Do you ever get the feeling that bad things are about to happen? I have such a feeling today.
Perhaps I’m still recovering from an ill-advised trip to see the Tigers get pounded into submission by that dang drum in Cleveland, oh and Asdrubal Cabrera. Seriously, how can Carl Pavano consistently get lit up by every team in the American League, virtually every time he takes the mound, yet the Tigers can’t ever manage to even threaten to score against him? At one point, I think Pavano had thrown 38 pitches and six of them were balls. Armando Galarraga was not as sharp, to say the least.
So now the Tigers head home and who should greet them tonight? Oh, just Luke Scott and the Baltimore Orioles. Scott has (and I am not making this up) 10 home runs and 19 hits in 38 career at bats versus Detroit pitching. That equates to a line that reads .500/.558/1.395/1.953. Seriously.
The guy is Joe Crede, Jim Thome, Ron Karkovice, and every other Tiger killer all rolled into one. I have a very healthy fear of Luke Scott, he should be walked in every possible situation. Any Tiger who throws a pitch anywhere near the strike zone with Scott at the plate should be fined a hefty sum of money.
Another noted Tiger killer is the Orioles Melvin Mora, who has been seeing very few at bats in recent days, and he has taken it personally. Mora has been in a public dispute with manager Dave Tremblay over a perceived lack of respect shown to Mora along with his benching.
Mora is having the worst season of his nine year run with the O’s, but during his career, he has hit the Tigers to the tune of 11 home runs (the most he has had against any non-AL East team) and a .975 OPS. And that was when he was being respected by his managers. An angry Mora is not one I want to see against Detroit.
The O’s will start an unknown rookie pitcher in three of the four games in this series. This season, that has spelled doom for the Tigers hitters. So far this year, the club has been humbled by Matt Palmer, Ricky Romero, Felipe Paulino, Brett Anderson, Clayton Richard, and two O’s hurlers, in David Hernandez and Brad Bergesen. Baltimore will send rookie Chris Tillman to the hill tonight, followed by left hander Brian Matusz on Tuesday. Hernandez is slated to toss the series finale on Thursday.
Even with Detroit offering its best four starters in this series, I cannot help but wonder if this is the exact moment the other shoe will drop. The Tigers have been terrible away from home, but fantastic at the CoPa. This series against Baltimore, facing a slew of un-heralded young pitchers, plus a very good lineup featuring Matt Wieters, Scott and Mora could spell the end to the Tigers winning ways at home.
With the Twins coming to town next ahead of a trip to Boston, these games take on extra importance. Will this be the series that the pitching finally starts to slip? If so, the Tigers could be in serious trouble very quickly.