Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To End Opposite of Where We Began?

Back in the early part of the season, the bullpen was the strength of the team while the rotation faltered. Now, those roles seem to have reversed. After the hype brought up about the Scherzer, Jackson pitching matchup, they pulled out just about even. Each one didn’t have their best stuff but managed to sidestep major trouble. Their lines were nearly identical. They gave up the same number of runs on the same number of hits. The only difference was that Scherzer walked one more batter. So it became a battle of the bullpens, and the Tigers’ ‘pen wasn’t able to hold onto the lead. I have no insight to give on Valverde, since it looked like the splitter had been working early in the inning and the hits he gave up were on fastballs. And so that leaves Ryan Perry and the hanging slider. I’m not an expert on mechanics, but Jim Leyland’s postgame comments suggested that the hanging slider was well within Perry’s control. He seemed to hearken back to that “lack of urgency” that he thinks Perry has. I’m not sure if that means Perry is too casual or what, but if he wants to remain the setup man, he can’t continue throwing hanging sliders, if indeed that is something he can control.

The offense didn’t fare all that badly against Edwin Jackson. I thought there’d be a bunch of complaints about Don Kelly batting right behind Miguel Cabrera, but I didn’t see any. Still, I’m sure there were some, but Kelly had quite a good day with three RBIs including a two-run homer. The problem for the Tigers was once they got into the White Sox bullpen, they didn’t do anything. Is it supposed to be that easy for a guy who was just drafted (It’s not just the Tigers, though; Chris Sale has been shutting down just about everyone since his call-up)?

The series continues tonight and the Tigers will be facing Freddy Garcia. His ERA at Comerica Park is barely over two and the Tigers usually have a tough time being patient against him. They did get to him for five runs the last time they saw him, but in their two previous meetings, he shut them down. Meanwhile, it’s September, and yet this will be the first time this season that Justin Verlander has faced the White Sox. He hasn’t faced them since game 162 last year. Historically, the White Sox have given him fits, but he handled them well last year. He even had two complete game wins against them. AJ Pierzynski (who is hot right now) has been a thorn in his side in the past, going 14-for-42 (.333) with three home runs and twelve RBIs. Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios also have good numbers against him.

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