PREGAME: So today will be Justin Verlander’s turn to flail hopelessly at the plate. Of course, no one really cares about Verlander’s lack of hits at the plate, but they do want to see how long he can keep this no hitter thing going on the mound.
The Tigers will hope for better success against Adam Eaton than they had with Jamie Moyer. Craig Monroe has yet to play in this series, so we’ll see if Leyland works him into the lineup today against the right hander.
Oh yeah, and I think Sean Casey homers today.
Game Time 1:05
POSTGAME: Happy Father’s Day by the way. I kind of forgot about that this morning. On to the game.
Great win for the Tigers. Solid starting pitching, timely late inning hitting, and a relatively stress free outing from the bullpen. But let’s focus on the 7th inning and Jim Leyland for a few minutes. This was the inning when all the managing took place, and it’s an example of why I have a hard time blaming managers for losses. I’ll walk you through my thoughts as the action transpired.
Brandon Inge doubles with one out and Jim Leyland pinch hits Carlos Guillen for Neifi Perez
Me: Finally this offense starts to resemble something. Let’s hope it’s not too late – but good move Jim.
Carlos Guillen singles to put runners on the corners and Gary Sheffield steps to the plate
Me: It’s all or nothing this inning, but of course Sheffield can stay in the game and go to left field. Monroe’s almost as bad today with 3 straight pop outs. I guess it depends on how deep this inning goes, but if Monroe makes the last out the pitcher can take his spot. And why didn’t Inge score on that play, Rings and EZ are going to come on here in the comments and bash him and I’ll another Inge war on my hands.
Sheffield hits a rocket to score Inge and put runners on first and second. Charlie Manuel brings in the lefty and Leyland pinch hits Infante for Granderson.
Me: Nice job Sheff, but what is Leyland doing? Granderson has been hitting rockets all series, off of both lefties and righties. This is exactly what Manuel wanted to happen and Leyland played right into it. Not to mention weakening the outfield defensively. This game is still in doubt either way, and why do you want Grandy out?
Omar taps the ball to the pitcher advancing the runners, Polanco gets intentionally walked to pitch to Monroe.
Me: Nice job with the lineup today Leyland. How many teams will give a free pass to the number 2 hitter to face the number 3 hitter? Then again how many teams have their out making-est regular hitting in front of their best run producer? So much for this rally. Oh man Craig, please do something. For everyone’s sake.
Craig singles in two, and Magglio knocks in two with a double before Casey ends the inning.
Me: Now what should Jim do? He could put the new pitcher in Casey’s spot since he made the last out, and bring in Thames. Trouble is he’s the last position player. Well, I guess he’ll just put Sheffield in left and the pitcher can take Craig’s spot in the lineup, it won’t come up for 7 more batters.
The new pitcher Bobby Seay takes Sheffield’s spot
Me: What the heck is going on? You burned through Sheff for one at-bat, and now the pitcher is scheduled to bat 4th in the next inning as well? Why do that? This better not come back to haunt us.
My point in this exercise is that there were a couple moves that I really questioned – starting with the lineup – and yet the Tigers won going away. Sometimes the decisions, even the ones that don’t make sense, work out. That doesn’t make them the right decisions, but they ended up with the Tigers picking up a W. I also wanted to show that I’ll even second guess decisions that pan out and I’m not just slamming things after the fact. Thanks for joining me in my head.
- Very nice outing today by Fernando Rodney. He came in a high pressure situation and got the strike out. He then followed it up with a strong 8th inning allowing only a double, and ground ball right through Carlos Guillen’s legs to score the run. Inexplicably that was ruled a hit and an earned run. Just as curious a scoring decision as Pudge’s double in game 1 that Rowand dropped.
- Rodney threw 39 pitches meaning that he probably won’t be available tomorrow at least, and possibly not until Wednesday.
- Todd Jones kept it simple allowing just a single. It’s almost like the bullpen of last year reappeared for an afternoon.
- A couple of awesome defensive plays in this one with Granderson showing his ups, and Casey showing his moxie. I can’t believe that Dobbs, the runner on 3rd didn’t score on the Casey play, but it was a nice job regardless.
- Granderson picked up his 8th steal and is closing in on a quadruple double – double digits in homers, triples, doubles, and steals. I just made that up, but considering he’s one homer and 2 steals away and it’s mid June, that seems impressive.
- The strike zones the last 2 games were ridiculous. Guillen got hosed on Saturday night, and then Bill Welke’s zone was all over the place today. And the Phillies were right to be pissed on that Marcus Thames pitch. Whether or not he swung (which he did) shouldn’t have mattered. That pitch was a strike regardless. And to not appeal is just foolish on the part of the home plate ump.