They can't all be gems, right? After two outstanding performances to open the season, Armando Galarraga wasn't sharp against the Angels. Considering the amount of pitches he threw in the first three innings, it's amazing he was able to tough it out through five. Yet the Tigers might still have pulled out a win if some ninth-inning strategy hadn't backfired.
Down by one in the ninth, Carlos Guillen led off with a single and Josh Anderson came in to pinch-run for him. Surprisingly, Adam Everett pinch-hit for Jeff Larish instead of Marcus Thames, but perhaps Jim Leyland wanted to get a runner in scoring position before sending in a big bat. (As it turns out, Thames was unavailable, pulling a rib cage muscle that will put him on the 15-day disabled list. When exactly the injury occurred isn't yet known. Jason Beck posted the news on Twitter minutes after the game ended.)
Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn't execute. Everett couldn't lay down a bunt on the first two pitches from Brian Fuentes. Anderson was then picked off, caught taking an early jump from first base. Everett proceeded to strike out, which seemed to kill any chance to tie the game.
Fuentes' wildness gave Detroit one more chance, however, as he put both Gerald Laird and Brandon Inge on base. Ramon Santiago took a called third strike to end the game, unfortunately. And considering how huge Tim Timmons's strike zone was (Mike Scioscia was ejected in the sixth after he couldn't take any more low pitches being called strikes), batters probably needed to swing at anything close.
Curtis Granderson did all he could to win the game single-handedly, hitting two home runs in his first two at-bats against Jered Weaver. A day off also seemed to have helped Carlos Guillen, who went 3-for-4 and ran hard on the basepaths.
Bringing in Brandon Lyon to pitch for a second inning was probably asking for trouble. Why Leyland kept him in for the eighth when a) the game was tied, and b) plenty of other relievers could've used some work was kind of a baffling decision.
Galarraga looked like he was going to cruise through the fifth inning and sneak out of the game with a lead. But he hung a first-pitch slider right in the middle of the plate to Torii Hunter, who blasted it over the left-center field fence for a game-tying homer. That was probably Galarraga's last inning anyway, but had the Angels not tied the game, perhaps Leyland would've used his bullpen differently.
Comment of the Day:
WHY IS EVERETT PICKING UP A BAT?
HE HAS TYPHOID FOR GOD SAKEby explosivo2k2
Without Timmons behind the plate, Justin Verlander should have a pretty good shot against these Angels in the second game of this series.