PREGAME: A series split would have been acceptable. Going 3-1 tilted towards the home team would have been a positive step. A sweep, well, that would be freakin’ awesome (technical term). Fortunately the forecast for the Tigers is a positive step with a chance of freakin’ awesome.
Rick Porcello had some rust last time out and he wasn’t keeping the ball down and getting his customary bevy of of groundballs. The rust should be off, but there may be some adrenaline and jitters in play on the ESPN National stage.
Clayton Richard goes for the White Sox. Richard has struggled completing 6 innings just twice in his last 7 starts. But one of those times was his last start when he held the Rays to 1 run in 8 innings, with 7 Ks and 2 walks. The Tigers faced him in June and ran his pitch count to 100 before the end of the 5th inning.
The righty-heavy line up is:
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Thames, DH
- Raburn, LF
- Inge, 3B
- Laird, C
- Everett, SS
POSTGAME: Rick Porcello had a rookie moment…either that or he just had no control tonight. From the beginning Porcello couldn’t locate the ball and to the White Sox credit they made him pay. An infield single was fine, but then Porcello hung a curve ball that Alexei Ramirez ripped to left. And then a walk. And then a near double play ball that wasn’t. And then falling behind to Paul Konerko. And then the get-me-over fastball that got over the seats. And that was the ball game.
Like his last outing, Porcello’s pitches didn’t appear to be lacking in movement, but they sure were in location. He eventually settled in, but the damage was already done from the top of the first inning.
The offense didn’t get the favorable bounces that they had found in the first 3 games and Detroit only managed 1 run. It looked like they might break through in the 4th when Ordonez and Cabrera ripped back-to-back singles, and then Marcus Thames crushed a ball to centerfield that Podsednik tracked down. Three hard hit balls in a row could have been a sign that they were figuring Richard out, but that really was the only rally to speak of.
- Casey Fien made his debut in a bases loaded situation, and got Konerko to pop out. He went on to pitch 2 more innings and strike out 2. Very nice outing and very encouraging.
- Zach Miner was awful. He threw only 13 of his 34 pitches for strikes and created the aforementioned bases loaded situation on walks.
- Ryan Raburn had a pretty poor game as well. He went all out on a ball ealier in the game, but he also dropped a routine fly and hit into a double play. He did drive in the only run, but that was on a ground ball force out.
- The announcers went on and on about Porcello being late to the bag in the first inning. Yes, he was late but Thome still beat the throw. It wouldn’t have been a double play. Plus the throw wasn’t good. Maybe they save the 2nd run from scoring on that play, but Konerko hit the homer in the next at-bat anyways. Clearly there is room for improvement there and I’d guess he won’t be late to the bag again for quite some time, but I don’t think it was that big of a deal.
- Speaking of the announcers, I rejoiced a little bit when I saw Joe Morgan wasn’t in the booth and he was replaced by Orel Hersheiser. But I was disappointed in the overall broadcast. The announcing team didn’t seem to have enough information about the Tigers, and didn’t provide enough context for a lot of the situations. For example, they talked about the Ordonez platoon without mentioning the vesting option (or if they did I missed it).
- Richard balked when he picked off Granderson. It was so blatant I have a hard time figuring out how it was missed. He started coming home, and then changed direction. I can’t blame Granderson at all on that one. He didn’t progress his secondary lead until Richard made the motion towards home.
- Inge looked awful at the plate. I know his knees are hurting, but that shouldn’t effect pitch selection that much. He is totally out of whack. He’s taking pitches down the middle and repeatedly swinging at pitches at his eyes.