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Tigers ride to Cleveland victory

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It is apparently That Time of the Year: the bugs are back in Cleveland. Nobody is quite sure what kind of bugs they are– people seemed to think they were some sort of gnat when they harassed the Yankees out of town a couple seasons ago– but Mario said something about flying ants on Tuesday night’s broadcast, so flying ants are what we’ve got here, at least until someone comes and tells us otherwise.

Riding the bugs to victory: Edwin Jackson and Ryan Raburn.

Jackson threw 7 wicked good, awesomesauce innings, suffering stoically through his usual lack of run support by giving up a grand total of ZERO runs. The Racist Logos didn’t even hit him hard. Choo had a double, but that was it for extra base hits. Sure, it wasn’t a sexy zillion-strikeout Verlander-esque outing (Jackson K’d two in those seven innings, and walked three), but it was a bloody good start, and it was exactly what we needed/wanted to see from Jackson, especially as it had started to look like he was tiring late in the season.

Folks who haven’t been watching Jackson lately, just looking at his overall numbers, would probably sporfle at that, but he actually hadn’t held a team run-less since May, and he’d given up 17 runs in his last four games prior to this one. He’s still fairly young and he’s only been a starter since 2007, so season fatigue is a real, pants-wettingly scary possibility down the stretch here. A 100+ pitch game, in September, where Jackson DIDN’T look like he was sucking wind at the end, is a serious relief. Hopefully it won’t end up being a temporary sort of relief.

As for Raburn, oh, you know, he just went 2-for-3 with two walks and a home run that took on additional importance given the low-scoring nature of the game. On a night where EVERY baserunner was of vital importance, he got on base four times. OK, so he was caught stealing at one point, but he also made a great throw from the outfield to nail Matt LaPorta at home, and I reckon that more than makes up for it.

Magglio also had three hits (a double and two singles) and a walk, so his average is sitting at a very light and fluffy .295 right now (I say ‘light and fluffy’ because his OPS is an unfortunate .765). Maybe he’s trying to fool us into feeling better about his contract situation.

Due to the fact that the stupid Wrong Sox can’t do ANYTHING right, the Tigers really, really needed this win, and will probably continue to desperately need every win from here on out, because the Twinkies are refusing to lie down and decently die, and the wild card ain’t comin’ from this division. Tonight FredFred goes up against Justin Masterson, a pitching matchup I am very much looking forward to watching. Children dueling on the mound! Someone call CPS!