PREGAME: Tonight’s starters are Dontrelle Willis, Dana Eveland, and Armando Galarraga. That’s right, it’s split start night in Oakland.
Dontrelle Willis returns to his hometown and the starting rotation. Willis has made 2 starts, but only recorded outs in one of them. The other saw his knee do a strange bendy thing that resulted in a DL stint. The key for for Willis is not to walk the whole ballpark.
Armando Galarraga will be the Tigers other starter coming in around the 5th inning or so. He’s coming off a near shut out complete game performance against the Angels that was spoiled by a Maicier Izturis 9th inning homer.
Eveland takes the ball for the A’s. The lefty has a 3.66 ERA on the year and a normal 6.4 K/9 rate and a normal 3.5 BB/9 rate. What he does well is keep the ball in the park. He’s only allowed 3 homers in 66.1 innings this year. Only 1 of those has come in Oakland where he boasts a 2.73 home ERA.
Everyday left fielder Marcus Thames who hasn’t played the last few games will be DH. Inge is available as a defensive replacement late, but Leyland doesn’t want to risk losing his back-up catcher early in the game aggravating his oblique.
POSTGAME: I confess. I went to bed. After the 10th inning, with my alarm clock looming 3.5 hours later I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t surprised to wake up and see they lost. I was surprised to see it on an infield single from Jack Cust.
The Tigers left too many runs out there. The Clete Thomas play where he got a horrible read on the ball. The Pudge Rodriguez play where he couldn’t handle the short hop from Thomas allowing the tying run to score. Leaving runners at third with less than 2 outs. It all adds up to a loss.
Willis looked very good in the first 2 innings being in and around the strike zone. But then he struggled again the next innings and was all over the place yet somehow escaped unscathed. So there was some reason to be encouraged, but he didn’t exactly finish strong (although wiggling out of the jam should give him a lift).
Galarraga walked a couple in his first inning and then ultimately allowed the 3 run homer before settling in.
Curtis Granderson made a phenomenal play and with the help of a Emil Brown brain cramp kept the game tied in the 8th.
I don’t have any other thoughts. They are playing better-ish, but still not really crisp. Each of the last 2 nights, and really every game of this road trip save for the Felix Hernandez start, they had multiple chances to win a game but once again they come up short.
I’m just happy to be done with late night west coast games for awhile.