Friday, May 8, 2009

Where's Jose Contreras When You Need Him?

You know, I didn’t really have a good feeling about this game no matter which day it got played on. Armando Galarraga got victimized by early control problems and some poor decision-making. By his own account (as well as the accounts of both Jim Leyland and Gerald Laird), he decided to pitch around Jim Thome. There were two outs, first base was open, and there was a right-handed hitter on deck, so I kinda understand the logic there, but it was still a bad idea (not to mention the fact that Galarraga had struck him out twice in their previous meeting). I’m not gonna pretend that the hits off him weren’t hit hard, but when Paul Konerko hit the two-run double the opposite way, was anyone else reminded of the double that Joe Crede hit against Edwin Jackson? I was not that surprised by the A.J. Pierzynski home run cuz Pierzynski had good swings against him last time as well (But do you think that home run gets out at Comerica Park? I did not find out what the estimated distance was, nor do I know the exact dimensions of either ballpark). Still, give him credit for pulling himself together and going six innings. And really, after the first inning he was not bad at all. He didn’t walk anybody and only gave up the one run on the Jayson Nix homer. I’ll take those five innings just about any day. He only threw 85 pitches, so he probably could’ve gone seven, but I guess Leyland wanted to get Ryan Perry some work. So here’s hoping that he made the adjustment he needed to (albeit a bit too late for this game), and that he can carry it into his next start (wish with all your might for that one, cuz it will not be an easy start).

I know he’s thrown a no-hitter before, but the way Mark Buerhle was mowing down hitters was ridiculous. The only one who had a reasonably good night at the plate was Polanco, who thankfully broke up the perfect-game bid. Therefore, it is difficult to dissect the struggles of anyone in particular (Maggs, Laird, Inge…take your pick). It looked like Magglio was having a real good final at bat. He saw nine pitches before taking a called third strike and proceeded to argue about it. That’s another kinda puzzling thing about his struggles: He doesn’t seem to be striking out more often (or if he is, I haven’t noticed it). A couple of days ago, Leyland said that Maggs had “other things on his mind,” suggesting that there is some sort of off-the-field problem. If that’s the case, then I hope he can get through it. Hopefully it’s not the same sort of off-the-field problem that Manny Ramirez had.

Well, now it’s off to Cleveland for the first time this year (which means it’s time to be annoyed by That F***ing Drum). Tonight’s game features a rematch from last Sunday’s game: Justin Verlander vs. Cliff Lee. Justin was fantastic in that game. However, it was at Comerica Park, where, as I mentioned at the time, he can SOMETIMES beat the Indians. It’s a whole different story at Progressive Field, where he’s 1-7 with an ERA of 9.00 (that lone win must’ve come in 2006, cuz I certainly don’t remember it). He’s got some demons to fight there, that’s for sure. You all saw Cliff Lee in his last start, so there’s really nothing to update as far as a scouting report, but it looks as though he has regained his form. The Indians’ bullpen is still struggling, and last night they and Jeremy Sowers teamed up to allow a 12-run sixth inning by the Boston Red Sox. So hopefully the Tigers can at least get Cliff Lee’s pitch count up fast enough to be able to get into that bullpen. I work tonight, so I’ll only be around for the late innings. By the way, last night's game continued the trend of whichever team's starting pitcher had the higher ERA won the game. That trend is certainly welcome to continue tonight.

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