Friday, August 20, 2010

That Went Downhill Quickly

We’ve seen this before with Rick Porcello. Not very often, but it’s happened (usually against the White Sox). He’ll start out looking really, really good and then fall apart the second or third time through the order in a completely sudden and drastic turn of events. And it comes out of nowhere. It also seems like the Tigers don’t know what the issue is, whether it’s fatigue or a lack of adjustment or what. Unfortunately, the bullpen was even worse and could not put out the fire to save their lives. How bipolar was that game? The Yankees only had one hit in the innings in which they did not score, and they only scored in two innings. Meanwhile, it looks as though Miguel Cabrera might just be back on track. We’ll see how he does against the Indians, but he sure did like Yankees pitching (granted, some of those home runs would not have been out at Comerica Park). He doesn’t seem to care much for the Yankees themselves, however (according to the New York Daily News). The offense did have a bit of fight in them, scoring enough runs to be able to win were there not a complete pitching meltdown. Granted, if the score were closer, they would not be facing Sergio Mitre the whole time, but we’ve seen many occasions where the Tigers were being blown out and the offense got completely handcuffed by some middle reliever.

And so tonight, amidst waiver trade rumors and one roster move (Robbie Weinhardt has been replaced by Alfredo Figaro, and I can only pray he stays firmly in the bullpen). The Tigers are now home for their next six games, and first up is the Indians (payback for sweeping the Tigers out of the All-Star Break would be nice). They’ve played fairly well in the second half (only a game under .500), and their pitching’s improved recently, so they should not be taken lightly. They are starting Justin Masterson tonight (actually, they will have pitchers with names starting with “J” all weekend). He’s had a strange time of things recently. It’s like he either dominates or he gets lit up. His last start was one of the dominant ones. That came against Seattle. The start before that, he gave up seven runs to the Red Sox. He’s a sinkerball pitcher by trade. This’ll actually be the first time I’ve seen him. I’ve always been at work the other times he’s started against the Tigers. The Tigers haven’t seen much of him. Miguel Cabrera’s seen him the most. He’s 3-for-5 with one home run in seven plate appearances (I wonder if these non-contending sub-.500 teams will be more willing to pitch to him). Meanwhile, I can’t begin to guess what Armando Galarraga’s feeling right now. It’s his first start since the much-publicized skirmish in the dugout with the Tigers catchers (Laird’s catching him tonight, by the way). It’s also the first time he’s faced the Indians since the events of June 2nd. This could be good or bad. It could be a real confidence boost for him. After all, knowing that you (unofficially) didn’t allow a baserunner against this team would make you feel good in your abilities (although the Indians have gotten back some people that they didn’t have in June due to injuries). But he can’t try to repeat that accomplishment. It won’t happen, and he’ll only get himself in trouble. Yes, once he gives up the first hit of the game for the Indians, that other game will lose a little bit of its mystique and allure (the same thing happened when Justin Verlander faced the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time after he no-hit them), but it’s something that must happen. I just hope he pitches a good game. He had really good stuff in his last start, although his final line may not have indicated it. And he has to do the stuff I discussed the last time he started. Your Mood Music for tonight: I’ve spent the day belting out songs from “Wicked.” I’m in an Elphaba-mood today. And so I’ll play “Defying Gravity.”

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