Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Close Game...

See what I mean about everything being just a tick off? You can’t really put the blame on Rick Porcello. He pitched quite well. He got victimized by some infield singles and a couple ground balls that Cabrera couldn’t quite come up with, but that’s just the way things are going right now. They just can’t get away with any mistakes whatsoever. On the offensive side of things, well, they weren’t going to get a whole lot off David Price. Most teams don’t. What I can’t figure out is the seventh inning that has replayed itself for three straight games. When it happened the first time, I wasn’t surprised that Joe Maddon issued the intentional walk because this is a guy who once issued an intentional walk with the bases loaded in a two run game. I’m also not surprised that Brennan Boesch didn’t come through (even if he weren’t slumping). What astounds me is that the situation was identical each time: Top of the seventh, runners at first and second with two outs in a one-run game and Cabrera at the plate. How does that exact same scenario happen in three straight games? The odds of that have to be incredibly ridiculous.

And so we find ourselves with a situation where the Tigers have lost all four games on this road trip so far, but they could just as easily have won all four. The pitching has been good for the past week or so. But now, they head to Boston, where it is very difficult to pitch. The Red Sox, like the Tigers, have been beset with injuries, although their guys are starting to get healthy and come back. And it’s still a formidable lineup. The first unlucky soul charged with the task of keeping them at bay is Armando Galarraga. It feels like an eternity since he’s been on the mound, mostly because I did not see his last start, which was a good one. However, that was against the aggressive, free-swinging Blue Jays. The Red Sox are much more patient and much more adept at fouling off tough pitches. He beat them earlier this year back in his season debut with the Tigers, but his other meetings with them have not gone so well. He has never pitched at Fenway Park, as far as I know (He was scheduled to last year, but he got sick and was scratched at the last minute). At the same time, he once again needs to turn in a good start. These Ted Lilly rumors haven’t died yet. Most of the Red Sox really haven’t hit him for average, except Kevin Youkilis, who has ridiculously good numbers against him (4-8 with two home runs). But they have found ways to score runs against him. Meanwhile, the Tigers will face Jon Lester, who is coming off two straight losses. The cheery online game preview noted that the last time he lost two in a row, he rattled off eleven straight wins. The Tigers have handled him the couple times they’ve seen him, but they’ve never had to face him before in the second half, when he’s generally tougher. Brennan Boesch, who had some good swings off him back in May, is not in the lineup. Two lefties are being thrown at him (Damon and Rhymes, who has hit impressively well so far). This game will also feature the Tigers debut of Jhonny Peralta and the major league debut of Jeff Frazier, who was called up this morning with Jeff Larish being designated for assignment. Frazier has been one of the hottest hitters for the Mud Hens (along with Rhymes) and he’s second in the International League in home runs, so it’s worth a shot, I suppose. Either way, if the Tigers win tonight, they’re gonna have to fight real hard for it.

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