Sunday, May 17, 2009

Busting Out All Over

Photo: AP

I’m running late today, so it’ll be a short recap, since today’s game starts in less than an hour. Last night was another real well-played game all around for the Tigers. I felt like Rick Porcello was sharper than his start in Cleveland, but not quite as good as he had been against Minnesota (He was falling behind several hitters but got away with it). However, it’s really impressive that he was able to limit the Athletics to one run with that many left-handed hitters in the lineup. I’m not sure why the trio of Seay, Zumaya, and Rodney were used, given the big lead, but none of them threw that many pitches so they should be good to go today if needed, and there’s an off-day tomorrow. Meanwhile, the theme of this series seems to be “Guys Busting Out of Slumps.” We saw Maggs get three hits on Friday night. He only had one hit last night, but it was a long double, so it looks as though the bat speed really is coming back. Gerald Laird broke out of his struggles with three hits of his own, including two doubles. And Ryan Raburn seems to have found his power stroke over the last two games.

Today, the Tigers have the opportunity to go for the sweep. Armando Galarraga needs a good outing, as I am rapidly becoming his lone voice of support on the blogosphere. As I said after his last loss, I’m fairly confident that it’s not a sophomore-slump type thing. So is it mental or mechanical? Jim Leyland seems to think it’s mental (that he’s “giving the hitters too much credit”). Galarraga seems to think it’s largely mechanical (as a matter of fact, in
today’s game preview, he cites a specific mechanical problem that either he or Rick Knapp picked up on in the last few days), but he does admit that he might be trying to be a little too perfect with his pitches. He’ll have a big test today. Oakland’s offense has underachieved this year, but they have a lot of established hitters who could get it together at any time. Not only that, he’ll be up against a ton of lefties. It would also be nice if the Tigers could score some runs for him early, because he hasn’t gotten a lot of run support in this tough stretch. And this is totally random, but with Kenny Rogers gone, Armando Galarraga now holds the distinction of being the Tigers pitcher who makes the dumbest facial expressions mid-pitch. Brandon Inge gets his first day off this year, as Jeff Larish makes a start at third base, and every available left-handed bat is in the lineup against right-hander Trevor Cahill. Today’s Mood Music: I figured to be a little tongue-in-cheek with Galarraga needing a good start. And so, I went back to the ‘60s with the Beatles’ “Help.” By the way, Help is a tremendously funny movie, albeit very British. Also, I apologize for the stupid comments that pop up at the beginning of the video, but it's the only video I could find on YouTube.

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