Thursday, May 31, 2007

Indians Pound Tigers, Sheffield Erupts

The Tigers lost to the Indians for the 4th time in a week tonight and this one was an ugly 11-5 defeat. Justin Verlander gave up a 2 run homer to Travis Hafner in the first. He gave up 4 more runs in the 5th and in all he gave up 7 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 3 hit batsmen in 5 innings. Tim Byrdak relieved him in the 6th and pitched two shaky but scoreless innings. The Tigers trailed 7-5 going into the 8th but then Jose Mesa came in and the rout was on. He gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and raised his ERA to 12.34. I have to believe his days in Detroit are numbered. Perhaps he will be gone when Fernando Rodney returns next week.

The Tigers had 10 hits including a homer by Craig Monroe and a pair of RBI singles by Marcus Thames. Thames was playing first base in place of Sean Casey for the third straight game. The Tigers line-up also included Omar Infante at third and Neifi Perez at shortstop. The injuries to Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen left them with a two man bench - Mike Rabelo and Sean Casey - and it became even more limited earlier than they planned.

Gary Sheffield questioned a couple of calls by the home plate ump during his at at bat in the 5th inning. He then hit a broken bat grounder, slammed down his bat and glared at the umpire. This led to a quick ejection. I think the reason for the ejection may have been that he slammed his bat somewhat behind him (rather than directly downward) in the general direction of the umpire. He wasn't throwing at the umpire but a batter needs to be careful where he's aiming when he tosses his bat. He then went berserk and would not allow Jim Leyland to restrain him. Pudge Rodriguez and a few others had to come off the bench to hold him back.

I think Sheffield's behavior (especially brushing off Leyland's restraint) may have shocked his teammates as this was the first such incident of the Leyland era. They were leading 4-2 at the time but then imploded after that. We've seen the good Sheffield and now we've seen the bad Sheffield. He's quite a character. At any rate, they are really going to need his bat until they get back to full strength so he needs to keep himself in games.

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