Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not Every Game Can Be a Gem

The fact that currently thinks I reside somewhere in western Illinois means that I can watch Mario & Rod over the computer without being blacked out (for the time being). Since I have a computer in my room, I set it up with the intention of falling asleep at some point during the game. I ended up switching to Gameday Audio just so that I could be sure the (somewhat unreliable) wireless Internet connection hadn’t “blinked.” I’ve fallen asleep with games on the computer before, but never Tigers games so it was a bit harder than I thought it would be. Still, I must’ve drifted off sometime during the fourth inning, cuz I remember the Tigers going down in order during the top half, but I don’t recall anything about the bottom half. At any rate, with the way things were going and the sheer number of baserunners that both teams had, I was a bit surprised to wake up this morning and see that the score only ended up being 4-3. But given some of the eggs the Tigers have laid at Angel Stadium in recent years, it’s not a bad score. Now, I didn’t exactly “live through it,” so to speak, which means the only things I have to draw on are the beginning of the game, Gameday, box scores, some news articles, and the radio postgame show (which I listened to this morning), so bear with me, and if I’m totally off on something, let me know. As far as how Galarraga did…well, I guess you can’t have your “A” game every time out, but I imagine it must be absolutely terrifying to take the mound and realize that none of your pitches are working. Still, give him credit for battling for five innings (though a lot of the outs were hit hard) when it looked like he’d get knocked out in the second or third. Given the fact that he struck out the side in the fifth, it looks as though he finally got something to work, but by then he had thrown too many pitches to continue. I’m not gonna gripe about or question the use of Brandon Lyon in this game, because as someone who was signed as a possible closer (and someone who is a strike-thrower and has a track record of being a good setup man), he should be able to handle those sorts of situations, and if he’s faltering, then either there’s a mechanical problem or an injury of some sort.

It was nice to see the home run power come back. Curtis Granderson now officially owns Jered Weaver (4 home runs in 13 at-bats…not too shabby). However, it looks as though once I fell asleep, Weaver made an adjustment, hung around for seven innings, and the Tigers weren’t able to get into the part of the Angels’ bullpen that had been struggling. However, they just about manufactured their way to at least a tie, but the ninth inning demonstrates that there’s sometimes a price to pay for being aggressive on the bases, as exemplified by Josh Anderson getting picked off (them’s the breaks when you’re dealing with a left-handed closer). I’ve heard from blogs and from the radio that the home plate umpire made several crappy calls (apparently, Mike Scoscia thought so too when he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes), and the called third strike on Santiago was one of them, but as I didn’t see it, I can’t comment on it.

By the way, with the injury to Marcus Thames, Ryan Raburn has been called up from Toledo. Also, last night Joel Zumaya made a rehab appearance with the Mud Hens and retired all three batters he faced, which is impressive when you consider that every other Toledo pitcher (including Fu Te Ni and Scott Williamson) was absolutely bombed by the Indianapolis hitters (what started as a blowout ended up with Indianapolis edging out Toledo in a 13-10 slugfest as the Mud Hens made things more interesting late in the game with a grand slam from Mike Hessman and a three-run homer from Dusty Ryan, among others).

We’re set for game 2 tonight, and given what we’ve seen from Justin Verlander stuff-wise, he’s bound to get a win one of these nights. I believe the Angels and Blue Jays are the only two AL teams that he’s never defeated (which is surprising when you consider his struggles against the Indians and White Sox). He’ll be up against lefty Joe Saunders, who had a nice year last year and seems to be off to a good start this year. It’s a shame Marcus Thames ended up on the DL, because I still remember a game last year in which he hit two home runs off of Joe Saunders. Your Mood Music for tonight: I kind of wanted to save this for ‘80s Night, and we’re definitely not in dire straights right now despite the loss, but Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For a Hero” came up on my iPod this morning, and considering it’s Verlander pitching tonight, well, we’re all hoping he can ride to the rescue (so to speak) and right the ship before there is any cause for alarm. By the way, I’d never seen the music video for this song before looking it up on YouTube, and I must say it is bizarre, not to mention cheesy. When I hear this song, for some reason I think of motorcycles and some sort of post-apocalyptic city setting, not cowboys, a fluorescent Indiana Jones, and the Grand Canyon.

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