Tigers 2, Mariners 0 (box)
Record: 6-5 (second place)
Edwin Jackson — Is he afraid of falling behind in the race to become the new Tigers’ ace, a role unofficially vacated by a stumbling Justin Verlander. Jackson had incredible velocity (the gun said 98 in the 8th inning), a nice slider, and six strikeouts to show for it. For awhile, I thought he would go the complete game, to be honest, but his pitch count got up near 100 in the eighth inning and Jim Leyland made a move to get Bobby Seay the lefty-lefty match-up against Ichiro. So in 7-2/3 innings, he struck out six while allowing five hits and a walk. Fully 71 of 98 pitches were for strikes! It was quite a performance. Still, that only brought his ERA down to 2.14 for the season, so Armando Galarraga still has that lead in his “ace” column. (update: Tom Gage writes Jackson was “sick as a dog” while spinning this gem.)
Tigers pitching — Don’t look now, but that’s the second shutout in three days! Oh, and by my count the Tigers have gone 28 out of the past 30 innings without allowing a run. (Thanks, Justin, for messing up that one! Just messin’! or am I?) For now, I am starting to feel positive about the pitching. Even Verlander, if he just lets his stuff work for him and doesn’t put a crooked number on the board surrounded by 0’s.
Brandon Inge — Gotta keep giving him props. Eventually, the top of the lineup is going to have to step up and do something. (Except birthday boy Miguel Cabrera, who does something exciting every game.) He drove in the only two runs the Tigers scored with a soft opposite-field shot to right.
Tigers offense — I guess the good news is, Magglio Ordonez did have two hits in three at-bats. Curtis Granderson walked twice and had a hit. So maybe the top of the lineup is starting to get it going, just not all at the same time. At least Carlos Guillen didn’t ground into a double play. He did, however, go 0-for-5 and strand five runners. Other than Cabrera (who stranded six today), the Tigers who played in the World Baseball Classic have started a bit slow at the plate. Hmm. I don’t know if they’re a bit behind because of the WBC or it’s a coincidence. I do expect they’ll come around. Even Guillen. But take nothing away from Seattle’s starter, Erik Bedard. He really baffled the Tigers at the plate, with his sweeping curveball. In at least six of his strikeouts, the Tigers just watched the ball go by.
Tigers defense — Turned a pair of double plays, including a nice one by Granderson to help keep the shutout going. Granderson caught the fly ball in center field and threw out Jose Lopez at home.
Gerald Laird — He nearly threw Endy Chavez out at third. Inge dropped the throw but I think the runner would have been safe anyway. He did throw a runner out at second base. I have quite enjoyed Laird’s defense already. And he keeps hitting, 2-for-4 today.