Monday, July 6, 2009

The Metrodome Strikes Again

I’ll get to the All-Star discussion in a moment, but I suppose I briefly have to touch upon yesterday’s game. I really can’t give you any personal insight whatsoever, because I was at work the entire time the game was on (though the pharmacist had ESPN GameCast up and I was able to listen to the second and third innings on the radio during lunch). By just about everyone’s account, Rick Porcello got rattled in the fourth inning after the Morneau home run (Or was it the 10-pitch walk to Cuddyer?). And I said this the last time, but I’ll say it again: QUIT WALKING NICK PUNTO. It just causes bad things to happen. I obviously I did not see Everett’s error (and maybe I should go back and watch it), but did he throw the ball down into the right field corner or something? How does a throwing error score three runs? I suppose it’s par for the course, because the Tigers generally don’t pitch well or play good defense at the Metrodome (The offense is a bit more unpredictable). The good news is that there’s only one series left there.

I found out about the All-Star selections while I was at work, and my general impression was that the AL roster was still too Red Sox-heavy, but both teams have a little more diversity to them than they did last year (when you may as well have just played the Red Sox against the Cubs). And it’s nice to see more than one Tiger on the roster once again. Verlander was pretty much expected. Jackson was a little bit of a surprise, mostly because he’s still somewhat under the radar, largely due to the lack of run support (though it probably helped him that Joe Maddon is managing the AL). I was surprised to hear that Granderson made the team. I thought the outfield was more crowded, and that his somewhat low batting average might keep him from making it, but apparently the players thought otherwise, so good for him. And our pharmacist (who is also a Tigers fan) was totally pissed off that Brandon Inge was not selected. He had to look up Michael Young’s numbers and began complaining that Inge has significantly more home runs and more RBIs (and Inge’s defense is virtually second to none). At any rate, Brandon does still have a chance with the Final Vote. He’s got a rather steep uphill battle, because Ian Kinsler is likely the heavy favorite by virtue of the fact that he was leading in the starting vote as recently as last week, only to be overtaken by Dustin Pedroia at the last minute. He’s also seemingly gotten the endorsement of just about every national baseball pundit and last night’s Rangers game was nationally televised, which generated even more publicity. If Inge does have anything in his favor, however, it is that the Tigers will be at home during the Final Vote, while the Rangers are on the road. As of this afternoon, Kinsler was in the lead, with Brandon a close second (at least, according to Jason Beck). So once you’re done reading this, head on over to and vote! By the way, I tinkered around with Photoshop last night, and I came up with this. Feel free to use it in spreading the word:

As I’ve already mentioned, the Tigers are back at Comerica Park for the days leading up to the All-Star Break, and that might be a good thing (and not just for Brandon Inge). Recently, home has been where the runs (and the wins) are. This will mark the first time this season that the Royals have come to Comerica Park. And yes, we have to face Greinke again, but we’ll worry about that on Wednesday. Since the Tigers last saw them, the Royals have pretty much fallen out of the race, but they are still sending their two best pitchers to the mound in this series. I already mentioned Greinke. Tonight, the Tigers face Gil Meche. Meche has had kind of a strange season. He’s either been really good or really bad in his starts (I believe he was good in his last start). The Tigers last saw him on Memorial Day, and he didn’t last very long as he was battling back problems and the Tigers scored a bunch of runs against him (I think that was the game in which the Tigers scored in every other inning). However, I’m assuming that he’s healthy now and he’s generally pretty lights-out at Comerica Park (which is strange, because the Tigers have several guys with good numbers against Meche). Meanwhile, Armando Galarraga’s last outing (which seems like forever ago) resulted in a win and maybe a shred of hope. The six walks were bad. They were very, very bad, and he needs to keep the walks down to, say, three or fewer tonight. But his pitches looked better. I’m sorry I can’t be more descriptive than that. They just looked better. There were not as many of those ineffective different-looking pitches I’ve talked about. And it’s probably coincidence (since I don’t think personal catchers are a good strategic move unless you have a knuckleballer or something like that), but I feel it’s worth mentioning that Dusty Ryan has caught his last two starts (both of which he won). Gerald Laird will catch him tonight. Regardless of who is behind the plate, will Armando be able to take another step forward? Dear God, I hope so. And vote for Inge!

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