Is Armando Galarraga back? After breaking a seemingly endless 10-game winless streak in his last start, Galarraga gave up just two hits in 6.1 innings Tuesday night versus the A's. That's the good news.
The bad news is that it was hardly a clean outing, as Galarraga also issued six walks, the most he's given up this season, and a total he only allowed once last year (in one of his final starts of 2008). The optimists among us (such as Galarraga himself) might say that his control was off because his pitches had good movement. Galarraga's been trying to regain the feel for his slider and sinker since April, and last night, he may have found it.
But walking six batters is something that better teams won't let a pitcher get away with. (And Jim Leyland wasn't too happy about it after the game.) Nor does a team often still get a win despite two poor baserunning mistakes between third base and home, sloppy errors on catchable balls, and a two-run homer served up by its closer. Fortunately for the Tigers, these things happened against the Oakland Athletics.
Do you think Placido Polanco ever walks by Magglio Ordonez's locker and flexes his arms? Or kisses his biceps? Are we really living in a world where Polanco has five home runs, while Maggs has just
two three? Polanco's two-run homer in the first inning off Gio Gonzalez set the tone early, and quickly erased the memory of Monday night's lackluster showing by the offense. The early lead may also have settled Galarraga down a bit, and given him more confidence.
Joel Zumaya also had an encouraging outing, throwing 1.1 innings (and throwing 18 of 23 pitches for strikes) without giving up a hit or walk. And he is continuing to throw serious fire, routinely touching 100 m.p.h. with his fastball. Two of his pitches were clocked by MLB.com Gameday at 103.
It's now July. So I suppose we now just have to accept that Fernando Rodney pitching in a non-save situation is never going to be pretty, right? One walk and two hits, including a two-run homer by Mark Ellis? Oh, Fernando.
Comment of the Night:
I wonder what it is like to look forward to men on base instead of constantly wondering how your team is going to screw this opportunity up.
Imagining Leyland using Twitter was also funny stuff. That might have to continue in tomorrow's Off-Day Open Thread.