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Final Thoughts on Justin Verlander’s No-Hitter and the Pen Fails the Tigers Again

It’s funny how a game can define, or at least help define, a pitcher’s career.  A guy that comes to mind is Josh Beckett.  For the longest time he never quite lived up to expectations and then all at once, he was catapulted into stardom in the 2003 World Series, particularly game six where he won impressively on short rest.  In a lot of ways, the same thing is happening to Justin Verlander.  Yeah, he won Rookie of the Year but a lot of people thought he was the default pick because Francisco Liriano went down.  And his 2007 season was off to a nice start but it was lost in the new Tiger’s offensive machine.  Now he’s front page news and it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here on out.

The Tigers lost tonight but Mike Maroth did everything he could to keep the Tigers in their 3-2 loss.  With his spot in the rotation potentially on the line, Maroth threw seven solid frames in what was probably his best start since May 11 when he gave up just one run in 6 2/3 innings.  Yeah, he tempted fate by giving up thirteen base runners (nine hits and four walks) in his seven innings but he only let one of those cross the plate.  He was helped out by three double plays including an odd one on a flyout to Magglio Ordonez.

Anyway, Maroth left the game with the lead but then Fernando Rodney came in and lost it by giving up two runs in the eighth.  This time, walks weren’t a problem.  He just let one go over the fence with a runner on. 

The offense didn’t product much either.  Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez each had two hits and an RBI while Brandon Inge was two for four with a run.  The hit by Granderson extended his hitting streak to thirteen innings and one of Granderson’s hits was his twentieth double of the season to go along with his 20 triples.  There’s a chance Granderson could finish with 20 homeruns, 20 triples and 40 doubles and the last person to do that was George Brett, who did it as a 23 year old back in 1979.  The only other player to do it was Jim Bottomley in 1928.  Bottomley is one of those players you don’t hear too much about it but he was pivotal piece of the Gas House Gang where he played on a Cardinals team that won two World Series and four pennants in a six year span from 1926 through 1931.

That’s it.  Just two guys on that list.  I was susprised Lou Gehrig’s name didn’t show up on the list but the one year he had 20 triples (1926), he only had 16 homeruns.  Then in 1927 (his first MVP), he had 47 homeruns, but just missed with 18 triples.  Gehrig is another one of those guys who misses the top 5 best of all time lists but was a stud in his own right.  He had seven different seasons where he drove in at least 150 runs and his .632 slugging is behind just Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson.  The Indians are up by four in the seventh so it looks like once again, the Tigers will drop a game behind the Indians.  Chad Durbin throws tomorrow in the rubber game and he’ll take on Ben Sheets.

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