I said in the recap of Wednesday’s game that Josh Beckett was the front runner for the Cy Young award. Apparently, that made Justin Verlander a tad upset. With the Tigers staring at a four game sweep in Boston, Verlander took the hill and frankly speaking, flat-out owned the Red Sox. As good as Beckett was yesterday, today Verlander was better.
Verlander (13-6) lasted eight innings, limiting the Red Sox to just four hits. He walked one while fanning eight. He also twice hit Chris Woodward with pitches, but even after the fracas on Tuesday, no violence ensued.
The Tigers’ offense did just enough to get Verlander his 13th win of the season, as Ryan Raburn knocked in both runs with a single in the fourth and a home run in the seventh, both against Boston starter Clay Buchholz. Buchholz (1-3) probably deserved a better fate, as he lasted seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks.
- Verlander—He did what aces are supposed to do. He was able to shut down the Sox in dominating fashion. This win ends a string of two un-Verlander like starts and sends the Tigers home on a winning note.
- Raburn—Starting in place of Brandon Inge, Raburn made a sparkling defensive play at third base. He accounted for both Tigers runs with his bat. Very good day for a guy that has struggled mightily since the All-Star break.
- Fernando Rodney—With Verlander out of the game after his 120-pitch performance, Rodney worked the ninth to earn his 24th save in 25 tries. On the way, he sat down the Sox in order and kept the joy going for this win.
- Jason Bay—The Red Sox left fielder had three home runs over the first three games of this series, but he couldn’t solve Verlander today. Bay gets the “Silver Sombrero” with his three strikeout performance, as Verlander routinely blew fastballs past him all afternoon.
- The bats (minus Raburn)—All Tigers not named Ryan Raburn collected a total of three hits in this game. Not a good effort at all, but a win is a win.
What’s on tap
The Tigers head home to take on the Royals tomorrow night. The series will complete a string on 17 games in 17 days for the Tigers, a span that has seen them go 7-7 through the first 14 games. Detroit will send Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 3.12 ERA) to the hill to battle Kansas City’s Zack Greinke (11-7, 2.43 ERA). How cool is it to get to see Beckett pitch one day, Verlander the next, and Greinke the day after? Here you go fans—you'll be able to judge the Cy Young race for yourselves.