Sunday, April 1, 2012

Justin Verlander Solid in 2-1 Tiger Win; Mat Gamel Socks Grand Slam, Solo HR for Brewers

Players of the Day for Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grapefruit League

Justin Verlander
Even when the Detroit Tigers don't score a bunch of runs, they still manage to win games. That's because, in addition to having one of the most potent offenses in either league, they have a pitching staff led by 2011 AL Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander.

In Saturday's rain-shortened, 2-1 victory over the Braves, Verlander worked six strong innings, allowing four hits and one earned run, striking out five without issuing a walk.

It was the second win of spring for the mighty righty. After Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Braves tied the game with a run in the fourth, but Clete Thomas put the Tigers back on top with a solo job in the fifth. Verlander continued to dominate through the fifth and sixth innings, and then came the rains. Atlanta (10-17) never got to bat in the seventh.

Detroit continues to trail Toronto in Grapefruit League standings. The Jays are 23-5; the Tigers' 17-7.

Cactus League

Mat Gamel
No Prince Fielder? No problem.

The Milwaukee Brewers took a 10-7 decision over the Padres Saturday as Mat Gamel, who is vying to replace the departed Fielder at first base, smashed a grand slam and added a solo homer, going 2-for-3 with five RBI and possibly make the departure of one of the best power hitters in the game a little easier to stomach in Milwaukee.

Gamel, whose two homers gave him six this spring, looks like the real deal, one that the Milwaukee brain trust have kept hidden away in the minors during the years of Fielder's reign at first base.

A left-handed hitter who fields righty, Gamel played in 61 games with the Brewers in 2009 (5 HR, 20 RBI) and had a coupe of short stints in 2010 and 2011, but mostly he's been down in the minors since 2005, where he's put 105 balls out of various stadia and driven in 503 runs with a .304 batting average.

Maybe he's why the Brewers weren't too worried about losing Fielder to free agency. They were able to replace power with more power.

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