Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Sweep for Tigers

It's been a week of sweeps for the Tigers. They took three from the Indians last weekend, lost three to the Twins during the week and then completed a three game sweep over the Athletics today. The first two games of this series were routs - 14-1 on Friday night and 9-1 on Saturday night. Today would be more difficult as Armando Galarraga gave up five runs and was chased from the game in the first inning. The Athletics added another in the top of the second off of Zach Miner making it 6-0.

The way the series has been going though, you had the feeling the Tigers could come back and they did. They exploded for four in the second, four in the third and three in the fifth on the way to a 11-7 victory. You might think a game like this would feature a bunch of RBI from Miguel Cabrera but the slugging first baseman went 0 for 5. Instead, their two light hitting shortstops combined to go 7 for 7 with four extra base hits, five RBI and 5 runs scored. Ramon Santiago had the offensive game of his life going 4 for 4, with a triple and a homer driving home four runs. Adam Everett, playing second base for the resting Placido Polanco, went 3 for 3 with two doubles.

Everett and Santiago were supposed be a cheap shortstop tandem specializing in defense this year. However, they have been pleasant surprises offensively. Everett is batting .306 with 7 doubles in 85 at bats while Santiago has batted .352 with 7 extra base hits in 54 at bats. With some of the hitters at the top of the line-up struggling, the two middle infielders have given a significant boost to the offense.

The bad news, of course was Galarraga's continued troubles. After a strong April with a 1.85 ERA in four games, he has completely imploded in May. In four starts, he has allowed 21 runs on 23 hits and 12 walks in 17 1/3 innings. His complete lack of command leaves me wondering whether there is something physically wrong. Injured or not, I can't imagine Jim Leyland can give him too many more chances if he keeps getting shelled. When Jeremy Bonderman is finally ready to pitch in Detroit - probably later this month - Galarraga could be the one removed from the rotation if he doesn't show some improvement.

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