After a full night spent in the familiar comforts of home, perhaps the Detroit Tigers will come back to the ballpark with more vigor than they had last night in their series opener against the Oakland Athletics. Though I have to say, I'm baffled that the Tigers came out with such lethargy after salvaging a win in Chicago to end their 10-game road trip.
I think we've may have underestimated how much the Pudge Rodriguez trade knocked this team off-balance. That probably sounds like an excuse now, and the Tigers have used almost every one available, but it doesn't seem coincidental that they've fallen into this funk since that deal was made. (Of course, it didn't help that the player they received in return directly contributed to at least two of those losses.)
But one of the pleasant surprises of this season continues to be Armando Galarraga, and his turn in the rotation should ensure the Tigers are competitive tonight. Galarraga was fantastic last Sunday against the Rays, allowing just one run and four hits in seven innings, but a bullpen implosion let the win get away. The A's roughed him up in his "piggyback start" back in June, but pitching in relief that night may have thrown him off his routine.
It's also nice that Galarraga is pitching on a night during which the Tigers are celebrating the Latino presence throughout the game of baseball with tonight's "Fiesta Tigres" festivities. One just has to look at the Tigers' lineup, with six of this evening's starting nine from Latin-American countries, to see how integral that talent pool has become to this organization. (Carlos Guillen might get the night off, however, after suffering back spasms last night.) ¡Es razón de la celebración!