Don't mess with the family
How’s that for a rollercoaster end to the road trip? Rick Porcello wasn’t target practice like he was the last time he faced the Dodgers, but he couldn’t hold them back all the same. The Dodgers did hit some balls hard, but he also gave up a lot of those annoying bloop hits as well. At least he didn’t walk the pitcher this time. Jim Leyland and Victor Martinez sounded like they felt sorry for him (as a side note, I was amused by the rolls of toilet paper on the wall behind Leyland during the postgame; were they doing his interview in the bathroom?). Anyways, Al Alburquerque put out the fire nicely. I’m still skeptical of his long-term use, but every out that we can get from him is worthwhile. The save should actually go to Austin Jackson, who bailed out a rusty Jose Valverde by running down a ball headed into the gap that would’ve undoubtedly tied the game and maybe given the Dodgers the win (I’m not 100% sure on that, since James Loney was the runner at first and he doesn’t run well; He had been thrown out at the plate earlier in the game thanks to a great throw from Magglio OrdoÃ±ez and an equally good block from Martinez).
It was so nice to have the trio from Venezuela all contribute in a big way to this game (And it was nice to use that picture again. I could’ve used it while Maggs was on the DL, but it seemed weird having the healthy members outnumbered by injured guys, ghosts, and guys in the minor leagues). You had the aforementioned outfield assist, but they contributed a lot on offense, too. Magglio got the Venezuelan party started with a two-run bomb to left field, a welcome sight for sure (actually, he had hit two home runs on his rehab assignment, so he wasn’t actually in that bad of a power drought). Not to be outdone, Miguel Cabrera had an opposite-field two-run shot of his own (and I won’t complain about his thundercalves this time because it was a throwback game and you’re supposed to do that, but if he continues it, all bets are off; by the way, the constant parade of uneven pantlegs on the mound was driving me crazy). And Victor Martinez’s two hits and RBI should not be overlooked. The power display was rounded out by Casper Wells (who actually led off the game with a home run) and Don Kelly (his was of the pinch-hit variety). Actually, it was kind of a strange game. When the Tigers weren’t hitting the ball over the fence, they were striking out a lot. There were just WAY too many strikeouts in this series. Of course, no one offered up an explanation for all the strikeouts, so we’re left with merely the observation that there were too many of them.
After the game, they announced that they were optioning little-used Adam Wilk to Toledo and bringing back Ryan Perry. Perry has pitched quite well during his stint with the Mud Hens. I’ve seen him several times, both on TV and at games. He’s looked like he’s in control of both the fastball and the slider. Obviously, he could fall apart once again in the big leagues, but he’s done what he needed to do in Toledo. And as of the last time I saw him, it looked like he was letting his hair grow back. This morning, the Tigers optioned Danny Worth to Toledo in order to bring Brandon Inge off the DL. I know there’s been griping about this, but they’re not keeping him in the minor leagues forever. Besides, hopefully the confounding variable of mono is now out of the way so we can get a clearer picture of what he’s going to contribute for the rest of the season. Besides, enough people still like him enough that he’s now running fifth in the All-Star voting at third base (although he’s about a million votes behind Evan Longoria, so it’s not like he’s a threat to pull a Derek Jeter).
Today is an off-day that is probably much-needed despite the players’ assertions to the contrary, and tomorrow the Tigers begin a long, ten-game homestand against mostly National League teams plus one makeup game against the Blue Jays on Monday. But first things first, and that means dealing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, I know Kirk Gibson is the manager, Alan Trammel is the bench coach, and they’re retiring Sparky Anderson’s number on Sunday, but I’m still not really looking forward to this series (although I will admit that when the season started, I fully expected to be spending the weekend spazzing and bawling my eyes out; barring something bizarre, that won’t be happening. Most likely, I’ll just complain a lot). For one thing, they’re pretty hot and somehow they’re in first place in the NL West (though I’m not particularly happy with the timing of the beginning of their run). I kind of feel like they’re the Cleveland Indians of the National League in that I’m not quite sure how they’re playing so well, and that what they’re doing may be flukey (plus, they’re taking advantage of the injuries/financial struggles of the other teams in their division). The front of their rotation is legit, as are a couple of their hitters like Stephen Drew and Justin Upton, but I don’t understand how they’re getting what they’re getting out of most of the others. On a personal level…well, you know most of the story already. You can add the fact that for years I’ve found them kind of annoying because they rarely do what I want them to do, whether that’s win, lose, make roster moves, not make roster moves, whatever. Plus, I don’t have a lot of love for Miguel Montero and Melvin Mora because they have a tendency to talk to reporters about things their teammates do that they don’t like rather than talk to said teammates and settle their differences in private (Remember the big stink that Montero made about Jose Valverde last year?). Anyways, the first pitcher for them in this series is lefty Zach Duke, who spent the beginning of the season on the shelf with a broken hand. He’s been shaky in his last two starts against the Marlins and White Sox. He was a largely dependable pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates for many years, but he’s no Clayton Kershaw, so the Tigers certainly can beat him. And yes, he replaced Armando Galarraga in the Diamondbacks’ rotation. The thought of the “all other things equal” scenario fills me with dread (By the way, if you’re wondering about Galarraga, he is still in the minor leagues, but right now he’s on the DL with an elbow injury that I suspect he’s been hiding for the better part of the season. I saw his last minor league start on June 3rd and his slider looked wrong, plus he’s had several starts this year where he threw hardly any sliders, and that’s the pitch that puts the most pressure on your elbow. Why you would hide an injury to the point where you lose your job in the big leagues is beyond me. At any rate, all I know is that it’s an elbow injury. I have no idea as to the severity because it’s a lot harder to get information on minor league players than it is major league players, but I’m still keeping an eye out for updates). Phil Coke is coming off a loss to Colorado, and obviously he’s never made a start against the Diamondbacks.