08 April 2012
The highlight of the afternoon was the home runs. First it was Miguel Cabrera in the first inning with a blas that also scored Austin Jackson, then Prince Fieler and Alex Avila each went the opposite way for homers in the fourth inning. And then there was the feat that we all hope to see many times this year: Cabrera and Fielder going back-to-back in the fifth.
But altough the Dynamic Duo will get most of the attention (and they deserve it) the offense wasn't all about them. Austin Jackson got on base three times with a double and two walks. He'll be the catalyst this season if he can get on base with frequency (and through two games his OBP is .600). Delmon Young and Andy Dirks also chipped in a pair of singles each.
CONTINUE READING THIS POST>>
But Saturday wasn't all fun and games for the Tigers. Doug Fister was lifted in the fourth inning after tweaking a muscle in his side. Fister, who was so good for the Tigers after coming over in a trade from Seattle a season ago, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. I don't think the AL Central is going to be particularly tough for the Tigers to win, so they can afford a hiccup or two along the way. The big thing here is that Fister gets healthy for the stretch run and into the playoffs. Having both Drew Smyly and Duane Below in the rotation at this point in the year wasn't on any of our minds, but if Fister is sidelined for just the 15 days, then he'll really only be missing two starts. That's a small price to pay to make sure the number two pitcher doesn't have lingering issues all season long.
Fister looked good before the injury hit. His final line was 3.2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 ER. If he can get back on the field sooner rather than later, then this should prove to be just a small speedbump along the way. It should also be noted that Below, Fister's replacement in the rotation, was lights out in 2.1 innings of relief (2 K, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 ER).
One of the keys to Detroit's success this year, both during the regular season and the playoffs, will be the performance of the bullpen. The back-end of the pen had a rough start on Thursday when Jose Valverde blew the save, but Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit did the job masterfully on Saturday. It wasn't a high pressure situation, but Dotel, Coke, and Benoit combined for three innings with six strikeouts and only three hits and one walk. I don't see the Tigers losing very many games in which the starter gets through six innings with the lead.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.