Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sleep Is Overrated

Photo: AP

When I got home from work, it was a little after 9:00 and it was the fifth inning (though I did know the score because I was able to follow the game at work), and though I’m not na├»ve enough to believe a 5-run lead is safe at the Metrodome, I didn’t really expect that I would be in store for four more hours and eleven more innings of baseball. And they were some of the most nerve-wracking innings I’ve ever sat through. I can’t give a lot of insight into Luke French’s performance, since I watched most of it on ESPN GameCast and only saw the tail end of his outing on TV. Leyland said he was rusty because he hadn’t pitched in 10 days, but I’m a little bit surprised he didn’t let French try to get the final out of the fifth to qualify for the win, even though there were a couple runners on. Meanwhile, can Zach Miner not pitch for the rest of this series? I don’t know why, but every time he’s taken the mound at the Metrodome this year, he has not pitched well at all. Also, why is it that the Tiger pitchers cannot throw strikes to Nick Punto? He has drawn a ridiculous amount of walks in the season series, and almost all the walks have led to Twins rallies. The guy’s hitting .210 and has almost no power. At any rate, the rest of the bullpen put up a valiant effort (especially Zumaya, who hopefully will suffer no ill effects), although Dolsi didn’t exactly wow me (nothing new there). It’s not like they had a choice, though. He was the last pitcher in the ‘pen, and they had Galarraga warming up. Now, on any given day, I prefer Galarraga to Dolsi immensely, but in this situation, I’m glad it didn’t come to that, because that would’ve totally screwed up the rotation (not to mention Galarraga’s struggles against the Twins). However, Freddy Dolsi’s gotta make a better effort to learn the signs. I could be wrong, but crossing up your catcher three or four times in three innings seems a tad bit excessive.

I missed the early offensive outburst (although the Laird home run happened just as I got in my car), so as they went through all those innings deadlocked and unable to do anything against the Twins’ bullpen, I couldn’t help but wonder if they might have chased Kevin (not Kyle) Slowey a bit too quickly. Still, seven runs should be enough to win. Every Tiger that appeared in the game (be it starting, pinch runner, or pinch hitter) got a hit at some point. Cabrera came closest to drawing the collar, as he only went 1-for-8 (that’ll tank your batting average). Miggy may not have had a sterling night at the plate, but it was Polanco who drew the most abuse. He struck out three times (exceptionally rare for him), and then fouled a ball off his manhood (I’m sure every male watching that just cringed). He had the last laugh though, as he delivered not one, but two RBI singles, one in the fourteenth and one in the sixteenth (R.A. Dickey gave up nine hits in three innings). It was a brief but rather ironic night for Magglio, who lined into a double play instead of grounding into one (He just can’t win, although part of that was the fault of Raburn and some bad baserunning), then later coming up with a groundball single for an RBI (at this point, I don’t care that it was a ground ball; Magglio needed that). By the way, here is another reason why I am unhappy that Maggs cut his hair: I’m having tremendous difficulty recognizing him if he’s not the main focus of the camera shot. In the past ten days, I have mistaken him for Raburn, Cabrera, and Chad Durbin.

Today, the boys are on big Fox for a late-afternoon game (not the “A” game, but I prefer Mark Grace to Tim McCarver anyways). They’re probably counting on Edwin Jackson to give them some innings today (lots of them, preferably). Edwin Jackson is probably looking for his mates to give him some run support. He hasn’t made many bad starts this year, but his only outing against the Twins was one of them, although he was pretty much cruising until the seventh inning, when things kind of imploded. His career numbers against the Twins are not good. Meanwhile, he’ll be facing off against the same pitcher as in that matchup: Francisco Liriano. Liriano was struggling for most of the season (though you couldn’t convince the Tigers of that; they can’t do anything against him), but his last two starts have been really good. Even though the ‘pen was emptied last night, it’s in better shape than you might think. We probably won’t see Zumaya or Dolsi for the rest of the weekend, but everyone else should be good to go. As you would expect, neither starting catcher from last night will be behind the plate today. Mauer is the Twins’ DH, while Laird gets the day off and Dusty Ryan will start. Your Mood Music for today: Well, it is the 4th of July. I was torn between two pieces of music, but I figured I’d extend them over the holiday weekend, since there is no way I’m going to be able to get my slideshow done before tomorrow (Look for it in September). At any rate, enjoy some Neil Diamond with your barbecue and baseball game today. Happy Fourth!

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