Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Que Lastima

Even I admitted that the odds weren’t good for Detroit in this game, and that’s how it turned out, but I don’t think any of us really labeled a bullpen meltdown as the most likely scenario. Both Phil Coke and Ryan Perry had command problems, and the result was a walk, two hit batters, and then another walk, this time with the bases loaded, before Delmon Young delivered the death blow single. Perry eventually recovered, but it was too late. And it’s really a damn shame, because Armando Galarraga deserved better. That was by far the best he has ever pitched against the Twins. I was really impressed. He looked to be just about in complete control for the first five innings. They did start to center his pitches in the sixth inning, and the wheels almost came off, but after a fortuitous bounce that created a ground rule double and cost the Twins a run, he got the last out and left with the lead intact (I wonder if that’s a fatigue factor, because the same thing happened to him in his last start, and to a lesser extent, the start before that; he’s been able to get out of it every time, though). One other important point is that he didn’t walk anybody, and that’s especially noteworthy because in the past he’s had a lot of trouble throwing strikes to Twins batters. I did read a quote from him where he said he was unhappy that he couldn’t go deeper into the game, but I hope he takes a lot of positive things from this outing and gets a big confidence boost from it.

And I still can’t figure out Brian Duensing. I mean, he could definitely be a solid lefty starter, but I can’t see anything that would support his dominant ERA. The funny thing is that his ERA actually went down after his outing last night because all the runs the Tigers scored were unearned. Still, Casper Wells has looked good over the past couple games. He had three hits last night. Jhonny Peralta also had three hits, which everyone seems to have forgotten about because he struck out to end the game. It was an unusually quiet night for Miguel Cabrera, who got pitched to in all his at-bats (even when there were runners in scoring position), and he only went 1-for-5 to show for it (and that one hit was a single with the bases empty).

Well, if the Tigers are still going to take the series, they have their two best candidates to make it happen. Tonight, it’s Max Scherzer. He was brilliant in his last start against the Blue Jays. He hasn’t faced the Twins since very early in the season, where they knocked him around real good. However, he’s a different pitcher now. Those numbers might mean nothing (or they could mean everything and the Twins are destined to be his kryptonite as well). Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano has been very good as well. He’s also coming off a win, this one against the Texas Rangers. He did give up five runs to the White Sox two starts ago, though. He’s had a strange season against the Tigers. Throughout his career, he has dominated Detroit. The Tigers have very rarely done anything against him. And yet they’re responsible for his worst two starts of the year in terms of giving up runs. They scored six runs off him in six innings at Target Field in late June (that was the game in which Joel Zumaya was injured, and remains their only win in the Twins’ new ballpark). Then at Comerica Park a couple weeks later, they scored seven runs off him in 1.2 innings. Something’s gotta give. Because it’s September, the rosters have expanded and the Tigers have called up Robbie Weinhardt and Max St. Pierre. For Max St. Pierre, this will mark the first time he’s been on a big league roster after fourteen years in the Tigers system. It’s been a long road for him, and that’s an understatement. He’s actually had a decent year between Erie and Toledo, especially when you consider the fact that just about none of the catchers in the Tigers’ farm system did anything offensively.  He hit .274 between the two teams, albeit in only 59 games (he suffered a broken hand that kept him out a while).  With the lefty on the mound, I’m not sure if he would get a start or if Gerald Laird (assuming his back is healthy) will get the call (Laird does not have good numbers against Liriano, for what it’s worth).

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