The wind was blowing out at Wrigley today and the Tigers took advantage of it in a big way. They tied a team record by smashing 8 round trippers as they blasted the Cubs 12-3 and completed a three game sweep of the weekend series. Oft injured Mark Prior made his first start of the season and was greeted rudely by the Tigers who scored six first inning runs on home runs by Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and Chris Shelton. It turned out that all the runs in the game would be scored as a result of home runs. The complete Tiger home run parade is listed below:
Shelton 2 (14)
Inge 2 (15)
Tiger starter Kenny Rogers dealt with the wind by keeping the ball on the ground. In 8 innings of work, he got 19 outs on ground balls including two double plays. He allowed just 2 runs (on solo home runs by Henry Blanco and Aramis Ramirez) on 4 hits, a walk and one hit batsman. It was his 200th career win and league leading 10th of the year. More importantly, he lowered his ERA to 3.17 and is now sixth in the league.
There was a lot of grumbling by fans during the off-season about the acquisition of a 41 year old pitcher but Rogers has been a tremendous free agent addition to this point. Although, he has been a bit stronger than expected, this season is no fluke. In 14 out of 17 years, Rogers has had an ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league and park) better than league average. The only question with him is how long he can keep it up at his age. He sure isn't showing any signs of age yet this year.
Yesterday, I pointed out that Placido Polanco has been breaking out as of late. Another player who is showing signs of life is Chris Shelton. Shelton had really been slumping since his amazing start and he seemed to be getting worse and worse. He recently went through a 14 game stretch where reached base only 10 times and batted .137. After today's 3 hit 2 home run game, he has reached base 10 times in the last 4 games. Hopefully, this is a sign that he has figured something out and will start hitting more consistently.