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:
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.