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Game 72: Tigers (33-38) at Giants (31-41)

Armando Galarraga (6-2, 3.31) vs. Barry Zito (2-10, 5.88)

The Tigers came back strong after their first loss in six games for a 5-1 win last night over the Giants, perhaps indicating that Monday's game was more of a stumble than a fall. As Kurt said at Mack Avenue Tigers, the loss felt like more of a fluke rather than a return to bad form. Clinching a series win this afternoon would confirm that sentiment, however.

Is it at all strange that Barry Zito's record resembles Justin Verlander's (3-9, 4.55)? In last night's GameThread, Matt was lamenting the way wins and losses are decided for pitchers, and Zito and Verlander present two examples of how won-loss record is often not an accurate barometer for judging a pitcher's merit. Verlander has been frequently victimized by a lack of run support, while Zito apparently suffers from an inability to get hitters out. Zito's been hurt by his lineup in a few games too, but in eight of his 14 starts, he's given up five runs or more.

On Detroit's side, the Armando Galarraga Experience continues to gain stature. Unless he's "piggybacking" on another pitcher's start, Galarraga has been close to outstanding, as if he was sent from another planet to save Tigers baseball. (And I'm not discounting that, by the way. A proper investigation - preferably by NASA - has yet to be conducted.) Over his last three starts, he's given up just four runs in 21 innings.

By the way, I completely overlooked Edgar Renteria getting his 2,000th hit last night (something Samela did not do), which is something that deserves its own post. I hope to get to that later tonight. (Meanwhile, Billfer attacked the notion that Renteria's defense is poor, which is another sort of tribute.) I just got caught up in the excitement from Ryan Raburn and Marcus Thames hitting the long ball, which surely fueled me through some 1 a.m. typing.