Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Ball is Back

Photo: AP

You’ll have to forgive my being a bit short on observational details concerning Zach Miner’s performance. Yesterday was my grandpa’s 93rd birthday, so my family was celebrating that, and my grandparents don’t have cable, so I was only able to catch bits of the first six innings on the radio. From what I can tell, he kind of bent, but he didn’t break, and had actually settled in pretty well in the fourth and fifth innings. And the game featured all the Tigers’ pitchers inducing lots of ground ball outs, which is very good. There were too many walks, though. And it was just great seeing Joel Zumaya lighting up the radar gun again, even if he needs to start throwing his breaking ball for strikes a bit better (By the way, one interesting thing is that if you were watching the game on Fox Sports Detroit, Zoom’s first pitch was at 100 MPH, but if you were watching on Fox Sports Kansas City, it was at 97 MPH).

Small ball is important, but you can’t win all the time by manufacturing runs, and to that end, it was nice to see the long ball again, especially with runners on base. Lots of extra-base hits, and Magglio FINALLY joined in on the fun. I could recognize the home-run swing as soon as I saw it, but it looked to me like he didn’t get all of it. It’s nice when that happens and it still goes out. By the way, I swear Trevor Thompson said on the pregame show that Brandon Inge tore a ligament in his thumb, but there has been no mention of this anywhere else. Miguel Cabrera has become somewhat of an injury concern, based on his mini-slump, the shot of him massaging his wrist in the dugout, and the fact that Kevin Rand took a lot at it during his final at-bat of the night. There has been a lot of talk, both on TV and on the radio, that Cabrera’s been jamming himself a lot during this stretch by swinging at balls that are off the plate inside. This begs the question: Is he getting jammed because his wrists are sore, or are his wrists sore because he’s getting jammed? Rod Allen seems to think it’s the latter, while a lot of bloggers think it’s the former.

Today marks the rubber game of this series, and the last game of the long road trip. Armando Galarraga hopes to rebound from a somewhat shaky outing against the Angels, and while he’s got good numbers against Kansas City, the Royals have a lot of lefties and switch-hitters in their lineup today. Meanwhile, Sidney Ponson is probably the weak spot in the Royals’ rotation, and the Tigers have beaten him up in the past (most recently in a game against the Yankees last September that I totally did not watch). However, the hitters have to be mindful not to let him go the way of Matt Palmer. Cabrera’s the DH today, with Larish at first base and Guillen getting the day off. Also, Dane Sardinha starts behind the plate today, as Matt Treanor has hit the DL with either a torn labrum in his hip or complications from the sports hernia (depending on which article you read), and he is expected to miss quite a bit of time (but the injury may explain his poor throws so far). Your Mood Music for today stems back to the second game against the Angels, when there was a shot (and brief discussion) of Armando Galarraga in the dugout wearing glasses instead of (presumably) his contact lenses. That kinda got me thinking: He wears glasses in the dugout, but not on the mound, and usually pitches very well, and since I had fun with Joel Zumaya last night, it’s only fitting that I have fun with Armando Galarraga today, which leads me to this…

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