PREGAME: It will be Max Scherzer versus Luke Hochevar in game 2 of the 2010 season. The big news around this game in Detroit is that we won’t be able to watch it, until the Red Wings game is over anyways. Due to a scheduling tsunami the Tigers are pushed off of both Fox Sports Detroit, and it’s FSD+ brother (which will show the Pistons). A bummer to be sure but FS Detroit is likely contractually bound to the 2 other games and picking up the Tigers in progress is extra effort on their part.
But back to the game…
Hochevar gets the #2 role due to an injured Gil Meche. The Tigers have beat up Hochevar the last two times they faced him. Miguel Cabrera will try to make history as he has gone a perfect 8 for 8 in his last 8 at-bats against Hochevar. Lefties strike out just as much as righties against Hochevar, but they walk twice as often.
Scherzer makes his Tigers and AL Debut. He dominated righties last year with a 4.58 K/BB ratio and hopefully he can hold down Billy Butler.
The Tigers lefty heavy lineup is:
- Jackson, CF
- Damon, LF
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Guillen, DH
- Inge, 3B
- Avila, C
- Sizemore, 2B
- Santiago, SS
POSTGAME: That was certainly a disappointing ending to an otherwise compelling game. The Tigers did quite a few things right in this game, but also had their share of struggles.
Offensively the Tigers couldn’t muster anything but ground balls against Hochevar. Sixteen of the Tigers outs against Hochever were ground ball outs, including two double plays. The only hit of note was a wind blown triple by Austin Jackson. And unlike against Greinke, many of those outs came early in the count meaning that Hochevar was able to hand the ball directly to Joakim Soria with 2 outs in the 8th and avoid the tasty middle relief options of the Royals.
Fortunately Scherzer was up to the task and he didn’t allow a hit until the 5th inning and left after 6 scoreless innings. It was a very nice Tigers debut for Scherzer who’s only blemish was a couple of HBPs. (Bless You Boys has the pitch f/x breakdown)
The bullpen which was quite efficient on Monday, didn’t control the strike zone to the same degree. Fu-Te Ni, Brad Thomas, and Phil Coke each threw more balls than strikes. It was Ni’s walk in the 8th that moved a runner into scoring position for Chris Getz’s RBI single.
Jose Valverde, a notorious slow starter, didn’t do much right in the 11th inning with a chance for his first save. The Callaspo homer was a bullet, and the Ankiel shot off the wall was smoked as well. Yes, Scott Sizemore blew the relay play, but even if he catches it clean the winning run is 90 feet away with nobody out and the closer being bludgeoned. There is definitely shared responsibility for that 11th inning.
- The Miguel Cabrera at-bat in the 9th inning was tremendous. Down to the last strike Soria couldn’t put him away and with pitch #10 Cabrera doinked the foul pole to tie the game. That’s 4 big hits in the first two games for Cabrera.
- It was the Venezuelan uprising in the 11th that again game the Tigers a chance. Singles by Ordonez, Cabrera, and Guillen gave the team the lead. It goes without saying that the majority of the offense will run through those 3.
- Don’t make too much of the Cabrera caught stealing. It was costly, he just left a tad too early. I don’t mind the added aggressiveness.
- Where was that aggressiveness earlier though when Jackson led off with a single only to have Johnny Damon with a first pitch GIDP?
- I didn’t care for the Sizemore bunt in the 8th inning. Hochevar had barely been in the stretch, and even though Sizemore was his last batter, make him try and get the out. The Tigers had already handed over too many easy outs.
- Gerald Laird is 2 for 2 in not even making a throw down to gun out a runner.
- Jackson’s strike out in the 10th was a pretty bad at-bat, but not all that surprising either. He was probably experiencing some additional pressure, and he’s already a player who’s entire minor league career has been prone to the strike out. Not that he won’t do a lot of things right this season, but he’s going to have his whiffs.
- Two more walks for Sizemore who continues to work the count.