Nate Robertson pitched to six Rangers batters in the first inning tonight and got none of them out. He gave up 4 hits, including a grandslam by Victor Diaz, and 2 walks. The Tigers stayed in the game thanks to 7 innings of shutout relief by Jason Grilli, Zach Miner and Tim Byrdak. They chipped away at the lead with 3 runs in the second and 1 in the fourth on a solo shot by Brandon Inge in his first game back after injuring his toe. However, the Tigers could not dig themelves out of the early hole and lost 7-4.
Nate Robertson has not made it through 6 innings in any of his last 6 starts. In those games, He has been lit up for 50 hits and a 9.12 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. It's getting to the point where you have to wonder whether there is something physically wrong with him. You may remember in his last start versus the Devil Rays where he was in pain and was angrily kicking the dirt on the mound after throwing a pitch. At the time, it appeatred that he had tweaked his back and he stayed in the game. After another terrible start tonight, Tigers fans are questioning whether there is something more going on. I would not be surprised if we hear something in the next couple of days about some kind of injury.
Three Tigers returned to action tonight. As mentioned above, Inge returned and he went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Carlos Guillen also came back from his groin problem but went 0 for 4. Finally, Fernando Rodney came off the disabled list after his bout with biceps tendonitis and allowed 1 run in 1 inning of relief.
The loss left the Tigers 3 1/2 games behind the division leading Indians. Game two of the series will be tomorrow night and it will match Justin Verlander against Kevin Millwood.