Justin Verlander helped the Tigers salvage a split against the Orioles today. He gave up an early run in the second inning, but after that he gave up just a pair of hits and he pitched deep into a game where the Tigers needed to give their pen a rest. He only struck out three, but he walked just three and Justin has now won his last six decisions. Todd Jones came in to got the final batter out, and he did after giving up a walk. What was equally impressive was that Verlander threw all of those innings in what was an above 100 heat index.
Magglio Ordonez and Marcus Thames both went yard while Gary Sheffield drew three walks. Ramon Santiago continues to impress and he went two for four to bring his season batting average up to .358.
Of course there was the disappointing loss Saturday night. Yes, the Tigers got hosed on that play at the plate but it should have never gotten to that point. A six run lead, when you’re fighting for your playoff life, is something you shouldn’t give up.
Speaking of playoffs, the Tigers sit 6 1/2 back. Doesn’t sound like much until you do the math. Baseball Prospectus thinks it’ll take 91 wins to win the American League Central and that the White Sox have about a 69 percent chance of hitting that mark. With a 49-49 record, the Tigers have to go 42-22 to hit the 91 win mark, which is just over a 65% winning percentage. Basically, they’re going to have to be the best team over the final two months of the season. Another way to look at it is if the White Sox and Twins both go .500 the rest of the way, then 87 or 88 wins will get it. Even then, the Tigers will have to go 38-26, which means they’d still have to play close to what a 100 win team would be.
Kansas City is up next. Zach Miner is going to get the start so we’ll how that goes. First round pick Luke Hochevar throws for Kansas City. His best start of the season was against the Tigers on May 14 when he threw six innings of shutout ball.