Here's something to ponder during the hours between the time you read this and the next time the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros play baseball. Right now, do you want to see Joel Zumaya pitching in the eighth (let alone the ninth) inning of any game in which the Tigers have a lead?
He got the last out of the seventh inning, and the first out of the eighth. From there, however, Zumaya just fell apart. A single and two walks loaded the bases. And he was living and dying by the fastball. Other than two curveballs thrown to Darin Erstad, Zumaya kept pumping the heater in there. And not a single one of them was below 100 m.p.h. (The radar gun on TV clocked a pitch at 105, but is that even possible? MLB.com Gameday had it at 102.)
But as impressive as that is, if the opposing batters can see that Zumaya can't control where those rockets are going, they're not going to swing. And Zumaya wasn't going to give in with something off-speed, like he did to Micah Hoffpauir on Tuesday night. So it's ultimately up to him to keep those fastballs in the strike zone. He couldn't do it, and the Astros took the lead, as a result.
To put this entirely on Zumaya isn't fair, of course. Not when the Tigers' lineup had plenty of opportunities to build on a 4-0 first inning lead, only to dribble those chances into the Houston infield. The worst example of this was in the fifth inning when Detroit had the bases loaded, and Magglio Ordonez grounded the second pitch he saw from Wandy Rodriguez into an inning-ending double play. The Tigers had a shot to bury the Astros right there, and give Justin Verlander the win he deserved, but didn't capitalize. That came back to bite them.
That was a hell of a home run by Miguel Cabrera, wasn't it? Rodriguez teed up a curveball right down the middle of the plate, about chest high, and BigMig sent that thing into orbit.
Comment of the Night:
All those guy left on base. The Patheticons are back in the house.