The third time was most certainly not the charm for Jarrod Washburn. Facing the Orioles twice this season with the Mariners, he held Baltimore to one run in 16 innings. Things worked out a bit differently for Washburn in a different uniform, however, making his Tigers debut at Comerica Park.
Washburn equaled that run total three batters into the game. Brian Roberts hit a leadoff double, and Nick Markakis singled him in for a 1-0 lead. The Orioles added another run in the second inning, but the Tigers cut that lead in half with fourth-inning doubles from Brandon Inge and Adam Everett.
Just as the Tigers were taking one step forward, however, Washburn pushed them two steps back. In the fifth, he served up a home run to Cesar Izturis, which restored the O's two-run lead. Let me repeat that: Washburn gave up a home run to Cesar Izturis. He had one homer coming into tonight's game, and that was back on Opening Day.
But it really fell apart for Washburn in the sixth, when he slopped a fastball down the fat part of the plate that Nick Markakis absolutely crushed nto right-center, up near Ernie Harwell's name on the brick wall. (I believe Mario Impemba said the homer was measured at 424 feet. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) After (barely) hitting Aubrey Huff to put another man on base, Washburn's Tigers debut was mercifully ended.
Of course, the Tigers' offense put forth what's become a typically underwhelming effort, scoring just once against Brian Matusz in his first major league start.
As you might expect, they squandered some choice scoring opportunites along the way. In the second inning, they had two runners on with one out (and the bases loaded with two outs), but couldn't get a hit to drive one in. Another two runners were stranded in the third when Marcus Thames flied out. The worst, however, was in the fifth inning, when Detroit had runners on second and third. (And a run would've scored, had Miguel Cabrera's double to left not bounced over the fence.) But Thames and Ryan Raburn both struck out, blowing an excellent chance to get back into the game.
But what I'd really like to talk about is what appears to have been a total overreaction by the Tigers' braintrust tonight. Why call up Wilkin Ramirez? Were they so worried about Matusz that they had to get another right-handed bat into the lineup? I understand keeping Curtis Granderson out, because he's been awful against lefties lately. But did Clete Thomas have to sit down too? Was outfield defense an afterthought to offense tonight? So much for that. Was such a drastic change really necessary?
The Ramirez move makes even less sense, with the news that he's been sent back down to Toledo along with Dusty Ryan. Pitcher Chris Lambert is being called up from Triple-A Toledo, with catcher Alex Avila also coming up from Double-A Erie to take their spots on the roster. More on that in another post.
Comment of the Night:
If we started this game now, he’d be aces.
And your runner-up.