Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Tigers “sick” as they lose to O’s 5-1
Maybe it was the plane food, maybe it’s a stomach virus making its way thru the Detroit Tigers locker room, no matter what the reason, and two Tigers were under the weather for the Baltimore Orioles home opener on Monday.
Closer Jose Valverde and Miguel Cabrera both had issues with the “bug”, during the game Cabrera had to make a visit to the clubhouse, and I shall avoid going into further detail. Unfortunately, for the Tigers, Valverde remained un-used in the ‘pen so his game performance wasn’t affected by the illness.
On the field, Rick Porcello made his first start of the year for Detroit, and pitched relatively well, allowing 5 runs in the loss. Included in the 5 runs scored was a 3-run homer to the Orioles Brian Roberts. With that homer allowed, Tigers pitching has now given up 10 HR in just four games this season. Prior to the inning in which Roberts hit his HR, Porcello had allowed just 4 hits. He allowed 3 consecutive his before Roberts went yard, in the 5th.
Also an issue for the Tigers has been the fact that between the pitchers and catchers, the Tigers lead the league in Wild Pitches, with 6.
I can’t say it for a fact, but my guess is that the Tigers are making a concerted effort to try and offset their reliance on the fastballs in key situations, and set them up with the breaking stuff. In May and later on during the season when it is warm, the cold weather won’t effect the pitches and make it as difficult to get a grip on the ball, but thus far the wild pitches are coming with great frequency. I can’t say that the other team’s pitchers are having the same difficulty with the ball, but both teams are pitching in these conditions, and Tigers pitchers have thrown twice as many wild pitches as their opponents. Is it pitchers or the catchers I am not sure, but no matter where you place the blame, it’s not a good start.
Jason Beck’s blog today brings to light what the Tigers are doing, specifically Alex Avila, to work on stopping the wild pitches.
The Tigers and Orioles are off today, with the series resuming on Wednesday, with Justin Verlander on the mound against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie.