Monday, May 17, 2010

Viva Galarraga

Photo: Getty Images

Call it playing well at home, call it weekend mojo, but after a bad Friday night, that turned into a pretty good series. Armando Galarraga was quite good. He needs to throw more first-pitch strikes in future starts, but he only walked three (two in the first inning, and the other was the last hitter he faced). His pitches looked similar to how they did in spring training, at least to me. Fastball command was an issue at times, but he had the slider working real well. I have not seen that sidearm angle from him before, but it seems to be working for him, and he was throwing harder than I’d seen from him before (He got up to 94 at least once, and 93 a couple times). I wish he’d been able to get the last out of the sixth, and I know he wasn’t super thrilled with his outing, but I certainly approve of it.

Perhaps the offense didn’t hit John Lackey all that hard (though Lackey certainly found a lot of things to complain about), but they made him throw a lot of pitches and he walked quite a few. Granted, it looked as though he was dealing with a tight strike zone. Both pitchers were, but I think Lackey was victimized more by it than Galarraga. He walked Johnny Damon to start off the bottom of the first, but according to Gameday, at least three of the four balls were actually in the strike zone. Some of the pitches in the bases-loaded walk to Damon that came later were very close as well. Danny Worth made his major league debut and got the first hit out of the way quickly (thanks to Lackey not being able to step on the bag). Ramon Santiago had a good day with his first home run of the season (after I jokingly made the prediction last month that he’d be the first non-Venezuelan to homer for the Tigers).

Tonight begins a brief 2-game series with the White Sox (As a matter of fact, every team in baseball will spend the next four days all playing 2-game series). I’d be shocked if they got this game in (since it’s raining and the radar indicates that the patch of rain is large and not moving very fast), but if they do, Rick Porcello will take on Freddy Garcia. Porcello had his best start of the season last time against the Yankees. He only faced the White Sox once last year, and it didn’t go too well. It was on ESPN and he gave up five runs in five and third innings (victimized largely by Paul Konerko). And I don’t care how crappy the White Sox are playing right now, they find a way to pummel the Tigers’ pitching staff. A couple of their starters have had some issues, but the Tigers won’t see them. At any rate, Freddy Garcia won his last start, which was against the Twins. The last time the Tigers faced him, he shut them down, which may or may not have been aided by a hungover Miguel Cabrera. Fast forward to now, and Miggy is sober and happy and still sports a career .455 average against Garcia with two home runs (though he didn’t really produce much in the Boston series). Magglio has also hit him well (.304, and he’s had a LOT of at-bats against him). Brandon Inge hasn’t (.200 with sixteen strikeouts in 45 at-bats), but he does have two home runs off him. Here’s what I find kind of strange: Gerald Laird is only 1-for-11 off Garcia. There’s a day game tomorrow where the White Sox are starting a lefty. So given the low level of success plus the day game/lefty combo tomorrow, I was certain that Alex Avila would catch tonight. And yet, Laird’s in the lineup. Is this suggestive of a lack of confidence in the way Avila’s (not) swinging the bat? He did have one good 12-pitch at-bat yesterday that resulted in a walk, but oh well. I am hardly qualified to manage (and that’s not sarcasm; it’s true).

No comments:

Post a Comment