PREGAME: Finally, the Tigers get some home cooking as Rod Allen would say. I downplayed the significance of the weekend series against the Twins, but I may go ahead and up-play this 6 game homestand heading into the break. Things are always tough in the Metrodome, those losses are going to happen. They don’t become a big deal if the Tigers take care of business in the games they are supposed to win. With 6 at home against the bottom two teams in the division, the Tigers need to get these games.
Tonight it will be Gil Meche and Armando Galarraga. Galarraga wasn’t hit hard at all his last time out which is very encouraging. He also walked 6 A’s hitters which is very discouraging. It was also the first time since April 26th he didn’t allow a homer. The lineup and park factor certainly didn’t hurt, but hey, it’s something. Coincidentally that April 26th start was against the Royals.
Meche has been all over the map this year. The Tigers knocked him out in the 3rd inning back in May. He came back from that outing and posted a 0.93 ERA in his next 4 starts including 16 scoreless innings against Cleveland and Arizona. But in his last 3 starts he’s walked more than he’s struck out and has allowed 5 homers in his last 14.1 innings.
POSTGAME: There are games during the season where a team has no chance, and there are other games where you steal one you have no business of winning. Tonight the Tigers gave one away. Gil Meche wasn’t that good. He had little control and walked 5. But the Tigers couldn’t knock him out of the game early. A hit early on and the complexion of the whole series could have changed. But that big hit never came. It came close, with Adam Everett ripping a pitch down the line foul with the bases loaded, but it was just a strike.
Armando Galarraga deserved better. He had his slider working, he fanned 7, he only walked 1, and aside from one hanger that got punished, he was great.
But all that asideI can boil so much of this game down to 1 pitch. I’m probably making too big a deal out of one pitch, but it set the tone for the late innings. After Miguel Olivo looked idiotic on two breaking balls Gerald Laird called for the fastball up. Olivo didn’t chase but that wasn’t a bad call. The next pitch he called for was a fastball outside. The fastball call was questionable, but the location was sound. The trouble is Zumaya through it on the inner half instead of the outer half and it was fisted for a single. Not a hard hit ball, but a ball that shouldn’t have been hit at all. Zumaya has the ability to strike guys out and he missed horribly with his location.
He had chances to get out of it, but an awful sequence to DeJesus where Zumaya lost the strike zone but two on. I actually have much less of a problem with the Bloomquist triple than the awful pitch to Olivo.