Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In Case You Forgot, Justin Verlander is Awesome

Photo: AP

I’m not going to be able to do this post justice because the game was in the bottom of the seventh by the time I got home and an early wakeup this morning meant that I did not have time to watch the archive. That means I missed Justin Verlander’s entire outing, but by the sounds of things, there was a lot to like about it. Verlander said he finally found his curveball for the first time all season (a bit surprising, considering that even though he hasn’t been quite as lights-out as he was last year, he’s still had a pretty good season). I’ve mentioned (not on here) that Verlander has kind of flown under the radar recently. Most of the media attention has been focused on the other four in the rotation (for various reasons), especially Scherzer and Porcello. If he pitches strong down the stretch, Verlander will become a main attraction again, as well he should be.

The offense, meanwhile, didn’t so much get to Freddy Garcia as they took advantage of some sort of injury. Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer off Garcia to give the Tigers an early lead, and then once Garcia was out, they feasted on some of the White Sox’s September call-ups (otherwise known as Charlotte Knights). I know Don Kelly is far from the ideal candidate to bat behind Miguel Cabrera, but he’s come through quite well so far. Granted, at this point they don’t have an “ideal candidate” (they don’t have Miguel Cabrera either right now, but I’ll talk about that later), so they might as well just stick the hottest hand behind him and see what happens. Jhonny Peralta had a big night, breaking the game open with a bases-clearing double. And Brandon Inge capped off the scoring with a long three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Tonight marks game three in this series. Jeremy Bonderman started off very shaky in his last start, but then found a way to stay in for 7.1 innings, and actually left in a position to win before the bullpen gave up the tying run. He got lit up the last time he faced the White Sox, giving up two home runs and six runs overall. He’ll be opposed by John Danks, who is pitching on short rest and handcuffed the Red Sox in his last start. The Tigers will be without the services of Miguel Cabrera tonight and probably tomorrow. After that, it’s a crapshoot. The shoulder/biceps tendinitis is still bothering him. I wonder when they reach the point where they’ll do an MRI just for precautionary measures (after all, he is their highest-paid player). It drives me crazy when I can’t offer an informed opinion on health matters. Back when Cabrera had the kidney infection, I could tell you with about 95% certainty that he’d be on Cipro or Levaquin for two weeks. Unfortunately, they don’t teach a lot of orthopedics in pharmacy school, so I couldn’t even tell you if a cortisone shot would help (although a corticosteroid does help relieve inflammation, but I know there’s a whole bunch of MLB policies surrounding stuff like that). At this point, both Cabrera and Leyland seem more concerned with the shoulder impeding his ability to swing the bat the way he wants to than with the injury itself. I will tell you this, though: If he has to miss more than a couple games, you can kiss any remote chance of a miracle comeback goodbye. It goes without saying that Cabrera is the lifeblood of this offense (and that’s going to be true next year as well, no matter who they sign or trade for). Granted, he might not be missed that much tonight, as his career numbers against Danks are only so-so (.250 average). In fact, the only Tiger not on the DL who has good numbers against Danks is Gerald Laird (3-for-6 with a double). Unfortunately, it seems his back still is keeping him out, because Alex Avila is starting for the third straight day. I kind of wonder why Max St. Pierre isn’t getting the start against the lefty. As a matter of fact, there are four lefties in Leyland’s lineup tonight, some in place of available right-handed bats. However, a quick look at Danks’s splits may reveal why. Righties have only hit .206 against him, while lefties have hit .285 (now that I think about it, I seem to remember Danks featuring a really good changeup, which may explain the counterintuitive numbers).

No comments:

Post a Comment