Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And Sometimes It Doesn't Make Sense

Could a single game get any weirder? I felt like it was a west coast game (and it certainly ended about the time a west coast game would). Throughout the whole mess, there were clues that things just weren’t going to go the Tigers’ way last night. Obviously, the big blow is that Brandon Inge suffered a broken hand and will be out 4-6 weeks (Now, is that including “resuming baseball activities” and rehab assignments, or is that separate?). That’s going to be tough to work around, no matter what the Inge haters say, because there’s no organizational depth at third base. I guess the rumored plan is to eventually move Carlos Guillen back over there (yuck) and call up Scott Sizemore, but for tonight at least it looks like Don Kelly will fill in and Casey Fien has been called up. That makes sense, because the bullpen has got to be running on fumes right now and you have to be prepared should the worst happen. Just about the only guy in the bullpen who is at full strength is Brad Thomas. I’d say Ryan Perry and Robbie Weinhardt are definitely unavailable, Eddie Bonine would only be available in an emergency, Jose Valverde and Enrique Gonzalez are questionable, and Phil Coke is probably available. I wonder if it is either Justin Verlander or Rick Porcello’s side session day (I can’t remember if that happens two days after you start or three). If it is, one or both might be held back just in case. There were other clues that things weren’t going the right way. The normally sure-handed Austin Jackson made two errors. Robbie Weinhardt kept getting weak ground ball after weak ground ball that kept finding holes, and then when he finally got the double play ball, the Comerica Park infield was momentarily transplanted with that of the Metrodome and the ball bounced right over Santiago’s head (Seriously, that bounce looked like something straight out of Angels in the Outfield). The home run that Nelson Cruz hit did not look like it would travel that far off his bat, but it found the camera well where the wall is low (although the runner was on the move at the time, so even if it went off the wall instead of over it, a run probably would have scored, and it was hit in a spot that I don’t think Magglio could have caught up to, if you’re thinking about him possibly catching it).

The Tigers beat up on Scott Feldman the way they usually do, scoring five runs in five innings. Then those little clues started to emerge again. Johnny Damon hit a bullet that was snared by Chris Davis, saving a run. Later, Damon should have scored the winning run on Brennan Boesch’s single, but got deked by Nelson Cruz and lost the ball in the lights so he had to hold up at third and Carlos Guillen bounced into an inning-ending double play (though I still don’t know why the Rangers were playing at double play depth and not infield in, given that the winning run was at third). Let’s not forget that Damon is normally a very good baserunner (so it’s akin to the two Austin Jackson errors in that respect). There was some complaining about the strike zone throughout the game. However, every time there was a questionable call, Gameday would confirm it as a strike, although just barely, except once, and that was the called third strike to Austin Jackson that ended the game. That was definitely outside. On the bright side, it was nice to see Cabrera swinging the bat well again. He ended up with three hits, two home runs, and two RBIs. Now if the pitching staff could only hold down Josh Hamilton so Cabrera can get back in on top in batting average.

Let me be the first to say that I have no idea what’s going to happened tonight. Armando Galarraga is back up with the Tigers (it was nice seeing him in the dugout again, and I had a thought that it was an amazing coincidence that his friend Miguel Cabrera had a big night at the plate). I know there’s not a lot of confidence in him from the fans, and I feel as though the odds are already stacked against him. Texas has a good offense (even though most of their threats are from right-handed bats and Galarraga can shut down righties when he’s going good), plus Galarraga’s schedule got all out of whack last week. He ended up in Los Angeles at the ESPYs, which was cool, but it left him unable to make his scheduled start in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and ended up pitching three scoreless innings in relief the following night (He threw 48 pitches, if I remember correctly). Therefore, he’s starting on short rest, which isn’t exactly routine. He’s faced the Rangers three times before, with one not-that-great, one excellent, and one decent start. The not-that-great start was the most recent, however, and he’ll be up against the guy who beat him in that start, Tommy Hunter. He’s one of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now. He’s 6-0 with a very good earned run average. He beat the Tigers last year by holding them to one run in seven innings (though if I remember correctly, the Tigers stranded a lot of baserunners in that game; I also happen to know that I went to the drive-in that night, for some odd reason). Miguel Cabrera struck out twice against him (once with the bases loaded, I think). He has not faced a lot of the guys he’ll be facing tonight, though. And one more thing: I refuse to quit on this season just because of Inge’s broken hand. There are only two guys whose loss(es) would make me believe the Tigers have no chance, and they are Verlander and Cabrera. There’s still a long way to go, and the White Sox and Twins are both dealing with injuries of their own. And now for Mood Music (it came up on my iPod and I thought it appropriate).  

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