The Tigers won 8-4 last night. Todd Jones came on with an 8-2 lead in the ninth and had to be pulled with two outs in the inning. Jim Leyland did not feel comfortable with him out there protecting what had turned into an 8-4 lead. Fernando Rodney needed one pitch to get the last out. Nice try, Todd. Nice try.
The Toledo guys (Hollimon and Joyce) led the Tigers on offense and Clete Thomas made a few sparkling plays on defense. Good times for those guys. Joyce went 4-5 in what was obviously his best game as a pro so far. Joyce had two doubles, scored twice and drove in a run. Hollimon went 2-5 that included his first big league home run.
The veterans played well too. Pudge went 2-5 and picked up three RBI, including two huge RBI in the top of the ninth inning. Curtis Granderson and Gary Sheffield each had two hits as well for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera returned from injury and singled in five trips, he looked slower than usual. I’m not sure he’s all the way back yet.
Justin Verlander started for the Tigers and after a brutal first inning he was pretty sharp. Verlander went six innings and gave up two runs to pick up his fifth win of the season. He allowed 8 hits and three walks while striking out three. He threw 109 pitches. He’s had a tough time keeping his pitch count down this season and this start was no different. The Tigers need a guy of his caliber to go seven innings and save the pen a bit.
Bobby Seay continued his better play as he threw a scoreless seventh inning. Joel Zumaya came on in the 8th inning and gave up a pair of fluke singles (the balls were not hit hard), he looked very good. Rodney threw the one pitch to pick up his first save of the season.
Back to Jones though. Jones sucks. He’s just flat out not very good. But hey, we all knew that already. I’m guessing he’ll do what he always does: he’ll come back a bit and show the Tigers why he’s the closer. However, at some point you have to wonder if this guy is the closer for a playoff team. I don’t think he is. We saw shades of that for the first time tonight. Clearly, guys like Zumaya and Rodney are much better pitchers than Jones. When the game is really on the line 90% of us would feel a lot better with Zumaya or Rodney outJ there over Jonsey.
Anyway, here’s my recent post on how Jones compares to other closers over the course of his career. I’ll have another study up soon on how he compares this season only.
Enjoy your holiday.