Saturday, August 28, 2010

Extra Inning Attrition

This is going to be yet another short post, this time because I’m heading to Fifth Third Field shortly to watch the movie shoot there (It doesn’t sound like it’ll be a landmark cinematic achievement by any means, but it does star Dean Cain and it’s not often that they film movies in Toledo). Justin Verlander looked real good, even better than he had against the Indians, although he’s beating himself up for the Adam Lind home run (not so much the home run to Bautista). The bullpen gave a valiant effort, but the death blow to Phil Coke (who has been battling a dead arm) was the walk to the lefty Fred Lewis that preceded the game-winning hit. Meanwhile, analyzing the specifics of the sheer number of runners stranded would take a lot longer than I have time for right now. But here’s what I don’t get: Other than planned plays like a hit and run or a bunt, how is it more difficult to hit with runners in scoring position than it is to hit with the bases empty? No one has been able to tell me the answer to that question. Even The Psychology of Baseball never really touched on it. I just don’t understand why there’s such a big gap in the two batting averages.

Today begins two day games in a row (although I thought this was a night game until last night). Jeremy Bonderman was scheduled to start this game, but he’s been scratched with a ribcage injury. Alfredo Figaro will start in his place, and I’ve made my feelings about him clear on many occasions. In fairness, his stuff is pretty good, but I get the feeling he throws with no plan in mind and just hopes the pitch ends up where he wants it to. Plus, he threw 57 pitches two days ago, so I can’t imagine that he’ll be able to go more than four or five innings, and the bullpen got a lot of work last night. He’s never faced any of the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, the Jays start Brandon Morrow. His ERA is in the fours, and I can’t figure that out, because he’s got some of the filthiest stuff in the league. He lost a no-hitter against the Rays with two outs in the ninth a couple starts ago, but he struck out seventeen, and he’s coming off a twelve-strikeout performance against the Yankees in his last start. The Tigers haven’t seen much of him, and the bulk of what they have seen of him came while he was a reliever for the Mariners, but most of them have had little success. This will be a difficult game to win. I might not be able to watch a lot of it, because I’ll be at the film shoot.

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