After the Tigers took three of four from the Yankees, the three-game weekend set with the Red Sox had all the makings of a classic letdown.
Max Scherzer certainly did his part on Friday night by serving up five runs in the first inning which fueled Boston’s 7-2 win.
What happened on Saturday was the stuff that magical seasons can be built on. An overstatement? Maybe. But when Dontrelle Willis plays the role of Scherzer by yielding four runs and seven walks in just 3.1 innings, you could almost expect the Tigers to mail it in. Except they didn’t. Instead, they chipped away at Jon Lester and the Red Sox bullpen and mounted a thrilling comeback behind Brennan Boesch‘s four-hit game — and near cycle.
Another letdown appeared imminent with John Lackey starting for the Sox on Sunday but that wasn’t meant to be either. The Tigers wore down Lackey with nine hits and four walks and Ramon Santiago went deep in the fourth for his first homer of the year.
Meanwhile, Armando Galarraga made a triumphant return to the majors and was superb (despite walking two of the first three hitters): 5.2 IP, three hits, one run, three walks and five strikeouts. And what about Jim Leyland bringing in Jeremy Bonderman for an inning of flawless relief? Whatever works.
For me, the most interesting part of an exciting week were the roster moves made after Saturday night’s game. Scherzer being sent down came as no surprise after he showed on Friday how truly out of sync he is. With Galarraga seemingly ready to resume his big-league career, this makes sense.
Demoting Scott Sizemore jolted me a little. Based on everything we heard since spring training — and that they let Placido Polanco walk — I expected the Tigers to ride it out with Sizemore. Then again, when your keystone combination is hitting a combined .399, you’ve gotta do something.
I’ll say this about Dave Dombrowski, he’s certainly not afraid to bring up the kids. Right now, the Tigers have five rookies on their roster. And good ones. Who knows how long Danny Worth and Casper Wells will stick in Detroit, but it certainly is fun to watch it all play out.
The stunner in all this was the announcement of Carlos Guillen becoming the Tigers’ starting second baseman when he returns from the disabled list. Tell me how this can possibly end well? One wrong twist trying to turn a double play and Guillen could be on the shelf again. Then again, this is a player — a favorite of mine, actually — who landed on the DL running the bases. Add the more demanding defensive requirements of the middle infield and, well, yeah. This can’t end well. (Of course this isn’t saying much, but I’d certainly rather have him at second than in left.)
In his career, Guillen has played a dozen games at second base, all with the Mariners in 1998 and ’99 and he had 56 error-free chances. He’ll have to make quite a few to catch up with Sizemore’s six errors so far this year.
A weekend that started out poorly — and could’ve gotten a lot worse without much effort — certainly turned around in a hurry and featured lots for Tigers fans to chew on as the dreaded White Sox come to town on Monday.