The Philadelphia Phillies started a 6 game road trip by visiting the 21-22 Detroit Tigers. It was a back and forth affair w/ the Tigers eventually coming out ahead by one run, 5-4.
Odubel Herrera started the game w/ a 14 pitch AB that ended w/ a single, but Tigers starter RHP Mike Pelfrey induced a dp ball from Cesar Hernandez, the 1st of two for Cesar. Phillies starter RHP Vince Velasquez got through the 1st two batters easily but then loaded the bases on two walks and a single, but K’d Steven Moya w/some 97 octane gas. This inning though was a harbinger of the tough time he would have on the mound this night.
Tyler Goeddel kept his hot bat going leading off the 3rd w/ a single. Peter Bourjos followed w/ a productive out which enabled Tyler to score on Herrara’s 2nd single. No SDI for Vince as Miguel Cabrera tied it w/ one 2 out, 0-1 swing. It was about 10 ft from being 3-1 Tigers, but the Huge Comerica Park OF barely held the Nick Castellanos double. Then a great play off the wall by Herrara, and relay to Cesar Hernandez cut Victor Martinez down easily at the plate. SDI’s were hard to come by this night as Maikel Franco got the lead right back w/ a laser over the LCF wall. The Tigers followed w/ two singles to start the next inning. The 2nd was a hit and run, and an ill-advised throwing error by Herrara to 3rd made it 2nd and 3rd no outs. But Velasquez Houdini’d his way out of that w/ hard go’s to 3rd and SS, and then a can’o’corn to Herrara. He was at 87 pitches thru 4, so it would be a struggle even to get a chance for the W, but it was an SDI. Singles by a White Hot Goeddel and El Torito’s 3rd hit of the game on only a 7 pitch AB this time, allowed Cesar to make up for his earlier DPs by lofting a sac fly to make it 3-1 Phils. Following the Anti-SDI theme, that lead was short lived as the 1st two batters of the bottom of 5th J. D. Martinez and Cabrera went yard and Velasquez’ night was done.His ineffective line was 4 in, 9 H, 3 R all earned, 2 BB’s and only 2 K’s. Colton Murray who had not been scored upon in 7 innings, lost that streak to his 2nd batter Castellanos, as Detroit’s 4th HR of the night gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead. The blown leads kept coming as Tommy Joseph got his 2nd MLB HR to LCF to tie it again @ 4. Murray did come through w/ an SDI the next frame helped out by a great stop by Franco to end the inning.
The career 500th double by Cabrera, a WP and a single by V-Mart gave the Tigers their final 1 run lead in the 7th. Murray and Andrew Bailey kept the Tigers off the board after that though, giving the Phillies a chance to come back late, but they could not get a run off Detroit’s pen so the game ended w/ the score 5-4 Tigers. Murray not only got scored upon for the 1st time this season, but he also got stuck w/ the loss (0-1). Give the W to Justin Wilson (1-1), and Francisco Rodriguez earned the save (13).
Hurt or Benched?: Herrara pulled in the 7th possibly for not running out a GO or because of a tweaked back. Could be a bit of both? Pete Mackanin did confirm after the game he was pulled for lack of effort. As he put it “One of the ingredients to our success to this point is the fact that these guys play with energy, they play hard and we’re training them, basically, to play the game the right way. Not running is not the right way. And that’s why I did it. It’s more important to me to set that tone than to take our best hitter out of the lineup.“
End of an Era?: Ryan Howard in the midst of a 0-14 slump coming into the game struck out on 3 chest high fast balls in a row, w/ 2 on in the 7th after Franco was IBB’d to get to him. He went 0-4 on the night and is 4 for 48 (.083) in the month of May. This could be a sign that the Big Piece era is going to end sooner rather than later as this DH stint may be his last chance to prove his worth to the team or to some AL team in need of a DH. “I’m going to look at it a week at a time. We’ll see,” Mackanin said before the game when asked about Joseph replacing Howard at 1st “At some point it might come to that, but I can’t say it’s imminent. I wouldn’t say it’s imminent.”
Next Ups: Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 3.99) who has won his last two starts faces Justin Verlander (3-4, 4.58) again @ and I will be back to cover that one as well.