Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not a Good Night For Venezuelans

I know, I know. I’m too compassionate for my own good. Strangely enough, I’m not nearly as depressed as I was after Armando Galarraga’s last loss. Still, I said he needed it. He didn’t get it, and as maddening as his struggles can be to some people, I’m sure he feels a hundred times more frustrated about it. Part of the problem (I think) is that it hasn’t been the same problem each time. It’s more like he’s alternated problems in these last three starts. In Texas, his stuff wasn’t there. Against Kansas City, his stuff looked good but he lost his nerve and didn’t trust himself. Last night was more like how things went in Texas. I noticed early on that his pitches just didn’t seem to be moving right (or, to paraphrase Leyland, they weren’t moving much at all). The Indians were hitting a LOT of pop-ups for the first four innings, and I didn’t think he was going to go the whole game without giving up a hit/run, because he normally has a much more equal distribution of ground ball to fly ball outs (maybe a little skewed towards fly balls, but not dramatically so). Once Matt LaPorta broke the seal with a home run, Galarraga was unable to stop the bleeding, which is also unusual, because while he is prone to giving up home runs, he generally doesn’t give up three in one inning. An outing like that makes me suspect a little bit that he’s not being honest about the elbow again. But regardless of the reason, the fact remains that the fifth inning bit him again. At least this time he was willing to talk to the media about it. There wasn’t a lot to be happy about, but it was nice to see him interviewed again. I hadn’t seen one with him in almost three weeks (I hadn’t seen so much as a quote from him in three weeks and I was starting to get concerned; up until then, he’d almost always been willing to talk about his starts, good or bad). He basically rehashed the fifth inning and said he wasn’t sure what went wrong because things went downhill so quickly. He also said he had to figure it out because he’s got one more start to get things right. I just hope he can, and that it’s not too late for him.

Things weren’t any better on the other side of the ball for the Tigers. They stranded a lot of runners early and then didn’t mount a comeback against the Indians’ bullpen. There were a couple of untimely double plays as well as a botched hit and run. I’m not sure how much stock you put into the analysis of Rod Allen, but his assessment was that the Tigers had some nice, patient at-bats when the bases were empty, but once there were runners in scoring position, they swung at bad pitches. Of course, all that pales in comparison to the loss of Miguel Cabrera, who sprained his ankle while trying to make it back to first base on a pickoff attempt from Luke Carlin (between that and the home run he hit off Galarraga, I wasn’t feeling too friendly toward Carlin by the end of the evening). I am unsure of his status other than the fact that x-rays were negative and he is not in tonight’s lineup, but I’m guessing it depends on the severity of the sprain (As an aside, how is it that Progressive Field doesn’t have an x-ray machine? I thought all ballparks had them on-site). Again, my schooling fails me, because we aren’t really taught orthopedics in pharmacy school, but I know of instances where guys suffered high ankle sprains in spring training and then missed the whole season. I suppose this is why it’s taking me so long to write this post, because I’m waiting for further word on whether this is the case for Cabrera, but if he has to miss the remaining six games, that can’t bode well for his MVP chances (let alone my near-certainty that he’d make it to forty home runs), because the Tigers’ most compelling argument was that Cabrera has stayed healthy while Josh Hamilton has missed almost the entire month of September. I suppose, if anything, this’ll help Robinson Cano’s case (that and the fact that the Yankees and Rays have yet to sort out who gets the division and who gets the wild card).

The series continues tonight, Venezuelan-less. Max Scherzer is coming off a strong start against Kansas City, where he shut them out. He beat the Indians the last time he faced them (I was there). That was at Comerica Park. He has not pitched well at Progressive Field so far. Mitch Talbot, on the other hand, has pitched strongly against the Tigers in two of his three starts against them this year (and the one in which he was somewhat roughed up happened all the way back in April). Two starts ago, he left the game without retiring a batter after suffering an injury. In his last start, he gave up three runs in five innings to the Royals and took the loss.

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