After playing some inspired baseball to win the first two games of this series, the Detroit Tigers reverted back to some old tendencies in the getaway finale. In particular, they couldn't generate much offense against a pitcher who had been struggling, the kind that a good lineup should beat.
(Remember the days when the Tigers would pound a soft-tossing left-hander? I used to really enjoy writing those posts. Was it just two years ago?)
Joe Saunders hadn't experienced much success against the Tigers in six previous match-ups, but you wouldn't have known that from today's performance. Fresh off the disabled list, Saunders held Detroit to four hits over five innings. He also struck out six batters.
(Could this be further evidence of the BYB Preview Jinx, as some asserted in today's GameThread? If I happen to mention an opposing pitcher's mediocrity or recent struggles, is he destined to have a good game against the Tigers? Bloggers have no such power. Or do they... ?)
Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson struggled from the outset, serving up a two-run homer to Torii Hunter. (Once a Tigers Killer, always a Tigers Killer.) He just never seemed to settle in, perhaps best indicated by his four walks. But maybe the Angels should get some credit for that.
Mike Scioscia likes to keep his runners moving and manufacture runs, and his guys seemed determined to set an aggressive tone on the basepaths today. Led by two swipes by Chone Figgins, the Angels stole five bases, tying a season-high. (Figgins almost stole home in the seventh, but the third-base umpire had stopped play.) Ultimately, that seemed to distract Jackson and Gerald Laird from focusing on the pitcher vs. batter task at hand.
Despite the 4-2 loss, however, the Tigers did have some success on this west coast road trip. Considering how badly they've played on the road over the past two months, winning three out of six is some notable progress. Especially when two of those wins came against the second-best team in the American League (and arguably their two best starting pitchers.)
After tomorrow's off-day, it's back home, where the magic happens, for the next seven games.
Comment of the Day:
Is this bizarro land? Adam Everett hits a jack and E-Jax can’t pitch? What’s next, an uneventful save from Fernando?
And your runner-up. You guys have been warriors in the GameThreads.