Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Avila Powers Tigers Over Rays

I missed a good portion of the game tonight because I was running a 5K on what felt like the first day of summer in Massachusetts.  When I got home, I turned on the television and was not too happy to see Justin Verlander allow three runs in the sixth inning to put the Tigers down 6-4.  Apparently, he was hit hard tonight allowing six runs on nine hits in six innings. 

Alex Avila bailed out Verlander with a couple of home runs.  The first one was a solo shot in the sixth which closed the gap to 6-5.  He then blasted a two run bomb in the eighth to put the Tigers up 7-6.  Avila has been probably the most pleasant development for the Tigers in the first two months of the season.  He is now batting .292/.356/.562 with 8 homers on the season.  I doubt he'll bat .292 over a full season, but I think the power is real and he gets enough walk to keep his OBP up.   

In the past week, Joaquin Benoit has gone from set-up man to middle reliever back to set-up man again and today he was used as the closer.  With Jose Valverde unavailable after throwing a lot of pitches the last two games, Benoit pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the one-run lead.  He did allow a hit and there was a line shot right at Cabrera, but he got the save. 

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