I can’t say I “expected” the Tigers to lose last night (I wouldn’t want to be that negative), but I knew it was a virtual certainty that the Twins would beat the Brewers so I figured the stay in first place would be short, at least for now. A lot of other bloggers and writers are passing this off as “typical, vintage Dontrelle Willis,” but if you examine it closer, it wasn’t. Usually, if there’s going to be wildness (and there often is), he starts out that way. Sometimes he settles down and pitches reasonably well, sometimes he doesn’t. But on the rare occasions where he starts out sharp, he generally stays that way. Last night was an exception, and for some reason a two-out single from Matt Kemp got him flustered and he couldn’t get himself un-flustered, so to speak. The rest of that inning proceeded a lot like how Jeremy Bonderman’s one bad inning the day before went, culminating in a hit-by-pitch (maybe) with the bases loaded.
The Tigers’ promising start against Chad Billingsley lasted for exactly one batter. Austin Jackson had a nice 10-pitch at-bat before finally hitting a double and being manufactured home, but after that there were a whole lot of one-pitch outs. Even when the Tigers hitters were ahead in the count and got fastballs (which seems to be more common in the National League, for some reason), they’d foul them off at best (pop them up at worst). And can I say I was a little bummed that Dontrelle didn’t get a hit? At any rate, I was extremely disappointed that the Tigers were unable to put on a good show for Vin Scully.
The series continues tonight on Big Fox (Dick Stockton and Jose Mota…could be worse). Armando Galarraga did a good job against the Red Sox, though as I said then, he needs to be better about getting more first-pitch strikes. The Red Sox have a pretty potent lineup, but I’d say the Dodgers are better than them, even without Ethier. Galarraga did see the Dodgers once before, back in ’08, and pitched seven innings of shutout baseball. They weren’t quite the potent lineup back then that they are now, however, even though it’s a lot of the same guys. Interestingly enough, he did not face Matt Kemp in that game. My gut’s telling me that Kemp might be a thorn in this game. Not sure why. Anyways, the Tiger hitters will face John Ely, who made his big league debut earlier this year and is somewhat of a hard thrower who apparently does not walk anybody ever. The Tigers will have their work cut out for them (and a not so bold prediction is that Dick Stockton and Jose Mota will spend most of the game having a John Ely lovefest). Your Mood Music for tonight: I promised you Randy Newman, and so I give you Randy Newman. Me being as weird as I am, it makes me think of the movie Volcano because that's where I first heard it. But I really like the instrumental bridge. They play this song at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers win. I hope that the only place you hear this song for the rest of the weekend is on this site.