The Tigers kicked the week off with a brief two game series against Baltimore. After seeing their offense explode in the opener, the O’s offense came back in the second game with a big day at the plate, which split the series one game apiece.
Back to divisional games, the Tigers returned home to host the red hot White Sox for another short two game series, where they were promptly swept away in the White Sox path of destruction. The brief series also saw the Tigers bullpen blow a very winnable game for the second time, as Jamie Walker again allowed inherited runners to score, much like the previous week against Minnesota.
They originally had a three game series planned with the Twins over the weekend, but Mother Nature had other ideas, as a snowstorm cancelled both weekend games after Pudge Rodriguez’s dramatic extra inning walk-off home run that won the first game. The Tigers made up one of the two (the other will likely be made up in July) on Monday, as the bullpen once again struggled (this time it was Kyle Farnsworth giving up the game tying and go-ahead runs), but the offense came through and led the team back to a two-game sweep of the Twins.
Down on the farm, Toledo and Erie both followed the Tigers lead with 3-3 weeks, as both teams also battled weather in having games cancelled over the course of the week. The SeaWolves also got a bit of a jolt this week with the return of Tony Giarratano to the lineup, who promptly blasted a home run in his return, his first blast of the year.
With the two A-ball teams, both had records above .500 for the week (Lakeland at 4-2, West Michigan at 3-2). Like the Tigers, the ‘Caps were affected by the inclement weather as both of their weekend games were snowed out as well. Lakeland didn’t have to battle any snow, but still had a game postponed due to rain. The ‘Caps will now undertake the challenge of playing four games in just a 36-hour span on Monday and Tuesday.
TT Players of the Week: RF Brent Clevlen, SS Carlos Guillen
Brent Clevlen has come back from a rough year on a tear, including a huge week for the L-Tigers. Clevlen in six games went 10-for-23, including seven runs scored, three home runs and seven RBI. Clevlen is now tied for second in the Florida State League in home runs with five, and tied for fourth in RBI with 16.
Guillen had a big week for the Tigers, hitting .500 (11-for-22) including a home run in Monday’s game against the Twins as well as four RBI. Guillen is quickly proving that last season wasn’t a fluke, and he is indeed one of the top tier shortstops in all of baseball.
TT Pitchers of the Week: SP Justin Verlander, RP Troy Percival
Because of Lakeland’s depth in pitching, Verlander has had plenty of time in between each start, but his lone start on Monday of the past week was a beauty, as he pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits, including a very impressive ten strikeouts.
Despite blowing his first save opportunity with a home run to Justin Morneau, Percival kept battling and earned his first win as a Tiger, then on Monday pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first save as Tiger. The home run turned out to be the only hit and run Percival would allow over his four innings. He also struck out two.
TT Honorable Mention:3B Kody Kirkland, C Ivan Rodriguez, OF Nook Logan
If not for his teammate’s huge week, Lakeland third baseman Kody Kirkland would have taken player of the week honors. Kirkland went 9-for-24 for the week, including three doubles, five runs scored and five RBI. Another great sign for a player who had a tough go of it in 2004.
For the week, Rodriguez hit just .263, but it was heroics on Friday night that earns him mention here, as his walk-off home run against Minnesota broke a three game losing streak for the Tigers and provided for some early season excitement. Rodriguez also drove in five runs.
Rodriguez had the highlights, but Logan made things happen in every game he appeared. Over the six games, Logan hit .429 including four doubles, six runs scored and a stolen base (that prompted a bad throw from catcher Joe Mauer and allowed him to score another run on Monday). He still isn’t showing much patience at the plate, but is providing some excitement and displaying excellent defense in center field – his two home run-saving catches against Baltimore are also worthy of praise.