Yeah, I had a nice, AP photo all set to go, but this one was too funny not to use. I missed most of this game due to work, so forgive the really superficial analysis. Justin Verlander continued his dominance of the National League, and finally got himself a double-digit strikeout game in the process. He also gave up a couple of very long home runs (although I’d like to point out that Alex Avila’s home run on Sunday went into the shrubbery and stayed there, while Adam Dunn’s merely bounced off the shrubbery). But Verlander settled in and he says his curveball was working real well. I won’t argue with that. He also gave up an RBI single to Pudge (which would’ve caused more internal conflict if I had seen it; and as an aside, I’ll spare you the fashion police rant), though I don’t appreciate FS Detroit repeatedly showing footage of him striking out (Seriously, Verlander had 11 strikeouts and Pudge only struck out once. Show someone else). And the Tigers honored my wish of scoring enough runs to give Valverde a night off, so Enrique Gonzalez wrapped things up for the Tigers. I can’t give much of an assessment of him, but he did retire the side in order.
It’s a testament to the kind of year you’ve been having when you give up eight earned runs and your ERA only goes up to 2.95. Maybe Livan Hernandez was simply wild, or maybe he had a game plan that blew up in his face. Having Gerald Laird in the lineup against the righty paid off, because he hit a two-run single that gave the Tigers the lead for good. Brennan Boesch was the big contributor of the night. I was in the car when he hit his home run, so I settled for the replay, but that was a bomb. And I have no idea why Livan Hernandez was left out there long enough to give up eight earned runs, but that’s not my problem.
If you have some spare time (and I know you do), I’d recommend checking out the transcript from Armando Galarraga’s online chat yesterday. There’s some real interesting tidbits in there (as well as Galarraga flashing his sense of humor). Some of the questions/answers were in Spanish during the live chat and have since been translated (If you want to view the original Spanish, click here). And oh, by the way, I make a brief cameo in that transcript.
The Tigers will go for the sweep in today’s day game. Jeremy Bonderman pitched well in his last start but came away with a no-decision as it took until the tenth inning for the Tigers to win that game. He has faced the Nationals before, back in 2007 in what was eventually an 8-4 Tigers victory. The two current Nationals who have hit him well are Adam Kennedy (.364) and Cristian Guzman (.385). And because I’ve highlighted him in my other two game previews in this series, I will mention that Pudge has never faced Bonderman (although with it being a day game after a night game, I doubt Pudge will be in the lineup). The Nationals will start rookie Luis Atilano. I don’t really know that much about him. His starts have all been either really good or really bad with not a whole lot in between. In his last start, he gave up six runs to the Indians, but only three were earned. Being a rookie, he has never faced the Tigers before, and none of the Tigers have ever seen him.