I hope this is the low point of the season. The Tigers did much worse to the Twins last season in their first meeting and hopefully the Tigers will wake up like the Twins of ’06. The pitching, from start to finish, was simply not good and Detroit certainly put quite a few pitchers on the mound.
Regardless of how bad Detroit looked pitching the Twins still looked great. They hit some good pitches, they continued keeping the pressure on throughout the game and made some stellar defensive plays with two outfield assists. They showed why many have them pegged to win the division and it will be up to Detroit to win these games this year.
Verlander was not good today though I’m not sure pulling him after three innings was needed. He seemed to be throwing some good pitches but clearly didn’t have his greatest stuff. The Twins certainly hit him hard for 8 hits over the three innings pitched and his pitch count was at 79. He only walked one batter but didn’t strike anyone out either.
A key error by Sean Casey on what could have been a double play seemed to be a real turning point. Verlander was forced to pitch more in the second inning in a higher pressure situation with the game still close. The defense certainly wasn’t helping the pitchers today.
Wilfredo Ledezma came in relief in the fourth inning and didn’t fare any better but he did throw more strikes. He also gave up four hits and the Twins had no trouble hitting him whatsoever. After getting ejected by arguing, which Leyland joined and was ejected as well, Detroit trotted out Lopez, Grilli and Rodney, in that order, and none seemed to fare well against Minnesota.
Detroit pitchers combined to give up 17 hits, 5 walks and struck out only two batters.
Offensively Detroit wasn’t awful and combined for 11 hits. This was clearly overshadowed and they had trouble capitalizing in a number of situation with runners in scoring position. Polanco was 3-for-4, Sheffield was 3-for-4 and Guillen was 3-for-4 almost hitting for the cycle with a single, double and triple.
Once Detroit’s second half of the lineup was at bat nothing happened. It is completely imposible for Detroit to have big innings unless the second half of the lineup can step up to the plate. Mike Rabelo was the only batter to get a hit (his first ever in the MLB) in the last four lineup slots.