Saturday, April 17, 2010

Welcome to the West Coast

Well, everyone on the blogosphere seems to be taking to this game by writing maybe one paragraph while holding their collective noses, and meanwhile providing no further insight beyond “everyone sucked.” Therefore, it falls to me to try to make sense out of it, although one thing to consider is that the west coast rarely makes sense. Bonderman was cruising pretty well for the first part of the game. He did give up a walk and stolen base to Chone Figgins in the first (and no matter what anyone else tells you, Laird had no shot at throwing out either Figgins or Ichiro later on), but got around that just fine. Then in the third, he gave up a two-out single to Ichiro, and I think everyone in the ballpark knew that Ichiro would be off and running, but Bonderman made a bad pickoff throw. For some reason, that got him flustered and he never seemed to recover from it. The error from Laird on the bunt in the following inning didn’t help matters, but with the way Bondo kept giving up hits, it probably only served to speed up the inevitable. And so we have the fourth game in a row where the opposition got a whole lot of hits, and that’s still a mystery that’s unsolved. I listened to a little bit on Gameday Audio, and Jim Price was spinning some conspiracy theory about the last series with Kansas City wherein someone was stealing signs and giving them to the Royals, because they got hits that were out-of-character (his specific example was the pull-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt flipping an outside pitch into right field). That sounds a little far-fetched, but so does the concept of every single starter giving up a ton of hits through an entire turn of the rotation.

There obviously wasn’t a lot on offense, but it’s hard to extrapolate anything from that since Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Rod Allen kept saying that Felix had been wild previously since he’d had seven walks on the season, but he neglected to mention that six of those were in his first start. Still, the Tigers only had one good inning that featured a Cabrera 2-run double that put the Tigers within one before the pitching fell apart. Laird had a double later in the game, and I’d like to mention that his average is now higher than Alex Avila’s. Just sayin’. But as I said, you can’t take a whole lot away from the offense in this game.

So needless to say, that last turn through the rotation was rather blah, and it began with a shaky Justin Verlander start against Cleveland. It’ll be up to Verlander to turn that ship around and get the rotation back on track. He didn’t have a lot of luck with the Mariners last year (the last time he was at Safeco Field, he had a perfect game through four innings with a ton of strikeouts before the Mariners scored five runs against him in the fifth) but his career numbers are good. Ichiro hits him well, as does Milton Bradley, but Chone Figgins is 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts. JV has given up a home run apiece to Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez, and Casey Kotchman (try as I might, I don’t remember that one). He’ll be up against the Aussie Ryan Rowland-Smith. His ERA against the Tigers is 5.61 but I’m guessing most of that came as a reliever. His two starts (that I remember) against the Tigers didn’t result in a lot of offense. Also, most of the Tigers do not have good numbers against him at all. Ryan Raburn’s had the most success. He’s 3-for-5 with two home runs, and Gerald Laird is 2-for-4, but that’s about it as far as Tigers who have hit him well (and I believe one of Laird’s hits may have been a bunt single when he was still with the Texas Rangers). Brandon Inge is 1-for-5 (that one hit being a home run) and Miguel Cabrera is 1-for-6. All of the other Tigers who have faced him don’t have any hits. Kind of a scary proposition, if you ask me.

No comments:

Post a Comment