PREGAME: The Tigers return home after a disappointing end to an otherwise good road trip. They’ll kick off a 9 game homestand against the Cardinals, who I think were pretty good last year – at least good enough to win the World Series.
Andrew Miller’s debut is perhaps overshadowing the world series rematch. I’ve written about Miller’s minor league numbers already. So I’ll just say that I hope this goes better than the first starts for Virgil Vasquez, Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, and Zach Miner. Miller at least has the benefit of having some big league experience.
The Cardinals will send out Braden Looper, who through the first 572 appearances of his career was a reliever. He’ll be making his 9th start of the year (and his career). He’s doing quite well with an ERA of 2.29. He’s done it by striking out twice as many as he walks, and keeping the ball in the park with 2 homers allowed in 51 innings.
Interesting Looper stat #1: Opponents putting the first pitch in play only have a 515 OPS.
Interesting Looper stat #2: He’s been great the first 5 innings, but as it gets later in the game and past the 75 pitch mark he gets more vulnerable.
So, make him throw pitches and wear him out. Sounds simple enough huh?
Game Time 7:05
POSTGAME: I had some other commitments tonight, so I just got home and watched the condensed version of the game on mlb.tv. Nothing like a good thumping in front of a sold out crowd as a welcome home present. I’ll take a closer look at Miller’s outing tomorrow. Even without seeing him pitch, the results look to be pretty impressive. But I don’t think this will change the Tigers plans with him. Although it will put less pressure on them to get Bonderman back in his regular spot (of course they could monkey with this anyways with the off day and Mike Maroth being available).
- Sean Casey destroys Cardinals. He of course torched them in the World Series, and added 4 hits today. If only the Tigers and Cardinals were in the same division…Seriously, it was nice to see Sean get rewarded today after having a couple hard hit balls yesterday end up in Hinske’s glove.
- Placido Polanco has pulled 4 doubles to left field over the last 2 games. After he began the season slapping everything to right field, teams began to pitch him inside. I think it’s safe to say he’s adjusted.
- Jason Grilli – awful again.
- Now granted, Monroe and Inge are a little better than many 8 & 9 hitters, at least in terms of power. That said, each picked up 2 walks tonight which had to drive LaRussa nuts. Four walks to the bottom 2 guys in the order has to be infuriating.
- The Tigers walked 5 times tonight. That 5th walk went to Pudge Rodriguez bringing his season total to 2.
- Looper didn’t make it out of the 5th, meaning that Tony LaRussa used quite a few bullpen arms. Here’s hoping the Tigers can make Anthony Reyes work tomorrow night as well.