Thing’s didn’t go quite like Justin Verlander had planned yet his outing was far from horrible. Verlander managed to rack up 6 K’s and had a only gave up his first hit in the fourth inning, a single to Billy Butler. He appeared very dominant and it’s hard to take anything negative from his outing.
The weather held up as perfectly as you could imagine given the horrible forecast. It was overcast the entire day and the lights remained on throughout the game. This interfered with the military jet fly-by rendering them not visible by the crowd.
There was quite a bit of good and some bad on the day:
- Denny Bautista failed to look anything like his Spring Training performances. He lacked control which prompted multiple visits to the mound and gave up 3 hits and 2 walks in only 2 innings of work.
- Brandon Inge played like a man possessed or one looking for a starting job. He swung the bat today far better than we all saw last year. He laid off the low pitches, swung at the good ones and even took a walk. Additionally, his performance in Centerfield was good and he had the chance to show off his arm throwing out Mark Teahan at home. That said, he doesn’t have Grandersons range.
- Clete Thomas doubled in his first major league at-bat and made two catches in left field. He replaced Jacque Jones late in the game for defense and, as it turned out, offense.
- Gary Sheffield walked four times in five plate appearances. Some of which he started off 0-2. Nuff’ Said.
- Polanco came up hitless today but he looked his normal self. He couldn’t seem to get the ball out of the infield which led to him stranding 6 runners.
While the lineup didn’t produce the needed run support, there were definitely spurts at which you could see the potential. While it’s easy to blame this loss on the bullpen, I won’t as they combined to perform better than Justin. Grilli and Lopez both allowed inherited runners to score though they were called in with runners at the corners and no outs. This will be a great squad to watch this year.
Below are some pictures from today’s match up:
1. It was quite a cloudy day and things were very soaked. Luckily the ushers had plenty of dry towels for the seats.
2. Pre-game lineups standing for the National Anthem.
3. Miss America threw out the first pitch; it might have been a strike.
4. First pitch for Tiger Baseball 2008
5. Reliever Bobby Seay holding runners. He did so though it was with a heck of a catch by Edgar Rentaria at short.
6. Guillen trotting around the bases after his monster tater to left field.
7. Clete Thomas takes the field for the first time.