Monday, June 7, 2010

The Oblivious Weekend

Okay, the “game recap” part of this post will be short, because all I saw was the ninth inning. The “next game preview” part of the post might not be (for obvious reasons; it depends on how much I feel like rambling). At any rate, I did not see much baseball at all over the weekend (and I didn’t see any winning baseball, for what it’s worth). I did learn that AM 1470 has an incredibly weak signal. Most Toledo radio stations can be picked up as far as Carey, Ohio (which is about an hour from where I live), but I got nothing but static out of 1470 until I was about 20 minutes away from home. By then it was the bottom of the seventh and everything was pretty much a lost cause. Therefore, I can’t tell you anything about what Jeremy Bonderman did. I’m also not sure if there’s anything to extrapolate from the offense. I mean, when was the last time they actually scored a bunch of runs off Brian Bannister? Bannister was hot already (this was his fifth straight win), and they can’t do anything against him when he’s not, so that seemed like a lose-lose scenario from the get-go. If there’s something to complain about, it’s that they didn’t do anything against Bruce Chen.

So after having virtually no baseball for an entire weekend, I now have to sit through an off-day. I don’t find the draft to be all that interesting (therefore, expect little to no discussion of it on this blog), and I find discussing the departure of Adam Everett to be even less interesting (though I will give him props for taking the news exceptionally well). So I’m not gonna get much until tomorrow. The Tigers will be in Chicago for a three-game series that I completely skipped over in my mind until the road trip started (Seriously, I thought the next series was at home against the Pirates). Hopefully that’s not some sort of premonition that this series will be “forgettable.” And tomorrow night is the moment that everyone’s waiting for, as Armando Galarraga makes his first start since his perfect game (I can call it that if I want to). Since I liked Armando long before it was cool to like him, I’m going to be really nervous for him. I’m somewhat concerned that all the media coverage he’s had over the past week will negatively affect his performance (That many TV and newspaper interviews probably aren’t part of his normal routine). At the same time, I’m still enjoying the outpouring of love for him and the example that he’s set. As for this start, well, he’s not going to pitch a perfect game. That much is certain. He will give up some hits, and he will likely give up some runs, and as long as he doesn’t give up too many, that’s okay. The White Sox offense has struggled all year with the exceptions of Alex Rios and Paul Konerko, but I’m not going to delve into that beyond mentioning it because they have no problems scoring runs against the Tigers, no matter who the pitcher is. Galarraga’s got a very strange line against them. His ERA is over five, but as a group, White Sox hitters are batting .196 against him (Paul Konerko has given him the most trouble, hitting at a .429 clip). He faced one batter in a relief appearance in 2008, walked him and ended up taking the loss. His first start against them in 2009 was stellar, shutting them out. That was at Comerica Park. He’s made two starts at U.S. Cellular Field, one bad, one okay. The last time he saw them he was pitching out of the bullpen near the end of last season. He gave up a couple runs, but if I remember correctly, they were mostly on jam shots that were muscled into the outfield. The Cell might not be the best place for him to pitch, though, simply because he’s prone to giving up home runs and that’s a very homer-friendly ballpark. One interesting thing to note is that prior to Wednesday, Leyland was going to skip Galarraga through this turn of the rotation because of the off-day. Obviously, there’s no way he can do that now. On the other side of things, the White Sox rotation has one of the worst ERAs in baseball, but I’m thinking that’s deceptive because their rotation should be far better than it has been (kind of like the Tigers). Gavin Floyd is one of those pitchers. His ERA is over six, but he’s 5-0 career against the Tigers and they’ve really only gotten to him once (that was all the way back in 2007, the first time they faced him and the Tigers still lost that game). He was the Pavano Effect before there was a Pavano Effect. Miguel Cabrera does not hit him well (.231), and neither does Brandon Inge (.167), but Ryan Raburn (.391) and Johnny Damon (.625) do.

Also, I’ll give you a heads-up: I’m going to be compiling a list of links to various stories and interviews related to Galarraga’s perfect game (I should have done this after Verlander’s no-hitter as well, but I did not). That post will be up either tonight or tomorrow before the game (because if he doesn’t pitch well and I post it after the game, it kind of loses steam).

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