PREGAME: It’s Tata time. The injury replacement has been the most effective starter the last couple times through the rotation. This will be the A’s second crack at him after he held them to 2 runs in 7 innings in the Coliseum.
The Tigers will take on Joe Blanton, who they have no trouble racking up hits against traditionally. They’ve had 9 or more hits in each of the 4 starts he’s made in the last 2 years. But Blanton gets away with the hits by keeping the ball in the park with only 11 homers allowed. He has very pronounced home/road splits with batters posting a 587 OPS in Oakland and a 732 on the road. The bulk of that is driven by a 257 batting average on balls in play at home versus 327 everywhere else. It makes me think he really takes advantage of the copious foul space.
Game time 7:05
POSTGAME: So many emotions. This game was all set up to be a huge win for Detroit after overcoming an awful start by Jordan Tata. Marcus Thames gave the team that “extra charge” that Jim Leyland was looking for and Detroit looked to be well on their way. All they needed was 12 outs from the bullpen. Now 12 is a lot mind you, but if you figure that Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones would be plugged in for the last 2 innings, it was a matter of getting through the 6th and 7th innings.
Now Leyland had Macay McBride who had retired all 5 hitters he’d faced come in after a lengthy bottom of the 5th. Why? Not sure. McBride gets the first guy swinging, and plunks the second. At that time it might be a good time to get him. But no. McBride is struggling to find the plate and walks the next hitter, and the next hitter. Clearly gassed you have to get him out right? No. Grand Slam. Pin. Balloon. Ballgame.
Zach Miner came in and threw batting practice for the rest of the inning and the Tigers blew a run down play.
There was no conceivable reason to leave McBride in that long. That’s not his role, and that’s not a role he’s had to perform. That was a horrible job of managing by Leyland, on par with the Cleveland June 1st debacle. He let down everyone in that dugout. The only possible explanation is that McBride was set to be optioned down after the game tonight to get a fresh arm for the depleted bullpen, and Leyland figured he might as well kill him.
It’s one thing when players don’t execute. Pitching and hitting are tough. But to have the manager let people down when all he has to do is make a decision obvious to everyone is particularly infuriating. There’s a reason that Oakland didn’t pinch hit for Jack Cust with Mike Piazza. It’s because Geren would rather have his hitter face a gassed pitcher than Piazza face a fresh arm.