PREGAME: This is kind of a big series ya think? While I’m not one to put too much on any one series, the Tigers really need 2 out of 3. They can certainly recover from less, but then they are relying on others.
Tonight marks the return of Joel Zumaya and the backend of the bullpen is once again healthy and intact. Now if only they can get a lead to protect so we can hear some Voodoo Child.
The pitching matchup is a rematch of last week’s Fausto Carmona/Jair Jurrjens tilt. The good news is that Carmona can’t really pitch any better than he did in his 8 inning, 4 hit, 10 K performance of a week ago.
The Indians will get their second crack at Jair Jurrjens who had a pretty nice debut with only 5 hits allowed in 7 innings of work.
More good news is that Placido Polanco returns to the Tigers lineup for the first time in a week.
Game time 7:05
POSTGAME: Oh to get back that 2 strike hanger to Jhonny Perralta…Tremendous outings for both Jair Jurrjens and Fausto Carmona. I said Carmona couldn’t get better, and he almost did. The Tigers managed only 3 hits, but 2 were of the long ball variety and that was enough because Jurrjens only allowed a solo shot to Perralta, the only hit of the night.
Jurrjens recorded 20 outs, and 19 of those were courtesy of his fielders. While there was quite a bit of weak contact, like pop ups and comebackers, there was also some luck as a couple of well hit balls found Placido Polanco and Ryan Raburn’s gloves. Jurrjens also wasn’t hurt by 4 walks as 2 were eliminated on double plays. Most impressive may have been the efficiency as Jurrjens recorded first pitch strikes on 17 hitters and was lifted after 78 pitches in the 7th inning.
Of course when he was lifted it meant the return of Joel Zumaya who chucked a 98mph seed right down the middle on his first pitch. He eventually got to 2 strikes before picking up a weak bouncer to end the inning, and his night. A one batter appearance in a tight game may have been the best possible way to break him in.
Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings and next thing you know the game was over at 9pm.
As much as I want to think this is a sign of things turning, I’m just not sure. Just look at the emotional win the Tigers picked up a week ago in extra innings, only to drop 4 of the next 5. Still, it’s a big win and something to build on.