Exhausting, Exhilirating, Exhale
Now that was some baseball. I listened to the bulk of the day game. Watched the night game. I’m worn out.
It was a tremendous day of baseball. I can look back and say that because the Tigers held on in the nightcap. If that doesn’t happen then it’s a different adjective I use. But in the end we’re right back where we started. After 19 innings of baseball the Twins and Tigers essentially played to a draw. Well, not quite a draw because the seasons for both teams have been shortened.
Once again the Tigers got terrific pitching and not enough hitting. And they lost. But oh what a game it was. Rick Porcello was dealing. Nick Blackburn struggled a little early on and the Tigers didn’t take advantage because Blackburn either dialed in or the Tigers got themselves out.
Rob Neyer and Kurt Mensching already broke down this game and some of the decisions implemented by Leyland. Maybe I’m just to use to Tigers baseball, but very little that Leyland does really phases me at this point. I know he’ll make some mistakes, but very few are egregious and many are expected. Maybe that is a free pass, I don’t know.
If the Tigers had won this game though, I’m certain I would have written something about how big Zach Miner came up pitching out of a jam and bridging the gap once again. Wait, I just wrote that anyways.
Finally, there has been much angst written about Gene Lamont’s decision to hold Clete Thomas. I’m generally of the mindset of forcing the issue at home plate and wouldn’t have been upset had Thomas been thrown out at home had he been waved around. But this wasn’t a case of being excessively conservative. Kubel had scooped the ball at the same time Thomas hit 3rd and Kubel wasn’t deep. I think it is a stretch to say the decision cost the team the game.
You hate to see a game lost in large part due to wild pitches, and those were the culminating events. But both teams battled (yeah cliche) and both teams played pretty well (cliche). These were 2 pretty good teams (cliche) and you knew it would go down to the wire (cliche).
It’s easy to read too much into this game and the team’s psyche and compare it to the Twins. The Twins blew some chances as well. They just cashed in first. I don’t know if that has anything to do with heart or choking or any of the other stuff.
Yeah, there was some pressure. Nobody really wanted this to be knotted up at the top of the division with 5 games to go. So the effort by not only Justin Verlander but by the offense getting to a pitcher who hadn’t been gotten to was HUGE.
The Tigers, got those big hits that had been missing the previous 2 games. Magglio Ordonez’s 2 out 2 run double might have been the biggest of the night because it provided a cushion and at least in the fans minds made everyone relax a little.
But like so many times when things go well, there were contributions from many. Grandy, Inge, Miggy, Everett. Hits throughout the lineup. Good times.
Now as for Verlander, he had moments of unhittableness, and then some of those unfortunate moments of quite hittableness. The first 2 runs that scored were on Verlande.r The last 2 not as much. The 2 singles that started that 8th inning rally were on good pitches that resulted in seeing eye grounders. And there is room to question the wisdom of Verlander staying in the game as deep as he did. When Leyland went to the mound I was sure Verlander was coming out, but in Leyland’s presser the conversation went something like:
“I told him I don’t have anyone better. That’s my line but with Verlander I mean it.”
Fernando Rodney was also quite good pitching around some shoddy and uncharacteristic defense from Polanco and Granderson. Rodney threw 20 pitches, and 16 of them were for strikes. He was good.
Both teams went into today hoping to sweep and really put the other team in an uncomfortable position. But both teams went into today really hoping not to get swept. In that respect both teams can walk away somewhat satisfied. With both games being so close both teams can also walk away knowing how close they came to sweeping the day.
- Granderson carried over his Chicago success and added 3 more extra base hits and has homered in 3 straight games. One of those came off of Nathan which is pretty big.
- Polanco kind of had Inge’s Chicago series all in done day. A couple misplays (not routine but we expect more from Polly) and an 0′fer in the first game. Okay, he had 2 hits in the night game and didn’t strike out in 3/4′s of his plate apperances. So it wasn’t that bad at all.
- Speaking of Inge he left that series in Chicago behind him as he had a few hits today
- Does Gerald Laird get the day off tomorrow? I’d hope so. My knees hurt thinking about it.
- How about some props for Andy Van Slyke? He had the left fielders positioned perfectly tonight. There were some hits that looked like bloopers that Ryan Raburn barely had to move for.