It was Dontrelle Willis against the Rangers - one of the top hitting teams in baseball. I wasn't expecting much and missed the first four innings because I was running a 5K tonight. When I got back to my car, I turned on the radio and was very surprised to discover that the Tigers were leading 3-0. My first thought was that he was probably walking batters and that is was a sloppy four innings. As I listened further, howver, I learned that he was pitching a terrific game and he continued to do so.
Dontrelle allowed two base runners in the first and that would be it until he walked Andruw Jones with one out in the seventh. Willis retired 17 batters in a row in between. According to game day he was not throwing as fast as his first game versus the Twins as his fastball was mostly in the high 80s and rarely topped 91. He was staying ahead of batters and getting outs though. In all, he threw 6 1/3 innings allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out five. It was only one game but it was very encouraging performance for a pitcher who many thought would never get over the control problems that plagued him all last year.
Willis was supported by some strong defense tonight, something we've seen a lot from the Tigers lately. Placido Polanco, Brandon Inge and Josh Anderson all chipped in with fine plays. He was also backed by 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief pitching from Brandon Lyon, Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney.
This night belonged to Dontrelle though. For more on Willis, check out J. Ellet Lambie's article.