PREGAME: I’m certainly rooting for the guy, but the phrase “The Tigers will look to Dontrelle Willis to secure a series win,” just doesn’t have me bubbling over with confidence.
Willis wasn’t that good this spring, save for a shiny ERA, so the hopes aren’t high here that he’ll magically find something today. I’ll be thrilled to be wrong though.
He’ll be opposed by saber-pitcher Brian Bannister. Bannister hasn’t started against the Tigers since 2008. He faced them 3 times that season and shut them out twice. In fact the Tigers have only scored more than 2 runs against him once.
Raburn gets the nod at second base today – and it has nothing to do with Sizemore’s gaffe in extra innings. This was decided prior to last night’s game. And Don Kelly goes at third base.
POSTGAME: I’m happy to be wrong. Dontrelle Willis was effective. Things were shaky of course at the outset, what with the 4 pitch walk to open the game. And yes, he did benefit from 3 double plays. But he also didn’t allow an extra base hit, and didn’t issue a free pass after the first inning. In fact you might even say he was pounding the zone after the first inning with 68% of his pitches the next 5 innings going for strikes. And he certainly wasn’t getting extra help from home plate ump Chris Tiller.
I acknowledge that the Royals aren’t a good offensive club, but I think we can say Dontrelle was decent, and do so without grading on a curve.