The Tigers crushed the Indians 10-1 today to finish at 48-39 heading into the all-star break. Assuming the Twins hold onto their eight run lead, this means that the Tigers will be 3 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox and 4 games up on the Twins going into next weekend's series at Yankee Stadium. It's hard to complain about the overall result of the season's first half.
You could not have asked for a better finish to the first half than today's game. Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings allowing five hits no walks and eight strikeouts. That gives him a league leading 149 K's for the season which is only 14 short of his total for all of 2008.
Clete Thomas was sent down to Toledo to get regular playing time and to shorten his swing and it has paid off so far. He had a huge day today with a homer, a triple, a single and 5 RBI. He is now 7 for 13 since returning to the Tigers.
Brandon Inge started the home run derby a day early by belting round trippers in the fourth and fifth innings. He now has a team leading 21 for the season. Only Carlos Pena (24) and Russell Branyan (22) have more in the American League.
Marcus Thames went four for four to raise his season line to .272/.331/.544. Marcus continues to play every day and bat clean-up and is holding his own versus right-handers with a .784 OPS. As usual, he is mashing left-handers with a 1.032 OPS. I envision him going into a platoon when Carlos Guillen gets back but for now, at least, it makes sense for him to get regular at bats.