Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Battle of Dueling Hunches

This is going to be a short post, because I did not see a lot of this game. Actually, I’m surprised I saw any of the game, but my viewing was limited to the bottom of the eleventh and the entire twelfth inning. Everything else I got from Gameday and a tiny bit of radio. From what I gather, Armando Galarraga came out of the gate with some command issues (and curiously, he threw quite a few changeups and not many sliders in the early going), but he righted the ship and did a good job. Hopefully these last two games of his will give him a confidence boost (If the pitching rotation isn’t shuffled, he’ll need it. His next slated opponent is the Twins). He hit the wall quickly in the seventh inning (echoing something that Jim Leyland said about him in 2008: When he hits the wall, it happens suddenly and it’s hard for him to recover). After a dramatic at-bat, he got Jai Miller to go down swinging with runners at first and second and no one out. Phil Coke did the rest. As for the four-out save mess, well, I get the feeling that Leyland just doesn’t trust Ryan Perry all that much. Now, that may be reasonable. It might not. I’m just bringing up a theory. I do know that I don’t like having Alfredo Figaro on the mound. Most of the time he is one big flirtation with disaster, and that is what happened. Meanwhile, I can’t give you any insight on the offense shutdown, because I didn’t see any of that. And as for the dueling hunches, Ned Yost’s paid off while Leyland’s did not. All the Tiger fans were making fun of the fact that Willie Bloomquist was batting third and now they kind of look dumb for that (then again, the Royals fans were probably complaining about it and they look dumb too). Leyland elected to have Laird hit in the bottom of the eleventh instead of pinch-hitting Alex Avila because his instincts told him that Laird would come through (also that righties were hitting about a hundred points higher against Humber, whose name sounds like a Winnie the Pooh character). Laird hit into a double play. And Miguel Cabrera was stranded in the on-deck circle the following inning.

After a mostly successful homestand, the Tigers now embark on a very long ten-day road trip. First up is a four-game series in Toronto. We’ve already heard about the Blue Jays: In any other division they’d be right in the thick of things, they absolutely bomb the ball, and their pitching staff’s not too shabby. Oh, and they play on artificial surface, so our guys are gonna be sore by the time this series is over. Tonight, Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Tigers. He was good against the Indians, which I got to see firsthand. He’s never faced the Blue Jays before, though he’s seen a few of their hitters (all guys who have come over from the National League). Yunel Escobar is 6-for-13 with three doubles. The other three (Fred Lewis, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Bautista) are all hitless against him. The Blue Jays will start lefty Ricky Romero. The Tigers beat him back in July (the last game before Maggs was injured). He’s 1-2 against Detroit but hasn’t pitched that badly against them (and overall, he hasn’t pitched that badly this year). He’s won the only start he made against them at Rogers Centre.

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