The Tigers take the field this evening at absurdly-named O.co Coliseum at 16-16, 2 games back of Cleveland in the AL Central.
A lot went wrong last night. Rick Porcello once again sang the First Inning Blues, and was generally ineffective. The Below-pen didn’t fare much better. The Tigers blew their own chance at a big first inning when Cabrera grounded into a DP with runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out, and that set the offensive tone for the evening.
The Tigers even accidentally suited up the retired Dmitri Young for their DH, at least according to the official Tiger game notes.
But the big story of course, was Brandon Inge, who has been tormenting the Tigers as much or more as when he played for them. Jason Beck collects some of the quotes about Inge’s new-found ability to hit a baseball (Inge now has 17 RBI in only 10 games with Oakland, which is more than Prince Fielder has for the season).
To add Inge salt to Ingery, Inge took the time to praise new hitting coach Chili Davis: “he and I mix well.”
After the last two games, a pitcher’s duel might be just the thing. Doug Fister was impressive in his first start back from the DL, going 7 innings without giving up a run or a walk. He didn’t come away with a W, but at this point in the season seeing Fister returning to form is a far bigger deal.
Taking their cue from Seattle with Blake Beavan, Oakland will counter the towering presence of the 6’8″ Fister with their tallest pitcher, 6’7″ Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy has followed up his big comeback season in 2011 (9-9, 3.32) with another good start (2-3, 2.96), although his turn in the rotation has been pushed back due to shoulder soreness.
The right-handed McCarthy isn’t much tougher on RHB than he is on LHB: last season lefties batted .256 against him, vs. .260 for righties. Nonetheless, Leyland has loaded the lineup with every available lefty. The Santiago for Peralta move looks good on paper though: Peralta is a career 1-for-21 against McCarthy.
Tonight’s Player of the Pre-game: Andy Dirks. Dirks has been nothing short of phenomenal, and has solved the problem of finding a 2-hitter who can take advantage of Jackson’s hot start this season. He won’t continue to hit .381 (and that with a sore hamstring!), but let’s enjoy it while it lasts. If Cabrera and Fielder can get back to their usual selves while Jackson and Dirks are still hot, it should make for a good time.
Tonight’s Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Don-Kelly Lineup: