Friday, April 23, 2010

One Split Done and One Man Down

Photo: AP

You know, I used to be able to go four consecutive days on six hours’ sleep, but apparently I can’t do it anymore. At least, not if I want to be effective (you try taking an exam on glomerulopathies and Acute Kidney Injury when you’re sleep-deprived and you have a splitting headache). But at any rate, I got the split I wanted, but not without some more weirdness. And that weirdness is that the back end of the rotation did a much better job pitching against the Angels than the front end of the rotation. Verlander just had no command for the majority of his outing, especially with the offspeed stuff. And with the offspeed stuff not working, the Angels could just sit and wait for the fastball, and I think they shortened his night by about two innings with all the foul balls. It reminded me of the Red Sox. There was some more good work out of the bullpen, even though Phil Coke and Ryan Perry combined for an adventure in the eighth.

The offense, meanwhile, flipped the script: They scored a bunch of runs off the starter and didn’t do anything against the bullpen (and forgive me for not going into a lot of detail; I’m so tired that everything’s kind of a blur right now). A lot of the usual suspects (Maggs, Cabrera, Guillen) knocked in most of the runs. Laird and Everett combined to finally get the Tigers a run in the second inning of a game. Unfortunately they lost Guillen as he was trying to score the sixth run (which would have scored). It looked to me like he tripped over third base as he was rounding the bag. He says the hamstring injury happened because he fell down, not the other way around, and both Tom Gage and Jason Beck have reported that he was walking around the clubhouse fairly normally with a minimal amount of pain, so hopefully that remains the case and he only has to serve the minimum stay on the DL.

Thank God, the late start times are over with for a while. The Tigers are now in Texas, where the games start at a much more reasonable time of 8:05 Eastern. They got in at about 6 AM, so there’s gonna be a bunch of tired guys on the field tonight (The Rangers, meanwhile, are coming home from kind of a crappy road trip in which they got swept by the Yankees and lost three to the Red Sox before finally winning last night). Max Scherzer was sent there early, so he should have had a good night’s sleep (I always wonder how that works. Do they charter a flight specifically for him or does he take commercial airlines?). He was decent his last time out against the Mariners, acting as stopper and kind of righting the rotation again. He’s faced the Rangers once, in Interleague play last year, and it was a good start in which he got the win. However, that means that each Ranger has three at-bats against him at the most, and you can’t draw much from that. Michael Young has a triple against him, for what it’s worth (and he gets called Mike Young on baseball-reference). Scott Feldman was supposed to get the start for the Rangers, but he’s been scratched with illness so Rich Harden, who was supposed to start tomorrow night, will start tonight instead on regular rest. Harden is coming off a not-so-great start against the Yankees in which he walked six in 3.2 innings. He’s been tough on the Tigers, although they beat him last year when he was with the Cubs (or, I should say, they won the game he started; they would have beaten him had Joel Zumaya not given up the lead; Ryan Raburn hit a walk-off home run in that game). But the individual batting lines against Harden are not good. The best anyone’s hit him is .273 and that was Carlos Guillen. Oops. The next best mark is .250 (both Inge and Cabrera). Three Tigers have homered off him: Maggs, Cabrera, and Laird (who is not in the lineup tonight as that home run is the only hit he’s gotten in 8 at-bats off Harden to go along with 4 strikeouts). Harden is a lot tougher on righties, so it looks as though Leyland’s elected to go with every lefty available to him except Don Kelly. Brennan Boesch was called up from Toledo to replace Guillen, and he’s being slid right into the five-slot right behind Cabrera. I probably would’ve had Inge or Boesch batting third with Maggs fifth (since he’s the only other one close to Cabrera’s caliber of hitting, he’s the only one who might afford him some protection), even though that in and of itself is not ideal (though things are even less ideal for the Mud Hens right now; they’re so short-handed on the bench due to injuries and callups that they weren’t using the DH tonight and Ruddy Lugo took a line drive off the face from the very first batter of the game tonight and had to leave). And that also means there are a whopping four rookies in the lineup. Yikes.  

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