PREGAME: The Cubs come to town, and so does Alan Trammell who says he is Always a Tiger (hey, that sounds like a good marketing campaign). So if you’re heading out to the game tonight (like I am), make sure you have yourself situated by 7:05. The Tigers do announce the base coaches and a standing ovation at a moment that is typically trivial at best, or ignored altogether, would be pretty special. Now on to the game.
Edwin Jackson takes the mound for Detroit. Jackson was recently the subject of a Pitch Count Warrior column at Baseball Digest Daily (h/t Neyer). Jackson hasn’t won in his last 2 decisions, though he hasn’t pitched poorly either with 5 runs allowed in his last 11 innings.
The Tigers will face Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano has 4 straight quality starts under his belt, but he’s also been prone to walks as of late with 17 in his last 32.2 innings.
I’m really hoping the Tigers win tonight, and so is Magglio Ordonez. He was benched and the Tigers won 4 games in a row. I heard callers on sports radio say that the reason for the 4 game winning streak was Ordonez’s absence. So with him back in the lineup, a loss could be difficult for many fans to swallow.
POSTGAME: It’s rare that I go to 2 Tigers games in a row. It’s why I’m so satisfied with the 2 games that I got to witness. A pitcher’s duel culminating in a walk-off for the good guys?! Are you kidding me?
Edwin Jackson and Carlos Zambrano pitched very similar games. Both were solid. Both got themselves into and out of jams repeatedly with minimual damage. The Tigers had 3 at-bats with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs early on and failed to convert. The Cubs only plated 1 run in a bases loaded no out situation in the first and only scored 1 run in a 2nd-3rd no out situation later on. It was high drama (and high frustration).
Brandon Inge once again comes through with a go ahead homer in the 7th inning and things are looking great. Joel Zumaya comes in and his first pitch is 100. Two quick outs and a pitch that displayed as 104 mph on the stadium gun (and 103mph in pitch f/x) and people were giddy. Then he threw an 85 mph fastball that was launched for a homer. Now there is much complaining about Zumaya throwing the change-up when he was throwing heat past guys. It ended up being a bad pitch, not because of the decision but because of the location. How often do we see Zumaya get hit and then we complain that “he can’t jus throw fastballs by everybody.” He got beat because he didn’t execute his 3rd best pitch. It wasn’t a horrible decision, and fortunately we don’t need to dwell on it.
We don’t need to dwell on it thanks to Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and a nice decision by Leyland. Don Kelly who was a full count machine tonight and who saw 26 pitches and drew walks in front of both 2 run homers. And Raburn for making Leyland look smart for forgoing the platoon match-up and going with the superior hitter. And Leyland for what I just said. I’m thankful that Leyland has come around to the idea that Josh Anderson isn’t really a big league hitter and that the situation called for someone who had a shot at thumping the ball.