Game 50: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers look to close out their 6 game homestand on a positive note. They’ll send out Justin Verlander who has pitched better as of late with 3 runs, 10 K’s, and 4 walks in 12 innings spanning his last 2 starts. True, those starts were against the Royals and Mariners, but still, it’s progress.

Glen Perkins will make his 4 start of the season. He’s 3 for 3 in quality starts with 12 K’s and 2 BB’s in 18.1 innings.

The Tigers haven’t won on a Sunday this season and have been outscored 46-13.

MIN @ DET, Sunday, May 25, 2008 Game Preview –

: Just got back from the game. It was a lovely afternoon at the park, save for the game on the field. Actually, I think I’m getting desensitized to the losing, or maybe I’m relieved in some weird way when it’s the bullpen that falls apart instead of the rest of the team.

For the bulk of the day it was a pretty even pitcher’s duel. Verlander didn’t appear to be particularly sharp, but was effective nonetheless. I wasn’t watching the radar gun at the stadium, but judging by the comments it sounds like he had his old velocity back.

On the offensive side, the Tigers were making quick outs, but credit some of that to Perkins who was throwing strikes. Perkins through 69 of his 104 pitches for strikes. There’s a certain point where being down 0-1 automatically isn’t such a good strategy either. And the Tigers for their part had a number of hard hit balls. Guillen hit the ball well all 4 times. Ordonez had a couple line drives, one went for a double, the other an out. Raburn was robbed on a play by Cuddyer. Yes they scored only 1 run, but I never got the impression they were just rolling over. This was a tie game through 7 innings after all.

But then there was the Cruceta inning. I’m not a fan of the intentional walk in that situation, and even less a fan of the follow-up unintentional walk. But what was more idiotic is not having anybody warming up in the pen throughout the inning. It was the same situation in the 7th when Verlander loaded the bases and nobody was up.

Why wouldn’t you have a lefty available to face Mauer/Morneau in that situation? I know that both can hit lefties, Mauer especially, but I’ve got to go with platoon splits when you are cobbling together the back end of the bullpen. I still think that Cruceta can be effective, but we’re not at that point yet. Unless Seay and Willis were unavailable thanks to McClendon leaving both in too long on Friday night.