Monday, May 11, 2009

Pink Bats, Pink Bands, Pink Shoes...Pink Brooms?

Photo: AP

What a week it was for the pitching staff. Seriously. Since last Sunday, with the exception of two, maybe three, innings (depending on whether or not you want to count Rodney allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth yesterday), Tiger pitching has been phenomenal. Rick Porcello didn’t have quite the command that he had against Minnesota, but it’s pretty impressive that a twenty-year-old was able to work around it and get through five innings while only giving up one run. Granted, the Indians were kinda flat all weekend, but their offense actually had not been struggling much before the Tigers showed up, so take what you will from it. The game also featured another great catch from Curtis Granderson, as well as great pitching from Zach Miner, Bobby Seay, and Brandon Lyon (though he only faced one batter). Rodney had some issues, though. After only walking one batter through the first 28 games, he’s now walked three in the last two. I don’t know if he’s going through one of *those* phases, or if it’s simply the tendency for closers to not pitch as well in non-save situations, and I suppose we won’t find that out until he actually is in a save situation. However, he did manage to get himself out of his own jam and secure the sweep. And keeping with the theme of Mother’s Day and the pink bats and wristbands, here is a pink broom:

The Tigers haven’t exactly bombed the ball on this road trip, and yesterday mostly featured more of the same (save for the Jeff Larish home run), but when they score five runs, I’m not going to complain. And it looks as though most of the Tigers DID use the pink bats, at least for their first couple trips to the plate. After going 2-for-3 with his first double of the season, Magglio joked that he might want to keep using his. Maybe that day off helped. Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera did not have a good day at the plate, and he proceeded to lay the blame on all things pink. He started out the game with the pink bat, pink wristbands, and pink shoes (well, technically they were black with pink soles and shoelaces). He struck out in his first at-bat, and apparently blamed the pink shoes, cuz he was back to wearing his normal shoes a short time later. In his second at-bat, he grounded into a double play. This time, he blamed the pink bat. In his third plate appearance, he used one of his own bats, and hit into another double play. In his final plate appearance, the pink wristbands were gone. He walked. I don’t know if he found that satisfactory or not, but given the fact that the only pink thing left on him was the little breast cancer ribbon that all the players had on their uniforms, there really wasn’t much left for him to blame.

Well, the Tigers are now in first place and are now four games over .500, which is better than they were at any point last year. However, last year I’ve seen mini-rolls come to an end as soon as they entered the Metrodome. The Twins, unlike the Indians, are not really struggling, even though they are under .500. They just took two of three from the Seattle Mariners, and their offense seems to be hot right now. The Tigers struggled there last year, but they DID win 8 of 9 at the Metrodome in 2007. It’d be lovely if they could repeat that kind of success. First up is Armando Galarraga, who right now bears the only dark spot on the last turn through the rotation. He got victimized by a bad first inning in Chicago, but pitched all right after that. The problem is that it was his second loss in a row, and he’s really backed himself into a corner because now he’s forced to try to right himself against HIS own personal nemesis, the Minnesota Twins. He just has not been able to beat them. Last year, he went 0-4 against them and turned in some of his worst outings in the process. The only thing I can think of is the regularity with which the Twins put the ball in play, and on artificial surface, that can be a problem (though he also had no luck against them at Comerica Park). I think his struggles against them started to get into his head a little bit, cuz the last time he faced them (early September last year), he walked six. I’ll have more on Galarraga tomorrow and I’ll discuss why it may be too early to write him off, regardless of the outcome tomorrow night. Still, hopefully watching Verlander beat the Indians twice has provided some form of inspiration. By the way, I learned during the pre-game show yesterday that Galarraga has a really weird laugh. He’ll be opposed by Kyle Slowey, who has a 4-1 record but an earned run average over five. He must get a lot of run support or something. The lone loss came in his last start, when a lengthy rain delay knocked him out in the third inning after giving up three runs (Orioles ended up winning 4-1 in a rain-shortened game). Today is an off-day (and a really dull one at that, since I’m out of school for the summer and there are only four games being played tonight), so I’m going to save Mood Music for tomorrow’s post.

1 comment:

  1. hey, Erin, I really like what I'm reading here, having just discovered your blog via BYB. Keep up the good work. I love the mood music thing your doing, too.