The Tampa Bay Rays entered Detroit with a 3-0 series over the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers were ready to face them, having won a 3-0 series over the Boston Red Sox. The afternoon game was played in chilly 40-50 degrees weather; but the Rays looked frozen throughout the whole game. The only Rays’ action was in the 3rd inning where Brignac singled (his first hit of the year), Jennings singled, Pena was hit by a pitch, and Longoria was walked to score Brignac. The Rays’ lead quickly fell when Rays’ ace pitcher Matt Moore walked Alan Jackson on two outs. The next batter, Brennan Boesch, singled, scoring Jackson. The Tigers had another threat brewing in the fifth inning after Jackson walked (also on two outs), and Boesch singled. Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked and somehow Moore got Prince Fielder to fly out to left field.
The Rays took the lead again in the 7th inning after Molina hit a ground rule double. For some odd reason, a Tiger fan decided to reach and take the baseball that was still in play. This is the third fan interference call in the past three games for the Rays. Jennings managed to score Molina, Rays now led 2-1. The Tigers quickly answered back when Jackson hit a homerun; the game was now 2-2. The game was under control until the 8th inning. Cabrera and Fielder teamed up for one run, chasing Jake McGee out of the game. Burke Badenhop was brought in to do control damage, but the Tigers scored two more runs off of him. The Tigers won 5-2.
The Tigers won 6 out of 7 games against the Rays last year, so it is not surprising that the Tigers still have the Rays’ numbers. Actually, the Tigers look more like a threat than the Red Sox and Yankees since the Tigers have power and pitching. I’m glad we only have to play them six more times this, with four games being played at Tropicana Field. It is up to Shields and Niemann to halt the Tigers’ winning streak. Shields is looking to redeem himself after his poor performance on opening day while Niemann is out to show that he does deserve the fifth starter spot on the team.
Player of the Game: Matt Moore. Moore is still young and was not pitching like an ace today, but he kept the score low. Moore’s biggest problem was throwing balls; he walked a total of 5 (though 1was intentional) players today. Moore also showed he was able to get the first two batters out, but he had trouble getting the third batter out. (I believe Shields had this problem two years ago). Moore managed to keep his cool in dangerous situations, showing a high level of maturity.
What I like:
- Reid Brignac had his first hit of the season and ended up scoring the first run of the game. Ever since Jason Bartlett left, the Rays’ shortstop position has been hitting around .220. If the short stop can start batting around .250, then the Rays will have more opportunities to score runs.
- Carlos Pena: Pena only had one hit, but had several very good at-bats. He hit the balls hard, but sadly the Tigers were in the perfect place to catch the balls. Pena also worked the count, unlike several Rays players who swung at the first pitch and became quick outs.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Rays’ Offense: Only Desmond Jennings had 2 hits today while Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriquez had 0 hits. Most of the innings in the game were 1-2-3 outs, thus the Tiger’s pitchers had low pitch counts and Matt Moore did not have much time to rest between innings.
- Bull Pen: The Bull Pen allowed the Tigers to score 3 runs in the last two innings, allowing the Tigers to win 5-3. McGee and Badenhop were the two pitchers who failed to get the job done today.
- Jose Molina: Molina let a wild-pitch get by him, which led to the Tigers scoring their first run of the game. This is the second time in four games that a wild-pitch has gotten by Molina. The Rays haven’t had a decent catcher since 2008 when Dioner Navarro had an All-Star year, excellent defense and high batting average. The Rays NEED a catcher; to me, this is their biggest problem every year. Everyone knows we don’t have a catcher. I can’t diss Molian too much since he did score a run and I did like Moore and Molina talking in the dugout, but I want a catcher to play defense.