Have I mentioned that I never really had high hopes for this series? The pitching just wasn’t aligned properly. The only starter to turn in a decent performance was Galarraga, and he was no match for Beckett (few pitchers would be). As for Dontrelle Willis, well…yuck. Things started off promisingly enough. And then the third inning rolled around. Dontrelle says that he didn’t get a call that he wanted from the umpire (and for the first walk or two in the inning, there WERE a few pitches that could’ve gone either way), and he let it get to him. I’m inclined to believe him, but still, you can’t let that happen. That’s part of the reason why Verlander struggled in April, and perhaps Galarraga in May, to some extent. Zach Miner didn’t help matters, either. He did settle down and put up zeros the rest of the way, but it’s kinda like locking the barn doors after the horses have already escaped, as the saying goes. And it seemed no one on the Tigers’ pitching staff was immune from the walk bug, not even Zumaya. They that to stop in a hurry.
On the flipside, Tim Wakefield didn’t walk anybody. I know I haven’t exactly seen a lot of knuckleball pitchers (only the times the Tigers have faced either Wakefield or R.A. Dickey in the last couple years), but I didn’t even know that was possible. No wild pitches or passed balls, either. Just like with Dontrelle, things looked promising for the offense at first, when they got three runs off Wakefield in the second, but after that, not much happened. And hopefully, this game does not cause the loss of Miguel Cabrera for an extended period of time. I have pulled a hamstring before while fencing, and I can tell you firsthand that it hurts like hell and I was still feeling tightness about three weeks later. However, I realize that there are several different degrees of severity and Cabrera is most definitely better conditioned than I am. Miggy’s not in the lineup for tonight, but according to MLive, he is available to pinch-hit. I don’t have any more information for you, but hopefully it’s just a precautionary move and he can be back in action tomorrow (or at least DH).
On a side note, it was a really bad day for former Tiger relief pitchers. Jamie Walker was released by the Orioles, and the Rockies DFA’d our old friend whipping boy, Jason Grilli.
Do I have to offer a little perspective? Okay. Just about every team is gonna be swept in a series at home at some point. It’s actually kind of impressive that it didn’t happen until June for the Tigers (especially when you consider that their first experience getting swept at home last year was…well…three days into the season, but even in ’06 it happened in April and in ’07 it happened in late May). And I guess if they’re going to struggle against one particular division, the East is probably the best choice. It’s not going to look good on national television, but the Tigers play far more games against the Central and West than they do the East. If they continue to dominate the West and play well against the Central (which is what’s been happening so far), they should be okay. And that AL West dominance will be tested tonight when the Angels come to town. The Tigers have serious issues against them when they see them in Anaheim. They don’t struggle quite as badly at Comerica Park, but the Halos are still a handful no matter where they are. Their bullpen is continuing to struggle, to the tune of having the highest bullpen ERA in the AL, and that just doesn’t compute. Justin Verlander (the reigning AL Pitcher of the Month, by the way) will seek to continue doing what he has been doing since the beginning of May. The Angels are a pesky bunch, though, and he has never beaten them in his career (in fact, his starts against them have gotten progressively worse). Ervin Santana starts for the Angels. He was very good for them last year, but he started this season on the DL and hasn’t pitched particularly well since returning. Still, with an arm like his, that 9.50 ERA kind of scares you, both because you know he’s a better pitcher than that and because our offense hasn’t been able to do a whole lot recently (especially without Cabrera in the lineup). Your Mood Music for tonight: If the depressing talk on Bless You Boys is any indication, Tiger fandom needs a hug right now. I won’t go into the real sappy stuff, but I’ll go with something uplifting and ‘80s. So how ‘bout a little Journey?