Sunday, April 25, 2010

Winning a Game You Thought You'd Lose

Photo: AP

Anyone else feel like they just watched a spring training game? I did not get home until the bottom of the third. I was able to listen to a few seconds here and there on the radio prior to that point. Whenever I turned the radio on, it seemed like one of the Rangers was hitting a scorching line drive somewhere and a run was scoring. The whole time, Dan & Jim never mentioned the name “Brad Thomas” and I thought they were teeing off on Dontrelle Willis. So it’s hard to have a negative emotional connection to something you didn’t see and thought was someone else. All I saw of Thomas was the bottom of the third, where he pitched reasonably well. The rest of the bullpen (Bonine, Zumaya, Valverde) was terrific.

The Tigers, for the second time on this road trip, poured all their runs on a starting pitcher and didn’t do anything against the opposing bullpen. Johnny Damon in particular seemed to be the catalyst for Scott Feldman’s downfall. He saw a lot of pitches, walked a couple times, and doubled in two runs. The tying and go-ahead runs scoring on a wild pitch/error combination was almost as weird as Alex Avila’s error the night before. The big boys (Maggs and Cabrera) also pitched in, and Brennan Boesch had his first big league RBI.

Today is not the rubber game of this series, because they play another game tomorrow, but a win would assure the Tigers of at least a split and a satisfactory road trip. Leyland is not pushing everyone back a day, so Rick Porcello will get the start. He needs to bounce back from two rough outings in a row and get some innings in, because I imagine the bullpen is near its limit. Leyland has also said that if Dontrelle Willis is feeling better, he will be available out of the ‘pen. Porcello never faced the Rangers last year. As such, the only Ranger who has a history against him is the red-hot Vladimir Guerrero (0-for-3). The Rangers counter with Colby Lewis, who apparently pitched very briefly for the Tigers in 2006 (I don’t remember him). He’s spent the last couple years in Japan, and he’s been a good pickup for the Rangers so far, pitching very well. The Tigers (at least the ones starting today) don’t have a lot of at-bats against him, so it’s hard telling how they’ll do. Maggs will get the day off, and Leyland has loaded his lineup with lefties (Damon, Avila, Santiago, Boesch, and Kelly are all in). And, as an aside, it’s my grandpa’s 94th birthday today.

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