Thursday, April 5, 2012
Red Sox Rally But Still Fall Short Against The Tigers On Opening Day 2012
The Detroit Tigers (1-0) won 3-2 on a walk-off single by Austin Jackson (3 hits, run, RBI) that scored pinch-runner Danny Worth in the bottom of the ninth against Alfredo Aceves at Comerica Park.
The main reason I'm not that mad is that Boston (0-1) trailed 2-0 going into the top of the ninth but they scored twice against Tigers closer Jose Valverde. He had been a perfect 49 for 49 last season in save situations, he hadn't blown a save since September 2010. Dustin Pedroia doubled and was knocked in by David Ortiz's sacrifice fly. Then Ryan Sweeney (2 hits) hit a two-out triple to tie it.
Justin Verlander and Jon Lester as expected had a nice pitcher's duel on a chilly afternoon in Detroit. Verlander was a little better, going eight solid innings and only allowing two hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He benefited from some a wide strike zone but that's what you have to expect from a reigning Cy Young winner not to mention an MVP. Lester went seven innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Lester lasted that long because he forced the Tigers to ground into three double plays.
Detroit built a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead with a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth. Alex Avila (2 hits) doubled in Jhonny Peralta (3 hits) in the seventh then Prince Fielder plated Jackson (who tripled) with a sacrifice fly in the eighth against Vicente Padilla.
Aceves (0-1) took the loss but he had to enter a really tough situation: runners on 1st and 2nd with one out after Mark Melancon gave up two singles. By hitting Ramon Santiago, Aceves basically made it a foregone conclusion that the Red Sox would lose.
There is absolutely no reason to panic yet. Truthfully, I didn't think Boston would beat Verlander on Opening Day. Lester pitched well enough but the offense (5 hits, 1 walk) was too quiet to expect a win against the best pitcher in baseball. For some reason, MLB chose to make tomorrow an off-day so the teams will be back at it on Saturday afternoon (4:05 first pitch on Fox) as Josh Beckett takes on Doug Fister, who had a remarkable run after getting traded from Seattle last season.
Normally, I would worry about this Red Sox team getting a night off during the season but other than avoiding getting shot, I don't think they can get into much trouble in Detroit.