Saturday, April 16, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

And I don't mean patience like taking walks (although that's good too). I mean waiting until the end and getting rewarded for it. Rick Porcello was much better. He was pitching in traffic for much of his outing, but he got his sinker working and got outs when he needed to. He was also helped out a lot by his defense, especially Ramon Santiago, who snagged a line drive from Hideki Matsui early in the game and turned it into a double play. The game also featured the big league debut of Al Alburquerque, who looked like he could be a boost as long as he continues throwing strikes. And finally, it was the first major league win for Brayan Villarreal, who unfortunately combined with Joaquin Benoit to fall victim to the cliche of pitchers not being able to pitch with a big lead and his ERA took a hit as a result. Hopefully he'll fare better next time.

It looked for the longest time like Porcello would be stuck with the tough-luck loss, as the Tigers could do nothing with Brandon McCarthy. Brennan Boesch almost provided a lift in the eighth by crushing a ball to center field, but the ball doesn't carry at night at Oakland, and it just ended up being a long out. The odd thing was that the whole time I wanted to see Miguel Cabrera in the ninth. I guess I was remembering last year, when he hit a game-tying home run off Brian Fuentes in Anaheim. Well, history repeated itself, as the Oakland air proved no match for Cabrera's big bat. No ballpark can hold him. The floodgates opened in the tenth thanks to three Oakland errors, and what was once a nailbiting pitching duel turned into a blowout.

Tonight is game 3 of this series, and by now you must know that the matchup features two pitchers who have thrown no-hitters: Justin Verlander and Dallas Braden. Verlander is coming off a tough-luck loss to the Rangers. The last time he was in Oakland, he pitched a complete game and won, but he faced the A's again two starts later at Comerica Park and didn't fare so well. And they'll probably show the footage of Dallas Braden's perfect game last year about a billion times. He can be tough, but the Tigers get to him more often than not. 

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