18 June 2012
The Tigers have been rolling of late. Winners of seven out of the last ten games, Detroit won its third straight series after beating the Colorado Rockies 5-0 in the series finale on Sunday. The lone blemish in the series came in the first game when the Rockies exploded for eight runs in the top of the 10th inning in a 12-4 win.
Aside from the one disastrous inning the Tigers’ pitching was dominant allowing only six other runs during the three-game series. The Tigers are now just two games under .500 with a record of 32-34. They made up ground on both the White Sox and Indians. After both teams lost on Sunday the Tigers trail the division leading White Sox by 3 games and the Indians by 1.5 games.
Here are some of the top performers from the Rockies series:
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Max Scherzer: Scherzer showed just how dominant he can be when he commands his pitches. There is no doubt he has great stuff. His trouble has been staying efficient so he can pitch late into games. He has also struggled with his control at times. There were no signs of those troubles on Sunday. Scherzer struck out 12 Rockies, while pitching eight shutout innings, allowing just seven hits. The eight inning start was the longest of the year for Scherzer. It was the third time this year that Scherzer didn’t allow a walk. Sherzer had an electric fastball and a nasty slider going on Sunday, often leaving Rockies’ hitters helpless at the plate. If he continues to pitch like this it will be a huge boost for the Tigers starting rotation.
Doug Fister: On Saturday, Fister returned from his second stint on the disabled list. Fister had been battling an injury to his side. Instead of going on a rehab assignment, Fister decided he was ready to go after several bullpen sessions. He looked great in his first start since May 28, scattering three hits over six scoreless innings. Fister mixed his pitches well, confusing Rockies hitters at times on his way to six strikeouts. This was the kind of performance the Tigers had been waiting for this season, after Fister dominated last year after a mid-season trade to Detroit. Saturday’s game was the first win on the season for Fister despite his 2.68 ERA. Scherzer and Fister are very important pitchers for the Tigers as they are counting on the two right-handers to complement staff ace Justin Verlander.
Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera is the main offensive threat in the Tigers lineup and he showed that over the course of the series against the Rockies. He had four hits in the three games including two doubles and a solo home run. He recorded one RBI in each of the three games. His average now stands at .310 and his 54 RBI rank second in the American League and third in all of baseball. The addition of Prince Fielder to the lineup is clearly helping Cabrera’s numbers as he is seeing more quality pitches to hit. The two big hitters form one of the best duos in the league, but as good as Fielder has been, it all starts with Cabrera who is an MVP caliber player.
Quintin Berry: Berry only started one game in the Colorado series, but he made his presence felt. On Sunday Berry went 5-5 with five singles, raising his average to .333. Berry brings some much-needed speed to the Tigers lineup. Berry and Austin Jackson are the only real threats to steal a base for the Tigers. Berry stole his ninth base in nine attempts on Sunday. When Jackson was on the DL, Berry filled in nicely, hitting for average and stealing bases, all while playing an excellent center field. He was a regular on the highlight reels with his spectacular diving catches. With Jackson now back from the DL and hitting well, Jim Leyland has to decide what to do with Berry. He played Berry in left field on Sunday, while Jackson played in center. It looks like Berry and Jackson play well together and make up a very speedy outfield. It remains to be seen if Leyland will find consistent playing time for Berry, although Berry made a good case on Sunday.