Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I am Getting Sick of Other Teams' Defenses

This was one of those frustrating games, though it did not come from lack of effort. Justin Verlander gave all he could. It’s a shame that the difference in the game was on a broken-bat double to Matt Joyce. On the hitting side of things, the Tigers had issues with stranding runners, but they finally got the situation they wanted in the ninth: Miguel Cabrera at the plate in a situation in which he couldn’t be pitched around or walked intentionally. He ended up bouncing into a game-ending double play. Credit Evan Longoria with taking a huge risk and having it pay off. That thing was executed to the microsecond. If Johnny Damon had gotten to second base any sooner, or if Cabrera was just the slightest bit faster, that double play does not get turned. At the same time, it’s frustrating to see the opposing team’s defense come up with spectacular play after spectacular play to squash Tiger rallies, and the number of times it has happened in the second half is ridiculous.

And now I want to make another point: During this second half, even while we’ve had all these rookies on the team, it’s not like they’ve been completely overmatched. They have played a lot of really close games. They’ve had five one-run losses, a couple of two-run losses, and a couple more games that were close until the very late innings. There’s more fight in this team than a lot of people think. I get the feeling that everyone’s just a tick out of sync, and I mean JUST a tick. It seems like every game ends up hinging on one particular pitch or one particular at-bat. I think that’s why I seriously believe that acquiring the right person at the deadline would be more beneficial than a lot of fans believe it would. Because the Tigers are still hanging around. It’s taking them all they got, but they’re still in it.

Eddie Bonine will make a spot start tonight, and thanks to the efforts of Justin Verlander, the bullpen should be well-rested. Bonine seems to be able to go about sixty pitches before he loses his effectiveness. He’s been decent out of the bullpen, though he has had issues with stranding inherited runners recently, although that has absolutely no bearing on tonight. Only two Rays have ever faced him. Jason Bartlett and Evan Longoria are both 0-1. Starting for the Rays is Jeff Niemann. He is having a very good year (as are most of the Tampa Bay starting pitchers). He made two starts against the Tigers last year, and they didn’t do much against him. The Tigers won both of those games because they came back against the Rays’ bullpen. Johnny Damon and Miguel Cabrera are both 3-8 against him. The rest of the uninjured Tigers have no hits against him or have never faced him. Also, late-breaking news: The Tigers have acquired Jhonny Peralta from the Indians for Giovanni Soto. I’m not quite sure if that’s the bat I was looking for, but it is an indication that the front office hasn’t given up yet.

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