Game 21: Tigers at White Sox

PREGAME: I’ll be home from traveling later tonight, so these game posts should have more robust information soon. In the meantime you guys have been awesome with the comments in the game threads.

Tonight it is Chad Durbin and John Danks.

Game Time 8:11pm

So I actually got to see all of this game. I got back from Chicago (and yes the weather was freakin’ miserable) just in time for the first inning. With nearly 200 comments I think everyone has covered everything, but just a few comments:

  • Chad Durbin was quite awesome tonight. Some will point to a lineup and say he benefited from not facing Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, to which I say “Duh.” Next I say “so what?”
  • Durbin has now made 4 starts, and I’d contend he’s done his job in 2 of them. Of course last night we got way more than we hoped for. But in his prior start against the White Sox he only allowed 2 runs in 5 innings. That is more than serviceable from a 5th starter. Now the 6th inning in that last start was of course dicey, but he’d already done his job keeping the team in the game.
  • As for leaving in Durbin to finish the job, he was really right in that gray area of pitch count. I certainly understand both camps here. On one hand, how often do you even have a chance at a complete game shutout? And at 106 pitches, he probably could have gone another one. On the other hand, it was a crappy night, it’s early in the season, he’s done his job.
  • As for why Joel Zumaya in a blowout? I’d guess it’s because Zumaya had been warming up in the 7th inning when it was a 4 run game. If Leyland gets a pitcher up, he tends to use them. It wasn’t Leyland’s fault that Zumaya couldn’t find the plate to save his life and is now unavailable for tomorrow.
  • With 13 hits, the offense is definitely coming around. Sure there are still 4 regulars struggling, but that number was at 6 a week and a half ago.
  • And just because it came up in the comments, clutch hitting. There are definitely things such as clutch hits, but I’m still not sure there are clutch hitters. The basic contention being that if you can will yourself to a hit with runners on, why can’t you do it the rest of the time. That said, I’d be inclined to believe that there are “unclutch” hitters who to suffer under pressure but that the perception is overblown. For one thing defining clutch situations is difficult. For another, sample size becomes an issue. Third, athletes playing in the major leagues have faced pressure situations all through out their careers to get to that point in the first place. I think that would be a significant weeding out process for those who were “unclutch.”
  • Tigers 6, White Sox 2