Friday, April 17, 2009

Win One For the Bird

Photo: AP

What better way to honor the memory of Mark Fidrych than to beat the last team that he beat? Could it be that the Tigers have finally found someone who CAN beat the White Sox? Yeah, it’s a really small sample size (after all, even Verlander has two wins against them), but given how the White Sox seem to bomb the rest of the Tigers’ starting pitching, Armando Galarraga looked downright brilliant in comparison. They did have a couple threats against him, but he was always able to get out of it (which is consistent with what he did last year). He also got some defensive help from Inge, Laird, Polanco, and Cabrera. This game also featured strong outings from the ‘pen by Seay and Rodney. Ryan Perry was okay, but he definitely needed to throw more strikes.

It’s odd that what started out to be one of those frustrating pitching duels turned into such a blowout. During the first four innings, Jose Contreras looked like the pitcher I heard he was years back, but the Tigers finally broke through in the fifth (largely thanks to Contreras suddenly having control problems). Miguel Cabrera’s already up to four home runs, but then again, so are several other people in the league (jeez, I thought April was when pitching usually dominant, but so many teams’ offenses are hot right now that if these numbers project through the season, you could hit fifty home runs and STILL not win the home run title). Magglio, oddly enough, still doesn’t have an extra-base hit, but he has been drawing quite a few walks in recent games, so hopefully that’s a good sign. Granderson probably should’ve had three hits, but two of the balls that he hit that were absolutely smoked were hit right at Paul Konerko. One thing that kinda got lost once the high run total was put up was the fact that speed actually played a key role in the game. With the game still scoreless in the fifth, Granderson beat out what would’ve been an inning-ending double play for most, and Polanco hit the two-run double right after that. Josh Anderson had the stolen base in that inning, and he also had a bunt single that set up some add-on runs.

Well, hopefully the off-day left the Tigers well-rested and refreshed, cuz now it’s time to embark on a difficult three-city, west coast swing (+ KC). There will be challenges aplenty starting tonight in Seattle. This is definitely NOT going to be an easy series. For one thing, the Mariners have been playing very well to start the season (and that started BEFORE Ichiro came off the DL). For another thing, the Tigers will be up against their three best pitchers. First up, a whole lotta heat. The key for Justin Verlander (who either had major plastic surgery and recovered very quickly, or the cameraman during the last game simply got him mixed up with Rick Porcello) is to keep the freakin’ pitch count low. I’m willing to see him take baby steps. Last time out, he went five innings. How ‘bout six tonight? Felix Hernandez’s season has started out similar to Verlander’s, with one good start and one bad start (though his bad start was not as bad as Verlander’s, and he lasted longer in both games). He’s beaten the Tigers the last three times he has faced them, dating back to July of 2007. I don’t know what the ERA is in that span, but it may be deceptively high cuz there was one game in which he gave up a bunch of runs but came out on top in a slugfest. Hopefully Adam Everett is feeling better, and hopefully this flu does not spread to anyone else. And fortunately, I do NOT work tomorrow so I can stay up for the game without any reservations. I’ve got the caffeine all stocked up and ready to go, so why don’t you all join me for some Tigers late-night? Your Mood Music for tonight: Well, the boys are on the west coast, and strange things happen there, so what better choice than the opening to the Twilight Zone? Hopefully, it won’t be Twilight Zone Hell.

No comments:

Post a Comment