Monday, July 19, 2010

Is That How The Texas Rangers Felt?

I guess I’m not really going to feel the full impact of what everyone else is feeling, because I did not see two of the games in this series, and looking at a box score doesn’t give you the same emotional charge as “experiencing” it live (or, in my case, on television). The only bit of this game that I saw was Jhonny Peralta’s inside-the-park home run, and that was only because I had to know how that went down, because Peralta doesn’t exactly have a lot of speed, and while Raburn’s definitely a defensive liability, he’s not THAT bad. As it turns out, it wasn’t entirely his fault. He ended up crashing through the bullpen gate, which probably should have been locked (something similar happened to Mike Stanton right before the All-Star Break). Andy Oliver continued to kind of slip away. The decision between him and Porcello, in the end, really wasn’t that difficult, and as it turns out, the Tigers made the expected move a day early, sending Oliver down to Toledo in order to call up Armando Galarraga. The pitching as a whole was a problem in the entire series. Scherzer, Verlander, and Oliver all each walked five batters. Porcello was the lone bright spot in the rotation, going eight innings without walking anybody. And just about every member of the bullpen failed at some point except for Ryan Perry. Even Jose Valverde gave up a run. Meanwhile, the Indians played this series the way I almost expected them to play the whole season (Trust me, go back to some of my writings from spring training, particularly the previews, and you’ll see I warned you not to count Cleveland out; while it’s probably too late for them to make a run, they can realize the potential I sense at any time). However, let us not forget that the Tigers opened up last year’s second half by getting swept, and that didn’t kill the season right then and there (That particular event happened later).

The Tigers are now entering a stretch where their next 31 games are all against teams that are over .500. They had a similar stretch earlier in the season, and they got through it all right. Still, it won’t be easy. At any rate, they’ve returned home for seven. First up is the Texas Rangers. They finished the first half by being swept in a four-game series by the Baltimore Orioles. In a sense, that’s probably a bigger blow to the ego than what just happened to the Tigers, because that sweep happened while the Rangers were at home and the Orioles are an even worse team than the Indians. They seemed to have bounced back nicely by taking three of four from the Red Sox at Fenway, however, and they’re one of the few AL teams who play well on the road. They’ve won something like 14 of their last 19 road games. At the same time, they’ve lost their last eleven games at Comerica Park, and the Tigers will certainly be trying to extend that to twelve. Jeremy Bonderman will try to snap the Tigers’ losing streak in the process. He had a decent start last time against the Twins. He’s faced the Rangers once this year, and was somewhat uneven. The Tigers did win that game, though. Meanwhile, Scott Feldman will start for the Rangers (one silver lining is that the Tigers will NOT face Cliff Lee in this series). He’s struggled for much of the year, but was good in his last start, which was against the Orioles (their bullpen blew that game). I haven’t done Mood Music in a really long time, so why not tonight? This song came on the radio while I was out today, and I felt like playing it here for some reason.

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