Friday, April 30, 2010

D-Train Gets It Done

Photo: Getty Images

I suppose there is something to be said for being the first team to win a series against the Twins. The Tigers did what teams like the Angels and Red Sox couldn’t do. Dontrelle Willis did a very nice job indeed. I mean, granted the Twins were missing Mauer and Morneau, but they still had some potent bats in there and Dontrelle was able to handle them, for the most part. It was somewhat reminiscent of his one-hitter against Texas last year, but that was a one-time thing. This year, he’s been fairly consistent, certainly more consistent than Tigers fans have ever seen him. Combine that with some good work by the ‘pen and you’ve got yourself a nice victory.

The Tigers didn’t exactly knock Carl Pavano around (that’s an understatement), but they did just enough. The scoring of runs, for the most part, involved Austin Jackson, Johnny Damon, Scott Sizemore, and Don Kelly. They weren’t with the Tigers last year (except for Don Kelly, and he wasn’t with them all that much), so maybe they didn’t get the memo about Pavano’s dominance. One encouraging sign: Austin Jackson didn’t strike out this entire series. And of course, the big milestone was Magglio’s 2000th hit, and he became the sixth Venezuelan to do so (three of the six are still active, which is interesting).

With the Twins gone, the Angels come to town. We just saw the Angels, which probably doesn’t bode well for the pitching staff. And first up is Rick Porcello, who had problems with the Angels the last time he saw them. Porcello’s one pitcher that has the numbers people and the scout-type people at odds. The stat geeks all say he’ll even out on his own because his peripheral stats are all good (more ground balls, more strikeouts, fewer home runs, fewer walks, etc). From an observational standpoint, it looks like he’s falling behind a lot of hitters and his sinker isn’t sinking. That sounds to me like a mechanical problem more than hitters adjusting to him. They’ve said he’s made some tweaks during his last side session, so we’ll see what happens. Joel PiƱeiro will be starting for the Angels. He shut out the Tigers when they last met, but I thought the Tigers had a very good approach against him, just nothing to show for it. They should hold that same approach because it’s unlikely that something anomalous would happen again. However, it is a west coast team.

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