Thursday, April 8, 2010

So Much for 162-0

Maybe it was because I had to start the night listening to the game on the radio, but that game was tense from the beginning and you had a feeling throughout the whole thing that it would end that way. I can’t say much about Scherzer but from the sounds of things, he pitched real well. Everyone seemed to have too many problems with Kendall, Betancourt, Getz, and Podsednik, though. Then Valverde came in and battled with Callaspo for a while, and of course the logical move would be to throw him a fastball in a 3-2 count because he’s not really a home run hitter (though I do remember him hitting one off Porcello last year). Valverde also didn’t get much help from his friends. Don’t get me wrong, the Callaspo home run and the Ankiel double were hit very hard, but the trouble was the Billy Butler infield single. Santiago dove for it, but had a hard time getting up and then kinda bobbled the ball and by then it was too late. Butler doesn’t run very fast, so if Santiago had been able to get up right away, I think he would’ve had him. The more obvious gaffe was Sizemore’s. Not only did he drop the relay throw, but he kinda took his sweet time getting to the ball. I don’t really get that last part.

The offense didn’t really do anything against Luke Hochevar, who apparently made some sort of adjustment in spring training according to Dan and Jim on the radio. Some of the mainstream media postgame soundbites indicated that a lot of the Tigers were caught off-guard by him, for some reason. I suppose his next start will tell the tale. The swings got better later in the game, but it seemed like whenever they had a runner in scoring position with two out, whoever was at the plate would hit the ball right at Podsednik. And lost in all the complaining about Valverde is that BOTH closers blew saves in this game (and Tiger fans generally have a positive impression about Joakim Soria). Miguel Cabrera had possibly the best at-bat of the night before finally homering off the foul pole. Of course, he did have the mental error of breaking too early on a double steal attempt, allowing Farnsworth to spin around and throw him out, but he keyed two other rallies, so whatever.

So today we come to the final game of this series and it’s time to see what Dontrelle Willis will do. A lot of the blogosphere thinks that Willis hoodwinked the Tigers by having a good ERA in spring, but I still say the Tigers would not have departed with Nate Robertson without having some sort of backup plan. Willis, not surprisingly, doesn’t have a lot of history against the Royals hitters, although Jason Kendall bats .400 against him. Meanwhile, the Tigers haven’t done much against Brian Bannister in their meetings with him, and only Guillen and Damon hit him well. Still, they haven’t seen him since very early 2008.

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