Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Drawback of Pitching Duels

It seems the Tigers have fallen into that same trap they were in about a month ago, where they would fight their hearts out but consistently came up just barely short. Max Scherzer was very impressive. For the most part, he mowed through a normally stressful lineup rather easily. Unfortunately, the one lapse he had ended up costing him. For a span of about five batters, the Twins hit absolute bullets. Scherzer escaped with minimal damage thanks to a terrific double play by Austin Jackson, but the one run he gave up proved to be too much. I still think that in this day and age, any starting pitcher who goes nine innings should get credit for a complete game, even if it goes into extras, but I digress. However, Ryan Perry failed to bounce back from his rough outing on Tuesday and ended up losing the game (though, to be fair, he did not get help from his friends; Cuddyer probably would have been out on the stolen base attempt if Alex Avila had made a good throw). Meanwhile, the offense ended up getting the Francisco Liriano that they saw in April, not the one from June/July. It’s hard to tell where Liriano’s effectiveness ended and the hitting ineffectiveness began. There were a couple baserunning mistakes that should not have happened, and potentially that cost them runs as well.

The series concludes tonight, and it’ll be up to Justin Verlander to get the win. Like Scherzer, he was very good in his start against the Blue Jays, giving up two solo home runs as his only damage. He’s had two decent starts against the Twins this year, although he actually pitched better in the game he lost than in the game he won, at least in terms of innings pitched and pitch count. And you can bet that unless Jim Thome’s back is still bothering him, he’ll be in there against Verlander. The Tigers will face Scott Baker, who is coming off a win against the Mariners. I’ve given this spiel before. Against the Tigers, he usually gives up somewhere between three and five runs. Usually. Occasionally he’ll only give up one run or give up a bunch of runs just to shake things up. This is already shaping up to be an odd sort of game. Usually in Minnesota they have a day game to end a series. This is a night game.

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