Well, the nightcap certainly was one of those “yuck” type of games. Really nothing was working there (though I suppose you could say the ‘pen wasn’t bad, and it even included appearances from everyone’s favorite whipping boys, Nate Robertson and Brandon Lyon). Jeremy Bonderman has never been my favorite pitcher (I’m not saying he’s not a good pitcher. He is. I just don’t like watching him), but I still wanted him to pitch well. However, saying you’re gonna be like Kenny Rogers and actually pitching like him are two different things and he wasn’t able to translate plan into action. And you can’t miss with your location when you’re only throwing 87 miles an hour (I guess I imagined him maintaining 90, not topping out at 90). Just about everything hit off him was hit hard, including a lot of the outs (one of which enabled Brandon Inge to get another Web Gem on ESPN). Now, Jim Thome’s a big slugger and Alexi Ramirez has surprising power for one so skeletal-looking, but Scott Podsednik? I thought it was Rick Porcello’s job to give up home runs to guys like him. The ironic thing was that Jermaine Dye hit a double off a hanging slider that looked identical to the hanging slider that Galarraga threw him in the first game. Can we stop throwing hanging sliders to Jermaine Dye?
Back on May 7th, as the Tigers were, at the time, being no-hit by Mark Buerhle, rock n rye had this to say over at the BYB GameThread. Well, Contreras didn’t no-hit the Tigers, but he came WAY too close for comfort. That was absolutely ridiculous. It’s a good thing they brought out Matt Thornton for the ninth, cuz I did NOT want Contreras’s name in the “Last Time It Happened in a Game” section of the daily press notes under “One-Hitter Against the Tigers” (The last pitcher to one-hit the Tigers was the late Joe Kennedy back in ’03). And Marcus Thames homered. At any rate, Jim Leyland was none too pleased with his hitters’ efforts. I get the feeling the boys got an earful last night.
Still, while no one in the Tiger fandom seems to have liked last night’s outcome, I think we’d all be thrilled if we knew in advance that they’d split the doubleheader. However, you gotta take better advantage of the Contreras starts. Just sayin’. At any rate, tonight you’ve got Dontrelle Willis against Mark Buerhle. Dontrelle’s gotta be down to his last chance or two at the starting rotation (and if Bonderman had pitched well, it would be his last chance). He can’t let himself get flustered like he has the last couple starts. Meanwhile, Mark Buerhle’s no picnic, and the last time the Tigers saw him, he nearly threw a perfect game against them. He’s one of the quickest workers in the game. In fact, they made a comment on the radio last night that fits him perfectly: “He pitches like he’s double-parked outside the stadium and doesn’t want to get a ticket.” I do work tonight, but I’m scheduled to leave at 8:00 so I probably won’t miss THAT much of the game. Your Mood Music for tonight: This is a big, big start for Dontrelle Willis, so what better to represent that than a song called “Under Pressure?” Besides, after last night, you could say that the offense is also “Under Pressure.” And I like Queen.