Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At Least It Wasn't 8-6

And even though that same-score win/loss pattern has been broken, I still despise getting shut out. Justin Verlander did look better. He threw a lot of pitches, but they were pitches that looked quite good. He reached 3-ball counts on several batters, though the only walks he gave up were to Jim Thome (which I don’t really get; much has been made over the seven home runs he’s given up to him, but Thome doesn’t hit him for a really high average, and Justin knows this). He had completely mastery over Justin Morneau. Tigers’ pitching walked too many (Minnesota stranded a TON of baserunners in this game), but they held Mauer and Morneau hitless, something that’s hard to do and if you do it, you should win. However, they didn’t get a lot of help from their friends, as both Minnesota runs scored on errors. And it wasn’t even a matter of “speed kills.” Raburn just flat-out missed the ball, and Scott Sizemore rushed a throw on the slowest guy in the Twins’ lineup.

I still can’t comment about anything Francisco Liriano has done with any other lineup (though I hope he doesn’t get the Cy Young), because he was pretty much the same as I’ve always seen him against the Tigers. If there was any difference it was maybe that he was a little more efficient. And there were a ton of strikeouts looking. Either there was a favorable strike zone or Liriano was able to spot the slider on the outside corner with regularity. I don’t know, maybe his past success against them just gets into the Tigers’ heads? At any rate, in all irony of ironies, on a night where the Tigers had 12 strikeouts, Austin Jackson broke his strikeout streak.

As I said, I wasn’t expecting a lot of offense off of Liriano, so the Tigers will try again tonight. Scott Baker is a pitcher they can usually score runs off of. Not a lot, but usually enough (generally 3 to 4 runs). At least, that’s been the case recently. And a lot of the Tigers have good numbers against him. Brandon Inge is the only one in tonight’s lineup that doesn’t. Given that, I was surprised to see that he’s 3-1 at Comerica Park with a respectable earned run average. And I remember the one loss. It was a 1-0 game that the Tigers won on a Marcus Thames home run (a rare ESPN win for the Tigers). Perhaps all the offense I’m remembering happened at the Metrodome? He did pitch game 163 last year, and I have seen at least two articles this morning that mentioned what a “masterful” job he did in that game. Huh? I don’t remember seeing any mention of the sort last year. All the buzz was around Rick Porcello. At any rate, Max Scherzer will face the Twins for the first time in his career. As such, only two Twins have ever faced him. Orlando Hudson is 1-for-8 with a double, and JJ Hardy is 1-for-4 with a home run. You’re on your own for the beginning of this one, kids. I’ll be at work.

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