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So much for a winning season: Galarraga great, but not good enough, in 2-1 loss to the Orioles

Final - 10.1.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 X 2 3 1
WP: Brian Matusz (10 - 12)
SV: Koji Uehara (13)
LP: Armando Galarraga (4 - 9)

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What's the sign of a well pitched game from both sides? When the game takes all of two hours to complete. The Tigers and Orioles found themselves walking off the field at Camden Yards exactly two hours after the first pitch.

The thing is, if you were looking for a pitcher's duel, I don't think a late season game between the Tigers and Orioles is where you'd expect to find one. It would be an even more surprising find when the starting pitchers both have losing records, ERA's in the mid 4's and WHIP's pushing 1.40.

But when Armando Galarraga and Brian Matusz are on, they are more than capable of shutting down the opposition, which is what happened in Baltimore tonight. Both starters were excellent, but Matusz and the Orioles' bullpen were just a tad better than Galarraga in a 2-1 O's victory.

The loss was the Tigers' sixth in a row, ended their hopes of a winning season, and dropped their record to below .500, at 80-81.

Galarraga deserved better, though I doubt he'll bitch about a lack of run support again...but he'd have a damn good argument. Armando was on tonight , pounding the strike zone in an 91 pitch effort. He went 8 full innings, allowing only three hits and two runs, striking out seven.

Galarraga, good as he was, wasn't perfect. Unfortunately, he needed to be. What it comes down to is this; Galarraga made two mistakes, Matusz only one.

Matusz threw six innings, but allowed only two hits and one run, while striking out a career high nine. His only mistake of the night was in the 2nd inning, when Brandon Inge yanked a hanging curve ball over the left field wall. That was the extent of the Tigers' offense...which has apparently remained in Detroit, along with what was a winning record. With the loss, the Tigers are 0--5 on their season ending, six game road trip.

Galarraga's two mistakes were allowing a 4th inning solo home run to Nick Markakis (the O's first hit of the night), and 5th inning double to Felix "I like" Pie. Pie advnced to 3rd on a ground ball, scoring on Matt Wieters' sac fly. That was it for the Orioles' offense on the night...but it was all they would need, thanks to Matusz, their bullpen, and the Tigers' AWOL bats. (Save for the hotter than hot Ryan Raburn, who had the Tigers' other two hits on the night.)

So just how tough of a season has it been for Galarraga? I'll let Jason Beck tell you.

Via Beck's recap at

It was the seventh time this season that Galarraga did not get a win out of a quality start, including four of his final eight starts. He went winless in all of those outings, and picked up just two victories after his near-perfect game on June 2.

If that isn't the definition of hard luck...

With one game left in the 2010 season, where do the Tigers stand? When they left town after sweeping the Twins, the Tigers only needed one victory to guarantee a .500 season. They're still looking for that one win, and running out of chances to get it.

Actually, if the Tigers do get that one victory, it would make their season, well, symmetrical. Their record at Comerica Park was a sterling 52-29. If they win Sunday, the Tigers' road record would end up a lousy 29-52.

It would be a damn fitting way to end the year, if only to show the Tigers' Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde personality, and the odd home vs. road dichotomy of the season.