The Tigers lost to the White Sox 4-3 today for their third consecutive loss. The Tigers could manage only 6 hits and a walk in eight innings against starter Jose Contreras. The much maligned Nate Robertson pitched pretty well today (3 earned runs on 5 hits in 7 innings) but could not match Contreras. After struggling against the Royals over the weekend, the White Sox have played like the White Sox of 2005 the last two games. Like last year, they have done it with homeruns, pitching and a knack for winning close games.
The Tigers continued to hit the long ball today - a solo home run by Craig Monroe in the sixth and a two run shot by Chris Shelton in the ninth. Unfortunately, they also continued to hack and have trouble getting on base. Their inability to draw walks was illustrated in yesterday's post. Defensively, Carlos Guillen made the first Tiger error of the year so far. It was a big one as it contributed to a three run sixth inning rally.
The worst item of the day was the news that Mike Maroth has a sore elbow and will have his next start pushed back at least two days. He was supposed to pitch tomorrow. If Maroth's problem turns out to be serious, this would be a tough loss for the Tigers. Maroth is hardly a top of the rotation pitcher but losing 200 innings of close to league average pitching will not help any team especially one with a lot of young pitchers and not much depth. If Maroth needs to be replaced in the rotation, I'm not sure who the fifth starter would be. Joel Zumaya would seem like the logical choice but they seem to like him as a reliever. If it's not Zumaya, it could be Jason Grilli. It would be nice to see Zumaya get some starts just to quell the notion that he is being pigeonholed as a reliever.
Tomorrow afternoon's game will match Justin Verlander against Jon Garland. No one game is crucial at this juncture but being swept by the White Sox after such a strong start would be discouraging. On the other hand, another strong start and victory for Verlander would be a boost.