Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Verlander, Tigers Stop Red Sox

Justin Verlander cooled off the hot Red Sox bats and the the Tigers evened the series with a 7-2 victory tonight. Verlander allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and no walks and tallied 7 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. At one point he had retired 21 of 23 batters. The only negative was his high 120 pitch count. It was a relatively unstressful 120 pitches but I wouldn't want to see him throw that many pitches too often. Fernando Rodney finished it off with 1 1/3 shutout innings.

The Tigers scored all the runs they needed in a 4 run 3rd inning off Tim Wakefield. Brandon Inge hit a one out solo home run to the opposite field which sent JD Drew crashing into the wall. The home run broke up a 16 1/3 inning scoreless streak for Wakefield. With two outs in the same inning, Wakefield left a flat knuckle ball over the plate and Magglio Ordonez hit it into the parking lot beyond left field. The Tigers had 12 hits and 4 players had multiple hits - Ivan Rodriguez (3), Ordonez (2), Curtis Granderson (2) and Inge (2).

Last night, I talked up Curtis Granderson's great start but Ordonez is doing even better ranking among the league leaders in several categories:






















The chart shows that he is hitting for average, getting on base and hitting for power with the best of them. What's the reason for his hot start? Some say he is getting help from Gary Sheffield. Batting between Sheffield and Carlos Guillen is getting him more pitches to hit. I think he may be stronger this year. He is hitting the ball harder and even sems to be moving around better in the outfield. It's possible that it took this long to get his knee back to full strength. Regardless of the reason, he is earning his money so far this year.

Game three of the series will be tomorrow night at 7:05. It will be Mike Maroth versus Julian Tavarez. Hopefully, the Tigers continue to give Maroth strong hitting support.

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