I know. There have been few uplifting things to focus on when looking back on the 2008 Detroit Tigers.
But there was one — if only one — story that made Tigers fans hopeful and it came as a result of a under-the-radar trade with the Texas Rangers on Feb. 5. The Tigers acquired Armando Galarraga for nonroster OF Michael Hernandez. Sweet trade.
On April 12, the Tigers put Dontrelle Willis on the DL and three days later they summoned Galarraga from Toledo. He made his Tigers debut on April 16 in Cleveland and threw an absolute gem when the Tigers flat-out needed wins: 6.2 IP, one hit, two runs, no walks and six strikeouts.
At that time, little did the Tigers know how big Galarraga’s impact would be compared to Willis’. In 30 appearances (28 starts), the 6 ft. 4 in. righty posted a 13-7 record with a 3.73 ERA in 178.2 innings pitched — and became the de facto staff ace. For his effort, Galarraga earned the Tigers Rookie of the Year honor and ranked fifth in the American Rookie of the Year voting.
So, though it might’ve felt like it, all was not lost in 2008. Thanks to Armando Galarraga.