Friday, July 24, 2009

The Ace Does His Job

Photo: AP

You know, perception is a funny thing sometimes. The Tigers stranded runners left and right last weekend and the hitters were chastised for not knocking runs in. Justin Verlander seemed to be in a jam throughout the entire first half of the game, and yet he gets kudos for “making the pitch when he needed to.” Whatever it is, somehow Justin went from being at 94 pitches in the sixth inning to throwing a complete game. He did his job, all right. By the way, my Personal Baseball Guru would be absolutely thrilled that Leyland trusted Verlander to pitch his own way out of the bases-loaded, none-out jam in the ninth (Remember, my Personal Baseball Guru is very old school and thinks there’s no reason why guys can’t pitch complete games nowadays). I think it had more to do with the fact that Rodney wasn’t ready to come in, but perhaps Leyland didn’t want what happened to Galarraga to happen to Verlander. Meanwhile, I don’t think the offense hit a ball hard all day, but this turned out to be one of those “hit ‘em where they ain’t” type of games. There were a ton of bloop hits and broken-bat singles (and a squeeze play). You can run on Contreras, and the Tigers took advantage of that.

Now it is time for Game 2 of this doubleheader, and I’m sure that we all feel a lot better now that we know we won’t get swept, but let’s try to do some sweeping ourselves, okay? Eddie Bonine has been called up to make the start (with Freddy Dolsi being sent down to Toledo, and I can’t say I’m unhappy about that). He made a couple of decent starts for the Tigers last year, and started this year in the bullpen (with some not-so-great results). I have seen him pitch for the Mud Hens this year. He gave up a bunch of hits in the early innings but kept the Louisville Bats at bay for the most part (outside of a two-run homer in the first and one run that scored in the sixth). And thanks to Justin Verlander, the bullpen is well-rested. Bartolo Colon will come off the DL to start for the White Sox. His season has been up and down. He’s given the Sox some good starts and some bad starts, but injuries have been a problem for him. The Tigers last saw him back in ’07. As for the lineup? Well, everyone that was on the bench in Game 1 is in the starting lineup for Game 2. That means that Magglio IS in the lineup (so much for that strict lefty-righty platoon) and he’s batting third (Either he has sensational numbers against Colon, or Leyland is playing a hunch). Thames will get the start in left field and bat fifth, Santiago is at shortstop, and Dusty Ryan is catching (and hopefully will start hitting more). By the way, I know I haven’t done Mood Music recently. I hope to start that back up soon. Like, tomorrow.

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