Aye, Carlos!

Despite a spectacular night at the plate turned in by Carlos Guillen that saw him go 2-for-2 with 3 walks and 3 runs batted in, it’s tough not to look in his direction when wondering how the Detroit Tigers lost the series opener to the Baltimore Orioles, 7-6. Fernando Rodney had a tough night out of the bullpen as well, but more on that in a second.

In the third inning, Guillen made an error on Melvin Mora grounder that extended the inning and gave Miguel Tejada a chance that he cashed in for a 2-run homer. It wasn’t the simplest of balls to field, but Guillen looked like he was rushing to make the play and after the ball popped out on the glove-to-hand exchange, he had a hurried throw to Pudge Rodriguez, playing first for the first time in his career. I mention Rodriguez’s first base debut matter of factly, not to implicate him.

Shortly after his bases clearing double in Tigers half of the 5th, Guillen inexplicably decided to attempt a steal of third base with one out and Dmitri Young at the dish. It seems any out you make at third, be it trying to stretch a double or attempting a steal, is highly admonished. What’s worse, is that after Young finished the at-bat with a walk, Daniel Cabrera‘s 7th of the game, Craig Monroe struck out and ended the inning. The Tigers had Cabrera on the ropes and were taking full advantage of his control problems I mentioned yesterday:

They head to Baltimore for a three-game set facing Daniel Cabrera in the opener. They need to exhibit more patience than they have so far and it will be rewarded by the control-leary Cabrera (25 walks in 32.1 IP).

Guillen’s rough night wasn’t done there. In the bottom of the 8th, he fumbled a routine grounder off the bat of Chris Gomez, again extending the inning, and the Orioles were able to cash in. Mora’s base hit scored pinch-runner Luis Terrero to seal the deal and cost the Tigers another ballgame they clearly should have won.

As a free-swinging team, I was worried that maybe the team wouldn’t let Cabrera hang himself with his control problems, but they were splendidly patient at the dish. Cabrera went five, and as I mentioned, walked seven. He also allowed five hits and five runs. Magglio Ordonez homered in the 7th off of Todd Williams for his 10th of the season.

In regular jinx-like fashion, as soon as The Detroit Tigers Weblog posts this about some media praise for the Tigers, including this nugget from Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan:

The key for the Tigers staff has been eliminating home runs. They’ve allowed just 22 in 30 games, second only to the Yankees for fewest bombs allowed, a figure that has helped them to the second-lowest slugging allowed in MLB.

Nate Robertson and Rodney go out and allow four bombs! Robertson was having Cabrera-like control issues with five walks of his own, and he was good enough to win tonight, but the Guillen error was a big blow. Rodney just had an off night and while as much as I hate to say it, he was due. And even he was good enough to get out of the jams, but his Guillen error did him in, too.

Back at it tomorrow evening with another struggling starting pitcher in Rodrigo Lopez. Justin Verlander toes the rubber for Tigers looking for his 4th win. I’ll post the WPC from FanGraphs.com once it becomes available. I’m sure it is all over the place with five ties & lead changes.

As promised:

Random Note:
Delmon Young received a 50-game suspension for his bat throwing incident, which I’m content with. I wouldn’t have minded more, but 50 is pretty good.

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