Admit it. As soon as you saw that someone named Tommy Hunter was starting for the Rangers, someone who hasn't been in the majors very long and thus an unfamiliar pitcher to the Tigers, you figured it wasn't going to be their night. Right?
Of course, Hunter has been pitching very well for Texas, so it's not quite another case of Detroit's lineup making a lower-tier pitcher look good. But still. Yet again, the bats didn't put up much of a fight. Or more specifically, they squandered some choice scoring opportunities that would've made this game a bit more competitive.
- Runners on first and second in the second inning, with one out. (Thanks to Magglio Ordonez turning on a pitch and stroking a double.) Gerald Laird struck out on three pitches, and Adam Everett hit a weak pop-up to the catcher.
- In the fifth inning, the Tigers had the bases loaded with one out. Clete Thomas tapped a grounder back to the pitcher and the Rangers get a force-out at home. Miguel Cabrera followed up with a strikeout (after getting ahead 3-0, which Jim Leyland seemed pretty ticked about after the game).
Maybe the Tigers still wouldn't have scored enough runs to win, as Texas eventually scored five, thanks to getting big hits when they were needed. But building on a 1-0 lead could've changed the game in a variety of ways. Alas, Detroit once again left too many runners on base. How many more times are we going to tell this story?
When your cleanup hitter goes 0-for-4 and strands five runners on base, it's likely your lineup didn't score too many runs. What do you say, Miguel Cabrera? (In his recap, Kurt mentioned two quotes from the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo that highlighted how poor BigMig has been in RBI situations lately. It's pretty sobering.)
Armando Galarraga's final numbers don't look all that great, as he allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings. But at one point, he retired 11 straight batters. Other than a sixth inning in which he tossed a fastball right down the middle to Michael Young and hung a change-up to Hank Blalock, both of whom jumped on those pitches to drive in runs, Galarraga pitched pretty well, which is the one encouraging thing to take from this game.
Comment of the Night:
Yeah, I fell asleep. Had a nice imprint of my remote control on the right side of my face, too. Line for the jokes starts over there. Apologies if the GameThread got a bit unwieldy (almost 800 comments), and I didn't move the chat to an overflow. Thanks to you guys for keeping it alive.
And your runner-up. (We haven't had one of those in a while, have we? Sorry about that.)