Well, make that 2-0 since Torii’s pre-game Zubaz, which means that Detroit’s finally got themselves a series win. Could a sweep be possible? They might have the right guy on the mound for it. Although Anibal Sanchez has lost his past two starts, he has only given up 1 run in 15.1 innings, with a minuscule .3973 WHIP. Of course all bets are off once the bullpen appears, but it’s worth noting Joe Nathan is probably unavailable tonight.
I named Nick Castellanos Player to Watch last night, which, shockingly, turned out to be a good call. Nick now has 3 consecutive games with 3 hits, making him the first Tiger rookie to achieve that since Rick Peters in 1980, if StorminNorman$ is to be believed. His rookie cohort Eugenio Suarez had an auspicious first start, hitting a home run for his first Major League hit. It was just one evening in June, but watching the two young infielders last night warmed the heart, at least its baseball chamber. Then again, the last Tiger to homer for his first hit was Wilkin Ramirez in 2009, and that was his last home run ever. That’s baseball!
As for the pitching, Max wasn’t great but he was good. My inner Laptop Manager pulled Max for Alburquerque to start the 7th, but even so, once he got to two outs with Ortiz coming up, I liked letting him pitch to Ortiz. First of all, the alternative was Phil Coke, and that would not have ended well. But also, you may remember the time last fall Scherzer was pulled (prematurely?) against Boston, and what Ortiz did. I like that Max wanted to handle things himself, and liked that Ausmus said OK (see previous point). Ortiz may have won the battle, but Max kept him in the park (and barely missed a called 3rd strike) by staying outside, which is another way of “shifting” against a pull hitter, by the way.
Harold Reynolds loved the Old School aspect of the Our Guy vs Your Guy face off (as opposed to Our Situational Left-Handed Relief Specialist etc), and that is more appealing from an entertainment aspect I suppose. There is a reason some things change though (they work). But for me, if you assume the primary goal is to keep the ball in the park, I’ll take a gassed Scherzer over a Phil Coke.
The real question is: why not just walk Ortiz there?
I don’t think there is much more to be said at the moment about Joe Nathan, other than that I’ve been vainly searching for a progress update on Hanrahan’s rehab.
Tonight’s Bryan Back On Holiday Lineup: