Well, that was a huge pile of lost cause (and this’ll be a short post because I have to go to work soon). I only got to see Verlander for what seemed like a brief cameo (which sucks, because I’ll miss his next start entirely). Then the rain came, and when that was over, a parade of relievers who couldn’t get Mets batters out started. Jay Sborz let nerves get the better of him in his big league debut. I know people like to rag on Brad Thomas, but I don’t think he was given enough time to warm up properly. Fu Te Ni wasn’t hit as hard in terms of contact, with the exception of one or two hits, but they got enough bloops off him to make his line worse than Thomas’s. The offense did come close to making this thing at least a proper slugfest, and they did deny Niese what should have been an easy win. I do wish people would stop complaining about Gerald Laird hitting second. It probably wasn’t the greatest idea in the world (although he did come up with an RBI single), but it’s done, it probably won’t happen again (or rarely will, if it does), and it is certainly not the reason why they lost last night.
Tonight, it’s Jeremy Bonderman’s turn to try his luck against the Mets (and hopefully last night gave both him and Armando Galarraga some insight into how NOT to pitch to the Mets). He pitched very well against the Nationals in his last start, especially in the later innings. He hasn’t seen the Mets since 2007, but he did beat them then. Five of the Mets have seen him before, and the only two with significant plate appearances against him (Alex Cora and Rod Barajas) haven’t done that well (though Cora has hit a triple against him). The Tigers, in turn, will face the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who has been really good for the Mets this year. He’s 5-0 and his ERA is under three. And he’s only walked 12 batters, which is an amazingly low total for a knuckleballer. The Tigers have put up good numbers against him in their past meetings. Four different Tigers have homered off him (Maggs, Inge, Guillen, and Cabrera). It’ll be interesting to see if the switch-hitters in tonight’s lineup (Guillen and Santiago) opt to bat right-handed against Dickey (since a lot of switch-hitters like to bat on the same side of the plate that the knuckleballer is throwing from to help them stay back on the ball, and I know I’ve seen Guillen employ this tactic before). However, I’ve also heard that with knuckleballers, that pitch is either dancing or it’s not. If it’s going good, hitters don’t stand a chance. If it isn’t, the pitcher’s gonna get knocked around.