Thursday, August 20, 2009

And Sometimes, All it Takes is One Mistake

Just like last time, I can’t offer a whole lot of insight into this game, as it was the bottom of the eighth when I got home. I did get to listen to most of the top of the fifth on the radio, and that’s when all the damage was done. Justin struck out ten, but from what I hear, when they did make contact, it was hit hard somewhere. And I suppose the moral of this story is that you may as well let Ichiro get his pesky little infield singles, cuz it beats giving up bombs to him. Meanwhile, I did caution you that the Tigers only beat Ian Snell in Pittsburgh because of Rick Porcello’s bat, as odd as that sounds. And it’s not like Snell was stranding baserunners left and right. The Tigers never did put up much of a threat. They had six hits for the game, but Magglio had three of them.

I want to talk about Pudge just a bit more, and then I promise I’ll shut up about him (unless something meaningful happens further down the road). After the Tigers’ game ended, I loaded up and started watching what remained of the Twins-Rangers game. Pudge was 3-for-4 in his return. I only saw his final two at-bats, and he grounded out his final time up (against Joe Nathan), but he had a solid single to right in the sixth or seventh inning (can’t remember which). I’m not one to memorize batting stances or particular types of swings (unless they’re really distinct like Ichiro’s, and in that case you can’t help but memorize), but when Pudge gets base hits like that, he has a swing that looks like no one else’s. I realized that I missed seeing that swing. I watched him a couple of times with the Astros, but seeing him in a Rangers uniform, it felt (almost) right (Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since I don’t really remember him from when he was a Ranger the first time. I know I saw him, but I have no memory of him prior to his days in Detroit). Maybe I’ll watch Rangers games a little bit more than I would have (as long as the Tigers are not playing, of course). Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Today is the rubber match of this series, and the last game before the Tigers have to head out to the west coast. Given the fact that the Tigers generally don’t play well on the west coast, it would behoove them to win today. Jarrod Washburn had a good start his last time out against the Royals, and now has the task of facing his old team. That ought to induce a few mind games. And since I don’t work today, I’ll FINALLY get to see him pitch. The Mariners will send out the Australian lefty, Ryan Rowland-Smith (and the fact that he has a hyphenated name just blows Rod Allen’s mind). The Tigers have faced him a few times as a reliever and once as a starter. You should remember that game, though you may not remember Ryan Rowland-Smith. It was that 15-inning game last year in Seattle. The Tigers finally won that game 2-1 because the Mariners ran out of pitchers and sent backup catcher Jamie Burke to the mound to pitch the fifteenth inning. It was also probably Nate Robertson’s best start of the 2008 season (nine innings, only one run). However, that also means that they only got one run off Ryan Rowland-Smith. It came on a solo home run from Ryan Raburn. With a lefty on the mound and Granderson in his typical August slump, he gets the day off (and he might get tomorrow off, too, with Oakland starting a lefty). Clete Thomas gets the nod in center field.

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