PREGAME: When Detroit travels to Baltimore things seem to get interesting. There was the game where Dmitri Young had 2 homers and 2 triples. Or the time that Craig Monroe hit a grand slam in extra innings. Last year there was the game the Tigers put up a 6 spot in the first only to find themselves losing 8-7 after 3 before falling in extra innings 11-10. So no matter what happens it should be interesting the next 4 days.
It will be especially interesting for David Hernandez who makes his big league debut tonight. He posted some very nice numbers for the Norfolk Tide with a 60/13 K/BB ratio in 45 innings. He hasn’t been ranked on the O’s top prospects lists the last 2 years, but Baseball America has rated his slider the best on the O’s farm in both 2008 and 2009.
Armando Galarraga sports a slider too. It just hasn’t been so effective as of late. It’s been a miserable month for Galarraga. I’ll leave it at that.
POSTGAME: It would be easy to focus on the offense’s inability to score the simplest of runs (runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs) on 3 separate occasions. Sure it is tremendously frustrating, but the Tigers have actually been pretty good at coming up with big hits this year, so I won’t dwell on it and chalk it up to “one of those things” or “that’s baseball.” Instead I’ll focus on a much improved outing from Armando Galarraga.
Galarraga wasn’t great, but there were times when he had his slider back. There were other times he hung it, but this was definitely progress, and the fact he pitched into the 8th meant he was nibbling nearly as much as he had been. He did allow 10 hits and he was helped by 3 double plays (the last one turned by Inge was awesome), but definitely a step in the right direction.