The Tigers’ starting pitching problems were bound to catch up with them sooner or later. Perhaps that is what is happening in Los Angeles this weekend. A pitching staff heavily reliant on it’s bullpen combined with an offense that runs on one leg can make for games feel like an uphill battle.
Four first inning hits gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead right out of the gate but nothing came easy after that. The Dodgers answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the first and tied the game with another run in the bottom of the second.
Armando Galarraga’s ineffectiveness is most easily summarized in the Dodgers’ ability to score with consistency. The Dodgers put up at least one run in four of the five innings in which Galarraga appeared. The box score will say that the problem didn’t stem from an inability to throw strikes, the ball to strike ratio was fine and he walked only one batter, but it never felt like Armando Galarraga was able to impose his will on L.A. hitters.
As poor as Galarraga’s outing was, it could have been worse . The Dodgers lead of the fourth with four straight hits for three runs. Blake DeWitt stood on third base with nobody out but the Tigers escaped after a pulled in Brandon Inge gobbled up two ground balls and Miguel Cabrera caught a pop up along the first row of spectators.
Galarraga appeared to be on his way to getting out of the fifth unscathed but Matt Kemp homered to give the Dodgers a 6-2 lead and send Jim Leyland to the mound to bring in Fu-Te Ni.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the seventh on a hit, walk, and error but failed to cut into the deficit when Miguel Cabrera grounded out to Hong-Chih Kuo for the final out of the inning.
Some better news after the jump…
The deficit did shrink an inning later when Brennan Boesch homered off of Ramon Troncoso to get the Tigers within. What a thrill it had to be as the home run came in front of family and friends in the ball park that Brennan frequented as a child. The thrilling went to scary when Austin Jackson took a 92 MPH Troncoso fast ball to the helmet. The good news is that Jackson was able to walk off the field without much assistance.
Brennan Boesch’s RBI ground rule double extended the ninth inning and put the tying run in scoring position but the Tigers could get no closer than 6-4. The result gives the Dodgers the win in the series. Rick Porcello will take on Hiroki Kuroda on Sunday afternoon in hopes of salvaging one game in L.A.
-Alex Avila is now 0-5 with 4 K’s as a pinch hitter this season.
-Injuries and game situations forced Jim Leyland to constantly juggle his lineup. Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn, and Danny Worth all saw time at second base while Johnny Damon, Austin Jackson, and Ryan Raburn all appeared in center field.
-Don Kelly was in and out of the lineup without ever seeing a pitch in the batters box or in the field. Kelly was announced as a pinch hitter but was removed in favor of Ryan Raburrn when the Dodgers made a pitching change.