches with 3 strike outs.
With the score tied at 1, I was a little surprised to see JV come out for the 8th. Especially, with Rios and Dunn coming up. Dunn hadn’t done much but Rios had a single and a triple off of Verlander. As the 8th started, Coke was warming up in the bullpen. I figured Leyland would let JV pitch to Rios and then bring Coke in to face the leftie Dunn. But that wasn’t the case.
Rios led off with a single. I looked to the dugout, no Leyland. Rios stole second. No Leyland. Dunn homered to right. No Leyland. JV was left in for two more hitters. He left the game not having recorded an out in the 8th, having surrendered 3 runs, and responsible for the runners at first and third.
Alburquerque steps to the hill to relieve JV and continued his Toledo Mud Hens audition, that began in earnest a few days ago in Cleveland, and promptly served up a three run homer to Dayan Viciedo.
By the time the top of the 8th was over, the Sox had scored 7 runs, blowing the game wide open.
JV’s final line looks horrible. He pitched 7 plus and gave up 5 earned raising his era to 3.71.
I just don’t get it. I’m usually the first one to scream about letting pitchers go out for another inning, but his was insane. Perhaps the bullpen was depleted and JV was just a sacrificial lamb? I think this was a horrible thing to do, not only to JV, but to any pitcher. I feel like Leyland hung JV out to dry. Perhaps the Tigers still would have lost but JV deserved a better fate.
“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural