The Detroit Tigers offense just keeps on rolling along. The Tigers took down the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-4 on Sunday to win their second consecutive series. Miguel Cabrera & Victor Martinez each had home runs for the Tigers & Jordan Zimmermann got the win after going only 5 2/3 innings.
In the 6th, Zimmermann seemed as though he was going to be able to get through another great inning of work, but tweaked his groin as he was pitching to Tampa Bay Rays Steve Pierce. Manager Brad Ausmus said after the game that Zimmermann would be getting an MRI today. Cabrera left the game in the 8th inning after getting hit in the knee by a pitch. He will also have an MRI today.
Even though there were some down spots in the game from the injury standpoint, the team, as a whole, looked strong on offense for the second straight series. Ian Kinsler has a 10-game hitting streak, J.D. Martinez has been swinging a hot bat, as he had an RBI double in the second inning & scored on Cabrera’s hit later that inning, just part of the onslaught the Tigers put on Rays starter Chris Archer, who gave up six runs on eight hits over 3 innings of work.
Detroit will move on to take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night at Comerica, the last series before the team heads to Oakland on Friday. Detroit sends Mike Pelfrey to the mound, who had a win in his last start against the Rays. Pelfrey pitched well in his last outing, going into the 6th winning with giving up only two earned runs on seven hits. The Phillies will bring Vince Velasquez to the mound at Comerica. Velasquez is 5-1 with 2.42 ERA. In his last start against the Miami Marlins, Velasquez was dominant in a short body of work, pitching only five innings, yet had ten strikeouts while allowing three hits & two walks.
The longer the team keeps playing like this, the more Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch will try to roll on through with Brad Ausmus as manager. Ausmus looks more comfortable this season & seems to have handled the storm about him being fired very well, for now. Of course, the noise always disappears when the team is winning, but as we have said before, the players believe in Ausmus. They may believe in him because he is not too far removed from being in their position just five years ago. He understands the team culture, understands this generation of player & seems to be able to relate to the top players on the team in Miguel Cabrera & Justin Verlander.
Fans still chirp on local sports talk radio in Detroit that Ausmus should be out & even Jim Leyland should come back, especially since he is going to make Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic next year. At the end of Leyland’s tenure in Detroit, the players were burned out with the message that Leyland was sending, possibly because the team’s veterans did not want to hear from a guy like Leyland who doesn’t hold back his feelings or was just burned out with him as a whole. No matter what, again, winning almost trumps everything & Leyland got the team to two World Series (2006, 2012), while Ausmus has gotten the team to the playoffs in 2014, only to be beat up by the Baltimore Orioles swiftly.
We aren’t saying the Tigers are right back in the playoff race, but we will leave you with this thought – does the Chicago White Sox & Kansas City Royals look as though the Tigers couldn’t catch them with a strong run?