Archive for April 17th, 2006

Monday: 04.17.2006

Number 8!

After an Easter hiccup with the WordPress servers, we're back in business. Thankfully, Chris Shelton didn't experience a similar hiccup as his league-best eighth home run was the difference in a 1-0 pitcher's duel between Cliff Lee and Mike Maroth. Some notes from the Game 12 win that puts Detroit into a three-way tie with Cleveland and Chicago:

  • Maroth pitched one of the finest games of his career, as evidenced by the three hits allowed in seven innings of work. His pitch placement was the key to five strikeouts as well as two huge double-play balls and he knew better than to let Travis Hafner, who has been uncharacteristically torching lefties of late, beat him.
  • Ivan Rodriguez is back. He very likely won't contend for his third MVP award, but his eye is exponentially sharper and his bat is noticeably quicker through the zone than a year ago. He already has three walks this season in 10 games played after 11 in 129 games a season ago.
  • Joel Zumaya is something else. He was in a sticky situation from the outset of the eighth inning after giving up a single to Aaron Boone, who was then placed in scoring position by a Casey Blake sac bunt. From there he walked pinch-hitter Victor Martinez, tightening the clamps on himself, before striking out Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels with a killer mix of 95+ MPH heat and a knee-buckling hook.
  • Fernando Rodney should not lose the closer's job when Todd Jones comes back just out of principle. I understand they paid Jones (way too much) to come back to Detroit, but Rodney and Zumaya are becoming an electric combination that could shorten games to seven innings for the Tigers.

The Tigers finish off the four-game set with the Tribe on Monday afternoon as the struggling Paul Byrd (1-1, 10.24 ERA) faces Nate Robertson (1-1, 4.38 ERA). Byrd has fared well against the Tigers for his career (2.91 ERA in 52.67 innings of work), but has just one start against the team since 2003 that came last year with the Los Angeles Angels.