Verlander definitely back in the saddle?


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It seems like all the starters are falling back into their old awesome ways, or some close approximation thereof. Kenny looked solid his last time out. Bondo seems to have kicked the first inning bug (knock on wood and/or Bondo’s head). Nate has alternated good and bad starts (going backwards, he’s had outings where he allowed 2 runs over 6 innings, 6 runs over 4.1 innings, 0 runs over 8.2 innings, and 5 runs over 6 innings), with some bad luck named BULLPEN in his good starts. Chad Durbin, of course, recently took his pimp jacket out of the mothballs.

And now here we have Verlander, who, after a series of fairly awful starts, has allowed a total of 2 runs in the last 21.2 innings that he’s pitched.

It seems– only SEEMS, mind you– that this is a good thing happening at the right time. Finally. We’ve suffered enough worry about terrible things happening at the worst possible time. I say it only SEEMS that this is good because the goodness is of course dependent on all these starting pitching trends continuing, with nobody backsliding. Making absolute statements about baseball will usually only bring you sadness and woe.

The offense also seemed in vintage form in this game, excepting Gary Sheffield… but we’ll cut him some slack, what with the whole DL thing and all (plus the fact that he’s a hundred years old). Brandon Inge had an RBI single, continuing his recent hot(ish) streak. There’s no telling exactly what turned him on after he had been so very very off for so very long, but whatever it was I hope he keeps up with it. The vaunted .300 batting average is out of reach, but maybe he can shoot for .250.

Granderson homered again, giving him 20 on the year. All he needs is one more steal to complete the Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome which, if you’ve forgotten, is at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases. He’s got 21 more games in which to try to steal a base, so as long as he doesn’t psych himself out by trying way too hard we should be writing his name up there with Frank Schulte and Willie Mays, the only other players to ever achieve the Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome before now.

I’ve got to get moving for the Michigan/Oregon game (Wolverines, don’t fail me. Again. More. Please.), but I just have to quickly point out one of my favorite bits of yesterday’s game, which came in the pregame show, when John Keating was interviewing Cameron Maybin. They were talking about Maybin’s somewhat unexpected call-up and subsequent effective benching.

Keating: Do you think it’s a matter of too much too soon?
Maybin: No, I think it’s a matter of me just trying to do too much.

Oh, Cam.

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