PREGAME: In terms of subplots, you need to look no further than the Tigers taking on “the little pudgy one.” Pudge Rodriguez, the catching-est catcher of all time and his former skipper Jim Leyland have already exchanged phone calls in the days leading up to the series. So it sounds like there are no hard feelings.
The Astros come into the series at 33-37. They post a league average OPS, and a league average batting average with RISP. But somehow they only score 4.10 runs per game (NL average is 4.49). Like the Astros offense, the defense is largely average as well.
Random Factoid of the night: The Astros hitters have the highest ground ball percentage in the NL.
Tonight the ‘stros send out Wandy Rodriguez. Looking at his game logs he seems to be either awesome or awful. His numbers on the whole though are pretty impressive with nearly a K an inning and nearly 3 K’s for every walk allowed. He’s given up 10 homers this year, and 9 have come in his last 4 starts.
Bonus Random Factoid of the night: Wandy Rodriguez has made one start against the Tigers, which coincidentally came on June 26th, 2006.
Justin Verlander will be on the mound for the Tigers tonight. He’s been good.
Tonight’s DH-less lineup is:
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Cabrera, 1B
- Thames, LF
- Inge, 3B
- Ordonez RF
- Laird, C
- Everett, SS
- Verlander, P
POSTGAME: What started off so promising turned so frustrating. Verlander wasn’t sharp today. He didn’t have great command (especially to Lance Berkman unless he meant to throw every pitch a foot outside) and he couldn’t put hitters away. That spelled doom as the bullpen was tasked with holding a 1 run lead for 3.2 innings and the pen wasn’t up to the job.
Joel Zumaya finished off the 7th with a couple pitches, but the 8th inning was a disaster. When he couldn’t put Darrin Erstad away everything unraveled and two more walks meant the game was tied and Zumaya was done. Freddy Dolsi limited the damage in a bases loaded 1 out situation to 1 run which isn’t bad for his first appearance.
- On one hand you want to bash the offense. They scored 4 early runs and that was it. But it wasn’t like the offense went to sleep, they just couldn’t push a run across. I don’t know if the fact they had eleventy chances with RISP and got nothing after the 2nd inning is more or less frustrating than if they’d been no hit the rest of the way
- Magglio Ordonez had an awful game. His first time up he drove the ball to right field and that was fine, a hard out. But then it was ground ball fiesta again including a double play. He also failed to make a play on what looked to be a pretty catchable ball.
- Zach Miner did a nice job once again throwing a double play ball to end the 6th inning.
- Leyland said as much in his postgame, but this one had a bad feeling for awhile. With Verlander struggling and the offense not cashing in on chances, and the Astros chipping away, it felt like the Tigers were on the wrong side. The side they hadn’t been on as of late where they were coming back and doing what they needed to do. They just didn’t get it done tonight.