Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sweeps and Conspiracy Theories

Photo: AP

This is not going to be an ultra-detailed post because it was the eighth inning by the time I got home. Max Scherzer became the first Tigers pitcher to not pitch in traffic the entire time, as he held down the Orioles’ offense for seven innings. Robbie Weinhardt had himself a decent debut even though he gave up a run, and Phil Coke did a good job subbing for an unavailable Valverde. Meanwhile, Danny Worth had the distinction of hitting his first big league home run, and while you’d figure that you’d score more than four runs against a guy with an ERA over six, but it was enough, so I won’t complain about it. By the way, I sense something screwy’s going on with the Galarraga demotion (which the Toledo Blade seems to be treating as a rehab assignment or a publicity stunt). Little hints and a similar move back in 2008 (Eddie Bonine was sent to the minors near the All-Star Break for the exact same reason and we were told he would be back when the fifth starter spot came up, but they called up Zach Miner instead) have left me doubting Dave Dombrowski’s intentions. Let me put it this way: It would not surprise me if someone other than Galarraga makes the start against Texas on July 20th. I hope I’m wrong.

After today’s off-day, the Tigers get set for a showdown with the Twins before the All-Star Break, except this time the Tigers are in first place. But can they hold it? It’ll be a showdown of Liriano against Verlander. The Tigers got five runs off Liriano the last time they saw him, but I get the feeling that was kind of a fluke, given the way he normally pitches against the Tigers. Meanwhile, this’ll be Verlander’s second start against the Twins this year. His first start saw him at the losing end of a pitching duel with Liriano. Verlander was sensational his last time out, striking out ten Mariners (and I was there to witness all of them). The hitters he needs to look out for in particular are Span, Kubel, and Mauer, all of whom hit over .350 against him. Of course, the seven home runs he’s given up to Jim Thome is fast becoming legendary, but Thome doesn’t hit him for a high average (only .244).

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