Game 2009.036: A’s at Tigers
PREGAME: The Tigers are going for their third sweep in a week – of course one of those times they were the sweep-ee. The Tigers have outscored the A’s 23-2 in the first 2 games of the series. I’m going to this one though and the Tigers are 1-4 when I’m in attendance. But the 1 win was Opening Day with Armando Galarraga on the mound. So anything could happen.
Galarraga hasn’t pitched well of late, throwing lots of sliders and not enough balls in the strike zone.
Trevor Cahill pitches for the A’s. He has more walks than strikeouts (20/14) but a 3.69 ERA. He’s riding a string of 3 straight quality starts and he’s only given up more than 2 runs in a start one time this season.
POSTGAME: This one looked bad at the outset. Armando Galarraga was the-awful again, but I get the feeling this wasn’t entirely unexpected. Jim Leyland had Zach Miner up and working relatively quickly. Yes, 5 runs were plated before Galarraga was lifted, but it’s not often you have a replacement up and warm 15 minutes after the game starts.
It makes me think that there may be something beyond simple mechanical issues hampering Galarraga. I have no idea if he’s injured, but he does have a history of injuries, he saw a large spike in innings pitched last year, and he has lost the strike zone.
Fortunately the Tigers offense responded as they had all series. Detroit scored 34 runs over the last 3 games and have been responsible for 20% of the runs the A’s staff has allowed this season. In 3 games they hit 2 grand slams and 3 3-run homers. I kind of prefer that to small ball myself.
Ramon Santiago made the most of his start with a 4-4 day where he missed a cycle by just a double. Adam Everett did what he could to hold on to the primary shortstop role with 2 doubles, a single, and a sac bunt. And Curtis Granderson sealed the deal with a 3 run jack (he also had 3 walks).
Zach Miner was a pseudo starter today. He was by no means lights out but he deserves some credit (and he did get the win). He came in with runners on first and second and stranded them. He allowed a run in second inning, but when the Tigers scored their runs in the 3rd and 4th innings, he didn’t give any runs back to the A’s which let the offense take the lead for good.
The rest of the bullpenning was good as well save for 2 walks from Luke French.
This had to be a discouraging series for the A’s, to be blown out in 2 games and then cough up a 6 run early lead. Billy Beane has rightly been praised for his work with a limited budget, but A’s fans are getting fed up.
Today was on field photo day. It’s something we’ve done a couple times in the past. Back in 2003 there weren’t a lot of people. In 2007 it was a crushing mass of humanity. Today was something in between. It was full, but not packed and the Tigers organization did a great job of carving out areas for the kids. It is tough to make everyone happy, but I think they did a nice job striking a balance.
But I really have to give credit to the players. I don’t know if they enjoy these days or not, but if they don’t you would have no idea. Everyone I saw seemed to be having a wonderful time. The smiles seemed genuine and they took time to really try and pose for pictures instead of just walking the line. Inge was of course a fan favorite, but Andy Van Slyke probably got the biggest laughs when he was holding an infant and making faces at the kid. Willis picked up a kid and gave him a hug. Cabrera was playing with another kid.
I know that none of this stuff makes a difference in terms of wins and losses, but for fan relations it does make a difference. I’ve said it a number of times, but if a player is nice to my kid he’s earned himself my support. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of other parents as well and the team did well in that regard today.