Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oh, For the Lack of Run Support

Again we see the Tigers fall into the trap of close games where they come up empty. Armando Galarraga had problems commanding his fastball. I noticed he didn’t throw very many sliders (which had been a big pitch for Bonderman the night before), but he was quoted after the game as saying he didn’t feel like the slider was working. He also said he was tired of giving up home runs. I’m not sure what he’s going to do about that, because he’s always been prone to giving up home runs. The key for him is to limit the damage. He did give them some innings, though. Rod Allen was speculating that the ankle was still bothering him. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, and we’re not going to find out. Galarraga would never admit it, and Leyland won’t use it as an excuse.

The problem for the offense was the lack of extra-base power. They had ten hits, but they were all singles. And it’s not like the scoring opportunities came with a rookie or the bottom of the order at the plate. For the most part, they had the hitters they wanted up there. Out of the ten hits, the 4-5-6 hitters combined for just one of them, and that was a swinging bunt infield single. Miguel Cabrera came up with runners at first and second and less than two outs twice, and he didn’t do anything. I’ve mentioned a couple times that the Tigers cannot afford to lose Cabrera. A corollary to that is that they cannot afford to have Cabrera go into a slump. He’s got to bust out of it soon. As for the others, Peralta hit a couple balls hard, but right at people. One bright spot was that Brandon Inge had three hits and an RBI in his return (and his lone out chased Juan Pierre to the warning track).

The Tigers wrap up this series this afternoon, and the hole-digging has to stop soon. Max Scherzer was pretty good against the Red Sox, although the Tigers lost that game after a bullpen meltdown. However, one little oddity about Scherzer is that he has pitched really well outside the division, but has struggled in the Central (which is not what the Tigers were looking for when they got him). He faced the White Sox earlier this year and lost to John Danks. Omar Vizquel hit a home run off him. Meanwhile, the Tigers face Freddy Garcia, who they haven’t done much against this year, even though several of them have homered off him in their careers. Hopefully this will be the pitcher that gets Miguel Cabrera going again, though. He’s hitting .353 with three home runs off his fellow countryman. On the flipside, Brandon Inge only hits .216 with sixteen strikeouts against Garcia.

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