Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sudden Comeback

Photo: AP

Over the past couple days, the Tigers have been doing something they were rather good at early in the season: late-inning dramatic comebacks. First, though, I must give a tip of the cap to Jeremy Bonderman, who started out the game looking like he wasn’t going to last very long. I’m not an expert in mechanics (and even when I do examine them, Bonderman has never been the subject of my study), but in the first few innings, his delivery looked different than normal. I can’t explain what was different about it (other than he nearly fell over on at least one pitch and he generally doesn’t do that), but obviously it wasn’t making him very effective. Then after about the third inning or so, he seemed to correct whatever the mechanical flaw was, because he was very good after that point. Daniel Schlereth was not so good, giving up a home run and a walk, but Robbie Weinhardt and Ryan Perry were both terrific.

For much of the beginning of this game it looked like the Tigers were in very real danger of being no-hit by Zack Greinke. He didn’t look super-dominant against them, but they weren’t getting good swings off him, either. Jhonny Peralta’s single in the fifth ended that threat, but there was still no indication that the offense would suddenly come alive in the seventh. Greinke went from throwing a shutout to giving up four earned runs in just about the blink of an eye. Just about everyone in the lineup contributed to the victory. Will Rhymes was the extra-inning hero with his two-run triple in the eleventh. And though I’d prefer seeing Miguel Cabrera at first base any day of the week, Don Kelly held his own with three hits and solid defense.

The series continues tonight with Rick Porcello taking the mound for the Tigers. He’s coming off a very good start against the Blue Jays last Sunday. He was also very good against the Royals last time he saw them (another game the Tigers won by a blowout). The Royals will start Bruce Chen, whom the Tigers beat in their last meeting, but he IS coming off a win against the Indians in which he went six innings and only gave up two runs. Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup. Hopefully he isn’t pushing himself and he can swing the bat properly (and though it was only a game and a half, it felt like an eternity with him not in the lineup). And with Gerald Laird’s back still acting up, 30-year-old Max St. Pierre will make his big league debut tonight after 14 seasons in the minors. Good for him.

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