Justin Verlander won his fourth straight start and his sixth out of the last seven to improve to 17-5 on the season in the Tigers 5-1 win in their finale over Texas. Verlander gave up just one run on seven hits and a walk and he struck out seven. Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones each pitched a shutout inning while Jones struck out the side in a non-save situation.
All five of the Tigers runs came on a pair of homers. Gary Sheffield put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a two run homer and then Magglio Ordonez provided some insurance with a three run homer in the sixth. Ordonez now has 132 RBIs and while that puts him tied for fourteenth with Norm Cash and Cecil Fielder on the single season RBI list for the Tigers, he needs just eight more to jump all the way to fifth. He would then become just the third Tiger hitter to drive in 140 runs in a season. Hank Greenberg did it four times and Rocky Colavito was the last to do it in 1961.
Placido Polanco had a solid game as well. He picked up a single and a walk and he scored on both of the homeruns. He needs just two more runs to reach 100 on the season. Gary Sheffield has 99 and Curtis Granderson and both Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez have topped the century mark. The last time a Tiger team had four players with 100 runs was 1950. George Kell, Hoot Evers, Johnny Lipton and Jerry Friddy did it that season. In 1934, five Tigers scored a 100 runs or more.
The bad news is, the Yankees won again so the Tigers still sit four games back of the Yankees (five in the loss column). The Tigers have the day off today while the Yankees wrap up their series Toronto. It’d sure be nice if the Blue Jays helped us out and won that game.
In the meantime, the Tigers rotation is in shambles. Jeremy Bonderman is out, Kenny Rogersand Jair Jurrjens are both sore and the Tigers have a tough three game series coming up in Minnesota against the Twins. Kenny Rogers is listed as the stater on Saturday, but he could be pushed back as could Jurrjens, who’s listed to throw in Sunday. The only thing Jim Leyland said that he knew for sure was that Robertson was starting on Friday in the series opener.
Tom Gage reports that Yorman Bazardo will get the start on Saturday. Jurrjens will thrown on Sunday and then Kenny Rogers will start the opener against the Indians on Monday.