The Year of Polanco Continues:
How good was Placido Polanco last night? He stole second base when the pitcher had him picked off. Technically, home plate umpire Laz Diaz called a balk on Adam Loewen, however, so Polanco wasn't credited with a steal. But that's the kind of night he was having. 4-for-5, two RBIs, including what turned out to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
Rod Allen's been beating this drum for a couple of weeks now, and you'd expect as much from the Tigers' TV analyst, but he's right: Polanco absolutely deserves to be starting at second base for the American League All-Star team. B.J. Upton is oh-so-slightly ahead of him in average, but in 30 fewer at-bats. Ian Kinsler is on pace to hit more than 50 home runs, and maybe those eye-popping numbers will give him an edge in voting, but his team is in last place. Robinson Cano is also having a good season, and you figure he'll get plenty of votes because he plays for the Yankees. But they're in last place, too. Aaron Hill also has some impressive power numbers, but his team, like, plays in Canada. And they're called the Blue Jays, but their primary color's black. What the #@$% is that? Where would the Tigers be without Polanco's key hits this season? They'd be... less good than they are now, my friends.
Fill out your ballots! Vote for Polanco! At least one guy in the Olde English D should be in the starting lineup. Make it happen, people. We can make it rain together.
Zoom and the Art of Pitching:
I don't know if we should still be a bit concerned about Joel Zumaya since his velocity appears to be down. But it probably doesn't matter, as long as he can get hitters out with the other pitches in his arsenal. Zumaya seemed to be trying too hard with his fastball last week, and that's what got him in trouble. And that was kind of baffling, because his curveball had been so good.
But last night, he came back to that pitch, and the Orioles had no idea what to do with it. He made Ramon Hernandez look silly at the end of the seventh inning. And he mixed in some change-ups, too. Nasty, filthy, dirty, tawdry - whatever you want to call it, Zumaya was that.
▪▪ Until Sean Casey knocked in the go-ahead run, was anyone else beginning to think Jim Leyland should keep Marcus Thames at first base for a while? He played some slick defense over there last night, though he didn't have to pick any throws out of the dirt as Casey has. I was beginning to think Casey might become the new Wally Pipp. But maybe May will be better for him. It would have to be, wouldn't it?
▪▪ I haven't watched Jay Gibbons play much, other than when the Orioles have faced the Tigers, but what kind of arm does the guy have in the outfield? Did you see the "throw" he made to home plate in the 8th when Pudge scored the go-ahead run? I'm not he threw it like my sister would've, but that's only because she's a pharmacist, not a major league ballplayer.
▪▪ If you watched the FSN Detroit telecast last night - and I'm assuming most of you did - what the hell was going on in the production truck during the first inning? Polanco would get a base hit... and we'd get a shot of the seats in the upper deck, rather than the ball going into centerfield. Or a fly ball would be hit to right field, and the camera view was pulled back so far that you couldn't even tell if the outfielder made the catch. The coverage was fine for the rest of the game, so maybe somebody just had to go to the bathroom. But for a while there, it was getting annoying.