PREGAME: The Tigers go in search of win 90. To do it they’ll send out Wil Ledezma who hasn’t pitched since he ate his hat (literally) last Saturday against Minnesota.
Ledezma will be opposed by Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera fans more that a batter an inning, but he combines that with a ridiculously high walk rate of 6.67 per 9 innings pitched. As you might expect he throws a ton of pitches. In his last 3 starts he eclipsed the 100 pitch mark without getting out of the 6th inning.
Game Time 1:05pm
POSTGAME: Given that the Tigers had won the previous 2 games, this loss was easier to take. The 2 much maligned acquisitions, Neifi Perez and Sean Casey, combined for 5 RBI’s. Newest Tiger Matt Stairs also had a homer taken away on a fine defensive play.
I’ve been in the camp to get Shelton more at-bats, but Casey did have a very good series.
What I liked is that the Tigers came back a couple times and showed that their bats do have some life. Granted, the first rally was heavily fueled by Daniel Cabrera’s inability to find the plate, but the Tigers took advantage. And it all started with a 2 out walk to Magglio Ordonez.
Unfortunately, the Tiger pitchers couldn’t do much to keep the O’s off the board. Ledezma was dazzling in the first inning becoming homer happy. Zach Miner was ineffective. Jamie Walker was good for 1/3 of an inning. Joel Zumaya looked pretty good until it appeared he fatigued in his 2nd inning. (Speaking of which, I’m not sure why Leyland left him in as long as he did. He’s coming off soreness, hasn’t pitched in a week, and you leave him out for 33 pitches?).
Jason Grilli didn’t pitch as poorly as his final line will indicate. Where he was hurt the most was on the wild pitch that allowed Brian Roberts to advance to 2nd with no outs, and then 3rd on a sacrifice. An intentional walk to set-up the double play brought up Miguel Tejada. He hit a smash that Inge made a diving stop on. The ball appeared to be hit hard enough to give the Tigers a shot at an inning ending double play. But Inge’s throw to 2nd was high and tipped off of Perez’s glove. Now the throw wasn’t right on the money, but Perez seemed to make the play look difficult. (Neifi rant: It very may have been, but that’s part of the problem with Perez. He doesn’t make any great plays. He’s merely adequate defensively. Given his offensive problems, he has to do more with the glove). And then there were more walks and hits and runs and the game ended.
I know that Perez had the bases clearing grounder up the middle earlier in the game, and he successfully sacrifice bunted as well, but Leyland simply cannot allow Perez to hit in the 8th. The go ahead run was in scoring position with Chris Shelton on the bench. He’ll pinch hit for Thames despite what else Thames has done in the game, but he won’t pinch hit for Perez?
As for Grilli pitching the 10th, it pretty much had to be that way. This was Jones 3rd day in a row pitching, and Zumaya won’t be available tomorrow night. Leyland had to limit Jones to 1 inning.
Fortunately Chicago lost, so while the Tigers division lead was trimmed they are one day closer to a playoff spot.