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Game 77: Cardinals (45-33) at Tigers (36-40)

Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.63) vs. Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.03)

Last night, the Cardinals demonstrated why they're one of the best teams in the National League, smacking around two Tigers pitchers who came into the game throwing very well. (For those who still don't believe, Shysterball had a great line today about the Cards in his MLB recap.) Detroit has come back to win their two previous series after losing the first game, however, which says something about how they've been able to bounce back lately.

If the Cardinals are a surprising team, their poster boy has to be Kyle Lohse, who waited throughout the off-season for a free agent contract until St. Louis finally came knocking midway through Spring Training. And Lohse is hot, having won his six of his last seven starts (one being a no-decision) while posting a 2.09 ERA. In only three of those appearances did he allow two runs or more.

The Tigers have their own surprise, however, in Armando Galarraga. And he might be even more surprising, considering his lack of major league experience coming into this season. (At least Lohse had some expectations. He wasn't expected to be any good, but those are still expectations.) Galarraga is also boasting his own winning streak, having gotten the "W" in his last four starts. And over his last two appearances, he's allowed zero earned runs. (Boy, I hope I didn't just jinx the guy.)

The All-Star bandwagon for Galarraga is starting to build some steam, and beating a team like the Cardinals would put a gold star on his half-season resume as Terry Francona decides who to put on the AL squad.

I'll actually be at tonight's ballgame with the Daily Fungo crew, so you guys will have to keep the GameThread lights on for us. (Has it really taken me this long to get to my first game of the season? That's kind of embarrassing.) I look forward to reading people's comments after I get back from the park.