Thursday, April 14, 2011

Walk-Offs are Becoming a Habit

Anyone else think this was a strange game? The first four innings took forever, and yet, no runs scored. Usually pitching duels make for quick games, but not this time. I was stuck listening to the radio for most of the game (I only got to see the ninth inning on TV), but I'll do what I can. It was not an easy start for Max Scherzer. He was dealing with baserunners (usually multiple baserunners) just about all afternoon, but to his credit, he made the big pitch when he needed to before finally blinking in the sixth. He had seven strikeouts, so something was working. For the second straight game, Julio Borbon got picked off to end a threat (that's the second time I've seen the "fake to third, look to first" play work; the other time was actually a Rangers game against the A's, and that would have worked except the Rangers made an error). This game also featured too many wild pitches, but some more stellar work from Brayan Villarreal (and while there have been other pitchers credited with a hold without throwing a single pitch, Villarreal is apparently the first Venezuelan to have that distinction).

As bizarre as Scherzer's outing was, the lack of runs against Dave Bush was even more puzzling. It's not for lack of patience. The Tigers had some real grind-it-out plate appearances. I don't think I've ever seen that many nine or ten-pitch at-bats not produce anything. They finally broke through in the sixth inning to tie things up, starting with back-to-back doubles from Victor Martinez and Brennan Boesch. It was a big game for Brandon Inge, who tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and then won the game with his first home run of the year in the bottom of the ninth. 

And so now we turn from day games to sleep deprivation as the Tigers head out west (cue my monologue about how weird things happen on the west coast). The first stop is Oakland for four games. The Athletics have had some really good pitching to start out the year, but their offense has struggled, although it has started to pick up a bit in the last few days (they came back from being down three runs against the White Sox yesterday and ended up winning in extra innings). Tonight's game features Phil Coke against Gio Gonzalez. Coke struggled early in his start against the Royals, but then settled down and actually pitched really well. Gio Gonzalez has also been pitching really well. He's only given up one earned run so far, but he occasionally has a tendency to walk batters. Stock up on the caffeine (no excuses; I have an exam and a case study due tomorrow and I'm still watching). 

And finally, an announcement: This blog will be moving soon. I am joining Aerys Sports, a network of blogs for every major sports team, and all the blogs are run by women. You may recall that I did some guest-posting over there for Allison Hagen at No Run Support during spring training, and now, Tigers Amateur Analysis will become the new Tigers blog on the network. I can't give you an exact time, but the move will probably happen in the next few days, and hopefully it'll be a seamless transition.

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