Monday, April 4, 2011

If You Can't Outpitch, Outslug!

It was ugly, but the Tigers did get out of Yankee Stadium with a win. Max Scherzer was just as unsuccessful as everyone else at keeping the Yankees in the ballpark (actually, you might say he was more unsuccessful), but this time he got the run support to make up for it. The problem I had noticed with Scherzer when I was in Lakeland was that his velocity seemed low. He attributed this to a problem with his mechanics and said he corrected it in his last bullpen session. The radar gun at Yankee Stadium seems to be broken, as the FS Detroit graphics weren't giving the pitch speed, so I can't tell you for sure if his velocity was back to where it should be, but with the naked eye, it looked like it was. His location was off (obviously), and although a couple of the home runs he gave up may not have even made it to the warning track at Comerica Park, there was still a lot of solid contact going on. According to Jason Beck, Scherzer became the first Tigers pitcher to give up at least four home runs in a game and win since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007 (I don't remember that game). One thing that I think was key was Phil Coke's relief appearance. Even though he gave up a run, he kept the switch hitters turned around to the right side, where it's much harder to homer in Yankee Stadium, and that strategy worked. 

The Tiger bats, meanwhile, got the home run ball working for them in this game. Miguel Cabrera blasted off twice and looked magnificent each time. He finished with three hits and four RBIs. It was a big day for Brennan Boesch as well. He also had four RBIs and finished with four hits (including a home run) and four runs scored. Lost in all the fireworks is the fact that Jhonny Peralta had three hits and both he and Brandon Inge are hitting .364 in this young season (and that's after Inge went 0-for-4). 

There's no rest for the Tigers' pitching staff, as they go from the launching pad of Yankee Stadium to the homer-friendly Camden Yards, and even though it tends to give up the long ball more often during the summer, it is supposed to be in the eighties there today. The Orioles have gotten off to a good start. They swept the Rays at Tropicana Field and their pitching staff only gave up three runs total the entire weekend. The Tigers have a better offense than the Rays, but the Orioles look to be on the rise and they've played extremely well since Buck Showalter took over as manager. Rick Porcello will get his first start of the season, and it would be nice to see his sinker working, especially in that ballpark. Oddly enough, his final start of the 2010 season was in Baltimore, and it wasn't particularly good. One tiny bit of good news is that the Tigers might not see a lot of Luke Scott, who suffered a groin injury (Max Scherzer is also not pitching in this series).

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