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Friday, August 14, 2009
This Verlander guy can pitch
I went to Fenway Park yesterday afternoon, hoping for a Red Sox sweep but knowing full well that Tigers ace Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Therefore it wasn't shocking (especially since Kevin Youkilis is currently serving his suspension and Dustin Pedroia got the day off) that Verlander completely silenced Boston's (65-49) bats as the Tigers (60-54) salvaged the fourth game, 2-0.
Verlander (13-6), who is Josh Beckett's biggest competition for the AL Cy Young this season, threw eight shutout innings before giving way to Detroit closer Fernando Rodney, who recorded a 1-2-3 ninth for his 24th save.
Verlander allowed just four hits, he walked one and struck out eight with a manly 123 pitches. Most impressive, on his last two pitches of the day in the eighth, he made Jason Bay swing and miss at 100-mph fastballs.
For the second straight outing, Clay Buchholz pitched well enough to win but unfortunately he faced another team's ace (C.C. Sabathia was the last one). Clay (1-3) lasted seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
In the fourth, Ryan Raburn provided all the offense the Tigers needed as his infield single drove in Miguel Cabrera.
With a solo homer over the Monster in the seventh by Raburn, everybody knew it was game set, match.
After the game, Boston departed for Texas where it has a pivotal three game series with the Rangers. The Red Sox lie half a game ahead of Texas in the AL wild card standings so hopefully last weekend's no-show against the Yankees is a distant memory.