Giving Magglio Ordonez an "indefinite" rest from the lineup (Don't call it a benching!) seems to have had an effect on the Detroit Tigers' offense. (Scott Boras, of course, might take issue with that.) Suddenly, the Gang That Couldn't Score More Than Three Runs has gotten its groove back. After breaking through with a six-run outburst in St. Louis last night, the Tigers must have been inspired by all the thunder and lightning crackling above Comerica Park and decided to create some of their own.
Detroit hit four home runs, two of them by Marcus Thames, in a long overdue display of offensive might. Was it the weather? The temperature heats up, and so do the Tigers bats? It just had to rain, to cool everybody off.
Actually, the Tigers could've had one more home run, but a long drive by Dusty Ryan that bounced back onto the field was reviewed by replay and shown to have hit the top of the left field fence. Replay served the Tigers' cause an inning earlier, however, making it clear that Miguel Cabrera's fly ball to left hit the top of the bullpen dugout behind the fence, and not the top of the wall.
The chances for a Detroit win were jeopardized in the fourth, when rain started pouring down with just one out left in the inning, leading to a two-hour delay. The Tigers had a 7-4 lead at the time, thanks to a two-run homer by Curtis Granderson. But that lead, the offensive explosion, and a potential win looked like they could be washed away. Radar showed there was a break - albeit a brief one - in the weather system coming, however, and play resumed - along with the Tigers' offense - once it reached Detroit. The break was just long enough for the game - and the win - to become official.
If Marcus Thames is going to play, it should be in June and July, when he's at his Country Strongest. Jim Leyland finally realized that Thames is the best cleanup hitter he has on the roster for now, and with the Tigers at home for six games, there doesn't have to be any worry about playing him in the field.
Thames rewarded his manager's confidence, and gave the fans the enjoyable kind of thunder, with two homers. The first two-run shot cut into a 3-0 deficit (we'll get to that), and the second put the exclamation point on a decisive victory, creating a six-run margin that made calling the game an inevitability.
How much longer before the Tigers decide to make an Armando Galarraga-for-Luke French swap with Triple-A Toledo? In fairness, the rain delay probably prevented Galarraga from getting his first win in 10 starts. (Either that, or even Nature couldn't stand watching him pitch anymore.) But with the way he was pitching, there was also a good chance that a three-run Tigers lead wouldn't last had he been able to stay in the game.
For the night, Galarraga gave up four runs (three earned) and eight hits in four innings of work. Once again, he put his team in the hole with an early deficit. This time, it was by floating a change-up out over the plate, which Prince Fielder put into the right-field seats for a three-run homer.
In his last two starts, Galarraga has allowed seven earned runs and 16 hits (two homers) in six innings.
Comment of the Night:
Two overflow threads! (Though the two-hour rain delay probably led to the second overflow.) A visit from a Brewers fan buddy of mine! And I didn't fall asleep! After sifting (with joy, naturally) through 1632 comments, here's your COTN:
took Armando’s MoJo, please return it to the lost and found
And with that many comments, we should really have a runner-up, right?