How do you make sure your bullpen can't blow yet another lead? Put 17 runs on the scoreboard. Even when the Detroit Tigers finished their half of the fifth inning with an 11-1 lead, however, I bet there were very few fans who felt completely comfortable.
One guy who surely loved that run support was Freddy Garcia who pitched a fab five innings in his return to the majors. Not only did he allow just one run on two hits (with three strikeouts), but Garcia was something that Tigers pitchers haven't been lately: efficient with his pitches. It took him only 59 pitches (36 of them strikes) to get through those five innings.
How he finished off his outing particularly impressed me. After sitting in the dugout for a long time while the Tigers' lineup erupted for nine runs, Garcia came out for that fifth inning and put the Rangers down, 1-2-3. And it only took him eight pitches to get those three fly-outs.
Would it be totally overreacting to write that Dave Dombrowski should sign Garcia to a three-year, $29 million extension before he gets on the flight to Cleveland tomorrow?
But we probably shouldn't overlook those 17 runs the Tigers put up tonight.
- With a three-run homer (part of his 4-for-5 night), Miguel Cabrera is only two behind Carlos Quentin's AL-leading total of 36. However, Alex Rodriguez hit #35 tonight, so he's between Cabrera and the lead.
- That RBI lead might be out of reach now, however. Cabrera got three RBIs tonight, but his 121 are seven behind Justin Morneau's 128 and three behind Josh Hamilton's 124.
- With his 3-for-5 night, Magglio Ordonez is now tied with Dustin Pedroia in the AL batting race with a .326 average.
- And how about Dusty Ryan going 4-for-5? Does he have any shot at the #1 catcher job next season? Is that being a bit impulsive?
- No, that bullpen's not off the hook. Nate Robertson tried his best to blow that lead, giving up three runs in 2 2/3 innings. He also allowed four hits and four walks. But the lead was ultimately just too big for him to catch.