Sure, the Twins were picked by most of the baseball universe to finish in last place in the AL Central. Except you wouldn't know it from the reasonably clutch hitting they put on in this series.
And despite losing on Opening Day, they had their chances there, too: after Justin Verlander was lifted from the game after 5 innings and 91 pitches. Drew Smyly and his lack of command threw 1 1/3 innings of two run, three hit, three walk baseball. The rest of the pen who worked gave up just 1 hit the rest of the way, thus showing for at least one game the "closing by committee" can work.
If only for one game, however.
The second game of the series provided a couple of questions: both of which I asked at the end of the game...
- What the hell was Jim Leyland thinking bringing on Phil Coke to face right-handed batting?
- And why didn't Austin Jackson catch that ball?
Just be careful... too much head-scratching this early in the season, and we'll be down to brain in no time.
|Better put blinders on these...|
What happened? Was it the infernal SHADOWS? This is really the only thing I could think of as I sat on my bar stool for this one. Austin came out of the shadows in deep left center field, and into the glaring sunlight and lost the ball. At any rate, it was a loss that can be likened by getting punched in the gut with a city bus. Walk off losses are the worst.
Today we saw Rick Porcello also have command issues. We also saw an incredibly stagnant offense. An offense that was actually given the gift of 2 runs (which were seriously gifts, both unearned), plus an opportunity to bust out of a funk in the 7th inning.
We'll try and make this quick: Omar Infante walks. Austin Jackson doubles (Good start, eh?). Torii Hunter whiffs. (Uh oh, one out, first base open). Miguel Cabrera... intentional walk. Prince Fielder whiffs (here it comes...). Victor Martinez pops out.
Yep. Second and third, no one out. Bases loaded, one out. Zero runs.
Remember that punch in the gut by a city bus? That keeps coming in the wake of Brayan Villareal's appearance today in the 8th inning: 5 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2/3 of an inning.
Kids, I'm willing to stay and watch the 9th inning, but you've been freezing all day, and the Tigers are getting hammered. Wanna go home?
Should we all worry? I mean, if the Tigers can't beat the "lowly" Twins, what chance do they have? And didn't the team sign some kind of potato to a minor league deal earlier in the day? That seems moderately desperate, RIGHT??
Three games in, we probably shouldn't worry too much. Three games into July, perhaps. But maybe when the weather heats up, so will the bats. And maybe the arms will command their pitches like they're supposed to. Just because it's not happening now, doesn't mean it won't happen later. Let's all just take heart and realize that the Tigers are on their way home to open Comerica Park against a team they ran out of the playoffs last season.
So enjoy the home cooking, Tigers. Bring on the Yankees.