Friday, June 12, 2009

Three Out of Five? I'll Take That

This is gonna be a short post, because thanks to the ridiculously long rain delay yesterday, I was unable to see so much as one second of this game. Therefore, I mostly have to rely on the boxscore and other bloggers’ accounts. At any rate, it wasn’t exactly the performance from Edwin Jackson that everyone was hoping for, but if he can limit the opposition to two runs on days where he doesn’t quite have it, things’ll turn out okay. It looks as though Brandon Lyon followed him up with a couple of impressive innings (lowering his ERA to under five in the process). Nate Robertson, however, gave up a solo home run to A.J. Pierzynski that would turn out to loom large. There was a lot of griping that the Tigers only had the “B” lineup against Gavin Floyd, but Floyd has always pitched the Tigers hard no matter who’s in the lineup, and he’s been pitching well overall recently. The heroics came in the ninth inning, when Granderson was able to hang a blown save on Bobby Jenks, which is huge despite the outcome, because Granderson had previously been dominated by Jenks. Unfortunately, because of the Pierzynski home run, it only tied the game instead of pulling the Tigers ahead. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Joel Zumaya ended up being his own worst enemy. While the position players all seem to be doing much better defensively than they were last year, this seemingly has not carried over to the pitching staff. The pitchers have made some key errors in games this year.

Following this game, there was a flurry of roster moves. Clete Thomas has been sent down to Toledo to work on “shortening his swing.” He definitely needs work on that, but I kinda like Clete (even though he always looks like he’s either in awe of everything or scared out of his mind), so hopefully he’ll be back later in the season. The Tigers have purchased the contract of Don Kelly, who will start in left field tonight. Meanwhile, they have also placed Jeremy Bonderman back on the DL. You know, it looked to me like he just wasn’t ready to face big-league hitters yet, and apparently The Powers That Be were thinking the same thing. He wouldn’t be much help in the bullpen, and right now, starting Dontrelle Willis gives the Tigers a better chance at winning than starting Bonderman (in a lesser of two evils sort of way). Ryan Perry has been called back up to rejoin the ‘pen, and I think the blogosphere is generally happy to see him return. He’s got issues with walks, but he’s also got the velocity to (sometimes) get himself out of trouble.

Though yesterday’s game kinda slipped through their fingers a little bit, winning three of five in Chicago is certainly nothing to sneeze at. And with that, Interleague play starts up again. Hopefully, the Tigers can tap into that Interleague mojo they’ve had over the past few years. First up: The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have had no Interleague mojo (Plus, they just traded away their best position player in Nate McClouth). However, they do have a couple good, young pitchers, so this is by no means a cakewalk. The next six games for the Tigers feature the year’s first foray into National League parks, so it’s time for the pitchers to hit. Or not, so to speak. Now obviously Dontrelle Willis is by far the best hitting pitcher the Tigers have, although Edwin Jackson supposedly is okay. Justin Verlander is convinced that he can hit, but I have seen absolutely no evidence of that yet. In fact, Verlander looks so completely out of his element when he’s hitting that I really don’t like watching him try to hit. Armando Galarraga went 0-for-3 at the plate last year, but he did walk three times (in fact, his three walks accounted for the only offensive contribution from Tiger pitchers last year). Then there’s tonight’s starter, Rick Porcello, who was a shortstop in high school on days he didn’t pitch, and supposedly he hit 11 home runs his senior year. However, high school is a far cry from the big leagues, so I can’t imagine him being able to hit 95 MPH fastballs. But he gets paid to pitch, not hit. He’s been a little shaky this month after having a fabulous May. From what I’ve heard, the Pirates’ offense tends to score either a bunch of runs or none at all, for what it’s worth. Porcello will be opposed by Ian Snell, who is one of the Pirates’ better pitchers, although his numbers don’t indicate it right now. He pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. The Tigers saw him (and beat him) in 2006, but obviously that was a long time ago. Probably the Tiger who has seen him the most recently is Cabrera, and yes, he does have good numbers against Snell. By the way, as all of you know, this is only one of two big Detroit-Pittsburgh matchups tonight, and I daresay this game’ll be playing second fiddle to the drama that’ll be going on at Joe Louis Arena. I probably won’t watch Game 7, but I’ll certainly be cheering for the Red Wings. Your Mood Music for tonight: Well, we’re playing the Pirates, aren’t we? It’s obvious, but it’s also from a damn good movie.

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