Game 2011.72: Tigers at Rockies

Happy Father’s Day All.  This is my first! (shameless plug)  Anyone watching the game with their kids?

Tigers lose last night in a game where they doubled their opponents’ hits – 12 to 6.  The Tigers had plenty of scoring chances, and even hit 4-10 with RISP, but back to back walks in the 2nd followed up by a Ubaldo Jimenez single did in Phil Coke.  Coke had little control throughout the game, and 9 walks given up by Tigers pitching was just too much.  One bright spot – the bullpen was pretty darn good, giving up 1 hit (just happened to be a HR) and 2 walks against 4 ks in three innings. Like Ron Washington said, That’s the way baseball go.

Thus, the Tigers are on the verge of losing back-to-back-to-back games for 4th time this year.  But I’m not worried, as Justin Verlander climbs the mound this afternoon.

Since I did not yet get an opportunity to do so, I wanted to take a look at JV’s pitch selection from his masterpiece last Tuesday.  To say that he’s mixing it up would be a gross understatement, like saying Maggs in in a little slump.  In the first inning he started off relying heavily on his fastball, per usual, but note that every out pitch was on an off-speed pitch, recording two strikeouts on his curveball, and getting Brantley to ground out on a change-up.  The 4/14 off-speed pitches that he threw in the first all went for strikes.  If he can establish his complimentary pitches like that today, he’s going to be 9-3 when he leaves the ballpark.

In the second he again stuck with the fastball, throwing 6 of them against 3 changeups.  In the third, he shifted gears and began throwing more off-speed stuff.  This has got to be demoralizing for the opponents, as just when they think they are getting their timing down against the fastball, he becomes an off-speed pitcher.  From the third to the seventh, he alternated brilliantly between fastball heavy innings, and non fastball heavy innings.  In the 6th he set down Hannahan on three straight fastballs, and then in the 7th he reached 99 MPH for the first time all game to Brantley. So what does he do in the 8th when it looks like he’s all warmed up and ready to hit 100?  He throws 2 fastballs against 12 off-speed pitches.  The Cabrera hit was on a fastball that JV would likely tell you was poorly located.

Other than starting games with predominantly fastballs, JV’s pitch selection has been impossible to predict as of late, and as a result, he has been nearly impossible to hit.

The Rockies counter with mainstay Aaron Cook, a soft-throwing right-hander who neither strikes out nor walks many, but gives up a lot of hits.  Cook has started only 2 games this year after slamming a door on his finger during Spring Training.  Seems like a convenient way to get out of drills, if you ask me.  He gets pretty good movement on his two-seamer, and that combined with the Rockies’ inability to develop young pitchers have kept him in the rotation for almost 10 years.

Your Father’s Day Lineup:

(coming soon)