The Tigers are all set to battle the Arizona Diamondbacks this evening at Comerica Park. Awaiting them when they step into the batter’s box will be none other than former Tiger (and former good pitcher) Dontrelle Willis.
Willis was traded to the D-backs two weeks ago after being designated for assignment by the Tigers. Detroit is still paying Willis the overwhelming majority of his money this year, so hopefully he feels the need to repay the organization by being his usual generous self, and handing out free bases to a whole bunch of Tigers.
The Tigers lineup was released this afternoon, while I was being bombarded on twitter by a couple of fine Tigers writers who have much stronger feelings about soccer than I do. It is as follows (after the jump).
- CF- Ryan Raburn
- DH- Johnny Damon
- RF- Magglio Ordonez
- 1B- Miguel Cabrera
- LF- Brennan Boesch
- 2B- Carlos Guillen
- 3B- Brandon Inge
- C- Gerald Laird
- SS- Danny Worth
- SP- Armando Galarraga
That’s correct, there is no mention of Ramon Santiago. Santiago, a switch-hitter, racked up a career-high four hits in yesterday’s game. How does his manager respond to such a big day? By returning Santiago to the bench today in favor of Worth, who happens to be 1-for-16 since being recalled. Good move, Jimmy.
Another missing name once again is that of Austin Jackson. Jackson hasn’t seen the field since Sunday, missing the past six games due to back spasms. Sure seems like it must be more serious than the Tigers are letting on.
Regardless of who is or isn’t playing tonight, the Tigers that do face Willis must do so with an extreme amount of patience. We’ve seen too many times over the past few seasons that Willis will walk you if you let him. He has walked 10 batters in his 10 innings since joining the D-backs, including six in four frames in his last start.
Sure, he can be tough to hit when he’s around the plate, but more often than not, he falls behind. Let him walk you, he will.
Galarraga, on the other hand, has been quite good since taking over for Willis in the Tigers rotation. In his last three starts, Galarraga has worked 21.2 innings and allowed just four runs and 14 hits.
Galarraga is pitching with a strong sense of confidence since being given a starting job. It’s easy to recall how terribly ineffective he was for most of 2009, but in the first month of that season he was the Tigers best pitcher, just as he had been in 2008.
If he can maintain his confidence, there’s no reason to think he cannot become again what he was. Here’s hoping.