Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Blogs In the Space of One

Photo: AP

This’ll be a different sort of post (fitting for a west coast swing), since I was unable to do a recap of game 1 yesterday (between school, work, and computer problems). So I’ll discuss both games, beginning with Monday night’s. Angel Stadium lived up to its billing as a bastion of strangeness. I watched the game on TV until there were two outs in the bottom of the sixth, at which point I decided to go to bed (normally I would not do this no matter the score, but school has started and I have a 6 AM wakeup time). I don’t have cable in my bedroom, so I brought up Gameday Audio and figured I’d drift off to sleep with Dan Dickerson and Jim Price in the background. And that’s when everything started going to hell. Obviously, I was too stressed out to get to sleep, so once Leyland removed Brandon Lyon from the game, I turned the radio off, but that didn’t really work either, because then I lay awake wondering what was happening (However, I DID fall asleep without looking at the score again, so I did not find out that the Tigers won until 6 AM yesterday morning). The offense suddenly woke up but the pitching had a mini-meltdown. Bobby Seay was not in there long enough to make an assessment, but both Verlander and Lyon started out strong. Remember, most of the trouble occurred once there were two outs in the respective innings in which they were chased. It’s like the Angels offense is the Borg: Once one adapts, they all adapt. But it’s the west coast. What else would you expect?

Photo: Harry How (Getty Images)

I stayed up for last night’s game in its entirety (figuring that I wouldn’t have to do it again, and that even if I went to bed, I would still just lie awake wondering what was happening, like I did on Monday). It was nice to see the offense alive for two consecutive nights. Miguel Cabrera is red hot right now. Maybe he will get to 100 RBIs after all. He only needs fourteen now, and there’s still about 38 games left to play. Meanwhile, defense was the big story. Jarrod Washburn was very, very shaky to start out with. He got bailed out in the first inning by incredible plays from Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge. He really struggled through the second, and the bewilderment over the rash of home runs he’s given up as a Tiger started to resurface. However, from the third inning on, he wasn’t so bad. He never really had an easy time of it except for the bottom of the fourth, but he did a good job maneuvering his way around the traffic the Angels had on the bases (And even though he has an unsightly ERA since the trade, the Tigers are 4-1 in games he has started. I don’t understand it either, but that’s really the only stat that ultimately matters). It really took until the bottom of the seventh inning for the west coast weirdness to show up. Zach Miner came out and became extremely gun-shy regarding the strike zone. That’s not so unusual (and actually pitching problems like that are par for the course when the Tigers play in Anaheim). But he got out of it by nailing Bobby Abreu trying to score on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Fernando Rodney did that once last year to end a game. And one more defensive gem came in the eighth courtesy of Clete Thomas, who bailed out Bobby Seay.

By the way, it has been a while since I’ve discussed personal grooming, so I’d like to take the time to do that now. By now you must’ve noticed the new tattoos that Brandon Inge has on his arms. They are of his sons’ names, and that’s nice, but dear God, they’re enormous. I don’t think I’d ever want a tattoo that covers my entire arm (I have kind of wanted a tattoo for a while, but I’m too indecisive as to what to get and where to put it, not to mention the fact that the profession in which I am going into would necessitate having it somewhere inconspicuous). Plus, what happens if he has more kids? Then there’s Ryan Perry. For most of the year, I’ve been fairly indifferent about his looks. I thought he was nice-looking (especially at the beginning of the season), but his appearance never stirred any sort of girlish emotion or anything like that (unlike Justin Verlander, who I find very attractive except for the hairy arms). However, at some point in the past couple days, for some unknown reason, he shaved his head and he looks AWFUL (Several of us voiced our displeasure on
Bless You Boys last night). Did he lose a bet or was he that desperate to get Sunday’s meltdown out of his system? Yuck. Hopefully this is not something that will catch on with the rest of the team.

And now, the Tigers are in the somewhat unlikely position to sweep the Angels in Anaheim. Edwin Jackson was very good against the A’s last Friday. He’s had one good start and one bad start against the Angels this year. The good start was a complete-game victory at Comerica Park. The bad start was in Anaheim. He issued two bases-loaded walks in a game that also featured an earthquake. Both of those happened at the same time, if I remember correctly (At the time, we jokingly blamed the earthquake for his poor performance). The Tigers will face lefty Joe Saunders, who is coming off the disabled list. His season has been sub-par (perhaps related to the injury), but he has made some good starts here and there.

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