Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June Begins the Way May Ended

The post will be a little on the short side today. I’ve got a ton of stuff to do before I go to work and then I have to go strangle Justin Verlander (You’ll hear more about that on Saturday, undoubtedly. Oh, you will hear it. You will get so tired of hearing it). At any rate, Jeremy Bonderman certainly pitched well enough to win. He had some problems with keeping the ball in the ballpark, which you can’t get too upset with because they were solo shots, though it ended up costing the Tigers. The difference in the game was Mark Grudzielanek’s RBI single in the eighth, however. One little footnote I’d like to mention: Eddie Bonine pitched the ninth inning without allowing the run, marking the end of a five-game span in which the bullpen had given up at least one run. At least that’s over.

One thing that’s really hard for me to figure out when a team doesn’t score that many runs is whether the credit goes to the pitcher for pitching well or whether the blame goes to the hitters for getting themselves out. And this is one such example. Austin Jackson probably had the best at-bat of the night to lead off the game, and all it got him was a groundout to short. Outside of Cabrera, Brandon Inge probably had the hardest-hit ball off Westbrook, but it was straight at the center fielder. Now, it did look like they were on the verge of getting to the Indians’ bullpen (and it has not been a good bullpen). They strung together a mini-rally against Kerry Wood, after all. They just ran out of outs. So maybe that’s something.

So tonight is game 2 of this series (and I don’t really appreciate how everyone’s attitude seems to be that tonight will be an automatic loss for the Tigers). I’ve finally gotten what I wanted, and that is having Armando Galarraga in the rotation. He was chosen over Dontrelle Willis. But have I got what I (i.e. the Tigers) needed? His last start came almost two weeks ago, and it wasn’t particularly good. The fastball looked good then, but he had issues with hanging sliders (which is his key pitch, so he can’t let that go on). Hopefully he’s not rusty (I’m hoping not to have to use that as a confounding variable). He did pitch in relief on Friday and looked good (though I hate seeing him pitch in relief), and he’s had some extended bullpen sessions to get the mechanical issues with the slider straightened out. He won three games against the Indians and pretty much dominated them in 2008, but lost all three of his starts against them last year (and gave up a lot of runs in the process). The Tigers will face Fausto Carmona. This is the tricky part. Carmona’s really struggled the last two years, and the Tigers have beaten him a few times in that stretch, but they never seemed to get a lot off him. But this year he’s become a lot more consistent, maybe not like 2007, but as close as he’s gotten since. They’ll have to do the beginning of this one without me. Work’s bound to be a killer.

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