Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Force is NOT With You, Edwin Jackson

Yeah, I know Star Wars is technically ‘70s, but tell that to the Darth Vader and stormtroopers who were at the game last night (and besides, Return of the Jedi DID come out in 1983). I suppose every year we have to have a pitcher who gets no run support, and since Nate Robertson is not in the rotation right now, that honor had to go to someone else, and apparently Edwin Jackson is the one. I’m not sure what happened. Jackson was cruising and then all of a sudden they scored five runs off him and he couldn’t get an out in the seventh. Brandon Lyon hit a batter, which didn’t help matters, but he got an out on Nick Punto’s bunt attempt. Clay Rapada probably pitched better than his line indicates cuz nothing was hit hard off him, but the Twins seem to have some sort of magical knack of finding holes. And so we had yet another big inning given up to the other team, but it was weird cuz unlike most of the other ones, the Twins’ swings almost got progressively WORSE as the inning went along. And it’s a strange night indeed when the Twins beat you even as you hand Joe Mauer an 0-for-5. By the way, that was kind of a nifty play Jackson made with the popped-up bunt in the first inning, VERY reminiscent of a play that Pudge made in a game against Arizona last year, right down to both guys having trouble picking the ball up. I never thought I’d see another play like that.

Well, Francisco Liriano didn’t look like someone with an ERA of 6.04. He looked more like the pitcher that I saw last September. Miguel Cabrera was finally able to get to him for a solo home run, but that was about it. That was one funky swing that Cabrera made on his home run, though. It looked almost like a golf swing. The sound was what tipped me off as to how well it was hit. And sadly, Brandon Inge’s streak came to an end after he struck out in the bottom of the ninth inning (speaking of funky swings, he made some of those in that at-bat).

After the game, I switched over to the Diamondbacks-Dodgers game on MLB.tv (by the way, I have no idea where MLB.tv thinks I live now, cuz I’m still getting blacked out of Cubs and White Sox games, but I’m also now getting blacked out of Reds games). Shortly after I started watching, I noticed this guy sitting behind the Dodgers’ dugout:

The fact that there was a Tigers fan at a D’Backs-Dodgers game is amusing in and of itself (then again, I saw a Diamondbacks fan in the stands on Sunday’s game against the Indians), but that’s a rather melancholy expression he has there. Must’ve just seen the out-of-town scoreboard.

Tonight is the final game of this short series and of this homestand, and it features two sinkerball starting pitchers. The Twins send Nick Blackburn to the hill. He had a rough start to the season, but has pitched extremely well in his last two outings. He has had some success against the Tigers, but most of that has come at the Metrodome (where he pitched a shutout, I believe), not at Comerica Park. Still, he is a sinkerballer, so this might be one of those games to put runners in motion and the like. And I suppose now is the time when we get to find out whether Rick Porcello can bounce back from bad outings. However, I’m not sure the Twins are the best matchup for a sinkerballer. They tend to put the ball in play anyways, and with the speed at the top and bottom of their order (not quite as much in the middle), anything on the ground would almost assuredly be an infield single. Plus, the guys in the middle of the lineup would be unlikely to hit into many double plays because the Twins are constantly bunting or sending runners (or hit and run). Your Mood Music for tonight: I was kind of debating back and forth between two songs that reflect the challenge facing Rick Porcello tonight (that is, to bounce back and prove himself). I also briefly considered something for Cinco de Mayo, but the Tigers don’t have any Mexican players (Joel Zumaya is of Mexican descent, but that’s it), and I don’t have a lot of expertise on Mexican music (I just know that I generally don’t like Tejano except for Selena, and she was American). At any rate, I decided on the more upbeat (but cheesier) of the two songs, and yet another by the band Survivor. This time it’s “Moment of Truth” which was originally from The Karate Kid, and apparently another really lame music video. Shake it, Ralph Macchio!

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