Thursday, April 22, 2010


Photo: AP

Why am I using this photo? Because it’s the only one Yahoo had of this game and I’m too lazy to took elsewhere. I’d prefer to use one of Cabrera, but Bonderman didn’t do too bad himself. He had some first inning difficulties (something that characterized him in 2007), but settled down nicely after that. He had a jam of his own creation in the sixth, but this time he didn’t let it fluster him. A lot of people have said he paid better attention to the runners this time. I don’t know about that, since he did give up two stolen bases and the Angels didn’t have that many other opportunities (which makes it hard to tell). The game also featured some more good work from the bullpen.

After a couple of nights that had some bad breaks, the Tigers figured out a way to keep the Angels defenders from catching the ball: Hit it out or bloop it into the outfield (Considering all the lineouts they’ve had in this series). Miguel Cabrera came through in a big way to make a game on this road trip finally worth the sleep deprivation. That thing was a bomb. We also were treated to our first non-Venezuelan home run of the season, although I’m pretty sure most Tigers fans weren’t predicting Don Kelly to be the one to hit it (Kelly later fell victim to the lineout plague). Inge would have been the most logical choice, but I had actually picked Santiago, just to be weird. Ramon didn’t homer, but he did deliver the go-ahead run with a bloop single (after Guillen got picked off but stayed in a rundown long enough for Laird to get to second, and Laird’s a good baserunner, much moreso than most Tiger fans give him credit for). At any rate, it’s finally good to see the Tigers rewarded for good approaches, which they’ve had this entire series with the exception of Scott Kazmir.

So even though this series started badly, there’s still a chance they could end up with a split, which is pretty much what I wanted in the first place. Justin Verlander is still after his first win (which should be old hat by now, since this has happened the last three years). He was decent in Seattle, but he can be better, and he knows that. JV’s 1-2 against the Angels in his career. The pitching matchup earlier stated that that’s his lowest win total against any AL team, but that’s inaccurate, as he’s yet to beat the Blue Jays. Still, the last time he pitched at Angel Stadium, it was one weird outing. It was the sixth inning, JV was cruising, and the Tigers had just scored a bunch of runs off Jered Weaver in the top half of the inning. All of a sudden, the Angels kept getting hit after hit, Verlander gave up four runs, got pulled from the game, and he and Laird got into a shouting match in the dugout. He got the win, but it was a wild finish, as the bullpen had its issues as well. Several Angels have hit him well. It would actually be more efficient to list those who haven’t: Mike Napoli (2-for-11, 1HR) and Juan Rivera (0-for-10 with a walk, but only one strikeout). The Angels counter with Joe Saunders, who was very good his last time out (seems like every Angels’ starting pitcher was good his last time out). His career ERA against the Tigers is over five, but they didn’t do much against him the last time they saw him (which was last August). Most of the Tigers have decent numbers against him with the exception of Inge and Raburn. Saunders has given up homers to Maggs, Laird, and Everett, and exactly one double to everyone except Inge and Guillen. But as I said, the Angels’ starting pitching has been on a roll. That might trump everything else.

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