Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend Mojo

Photo: AP

It’s nice to see that the Tigers apparently learned something from that horrid Metrodome series: Don’t just give up when you’re down by a bunch of runs early (cuz that certainly didn’t faze the Twins at all). I wish I had good things to discuss about Armando Galarraga, but unfortunately I don’t. This time, his teammates were able to pick him up and salvage his record, but sadly, the same can’t be said for his earned run average, which is now so unsightly I almost can’t bear to look at it. It’s at the point where you can no longer say it’s either mental OR mechanical, because while one was likely the initial cause, it’s now trickled over into the other. You can’t struggle for that long and not have that happen. On his Twitter page, Jason Beck described Armando’s removal in the first inning as “the culmination of Leyland’s frustrations,” which suggests to me that Leyland is still thinking this is more mental than mechanical, and possibly that his primary motivation in removing Galarraga that early in the came was to send him a message of some sort. Let’s hope that this was the bottoming out of the whole thing, cuz I like him a lot and it would suck for it to end this way. The Tigers’ bullpen did a pretty good job for the amount of innings they had to pitch. Zach Miner was the only one to give up runs, but pitching 4.1 innings pretty much amounted to a start for him, and while I felt like he was fighting his control the whole time, he was a lot better than he was in Minnesota. Luke French had a somewhat strange outing: He walked three, including the first two batters he faced, but didn’t give up any runs. And good outings from Perry and Rodney capped off the afternoon.

It looks as though the Tigers broke the Oakland pitching staff (they got pounded by the Rays last night as well). The A’s came in with the second-best ERA in the league, and the Tigers scored about a million runs against them over the weekend. Leyland sure did pick a good day to put Ramon Santiago in the lineup. And I don’t know if anyone else has pointed this out, but his last two home runs have been impressive just because of where they were hit. Usually, the few times he does homer, they’re shots that go right down the line. The one in Minnesota was to dead center field, and the one on Sunday was in the right-centerfield gap (or, as Rod Allen likes to call it, “big boy territory”). The other kinda weird thing about this game was that Magglio’s double accounted for the only hit from the 3-4-5 hitters. Miguel Cabrera’s 0-for-5 was especially strange to see. Let’s hope he goes on a tear this week, cuz I’m tired of seeing Victor Martinez lead the league in hitting. Anyways, the contributions from the bottom of the order secured the sweep, so here is another broom:

I hope ya’ll enjoyed the off-day, cuz we’re not gonna have another one for quite a while. The Texas Rangers are in town, and they are hot as can be right now. Not only is there offense on a roll (which it normally is anyways), but they’ve actually been getting some pretty decent pitching recently (kind of a scary thought), although their closer is currently on the DL. Tonight, Dontrelle Willis goes up against Brandon McCarthy. Dontrelle’s first outing of the year was eclipsed by events so strange it was like the Tigers were playing on the west coast. As a result, I didn’t even discuss his outing. He was not great, but okay, and probably could’ve gone the full five innings. However, last year, he was always okay in his first start back. It’s the second one where things would totally spin out of control. Still, he only walked two, which is a vast improvement over five. The Tigers will be without the services of Magglio Ordoñez for this series, as he has been placed on the bereavement list because his wife is having surgery. I certainly wish both of them the best and that everything turns out okay. To take his place on the roster, the Tigers have called up Wilkin Ramirez, their top outfield prospect. He’s been putting up some good numbers for Toledo, especially in the stolen base department. The thing I’ve heard about him is that he’s very talented but strikes out a lot. No Mood Music tonight, as I don’t have any real good ideas.

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