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:
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.