Are you kidding me?
In an incredible capper to an opening weekend series against the Red Sox, the Tigers showed off their hitting skills early and late and very late to win a thrilling Easter Sunday contest. Alex Avila slugged a two-run homer that just eked over the right field wall in the bottom of the 11th, sending the Tigers to a 13-12 victory over Boston.
Bobby Valentine, all of three games into his tenure as the commander of Red Sox Nation, came out onto the field and checked with the umpires to make sure Avila’s homer was indeed valid. It was. He may not have believed his eyes, and who could blame him?
Several times over the three-game series the Tigers did the unthinkable and seemingly impossible.
Perhaps even more remarkably in this game, the Tigers exploded for three runs in the bottom of the ninth when Miguel Cabrera smashed a towering homer into the left field stands to tie the game at 10. The comebacks in the 9th and 11th gave the Sox a total of three blown saves over the weekend and the Tigers a 3-0 record.
It’s early of course, but this Tigers team seems to have that special swagger that only winning teams share. Their lineup is a terribly frightening ensemble, and with the addition of The Dreadlocked One it could be the best in the game. Fielder was big again today (and not just around the waist). He delivered a clutch opposite field single in the 11th to set up Avila’s magic.
Sure, the Tiger pitching staff had a miserable day. Max Scherzer looked more like Max Von Sydow on the hill. In our first look at 2012 Joaquin Benoit we saw him perform more like May ’11 Benoit than September ’11 Benoit. Ryan Raburn made a few mishaps, one each at second base and in the outfield. There were other mixups like a missed pitch out by Octavio Dotel, and a bobbled ball by Avila at the plate. But in the end the Tigers lineup found a way to win this game and give Duane Below his second win of the season. Just 24 hours ago his teammates were soaking him with champagne in the clubhouse in honor of his first. There may not be enough bubbly to properly toast this Easter game.
The Red Sox, who are supposed to be one of the best teams in the American League, limp out of Motown with a bullpen mess that Valentine will have to answer to. The Tigers have shown that they can win games of every flavor. On Friday they won a game where their ace put up zeroes. On Saturday they won by pummeling the opposition. Today they won a sloppy slugfest by coming from behind twice.
How many more ways are there to win baseball games? Let’s hope the Tigers find them all.