Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reward JV and Then Fasten Your Seatbelts

Photo: AP

By virtue of the fact that this game started half an hour later than most east coast games, I was able to watch a bit more than I normally would, even though I got out of work a little late. Once again, Justin Verlander was awesome. Once again, the offense could do nothing against Jeff Niemann. Once again, they rallied against the Rays’ bullpen. This time, though, they had a little bit more trouble with holding down the Rays in the ninth. Rodney didn’t help matters by walking the first two hitters he faced (He must’ve been having flashbacks to what happened the last time he was on that particular mound; that was on my birthday last year). He got out of it by the thinnest of margins, but I suppose he was due for one of those. Now, hopefully it’s a one-time thing and he doesn’t slip into one of “those” phases.

Tonight was supposed to have been Jarrod Washburn’s start, but with the knee problem, he’s skipping a turn. Armando Galarraga has been called up and will start tonight (and hopefully pitch well enough to remain in the rotation). He pitched very well in two starts before going down with the elbow inflammation (a malady which I suspect was not the first of its kind this season). However, I’m not sure how much you could extrapolate from this start if he does not pitch well. He says the elbow inflammation has cleared up, but there was still some forearm soreness as of a few days ago and no one knows what will happen once he’s thrown a few pitches. Also, he hasn’t pitched in 13 days, aside from some bullpen sessions. He might benefit from the rest, or he could be really rusty. At any rate, fate has granted him another start. Hopefully he takes advantage of that. He’ll be opposed by James Shields, who usually pitches really tough against the Tigers. He was not so sharp last week, giving up five runs, but still got the win as the Rays teed off on Washburn. He’s a lot tougher in his home ballpark, though.

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