July 4th, 2012

First pitch scheduled for 9:30

Justin Verlander is long-tossing as I type this. The heavy downpours that hit the area and drenched Comerica Park have passed through, leaving temperatures in the 70s in their wake. So unless something crazy happens, this game should be a go.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

Today marks the start of five straight games against left-handed starters heading into the break for the Tigers. Expect to see a lot of Ryan Raburn for the rest of the week. He’s batting second tonight against Brian Duensing, with Quintin Berry getting the night off. Brennan Boesch stays in after his three-hit game last night.

On the Twins side, if the last two nights are a sign that the old Joe Mauer is back, then expect some very good at-bats between him and Justin Verlander. Mauer is 20-for-51 (.392) off Verlander with three doubles, three home runs and 10 walks off Verlander, including 6-for-14 the last two years. They haven’t met this year because Verlander hasn’t faced the Twins yet.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS (10-for-20 off Duensing)
  7. Brennan Boesch, RF
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B (3-for-8 off Duensing)

P: Justin Verlander

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF (13-for-34 off Verlander)
  2. Ben Revere, RF
  3. Joe Mauer, C (20-for-51, 3 HR off Verlander)
  4. Josh Willingham, LF
  5. Chris Parmelee, 1B
  6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
  7. Ryan Doumit, DH
  8. Jamey Carroll, SS
  9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

P: Brian Duensing

Boesch: “I wasn’t going to give any at-bats away”

Talked after the game with Brennan Boesch coming off his first three-hit game in about 3 1/2 weeks Tuesday, and his fourth of the year. He definitely sounded like he went in with a mindset to wait on his pitch after striking out twice in as many at-bats Monday night.

“I definitely was consciously trying to get a good pitch,” he said. “I got those pinch-hit [at-bats] yesterday but didn’t start, I just wanted to make sure today that I wasn’t going to give any at-bats away, or at least try not to give any at-bats away and try to make sure that every at-bat I’m fighting and doing everything I can to try to hit the ball.”

Those pitches came at different times Tuesday. His two-run single in the second inning came on a 2-0 fastball after Boesch shrugged at a curveball in the dirt and a fastball inside. His fourth-inning home run, by contrast, was a first-pitch fastball he jumped off starter Nick Blackburn.

Actually, Boesch hit the first strike he saw in all four at-bats. His sixth-inning single was a 2-0 slider from Jeff Gray. He hit another slider, this one on a 1-0 count after a first-pitch fastball inside, and nearly homered in the ninth inning off Glen Perkins.

When asked if it was an encouraging day, personally at least, he seemed to agree.

“Anytime you get three hits and a home run, it’s momentum to build,” he said. “I just missed hitting that last one out, too. Can’t really enjoy it for too long, but you can bring it into the next day and use it as momentum to try to get some consistency and build off a day like that.”

UPDATE: After reading in the comments below about Delmon Young’s average on 2-0 and 3-1 counts, I decided to look up Boesch’s splits. When he puts a 2-0 pitch in play, he’s 8-for-18, with two doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. When he puts a 2-1 pitch in play, he’s 4-for-9. When he puts a 3-1 pitch in play, he’s 1-for-5. When he gets to two-strike counts, he’s batting .144 (19-for-132) with four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers).

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