Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'll Hold Off Saying What I Really Want To Say...

However, you faithful readers can easily guess what I really want to say. At any rate, I would be perfectly content to merely point out that Brad Penny is boring and slow, but he did nothing to win over Tiger fans yesterday (one more outing like that and he might get the Brandon Lyon treatment at the home opener, although Lyon would go on to become the Tigers' best reliever in 2009). He did settle down a little bit in the third and fourth, only to fall apart in the fifth. Brad Thomas wasn't much help. For all the griping that goes on about him, he only gave up four home runs last year, but he wasted no time in getting his first out of the way this year. Other than that, the only thing of note as far as the pitching is concerned is that this was the first time I got to see Brayan Villarreal pitch  and he promptly served up a home run to A-Rod. To his credit, he didn't seem shaken by it, and though he had a slight problem with falling behind hitters, he wasn't missing by much (if he had been pitching the ninth inning, a lot of those calls would have gone in his favor). The defense was shaky once again, but what's weird is that it's largely been the few who are considered "good" defenders that have faltered. The errors in this season so far have come from Brandon Inge, Will Rhymes, and Austin Jackson. I have assurances that Alex Avila will be a very good defender, and yet he's had problems keeping the ball in front of him, although that's not entirely his fault. It's also not his fault that the Yankees stole two bases yesterday. He made real good throws that made it at least close, but it looks as though Penny is terrible at holding runners on. It's like having Bonderman back.

Once again, it seemed like it took the Tigers everything they had to score runs. On the plus side, however, they did get their first two homers of the season out of the way, courtesy of Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez. Magglio OrdoƱez left in the middle of the game with soreness in his ankle and is not playing today as a precaution. Since the final televised spring training game, I have noticed that Magglio's a little impatient right now, swinging a bit more than he normally does. I have no idea if that has anything to do with the ankle. I do know that it generally takes him a couple weeks to get going, though, so there's no cause for alarm at this point.

And in another example of "Don't Panic," I will point out that, among others, the Twins and Red Sox are also 0-2, but it would still be nice to get this first win sooner rather than later. They'll have to do it against Phil Hughes, who was strong through most of 2010 but faded somewhat down the stretch. He also got a ton of run support. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer believes he's corrected the mechanical problem that was giving him trouble in spring training (and it turns out it was the same mechanical problem that got him sent to Toledo last year). He did turn in one good start at Yankee Stadium last year (sort of; he threw six shutout innings but I seem to remember there being a whole lot of baserunners in those six innings). With Magglio out, Brennan Boesch is the DH, Don Kelly is in right field, and Victor Martinez is behind the plate. Fasten your seatbelts.

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