Oh, I hate blogging stuff like this. That was painful to watch. I suppose that after several good starts in a row, Armando Galarraga was due for a bad one, and this one was really bad. I can’t quite nail down the precise reason as to why. I don’t think he talked to reporters after the game (since I can’t find a quote from him anywhere). It was another really strange game, and he was not immune to it (Neither was I; afterwards I had a dream about the perfect game and then that I was trying to break him out of jail, although I know where the last part of that came from because before the game started I was watching a movie where the heroes had to break out of jail). This doesn’t seem like the other times he’s struggled. Those were more of a mental thing. He got too timid with his pitches and ended up falling behind hitters and walking people. That didn’t really happen last night. I didn’t get the sense that he was overthinking, and he threw plenty of strikes, but it just looked like he had nothing to draw on (Leyland, who was really pissed off after the game, but not necessarily about Galarraga, said he “didn’t have anything,” while Rick Knapp didn’t sound too happy). He got victimized a little bit by some ground ball singles, aggressive baserunning, a questionable checked swing call that didn’t go his way, and errors (including his own), but the two home runs he gave up were absolutely crushed (one on a fastball, one on a hanging changeup). I guess it’s quite possible that he just “didn’t have it,” and evidence of that could be that it was only the eighth time in his career that he gave up a three-run homer. He’s normally pretty good at limiting the damage via the long ball. Almost two-thirds of the home runs he’s given up in the majors have been solo shots. At any rate, I hope the fact that he’d pitched well for a month prior to this start will be enough to give him a mulligan, but either way, it’ll be a long wait until next Tuesday.
This game had to be especially painful for Galarraga because his teammates finally scored some runs for him. Colby Lewis wasn’t at his sharpest, but because the Tigers’ pitching staff had a complete meltdown, he didn’t need to be. The bullpen in particular had issues with shutdown innings. Whenever the Tigers scored, the Rangers would score in the bottom half of the same inning (once the bullpen came in, that is; Galarraga was kind of the opposite. He shut down the Rangers 1-2-3 in the inning that the Tigers scored, then gave up in the innings in which they didn’t). Miguel Cabrera had a couple of sacrifice flies but still didn’t seem to be quite centering the ball. Ryan Raburn had a nice night with a couple of doubles and a home run, though.
And so here we are with yet another off day (Is that really necessary?). Tomorrow night begins the final series of the season with the White Sox, who could find themselves out of the race by then if they lose tonight (the Tigers, meanwhile, will probably be mathematically eliminated in the next couple days, possibly as early as tomorrow). Max Scherzer will face Edwin Jackson again. They’re both coming off rough starts, and they pretty much matched each other the last time they squared off against one another. Scherzer was tagged for four runs against the Orioles. He hasn’t pitched particularly well against the White Sox this year, but he’s starting to get better. I’ve rehashed the individual numbers a bunch of times by now so you probably don’t need them.