Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Elvis Has Left the Building...And So Has Cabrera, Polanco, Thames...

Photo: AP

And after the Elvis-themed headline, I have no segue. I just had to have something Elvis-themed, and since I’m not an Elvis expert, it’s the best I could come up with. It started out not looking like a good night for Verlander. The Royals made him throw a lot of pitches early (of course, the catcher’s interference call loomed large, and he wasn’t helped out later with an Inge throwing error). Mario & Rod mentioned that the flu was making its way around the Tigers’ clubhouse. They brought it up because Marcus Thames isn’t feeling too good, apparently, but I can’t help but wonder if Justin’s got it too. There were several shots of him in the dugout coughing. It didn’t seem to affect his velocity, though. Sick or not, he was somehow able to put things together after the second inning and go six. And he finished with a really strange line: 11 strikeouts, no walks, but every hit he gave up seemed to be hit hard. The Royals didn’t make life easy for Verlander or, for that matter, anyone on the Tigers’ pitching staff. It seemed like they had multiple baserunners in every inning, and the tying run seemed to always make its way to the plate. Still, it never made its way across the plate, and I guess that’s the important thing. But yikes!

The boys didn’t get a lot of hits, but three of them left the yard (I still haven’t figured out whether that Arby’s promotion is good in Ohio or not). And they were able to take advantage of walks, which they don’t often do. Miguel Cabrera busted out of his power drought in the first inning, and then Polanco and Thames came up with big home runs later. The Thames home run was especially sweet because it was a three-run shot that came after Cabrera had been intentionally walked (which really was the right strategic move; Thames has as much power as Cabrera, if not more, but he’s also more prone to striking out). You would’ve liked them to put up more runs against the Royals’ bullpen, but if you can’t win with eight runs, you have pitching issues.

Well, winning this series is going to be a very, very, very tall order. Zack Greinke has not been quite as dominant lately, but that just means his ERA has jumped up to 2.00. Luke French was okay against the Twins. He allowed a bunch of baserunners, but limited the damage. The Tigers made a roster move last night. Don Kelly has been DFA’d, and Clete Thomas (who was tearing it up at Toledo) was called back up (During last night’s postgame show, they went to some footage of Dave Dombrowski to announce the move, and I thought sure that meant the end of Magglio Ordoñez; fortunately, I was wrong, for now). Leyland has already said that Clete will be in the lineup tonight. I’m assuming he’ll be there in place of Magglio, who doesn’t hit Greinke well in the best of times. I’ll be at work tonight, so in my place, you will have to vote for Brandon Inge twice as much, because I won’t be able to do it (While you’re there, vote for Shane Victorino as well, because the Tigers have entered into a “mutual voting” partnership with the Phillies). Inge was in first place as of this afternoon, but this is no time to rest on your laurels. Keep voting!

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