Tigers 15, Mets 7
OK. Let’s come to an agreement, you and I. A little contract between us.
I, the undersigned, will not:
- freak out when the Tigers lose three or four games in a row.
- give up the season for lost if a team from Cleveland is involved in any of those losses.
- pass out in fright when the bullpen has the ball in a close game.
- especially in a game against Cleveland.
- wax poetically about the good old days of 2006.
- worry about injuries to the 4 and 5 batters, even if they are on the same day.
- read too much into any one game.
Above all, I certify I will not doubt this team during a bad stretch of baseball.
On the 10th of June, 2007, I agree to abide by those statements:
Mack Avenue Tigers
With that out of the way, on to the baseball.
Andrew Miller gave up a 3-spot in the first inning. I was not worried. Sure, Tom Glavine was on the mound for the Mets, but these are not some national league cats he’s facing. As long as Miller settled in, three runs wasn’t going to be enough to hold up.
I was right, and boy was I ever. The Tigers piled on Glavine for 9 runs in 4 1/3 innings. They added six more against the Mets bullpen, which I’ve heard might be pretty decent. In all, Detroit rapped out 21 hits, including eight for extra base hits. Gary Sheffield fell a double short of the cylce and had four hits. Placido Polanco had a three hit day. A lot of people contributed and the Tigers scored a) their most runs of the season, b) the most runs allowed by the Mets this year.
As I alluded to earlier, Magglio Ordonez was a late scratch, precautionary, with some awkwardness in his knee. Carlos Guillen left mid-game with a spasm in a hamstring.
But oh, maybe you were more interested in the pitching side of things — and who could blame you? Miller nearly had a strikeout per inning. His command is still not great. I sense he pitched better than the three walks he allowed, but he and Glavine were both squeezed on their strike zones. Most important to me was that he struggled. That’s a good thing. Miller was dominating AA baseball. What I thought he needed was to be challenged.
The National League’s best offense provided just that challenge. Beyond giving up a 3-run homer and some hard hits, it was when he got in trouble that helped Miller grow. He loaded the bases in the third inning with a pair of walks an a defensive miscue … and got out of it unscathed. After a quick fourth, a single, balk and wild pitch put Damon Easley on third base with one out. Miller stranded him with a strikeout and popout. Those are the innings that are going to speed along the progress of his career much faster than what he does against the Eastern League. So I was happy to see some struggles. No one goes an entire career without some.
I was not happy to see Jason Grilli’s struggles. And I’d love to bash him. At the time, I thought I’d ask why he was still with the Tigers. He doesn’t seem like a contributer to a World Series club this year. But actually, Grilli had pitched well in most of his past half-dozen outings before today’s blowup. Grilli should not be safe by any means. But if he can maintain this ratio of success to suck, maybe he can hang around for awhile. It’s not like he’s holding back better options.
Fernando Rodney, I don’t get. He still worries me. Yorman Bazardo, I like this kid. He can certainly be a long time contributer in the pen at this rate. Leyland is using him carefully, though. He can’t throw him right into high stress innings. I like how he’s coming along.
The Tigers have Monday off.