Game 2009.125: Tigers at Angels

PREGAME: The optimist in me looks at last night’s win and thinks “hey, the Tigers have 2 more chances to win this series,” while the pessimist in me thinks “hey, at least they won’t get swept.” It’s not such a bad deal when the pessimist can even look on the bright side right?

Jarrod Washburn will try to stifle his fondness for giving up long balls as he has mistaken the Old English D to stand for “Deep.” Washburn is familiar with the Angels. That isn’t necessarily good. He has faced them 3 times this year and in 2 of the outings he allowed 6 runs and didn’t complete 6 innings in those starts.

John Lackey is on the bump for the Angels. He hasn’t started against Detroit since 2007. His last time out the Indians got to him for 6 runs in 5.1 innings. Aubrey Huff is 2 for 30 lifetime against Lackey. Gerald Laird is 3 for 30 lifetime. Ordonez is 4 for 11 with 2 homers. There’s no way that Huff and Laird can start tonight is there?

POSTGAME: At least those who stayed up until the wee hours (after staying up to the really wee hours the night before) were thoroughly rewarded. It wasn’t just that it was a win, it was that it was a terrifically entertaining game, punctuated by some key hits and even key-er defense.

Washburn was hard to watch the first 3 innings. The pattern was unpleasantly similar for almost everyone that came to the plate. Fall behind 2-0 or 3-1 by missing badly to both sides of the plate, then see the ball hit hard somewhere. Curtis Granderson saved a double in the first and Brandon Inge started a diving double play in the same frame. Washburn was bailed out of what would have been a crooked number inning without both of those plays occurring.  Fortunately after slogging through 2 more innings of struggles and allowing a 3 run bomb, Washburn settled in and somehow made it through 6 innings.

On the other side the Tigers continued to hit and threaten and they got enough big hits (and by big I mean extra base big) to post 5 runs on the board. The Polanco-Ordonez-Cabrera trifecta resulted in a run in the first. Solo shots by Grandy and Miggy tied the score. And a damn near homer turned triple (more on this in a minute) by Granderson set up what turned out to be the first of back-to-back triples punctuated by an Ordonez sacrifice fly.

But then there was the bullpen. Leyland has decided that Zach Miner has earned himself a more prominent role in the pen following his outing last Thursday. It didn’t turn out well on Saturday and I can’t really say it turned out well Tuesday either. Miner, staked with a 2 run lead walked the bases loaded before escaping due to an inning ending wild pitch 2-1 out at the plate. And then he came back out for the 8th inning. My guess is that Leyland wants Miner to have some confidence in his stuff and his abilities and to coax him out of his habit of nibbling that leads to walks – even after he’s ahead in the count. Decent intentions, but it ain’t working so much.

Bobby Seay entered with a man on and 2 outs in the 8th and gave up a long drive that Clete Thomas snared with a leaping grab at the fence. Not a home run robbing play, but it was definitely a “keep the run from scoring and keep the tying run out of scoring position play” that also ended the inning.

Rodney got the save.

  • I’ve been frustrated and critical of many of Granderson’s at-bats lately, but one thing about Grandy is he never takes a moment off. The fact that he busted it all the way to third on the near triple is a testament to hustle and doing things the right way. Big applause for Curtis.
  • Miguel Cabrera has 5 extra base hits and 8 RBI as he makes a play for AL Player of the Week. And it’s Tuesday. The tear he is on is incredible and it even has people whispering about MVP. Now Mauer is so ultra deserving that others aren’t reall close. But if people are going to make a case for Mark Teixeira, I don’t know how Cabrera doesn’t get factored in.
  • The thing with both Cabrera and Ordonez right now is that they seem so in control of the situation when they are at the plate. They are willing to take strikes down the middle early in the count because it wasn’t the strike they wanted. And when they get what they want they are hitting it hard. Ordonez only had 1 double to show for last night, but he also hit a bullet at first and his sac fly was a rope to centerfield.
  • Aubrey Huff is pretty much the opposite. He K’d 3 times last night, 2 on check swings. To his credit he saw a lot of pitches and worked the count full in each at-bat, but he has looked awful whenever presented with RBI opps, and he’s had a ton.
  • For a change it was the other team stranding guys all over the place. The Angels had runners on base every time you turned around, but the only 3 that scored came on the big fly from Howie Kendrick. Bad luck, good defense, and bad execution kept the Tigers on the right side of this game.