Behind 6 and 2/3 strong innings from Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers beat the Twins 7-1, at Comerica Park tonight.
This was a frustrating game to watch for 6 and half innings. The Tigers offense seemed like it could do nothing against Twins’ starter Kevin Correia, despite having 6 hits entering the 7th inning.
The problem with the Tigers’ offense is their lack of speed. Cabrera, Fielder, Martinez and Infante can’t run at all. While none of these guys are burners, injuries have slowed them further. Additionally, as a team, they steal very few bases and rarely take an extra base on singles, especially going first to third. Given this lack of offensive speed, the Tigers have two ways of scoring. First, and most difficult, is to play station to station and string together 3-4 base hits. The second way is to hit home runs, and extra base hits in the outfield gaps. When they aren’t getting the extra base power their offense fizzles and looks lethargic. Today’s game was a case in point, for 6 innings, and there was no better example than Victor Martinez hitting a ball off the right field wall and settling for a single in the 4th.
On defense, the biggest problem the Tigers have is stopping, or slowing down, the running game. I hate to sound like a broken record but every team the Tigers play runs on them at will. In the top of the 7th, I thought the story of the game was going to be a 1-0 Tiger loss and a wasted quality start from Anibal. With two out in the 7th, Sanchez walked the Twins’ number 9 hitter, Pedro Florimon. Florimon promptly stole second and scored on a Brian Dozier single giving the Twins a 1-0 lead and chasing Sanchez.
Luckily, the Tigers’ offense exploded for 4 runs in the 7th and 3 in the 8th. The big hit came in the 7th. With two out, and nothing really to cheer about, Bryan Holaday extended the inning and turned the lineup over with a single. Austin Jackson followed with another single and Torii Hunter doubled in Jackson and Holaday to open the flood gates and give the Tigers the lead.
An oddity in Today’s game was the pattern Sanchez fell in to. In the first four innings, Sanchez retired the first two hitters easily. However, with two outs he would give up base runners. In fact, it wasn’t until the 5th inning that Anibal had his first 1-2-3 inning. I’m not sure what this means, or if it means anything, it just struck me as a little odd.
Jose Iggy Iglesias continues to impress. In addition to his stellar defense, he had two more hits tonight raising his average to .324, not too bad for a guy known for his glove.
Verlander pitches tomorrow afternoon. This is a win the Tigers must have. (It sounds like I say that a lot.)
“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural