The Curious Case of Armando Galarraga
Now there is the thought he might be replaced in the Tigers’ starting rotation because of ineffectiveness.
What a turnaround, eh?
There are a lot of things that can be figured out in baseball. Often pitching isn’t one of them. Looking at the DVR of Galarraga’s dismal 41-pitch performance against Oakland, there is no falloff in velocity. There has been, however, a noticeable difference in late movement. It’s obvious he is not as confident throwing first-pitch fastballs for strikes as he had been earlier this season, and throughout last year when he won 13 games and was easily Detroit’s best pitcher.
It’s been like Galarraga had it one day - and the next it was gone. You didn’t hear grandiose explanations about what is happening from manager Jim Leyland, did you? It’s because he doesn’t have any.
The Tigers have played reasonably well and I expect them to be in contention. But in order to get the maximum out of this season, they need a quick bounce back from Galarraga. Justin Verlander appears to have returned to form and there is no reason to expect Edwin Jackson won’t continue pitching well, but Rick Porcello is still very much at the beginning of his learning curve - and it could take time. To me, Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman remain iffy options. Willis still looked shaky in his start against Minnesota, and I hear Bonderman isn’t throwing hard - and the Tigers biggest hope after he had surgery is that his velocity would return. It had fallen off a few miles an hour last season before he had the surgery.
Galarraga is a key for the Tigers. They need him to be one of their workhorses. It will be the first major test for new pitching coach Rick Knapp. Wonder if he will pass it.
- In retrospect, the Red Wings were wise to re-sign Johan Franzen before Marian Hossa. Hossa is a terrific player, but Franzen is more valuable to the Red Wings.
- Who in this town isn’t rooting for Chauncey Billups and the Nuggets to oust Kobe Bryant and the Lakers from the NBA’s Western Conference finals? Billups never said anything remotely bad about the Pistons’ trading him. He just went out and proved he was the wrong fall guy for the Pistons’ stagnation in the playoffs.
- Right-handed reliever Casey Fien has thrown six straight scoreless outings for Toledo. But there is one major hurdle he must get over before considered major league ready. Can he get left-handed hitters out?
My column in Monday's Oakland Press about Game 1 of The Red Wings-Blackhawks series:
The latest edition of "The Book and His Boss" about steriods in baseball: