The Chase Experience: Detroit Tigers Edition

We are going to try to do some live-blogging from the ballpark.  Jeff Rich is on hand for the first game of the Diamondbacks 2-game series with the Tigers.  Robbie Ray working for Arizona, while Justin Verlander gets the ball for Brad Ausmus‘ Tigers.

Start of Game (6:40)

Robbie Ray’s first pitch to Andrew Romine came at 6:40 on a beautiful 75* spring evening in downtown Phoenix.  Romine would work a walk on a full count, but Ray bounced back to strike out Jose Iglesias.

Miguel Cabrera gets a nice reception from the Phoenix chapter of the Detroit Tigers fan club…or perhaps a lot of people made the trip from Michigan.  Miggy went down looking and he was not too happy with the call.

Ray spoiled the back-to-back strike out by gifting second base to Romine on a wild pitch, then surrendering an RBI single to left field off the bat of Nick Castellanos.

Upton walks, but the damage is limited to just a run when Mikie Mahtook flied out to AJ Pollack in right-center field to end the away half of the frame.

Meet Justin Verlander

So, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Justin Verlander pitch live and in-person.  There are a handful of players in this game that intrigue regardless of laundry–the team they are employed by–and Verlander happens to be one of them.  I have seen the best and worst of Verlander; a couple of Diamondbacks teams of the past have only seen his best.  He’s 2-0 with 19 Ks in less than 15 innings of work.

He came out firing on all cylinders, mowing down AJ Pollack and David Peralta, both strikeouts coming by way of the swing and a miss, even though AJ wasn’t sure he actually swung.  With two outs, Verlander had the luxury of pitching around Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb–walking them both.  Yasmany Tomas grounded out to end the inning.

The Long Ball

Brian McCann leads off the second inning with a shot over the right-ish center field wall, into the pool area at Chase Field.  Detroit leads 2-0, but that’s all they’d get in the inning.

Verlander strikes out the 8 and 9 hitter in the DBacks lineup, stranding Chris Owings after his 1-out single.

Something Going

AJ Pollack led off the third inning with a double just inside the the right field line.  Mahtook kept it from going to the wall, but there was no play at second.  After Peralta grounded out to Verlander, but still advanced the runner to third, Goldschmidt singled between the first and second basemen to get the home team on the board.

Lamb gave one a nice ride to deep left-center, which was caught, but Goldy was able to tag from first to second base.  It was close, but Goldschmidt’s hustle ties the score, on Tomas’ RBI single to left.  They reviewed it, but they got the safe call right on the field, the first time.

Brandon Drury bounced one off the warning track into the pool, giving Arizona their first lead of the night at 3-2.  Owings forced Iglesias to make the play, but it went on the scorecard as ‘6-3’.  Inning over; DBacks up by 1.

Sometimes, Nothing Happens

…Until It Does

We were enjoying the Cabrera walks of shame, but they were not forever.  With two on in the top of the 5th inning, Cabrera lined one off the wall, but only got one in, as the relay throw came in quickly.  Both Justins struck out in the inning, but Mikie Mahtook drove in two runs, with the 3rd out coming from Nick Castellanos trying to get from second to third on Mahtook’s single.

Tigers up 5-3…

Not This Time, Miguel

Verlander at 100

The Diamondbacks threatened with Brandon Drury’s 1-out double in the sixth inning.  He got to third on a long fly ball out, off the bat of Chris Owings, but when push came to shove, Verlander puthsed Jeff Mathis back to the dugout with strikeout pitch on the fullest of full counts, his 101st and likely final pitch of the evening.

No runs, one hit, and to err is human, but the Tigers didn’t commit any there.

Justin Puts Tigers Up a Ton

My first thought, “It’s to the deepest part of the ballpark.”

Second thought, “It’s not going to matter, that’s gone.”

Justin Upton

Justin Upton crosses the plate after his solo home run in the 8th inning of Tuesday’s game in Phoenix, giving the Tigers a 7-3 lead.

Running Out of Outs

It would help if they could chip away at this, but they’re going to need at least 3 runs across in the ninth–let’s see what the Tigers do in the top half of the inning before we start counting chickens.

Tigers win, 7-3

Tigers take the series opener, 7-3 over the Arizona Diamondbacks