Friday, May 22, 2009

Clash of the Ironmen

Photo: AP

First of all, I’d like to congratulate Michael Young for hitting into that double play to end the game, because I was on my way to work when it happened and it allowed me to know the outcome and not have to spend the next five hours in total suspense. Edwin Jackson has certainly been managed old school style recently. In his last start, he pitched three innings after an hour-long rain delay. This time, he threw 132 pitches. Jim Leyland’s drawing a lot of heat from the fans online for this. I know Justin Verlander threw 130 pitches in a start late last year against the White Sox, but I don’t remember how he did in his start after that one. At any rate, Jackson was kinda battling his control during this game. He was able to pitch around it admirably (with some good defense), but remember, five walks signaled the beginning of Armando Galarraga’s current rough patch, so hopefully this does not become a trend.

There was some question as to just how right or left-handed Jim Leyland was going to make his lineup, because this year Millwood has actually been more effective against lefties. However, Leyland decided to ignore that, and this time it paid off, because most of the offense came from Clete Thomas and Curtis Granderson. I feel like I’m saying this in every post now, but once again, we’ve got someone hitting a home run into “big boy territory,” and it’s been someone you wouldn’t expect. In this case, it was Clete Thomas, who hit one into the shrubbery behind the visiting bullpen in left field, almost exactly where Wilkin Ramirez hit his home run on Wednesday. Granderson’s home run? Well, you knew he had power, so that’s not as surprising. By the way, a lot was made of Jackson staying in so long, but Millwood hung in there for over 120 pitches as well. In his case, they probably should've taken him out once he walked Clete Thomas in front of Cabrera. And it was Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single in the 8th that gave the Tigers the sweep, so here’s the broom:

Tonight marks the start of Interleague play, which is fun for me because it gives an opportunity to see some players you normally wouldn’t see (though I am NOT a supporter of the idea by some to kind of “flip-flop” the DH rule during Interleague play). It also helps that the Tigers have been very good in Interleague play during the past three years. First up is the Colorado Rockies, who have been struggling this year. However, this season, the Tigers have generally been better against “hot” teams, for whatever reason, and the Rockies still have some very good players. Garrett Atkins is in a big slump right now, but Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe are both hitting well over .300 with power. Also, tonight’s starting pitcher for the Rockies, Ubaldo Jimenez, is very talented and throws very hard. And he’s been pitching pretty well right now. So has Rick Porcello, who starts tonight for the Tigers. However, you kind of wonder if leaving Jackson in for so long yesterday has to due with keeping the bullpen fresh as an insurance policy for this weekend. At any rate, Magglio should be back in the lineup tonight. Hopefully his wife’s surgery went well and everything will turn out okay for his family. Rod Allen is still out, so Dan Petry will be the color analyst on Fox Sports Detroit tonight. Hopefully, this game will not be as strange as the last game he did. Remember that? It was a game against the Yankees back in ’07 that had a long rain delay, didn’t start until 11:00 at night, went into extra innings, and didn’t end until Carlos Guillen hit a walk-off home run at 3:30 in the morning. I’ll be at work tonight, so I’ll be restricted to the late innings unless that happens.

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