Friday, August 14, 2009

JV is Clutch

Photo: Elsa (Getty Images)

Through all that’s gone on in the past week, there was one especially disturbing trend: Prior to yesterday, the last time that Tigers pitching had given up fewer than six runs in a game was the final game against the Orioles. Now, that’s pitching as a whole, not necessarily starting pitching, but the starters were hardly getting the job done. In that stretch, the most effective start was Galarraga’s against the Twins, and considering he gave up four runs in five innings with five walks mixed in, that’s not exactly one to write home about (In terms of giving up runs, Porcello only gave up one, but he didn’t quite last long enough for that to be considered “effective,” now, did he?). We needed someone to calm the storm, and finally Justin Verlander (who had been a guilty party in that stretch) was able to deliver in a big way. And he came out of the gate throwing some serious heat. Normally he starts out at about 93 and builds his way up to 97 or 98 as the game goes on, but he was reaching 97 in the first inning. And one his last two pitches of the afternoon (which came in the eighth inning, something the Tigers had desperately needed), he reached 100 on the radar gun, the last time to strike out Jason Bay. And Fernando Rodney’s ninth inning? Well, it was pleasantly uneventful, if I might say so myself. Meanwhile, Ryan Raburn provided nearly all of the Tigers’ offense, AND made a fine play at third base. Brandon Inge couldn’t have done it any better.

Tonight, the Tigers have come back home to face the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are relatively hot of late. They just took two of three from the Twins at the Metrodome (not easy) and scored quite a few runs in the process. Plus, they’ve got Zack Greinke starting for them tonight. He won his last time out, which broke a pretty long winless streak for him. However, it should be noted that a lot of those were tough-luck losses where he only gave up a couple runs. He’s faced the Tigers every time the two teams have squared up. He won both starts at Kaufmann Stadium and the Tigers beat him at Comerica Park. Meanwhile, Jarrod Washburn needs to find some way to get on track. He DOES have good career numbers against Kansas City, though. I’ll be at work tonight.

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