Miguel Cabrera's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Tigers a 5-4 victory over the red hot Rangers today and helped ease the concerns of Tigers fans everywhere. The 3-7 start was causing fans to envision another season like 2008, a campaign that quickly went down the drain after starting with so much promise. Not only have the Tigers been losing, but they have been playing poorly in all phases of the game - pitching, fielding, hitting and base running.
Today gave us some reason for hope. After two misearable starts, Brad Penny turned in a solid performance against the hard hitting Rangers allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings. It was not a dominant performance by any means, but it was the type of game many of us were expecting from the veteran right-hander on a regular basis.
As for fielding, it was a well played game by the Tigers overall. Ryan Raburn, in particular, made up for some recent shoddy outfield play by reaching over the fence to Rob Michael Young of a three-run homer in the third.
Raburn also produced with the bat getting two hits, two runs and an RBI. He also worked his way to a two-out walk to load the bases in the ninth setting up Cabrera's game winner. Another positive development was slumping Austin Jackson leading off the game with a triple and scoring the Tigers first run. He later walked to help contribute to the ninth inning run.
Magglio Ordonez hurting
One of the biggest concerns for the Tigers right now is the health of Magglio Ordonez. He is still not healed after missing the second half of last season with a broken ankle. He has pain and fluid in his ankle and will miss a few games. It sounds to me like it could be an going problem throughout the season. Losing the bat of a hitter that can hit for an .850 OPS does not help the Tigers.
There is also the potential that the ankle will continue to affect his hitting (he's batting .208 with just one extra base hit) and that Jim Leyland will allow him to try to play through it. The good news is that it's not happening this week. Hopefully, they will rest him until he is near full strength again.