Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Knew You Still Had It, JV

Photo: AP

Finally, finally, FINALLY things started going Verlander’s way. He was totally amazing, and he was able to keep his wits about him when the Yankees got hits and also after the one mistake (Polanco being unable to turn a double play, but he made up for it later in the ninth). This was a lot like the one start he made against them in 2007, when he just dominated them. It’s starts like these that made me go nuts for him in the first place, and it was nice to see the results reflect the numbers (and the stuff) at last. By the way, I may have shortchanged Justin on a start against the Yankees. They mentioned on FSN last night that it was his fifth career start against New York. I know he made two starts in ’07 and one against them last year. So are they including his postseason start or did he pitch against them at Comerica Park sometime in ’06 and I just don’t remember? Bobby Seay did a nice job out of the ‘pen, though he caught a break when Mark Teixiera just missed hitting a three-run homer off him (however, since he’s pitched three days in a row, you’d think he’d be unavailable for tonight’s game). Rodney gave up runs for the third consecutive outing, but so far he’s not walking people (and I think the Yankees have caught onto that, which is why they came out swinging at the first pitch). He got some help from a double play ball to limit the damage.

Well, given how Verlander-Sabathia matchups usually end, this one surprised me by actually becoming a pitching duel. Sabathia, who had given up a ton of walks coming in, found his control, but luckily for us, he didn’t get any run support, and the offense was able to do just enough against him. For once, just about all the contribution came from the top of the order. Outside of Polanco’s two doubles and the Magglio home run (I was reminded of a very similar home run that Pudge hit early last year in that same area, although Maggs didn’t need help from the right fielder to get it over the gate), the offense seemed a little bit sluggish, but Sabathia IS a good pitcher.

Yesterday, it got up into the mid-80s around here, and I imagine the temperature was similar in Detroit. I know the game-time temp was 72 degrees, according to the box score. And yet, during his pre-game show interview, Armando Galarraga was wearing a freakin’ sweatshirt. I know he’s from Venezuela and it’s warmer down there, but that’s ridiculous. He’s also doing the Clark Kent thing again (I saw him in the dugout with the specs again). By the way, I am amazed that there was no in-game interview with Tom Izzo during the third or fourth inning. Usually, when someone of note throws out the first pitch, that happens, but I’m glad it didn’t, cuz I’m not a Michigan State fan, I don’t care for basketball (though I do enjoy filling out the brackets), and those interviews are usually really boring.

Tonight, it’s Edwin Jackson’s turn to take on the Yankees. Having come from the Rays, he’s seen a lot of the Bronx Bombers, and his numbers against them aren’t good, although he’s given up surprisingly few home runs, given the ERA over five. Unfortunately, the Yankees wised up and placed an incredibly ineffective Chien-Ming Wang on the DL before the Tigers could have a shot at him, so Phil Hughes is starting in his place. He hasn’t had much success in the big leagues (or against the Tigers, for that matter), but he’s one of the top pitching prospects for the Yankees and he’s been exceptional at Triple A this year, so you have to figure that sooner or later he’ll get it together against Major League teams. For the Tigers’ sake, I’m hoping it’s “later” rather than “sooner.” Like, next week or something.

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