Sunday, September 6, 2009

Overcoming Bad Things

Photo: AP

Hmmm. Where to start with this one? There was certainly a lot of action, but the important thing is that the Tigers have now won two road series in a row, and they’ve done it in ballparks that they don’t normally play well in. This game started very badly, and that’s a shame. This is pure speculation on my part, but Armando Galarraga just didn’t look healthy to me. I’ve said before that I don’t think this is the first time he’s dealt with arm soreness this year (in fact, he himself said as much), and his pitches looked like they did in those “bad” starts where I was suspecting injury. However, this time, his velocity seemed to be gone as well. Obviously he’s not a hard thrower, but his fastball is usually 90-91. I don’t think it got above 88 last night. And his pitches didn’t have the movement they have when he’s going good, and if I was seeing that, then it should be blatantly obvious to anyone with a shred of baseball knowledge. So with Nate Robertson pitching well for the time being, that’s a big, big dilemma. Here’s my take on it: IF Galarraga is healthy, either keep him in the rotation, or shut him down. I don’t want him in the ‘pen. If he’s not healthy, then it’s obvious that you have to shut him down, get the arm healthy, and get him ready to be productive for the Tigers next year (And besides, he would join a long list of WBC pitchers who have had injury/effectiveness problems this year: Dice-K, Carlos Silva, Jeremy Guthrie, Roy Oswalt, Matt Lindstrom, and more). That was the bad part. The good part was that the Tigers’ bullpen was spectacular with 6 2/3 shutout innings. Eddie Bonine, Fu Te Ni, Jeremy Bonderman, Bobby Seay, Zach Miner, and Brandon Lyon all played a big part in the Tigers winning this game. They allowed the Tigers to chip away and finally break through against James Shields, a pitcher who had dominated them in previous meetings. The big hits in the game were Guillen’s two-run triple and Alex Avila’s 2-run homer (Avila had a nice night with the homer and throwing out a baserunner). Here’s a fun fact: Each of the Tigers’ eight runs was scored by a different person. But can you be surprised at that? It felt like a Spring Training game with all the pitching changes, pinch-hitters, pinch-runners, and defensive replacements.

Today the Tigers have an opportunity to sweep the Rays at the Trop for the first time ever (Really?). Edwin Jackson will get the nod against his former team. He could use a good start. He hasn’t been as sharp of late. The Indians got to him in his last start for four runs. He also needs to pay better attention to runners than he did in Anaheim. He’ll be opposed by Wade Davis, a top prospect for the Rays who is making his Major League debut. The Tigers got to Carlos Carrasco in HIS big league debut last week, but that’s been the exception and not the rule. Usually, they’ve been dominated by rookies this year.

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