Mariners 2, Tigers 1 (box)
I do love a pitchers duel. I would always rather watch a 2-1 game than a 9-7 game. Of course when the Tigers are playing, I guess the 9-7 games work better. Three times in the past four games, the Tigers have played a 2-1 game, three times they have lost that game.
As was the case over the weekend, the starting pitcher deserved a better fate. Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and now Armando Galarraga all put forth stellar efforts, only to watch helplessly as their offense failed time and time again to bring runners home. The squandering was less pronounced in last night’s game, but it happened early, and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Back-to-back base hits by Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco opened the action for Detroit, much as they had done in the series opener. Unlike that game, however, Seattle’s starter was not Garrett Olson, but All-Star Felix Hernandez. Hernandez fanned Miguel Cabrera and Clete Thomas, and following a walk to Marcus Thames to load the bases, he got Josh Anderson to pop out to shallow left to end the threat. For a long time, it didn’t look like that failed opportunity would hurt them.
Galarraga was better than he has been at any point since April. He didn’t allow his first hit until the fifth, and routinely missed the barrel of the Mariners’ bats throughout the night. His final line: 7.1 innings, one hit, one run. Galarraga deserved better than he got last night.
Let me first say this: Bobby Seay has been really good this year. Entering this series, he hadn’t allowed a home run all year long. But on Tuesday, he yielded a bomb to Wladimir Balentien, then last night he entered the game in the eighth, following a lead-off walk to Jack Hannahan and a groundout by Ronny Cedeno that moved Hannahan to second.
Seay was in familiar territory. He had Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan, both lefties, due up with a one run lead and a runner at second base, one out. Suzuki grounded to short and Hannahan broke for third, but Ramon Santiago cut down Hannahan as he slid into third for the second out. Now all Seay had to do was keep Branyan in the ballpark, as Rod Allen pointed out.
That didn’t happen. Seay hung a slider to Branyan who cleared the right center field wall to give the M’s a 2-1 lead. The game was lost right there.
> Could we be seeing the last of Josh Anderson’s short tenure in Detroit? I hope so. If he’s not on the team, he cannot possibly play, and his ineptitude will be on display elsewhere, where he can no longer hurt this club. I had been hoping that he was playing so much lately to showcase him to other clubs for trade purposes. Whether or not he’s traded in the next few days, I hope he is the guy removed from the roster when Carlos Guillen returns.
> Clete Thomas hit cleanup last night. This cannot stand. The Cult was pleased when Thomas drove in the Tigers’ lone run on a single in the third, but wouldn’t it be nice to have been hitting Thomas in the six hole with a better left handed hitter fourth?
> What’s that you say? The Tigers don’t have a better lefty to hit behind El Martillo? Exactly. MAKE A DEAL! All the cool kids are trading for left handed hitters these days, it’s past time for Dave Dombrowski to follow suit. This team need another hitter. Now.
> I’m not worried about Seay, as I said before, he has been great all season. It hurts because his struggles lead to a loss, but he’s a big reason the Tigers are a winning club in 2009, and if the continue to win, he will be a big reason for that as well.
Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a two-out double in the fifth… Carlos Guillen was 1-3 with two walks as the DH for Toledo… Brandon Inge didn’t start the game to rest his ailing knees, he’s expected to start today’s series finale… The White Sox came from 3-1 down to win at home, cutting the Tigers lead back to one game.