MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota —
For the third straight game, the Tigers offense fails to put up runs, and yet again, the bullpen was hit hard. This time it was Brayan Villarreal’s turn to act as the punching bag. Villarreal allowed 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, extending the Twins lead to an insurmountable 8-2 score. That would be the final in the series finale today at Target Field.
The Detroit offense was as quiet as a mouse. Detroit had a chance to get back into the game with the bases loaded in the 7th, but Josh Roenicke and Casey Fien pitched out of a jam. Detroit has scored just 8 runs in 3 games since the season started on Monday. Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson led the team today with a pair of hits each, while Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter added an RBI each. In total, Detroit went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Just look at the some of the Tigers batting averages through the first 3 games and it’s no mystery why this team isn’t winning. Prince Fielder is hitting .167, Victor Martinez just .182 and Alex Avila at .100. The team is still looking for their first home run of the year. All the talk about the struggling bullpen and lack of a closer has hid those numbers to start the year.
However, it’s still only 3 games into a 162 game season, so there is no need for panic. Keep in mind the Tiger offense was slow to start last season too.
Starter Rick Porcello pitched a good game, going 5.1 innings and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits (2 of which were HRs). The bullpen was much better today, with the exception of Villarreal. Dotel, Downs, and Albuquerque combined to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings.
Due to the Tigers bullpen woes, they’ve signed Jose Valverde to a minor league contract today. He’ll report to Lakeland for an abbreviated Spring Training before heading to Toledo.
The Tigers will now head home to the friendly confines of Comerica Park for 6 games (3 vs. NYY, 3 vs. TOR). Doug Fister gets the ball for Detroit tomorrow in the home opener against Ivan Nova. 1st pitch is at 1:08pm with FSD pre-game airing beforehand. It will feel great to get back to the Motor City! Go Tigers!!