Durbin Files An Extension:
I wouldn't go so far as to say the Tigers didn't lose because of Durbin, since he's the one who loaded the bases in the sixth inning. He also served up two high meatballs for Juan Uribe and Tadahito Iguchi to launch out of the part. But Durbin certainly gave the team a much better chance to win than in his previous two starts. Unfortunately, he let the game get away from him in the sixth with two walks and that tainted what had been a pretty good performance. Was that enough to keep his spot in the starting rotation? Probably.
Morning After Second Guessing:
In such a close game, there are so many moments and decisions to look at and question. For me, one of them was pinch-hitting Curtis Granderson for Brandon Inge in the bottom of the ninth. I suppose playing the percentages was the smart way to go there. Lefty batter vs. righty pitcher. Granderson is hitting .353 against right-handers, while Inge has a .098 average. But then FSN shows Granderson's stats against Bobby Jenks: 0-for-5, five strikeouts. Three pitches later, he was making that walk back to the dugout.
Maybe that was the best move Jim Leyland could make, but bringing in Granderson cold off the bench to face a fireballer who's owned him so far, rather than go with a batter who's been in the game and worked some good counts, seemed to cater far more to the percentages than the flow of the game.
(Speaking of working the count, how about taking a pitch, Pudge? Four pitches, two outs? Why make Jenks' job even easier?)
Gary! Gary! Gar... Aw, Crap:
I'm not a guy who complains about officiating too much. Or I at least try not to be. But Paul Schrieber's yo-yoing strike zone was really getting on my nerves last night. First, that high pitch around the letters is a strike. Then it isn't. He calls that pitch below the knees a strike, too. Then he doesn't.
I don't want to make excuses for Gary Sheffield, because the guy is most definitely struggling. But at least he made Jenks work for that final out. I almost don't fault Sheffield for striking out because Schrieber's strike zone was bouncing up and down like a pogo stick. Yes, I'm saying that final pitch was low. Maybe the camera angle was deceiving, but that looked like ball three.
A Middle Reliever That Gets Guys Out!
In two innings of work, the new guy in the bullpen - Aquilino Lopez - showed he might already be an upgrade over Jose Mesa. (Of course, Mesa's groin injury might have been an issue.) The Tigers really couldn't have asked for much more from a middle reliever as he gave them a chance to tie or win the game in the ninth.
Detroit, We Have a LOOGY:
By striking out Jim Thome in the seventh inning, Bobby Seay looked like he's seized that left-handed reliever's job. That's exactly the role that Jamie Walker filled so well last year, and if Seay can be relied upon to come in and get big lefty bats like Thome out, that's one less question mark for the Tigers' bullpen.