Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Birthday Split

Photo: AP

I had done some researching on Baseball-Reference, and I came up with a couple interesting tidbits: On my birthday, the Tigers were one game under .500 all-time, but they had never lost both games of a doubleheader (and they had played at least ten or twelve of them on August 3rd). Neither of those fun facts changed after last night. I was at the movie theater watching Toy Story 3 while the day game was going on, and it was a very good movie (the 3-D was impressive, too). It was so good that I didn’t really think about the game. As a result, I had a nasty surprise waiting for me once I got my iPod back into the mall’s wifi range. It’s starting to appear that the White Sox are to Rick Porcello what the Twins are to Armando Galarraga. That is now four really bad starts that Porcello has made against the White Sox (unfortunately, he is on track to start in Chicago next Saturday). And when I saw in the box score that Juan Pierre had hit a home run, I immediately assumed that it was an inside-the-parker, because Pierre has absolutely no power. None. Zero. Zilch. Somehow, it turned out to be an actual into-the-seats type home run, although no one has provided any insight on how he was able to do that. I was able to listen to the last two innings on the radio. Jim Price was practically begging one of the Tiger pitchers to drill one of the White Sox.

Things went a whole lot better in the nightcap. Jeremy Bonderman was better than he’s been in a long time. He had the slider working really well, and for the most part he was able to get double plays when he needed them. Meanwhile, the offense was able to take advantage of some early wildness from the spot starter Carlos Torres, as well as some errors from the White Sox. Brennan Boesch finally made a team pay for walking Miguel Cabrera intentionally to get to him. Speaking of Cabrera, he went hitless in the doubleheader, continuing his lack of performance against the White Sox. He really, really needs to somehow figure out a way to raise that batting average against them. Although the Tigers didn’t do a lot against Torres in the middle innings, they were able to score a couple more runs late.

This series continues tonight, and the out-of-town fans can watch on ESPN (yuck). We’ll see a couple of former teammates square off against each other. Armando Galarraga had a decent start against the White Sox earlier this year, although he did not get the win. His last start was cut short by Kevin Youkilis hitting a line drive off his ankle, but all reports indicate that he’s feeling fine now. I’m trying to figure out how good or bad of a matchup this is for Galarraga. The White Sox hit a lot of home runs, and Galarraga is prone to giving up home runs, so that might be problematic, and they demonstrated against Rick Porcello that they can punish you if you miss with your location. On the other hand, they’re not a particularly patient team and they will chase good sliders, although they don’t strike out a lot. And I still don’t like having Bonderman and Galarraga next to each other in the rotation, because their stuff is similar and I feel it puts Galarraga at a disadvantage (or Bonderman, if he is the one doing the following). The Tigers, meanwhile, will face Edwin Jackson for the second time this year. The White Sox acquired him right before the trade deadline, and the rumor is that they got him because they thought they could flip him to the Nationals for Adam Dunn, but the Nationals backed out, so now they’re stuck with him. Still (and I said this back in June), Tigers fans know what Jackson is capable of, and that is better than a 5.16 ERA. He beat them back in June, the only National League pitcher to do so at Comerica Park. The Tigers got some good news today, because Brandon Inge is making his return to the lineup at least two weeks ahead of schedule and after only one rehab game. To make room for him on the roster, Danny Worth was placed on the DL with a bruised left heel. Inge’s return means that Jhonny Peralta moves over to shortstop. I imagine that’s going to be like having Edgar Renteria back at short, although Peralta will be helped out by the fact that he’ll have Inge next to him (given the fact that Inge has a lot more range than Cabrera or Guillen, which is what Renteria had to contend with). Also, one more thing to note is that apparently Jose Valverde was sick and therefore unavailable last night. There is no word yet on his status for tonight.

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