Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh, Those Damn Inherited Runners

The streak had to end sometime, I guess. Rick Porcello seemed better than he had been before having his start skipped, but not quite there yet. He says the problem pitch for him was the four-seam fastball and not the sinker. It’s hard for me to agree or disagree with him because I haven’t yet figured out the exact speed differential for him (other than knowing the 4-seamer is harder). His final line probably looked worse than he actually pitched. The Miguel Montrero home run was wind-aided, but the big backbreaker was the two extra runs that Fu Te Ni allowed to score by giving up the triple to Gerardo Parra. He’s had issues lately with allowing inherited runners to score, after being pretty good at stranding them before then. Of course, that essentially was the difference in the game. However, for purely selfish reasons, I don’t want Porcello sent down (or skipped again) just yet (because essentially, if he got sent down, they would take advantage of the off-day and just bump everyone else up until they absolutely needed another starter, and I don’t want that because Verlander is currently on track to start the July 3rd game). Give him one more start, and then go from there. Enrique Gonzalez pitched a few quite effective innings before tiring a little in the ninth, but got bailed out by Brennan Boesch.

As I said yesterday, Tigers fans know how good Edwin Jackson can be, and he looked on top of his game yesterday. And yet they still managed to score four runs off him. They mention that bases-loaded, none out situation in which the Tigers did not score (a run had already come in at that point), but again, Jackson can certainly get strikeouts, and he showed a knack last year for getting double plays when he needed it, so it was not like it was anything out of the ordinary. Probably the big mistake of the game was letting Jackson hang around too long, because it didn’t give them enough at-bats against the Arizona bullpen, and they ran out of outs before making the full comeback. You had the situation you wanted there in the ninth inning: Tying run at second with Miguel Cabrera at the plate, but Cabrera struck out on a changeup. He also did that in Chicago (that time, the bases were loaded with two out and he swung and missed at a 3-2 changeup). I’ll have to see looking forward if changeups from right-handed pitchers continue to give him problems.

The homestand concludes today, Father’s Day. And after two days of awkwardness for the Tigers, it’s time for the Diamondbacks to feel awkward because Max Scherzer will face his old team for the first time. He did okay against the Washington Nationals in his last start, but he can do better. Obviously, he’s never faced the Diamondbacks before, but he has seen two of their hitters who were on other teams last year. Kelly Johnson is 3-10 with two doubles, and Adam LaRoche is 2-4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. Meanwhile, the Tigers will face former Yankee Ian Kennedy. He was also involved in that trade, and he’s done a decent job for the Diamondbacks, putting up a respectable earned run average in the process. The Tigers have seen him once. It was back in 2008 and they beat him en route to a 3-game sweep of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium (and forgive me, but I don’t remember if it was the first game or the last game in that series; I know it was not the middle game). Only five guys from that game remain with the Tigers. Who had good swings in that game? Well, Magglio went 2-3 with a double, Cabrera was 1-1 with a triple, and Ramon Santiago was 1-2 with a double.

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