Obviously, neither of these options is anywhere near ideal, but if I had a choice of only these two (both difficult) outcomes, I’d rather Armando Galarraga’s final Tigers appearance be a tough-luck loss than a game in which they had to nurse him through five innings to get him the win (unless, of course, there was a playoff spot on the line or something, but there isn’t, so that caveat is moot). I mentioned all the ways in which the odds were stacked against him for this start, and just about none of that mattered. Galarraga was absolutely brilliant. He looked like the Galarraga of 2008, pitching-wise. He showed the type of pitcher he can be if he trusts his stuff. And his stuff was excellent. He was throwing strikes and pitching efficiently, enough to give him another complete game. Unfortunately, it was a complete game loss and he deserved better (as Jason Beck has pointed out, that could be the theme of his season), and he got bitten by the home run-friendly nature of Camden Yards (I didn’t get the distance on Nick Markakis’s home run, so I’m not sure if that’s out at Comerica Park or not). Still, only giving up two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a complete game is nothing to be ashamed of at all. I was worried he’d be hung up over the fact that he couldn’t get a win out of it, but he seemed to be taking a positive spin on things in his postgame interview. But was it his last postgame interview as a Tiger? I am still very much inclined to say yes (and even the Baseball Guru now thinks he’s going to be traded). This brilliant outing probably increased his trade value more than his rotation chances (and don’t worry, I’ll save the sappy eulogy for when the end actually comes). I dearly hope I’m wrong, because I’m not ready for the end just yet.
I’m not sure why I’m devoting a paragraph to offense, because there wasn’t much. Brandon Inge homered (and my sentiments about Galarraga can parallel with Inge; I hope that wasn’t his last postgame interview as a Tiger, either). That was pretty much it. Ryan Raburn had the other two hits in the game. The Orioles made a couple of highlight-reel defensive plays to snuff out a potential rally in the eighth. And that’s all I can say about the offense, cuz they just struck out the rest of the time. It’s a shame Max St. Pierre didn’t get more chances with his call-up, but I think he did a terrific job handling Galarraga last night. I have to give him thumbs up on that (He caught Galarraga while both of them were in Toledo at the beginning of the season, and Galarraga put up good numbers there, so maybe there’s something to that).
The Tigers need to win today to have a .500 season. This season has totally flown by. It seems like only yesterday that we were watching with wide-eyed optimism as Austin Jackson stepped in against Zack Greinke for the first pitch of the season. And it’s going to end with a bullpen day. Phil Coke will officially get the start, and fans are trying to read all sorts of things into that. I’m not sure why there’s this big obsession over him possibly starting next year. For right now, Leyland says not to read anything into it and that Coke will only go about three innings at most. There’s no point in me previewing the Tigers’ pitching beyond that because it’s just going to look like a spring training game. The Orioles will start Brad Bergesen, who pitched very well in September before finally getting knocked around in his last start against the Rays. The Tigers beat him back in July, but that was with help from hitters they don’t have anymore. This game may be the final time we see Brandon Inge and who knows how many others in a Tigers uniform. So I find it fitting to use this song as the final Mood Music of the season.