Batter up! Tigers ace Justin Verlander will oppose San Francisco’s veteran left-hander Barry Zito in Game 1 of the World Series, beginning at 8:07 tonight. Our inning-by-inning blog follows.
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It was not the Tigers night in Game 1 of the World Series.
Justin Verlander was not himself and the Tigers bats were nothing close to what they were when we last saw them teeing off on Yankees pitching in Game 4 of the ALCS.
Verlander pitched just four innings, throwing 98 pitches in the process. He gave up two home runs to Pablo Sandoval, who hit another one in the fifth inning off of Al Alburquerque to become just the fourth player in history to hit three home runs in a World Series game. The other three are some guys named Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
The Tigers bats need to wake up. Despite facing another lefty tomorrow, expect Andy Dirks to take Avisail Garcia’s spot in the lineup. The rookie looked lost out there tonight. You can also expect Gerald Laird behind the plate for Game 2.
Luckily for the Tigers, they can get right back at it tomorrow and hope that all the rust from a five day layoff came off tonight in Game 1.
The Tigers didn’t get anything going with the bats in the eighth inning against Tim Lincecum, who came into the game in the sixth inning and picked up right where Barry Zito left off.
The Tigers bats have been cold all night and one could make an argument that this is due in large part to having five days off between games.
The seventh inning brought the return of Jose Valverde to the mound. He hadn’t pitched since Game 1 of the ALCS when he gave up four runs to the Yankees in the ninth inning.
With one out, Angel Pagan took a Valverde splitter and hit a double to right field. He was brought home by Marco Scutaro, who hit a soft chopper through the left side of the infield that found a hole between Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta.
Pablo Sandoval got his fourth hit of the night and moved Scutaro up to third base, where he was promptly brought home by a Buster Posey single.
Valverde got a strikeout, but it was against Tim Lincecum. You have to figure Jim Leyland brought in Valverde to get his confidence back. That didn’t happen.
After scoring their first run with one out in the sixth inning, the Tigers couldn’t deliver any more runs. Prince Fielder was robbed of a base hit, Delmon Young hit a single and Jhonny Peralta struck out with two men on base when the Giants brought in Tim Lincecum to pitch for Barry Zito.
The good news is Zito is out of the game. The bad news is the Giants have an excellent bullpen. The Tigers will have to step up at the plate in a big way if they want to have any chance to steal Game 1.
Al Alburquerque set the Giants down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Austin Jackson led off the sixth inning with a double and got moved over to third base on a long fly out by Omar Infante. Miguel Cabrera drove Jackson in with a line drive to center field that died before it had any chance of being caught.
Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from the Tigers bats, who need to wake up in a hurry.
Danny Worth came to pinch hit for Justin Verlander with two outs in the fifth inning, officially ending the night for the Tigers ace.
This is certainly not what Tigers fans envisioned in Game 1 of the World Series. There was some bad luck involved in Verlander’s short exit, but Giants hitters take a lot of the credit here as they have an uncanny ability to foul off pitches and drive up pitch counts. That will be something to watch the rest of the series. The Giants are known for fouling off a lot of balls.
Barry Zito, yes Barry Zito, drove in a run with a two-out single off of Justin Verlander, who is just not himself tonight.
With Verlander due up third in the top of the fifth inning, he could be pinch hit for and done for the night. We’ll see how Jim Leyland wants to play it. If Garcia and Avila don’t get on in front of Verlander, there’s a possibility Leyland will let him bat and try to get another inning out of his ace. It doesn’t look good at this point, though.
Verlander has thrown 98 pitches.
The bad bounce off of third base with two outs and nobody on came back to bite the Tigers again as Pablo Sandoval continues to be Justin Verlander’s worst enemy. Sandoval drove a ball the opposite way to score himself and Marco Scutaro.
Weird things happen sometimes. In this case, it was Pagan keeping the inning alive with a little bit of luck. Things snowballed on Verlander after that.
Angel Pagan got to second base with two outs after a chopper he hit skipped off third base and into the outfield. Bad luck for Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Marco Scutaro, the NLCS MVP, came to the plate and drove a ball to center field to score Pagan.
Verlander was looking good up until that bad bounce, but the Giants are fouling off a lot of pitches and putting together good at-bats against the Tigers ace.
After Justin Verlander (yes, he bats in the NL stadium) popped out to start the inning, Austin Jackson drove a single up the middle. Omar Infante struck out and Miguel Cabrera drove a ball to left field where Gregor Blanco made a great diving catch to end the inning.
The Tigers have a couple of hits, but lets hope the five days between games don’t affect their plate appearances. It’s still to early to tell, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
The Tigers bats didn’t make any noise in the top half of the second inning as they were set down in order.
But Justin Verlander bounced back from the home run he gave up in first inning by setting down the Giants 1-2-3 and picking up his second strikeout in the process.
The homer Sandoval hit in the first inning was just a hitter getting on top of a tough pitch. Verlander looks good on the mound and appears to be in a groove after that second inning.
Pablo Sandoval had a bases clearing triple off Justin Verlander in this years All-Star game. And tonight he got Verlander again, hitting a home run to center field on a fastball that was high and tight.
Verlander threw a decent pitch, but Sandoval somehow got on top of it. Verlander doesn’t look like he’s missing his spots, so as long as he doesn’t get rattled after that long ball, he should be alright.
Verlander struck out likely NL MVP Buster Posey to end the first inning.
Barry Zito gave up a single to Omar Infante and then walked Miguel Cabrera with one out. Prince Fielder swung at the first pitch he saw and popped out to shallow left field. Delmon Young, the ALCS MVP, grounded out to third base and the Giants escaped unscathed.
Next up, Justin Verlander.
The Tigers are taking their postseason show to San Francisco. Waiting for them will be the National League Champion San Francisco Giants.
The Tigers haven’t played a game since closing out the Yankees last Thursday, but simulated games over the weekend were held to try and keep the team fresh and avoid becoming rusty.
The good thing about the layoff is the Tigers get to set up their rotation exactly as they want it.
Justin Verlander gets the call tonight in Game 1 tonight. He’s given up just two runs in his three starts this postseason.
The Giants counter with their own former Cy Young Award Winner, Barry Zito. And while over the past few years Zito hasn’t been the dominant pitcher he used to be, he shut down a good Cardinals lineup in Game 5 of the NLCS.
Another twist is that the Tigers are playing in a National League ballpark, and that means no designated hitter. With Delmon Young swinging a big stick this postseason, he’ll be playing left field. And that means, at least for tonight, Andy Dirks will be the odd man out. Avisail Garcia will get the start in right field with the left-handed Zito on the mound.
First pitch for Game 1 in San Francisco will be shortly after 8:00 p.m.