PREGAME: Remember a few weeks back. The Tigers had won the first 6 games of a 9 game homestand and the Rockies came to town. The Tigers took the Friday night game and things were looking great. That was the last time the Tigers won a home game and now have a 5 game losing streak at Comerica.
Fortunately the Tigers have their ace, Justin Verlander on the mound tonight. Of course the last time Verlander faced the Angels he allowed 7 runs in 5 innings as the Angels ran his pitch count up by fouling off a ton of pitches, and then there was the little matter of Ryan Raburn playing really bad in right field.
The Angels send out Ervin Santana. He’s a pitcher trying to regain his form after spending time on the DL, kind of like when they face Matsuzaka on Tuesday night. Santana has been absolutely rocked in his last 2 starts allowing a combined 15 runs to Seattle and Boston.
POSTGAME: Just home from the game. Yes I’m frustrated. The Tigers are fighting it. I’m going to try and boil this down to a couple thoughts:
- Verlander was quite good again. He walked a few too many and as a result it was probably best he wasn’t out for the 9th. You don’t beat up a pitcher because the offense is terrible.
- Fernando Rodney picked up his first loss. It is June 5th. Really. How many teams would love to say that about their closer? Don’t complain about Rodney. He wasn’t especially sharp going to several 3 ball counts but he also wasn’t shelled. He was ground balled to death and the second run scored because the grounder wasn’t hit hard enough. This stuff happens.
- When the Tigers made the decision to go with a defensive mindset (which also brought in additional speed), they knowingly gave up offense. We knew before the season started that there would be holes in the lineup. This situation has been exacerbated by a couple of the Tigers bigger bats performing well below career norms and even normal expected aging curves (the curve became a cliff). And when you take your biggest thumper out of the lineup you aren’t going to score a lot of runs. The Tigers need more offense, but just remember that to get it they will need to sacrifice some defense.