If it wasn't for bad luck, would Nate Robertson have any luck at all? Just when the guy wins back his job in the Detroit Tigers' starting rotation, he may have lost it again. At least temporarily.
Robertson left Friday's game in the fourth inning after pulling a groin muscle (an adductor strain, if you want to get all clinical with it) while running to cover home plate. But that's not to say he was entirely a victim of circumstances beyond his control.
Before he tweaked his groin, Robertson was having a rough night. One of the highlights of his recent revival had been his control, but Robertson walked five batters in his 3.2 innings. Fortunately, none of those runners came around to score. Yet Robertson also gave up six hits, and those resulted in two runs. All things considered, it's probably amazing he didn't allow far more. (A stiff wind in right-center field might have helped a bit.)
However, it appears that Robertson will miss his next start. Jim Leyland said as much in his post-game remarks, adding that Robertson was in a lot of pain when the trainers had a look at him. Leyland also wondered if Robertson's out-of-whack delivery indicated that his groin may have been bothering him before that play at home plate.
Regardless, Robertson's showing - along with the three runs Armando Galarraga gave up in two-plus innings of relief - was another poor performance in what's been a bad week of pitching for the Tigers. Why have they lost four straight games? Look at the pitching. They've given up 23 runs during this streak.
Yes, that's an oversimplification. The lineup hasn't hit very well, either, making some no-name opposing pitchers look pretty good. Brian Tallet and his Wolverine-like mutton chops were the latest beneficiary.
Maybe after last weekend's series in Tampa, these guys began to think they were entitled to a late-inning comeback every game. And they almost pulled off another one on Friday night, scoring three runs in the seventh. (And if not for that wind in right field, along with Comerica Park's distances, Marcus Thames might have tied the game.) But Toronto's six runs were just a few too many to overcome.
Once again, shaky middle relief was a big part of the Tigers' downfall. If Armando Galarraga wanted to show that he should get his rotation spot back in light of Robertson's injury, he didn't do it with this outing. Galarraga started off strong, getting out his first five batters. After that, however, it fell apart pretty fast. Five of the next seven batters he faced reached base, eventually resulting in three runs.
Curtis Granderson continued his struggles against left-handed pitching. Moving him down to seventh in the lineup may have lessened the damage, as the top of the order was productive. But an 0-for-4 night (with five men left on base) isn't encouraging. That dropped his average against lefties to .147/.247/.245.
Ryan Raburn is thriving in his platoon role. After Friday's 2-for-4 night, he's 7-for-12 with a homer and three RBIs in his last three games. Is Raburn playing well enough (swinging a hot enough bat) to warrant some playing time against right-handed pitching, as well? Or is he being used correctly right now?
Comment of the Night:
they went from being fun to watch
to painful to look at in a week