Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wasted Heroics

It’s another short post today, as I have work shortly. Suffice it to say that the Tigers performed the way they normally do during a typical Edwin Jackson start, although this time they couldn’t hold the late-inning rally. Jackson maybe had some command issues, especially early, because the pitch count got up quickly. At the same time, though, he matched his career high in strikeouts with nine (That career high, by the way, was established back in ’07 AGAINST the Tigers). The walk to Span in the seventh inning was probably the death knell. And it seems as though Zach Miner isn’t the only Tigers’ pitcher who has issues with the Metrodome’s mound. Almost all of Bobby Seay’s bad outings have occurred there, and well, he was able to get Mauer and Morneau on Friday night, but when both of them are hitting over .350 against left-handed pitching, eventually it’ll catch up to you, and it did. There was some discussion online that Brandon Lyon got screwed by the home plate umpire while pitching to Jose Morales. The pitch in question certainly looked like it could’ve been a called third strike (I was watching at my grandparents’ house, and my grandpa also thought it was a strike). Morales ended up grounding out too softly to turn two, and that moved the runner into scoring position. And though Nick Punto got a couple hits in this game, including the game-winner, I still say that the Tigers need to stop walking him.

Meanwhile, just about everyone online felt really bad for Magglio Ordoñez, who came through in a big way, and ultimately saw it go to waste. He entered the game with good numbers against Liriano, and those good numbers showed up with two hits, both for extra bases. I know batspeed has been an issue for Maggs, and while the double came on a changeup, the homerun came on a fastball. And he hit it to dead centerfield. So is it one last gasp of strength, or a starting point/glimmer of hope? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough, but man, I wanted him to be the hero.

Today is the rubber match of this series, and the Tigers WILL leave the Metrodome in first place regardless of what happens today. Still, it’d be nice to get a win. It’ll be a matchup of two sinkerballers. The Tigers will be up against Nick Blackburn, whom they touched up for a bunch of runs back at Comerica Park in May, although they got a lot of help from Twins errors and lapses in judgment (and bear in mind that Clete Thomas provided a lot of the offense, and he is in Toledo right now). Blackburn has apparently turned things around, as his earned run average is exceptional (3.10), and if I’m not mistaken, pitches better at home. Will the Tigers be grounding into all sorts of double plays? Can Rick Porcello bounce back from a poor outing against Oakland? He’s faced the Twins before and pitched very well against them. Who will make the adjustment first? And will Magglio’s power display yesterday be enough to put him in the starting lineup? I feel like a cheesy 1940s soap opera teaser. Your Mood Music for today: The other piece of music I was considering for the 4th of July was the 1812 Overture. I know it’s not technically American, but it’s used all over the country for big fireworks finales, and since I’m hoping for the Tigers to have a big finale to this series, I thought it fitting.

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