Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'll Say He Earned It

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Well, Armando Galarraga sure seems determined to prove that last year was no fluke. He pitched even better than he did the first time against Texas. He didn’t give up many hard-hit balls, and the ones he did were usually hit right at people. The one run he gave up scored on three bloop singles. Meanwhile, in the first inning, Brandon Inge showed everyone why he’s playing third base this year. As far as the bullpen goes, it sounds like Leyland wants to try Ryan Perry in the 8th inning for now, but Perry’s gotta cut down on the walks and falling behind hitters if he wants to be effective in that role. Eddie Bonine gave up the long home run to Nelson Cruz, but I suppose if you’re going to do that, you may as well make sure they’re solo shots in games where your team is up by 14 runs.

When your offense is in a bit of a mini-slide, there’s nothing better than bad Texas pitching (on the flip side, it really sucks when you run into the GOOD Texas pitching, which does exist on occasion). Miguel Cabrera’s start to the season is looking more like his second-half numbers last year than his first-half numbers. Hell, Magglio is at .300 right now and it doesn’t look like he’s exactly stinging the ball yet (but he’s started off slow the first couple weeks of the season every year since 2006, so I don’t think there’s cause for concern yet). Guillen was the only starter without a hit, and Brandon Inge was the only starter without an RBI. By the way, did anyone else notice how bundled up the Texas Rangers were? The temperature was, like, 50 degrees. I don’t want to know what they would’ve looked like had the game been on Monday.

As I predicted, the Detroit fans gave Maggs a hearty welcome, as opposed to all the booing he’s been getting everywhere else (then again, I suspect at least half of those fans don’t even know who Hugo Chavez is). Brandon Lyon got the most vocal reaction, and it wasn’t pretty. Now, I think the loud booing is uncalled for in this situation. You can’t boo him like that after just one outing. Guys like Jason Grilli and Kyle Farnsworth worked very hard to earn the venomous boos they received, and to just give it to someone after his first outing with the team just cheapens the accomplishment. Of course, the loudest ovation was reserved for Brandon Inge (and while I like Brandon very much, I have never understood the sheer massive amount of love he gets at the ballpark; he gets way more love than Maggs or Cabrera). Matt Treanor got the strangest response. Most of the crowd gave him the “polite” cheers and applause that you would give a bench player, but I could hear one guy booing his head off. I don’t quite understand that one.

Well, everything I said about Armando Galarraga yesterday is going to hold true for Justin Verlander today. He’s going to have to battle and earn his win against this high-powered offense. He definitely didn’t get the job done in Toronto, but he’s generally pitched well against Texas in his career (though, oddly enough, he has tended to pitch better in Arlington than at Comerica Park). And like Galarraga, it’d be wonderful to see Justin get through seven innings before reaching the 100-pitch mark.

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