Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stop Playing Like It's 2008

I still haven’t thought of a good introductory sentence, so let’s just launch into the post-mortem, shall we? Armando Galarraga started out a little bit shaky in his return by giving up three runs early (though Austin Jackson misplayed the Ian Kinsler triple and probably should have been able to hold him to a double). After the second inning, however, he got a lot better. The slider looked especially good, as he racked up six strikeouts (though if I remember correctly, he’s always been proficient at striking out Rangers). David Murphy kept hitting long fly balls off him, but he was the only batter who consistently had good swings off him (There’s always gonna be someone, even against Verlander). He did give up a run in the sixth, but I wasn’t looking for him to pitch a shutout, and he threw strikes, only walking one. All in all, there was more good than bad. He gave them some innings, he helped get the bullpen back in order, and he kept his team in the game. The high pitch count kind of concerns me, because he was already pitching on short rest and proceeded to throw 115 pitches. He just had no run support, and that’s starting to become the story of his season. The Tigers have won most of his starts, but they haven’t scored many runs while he has been the pitcher of record (I’ll delve deeper into this when I preview his next start, if he has another start). The brief cameo by the bullpen was disastrous and put the game completely out of reach. I really felt bad for Casey Fien, because I’ve briefly met him and he seems like a nice guy.

The Tiger offense, like many before them, couldn’t do anything against Tommy Hunter. It’s hard to tell what it is that makes him effective. I kind of bullied a sabremetrics expert into saying he’s due to regress, but apparently that didn’t happen last night. It looked like they were starting to figure him out a little bit near the end of his outing. The Rangers were probably wise to go to the bullpen when they did. Can I also add that I am sick and tired of opposing teams making outstanding defensive plays against the Tigers?

And so it is now Max Scherzer’s turn to snap the streak, which is appropriate, since he’s kind of the one who started the slide in the first place (It really doesn’t feel like a seven-game losing streak, because the first loss happened almost ten days ago and two of the other losses happened on the same day). He had massive control problems in Cleveland, walking five (so did everyone else except Rick Porcello; so far, the only real strike-throwers we’ve had in the second half have been Porcello and Galarraga). He’s made one start against Texas this year in which he gave up a home run to Vladimir Guerrero. He ended up with a no-decision because the Tigers tied the game against Neftali Feliz, although they still lost in the ninth. Colby Lewis will start for the Rangers. He’s been very good for them as well. He beat the Tigers earlier this year but got off to a shaky start before settling in and the Tigers could do nothing with him after the first couple innings. He’s the only pitcher that Austin Jackson has homered off of.

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