Showdown Series (Act II)
Tigers 5, White Sox 2.
I don't know what craziness prompted it, but I had a terrible feeling about this game. Probably was hearing about Javy Vazquez's super intimidating 7.67 ERA over his last 5 starts, during which time he has amazingly gone 2-1 thanks to the best run-support in the American League.
Even when Joe Crede hit his 19th homer I felt uncomfortable. Even when Juan Uribe homered I felt uneasy. And for some reason, the most unsettling thing of all was when Vazquez got through the first five innings while allowing just 2 hits.
The reason for my nerves was simple, and ultimately well-justified - Javy Vazquez does not escape the big inning. 8 times he has given up at least two runs in an inning this season. Another 8 times he has surrendered three. He has surrendered 5 in an inning FOUR times. You knew it was coming, especially when they threw in the stat that he has gone 8 straight starts without holding the opponent to fewer than 5 runs. He was going to break eventually. It was just a question of when.
The answer turned out to be the bottom of the sixth, when Detroit opened with 4 straight hits to cut the lead to 2-1. Vazquez got a ground ball to force Pudge Rodriguez at home. One more of those and he could've escaped with the lead, or at the worst a tie. Instead he hung one to Craig Monroe and Tigers led 5-2 on their first grand slam of the season.
So now the Sox have a pivotal swing game tomorrow - take the finale behind Jose Contreras and they win their third straight series over the Tigers, clip a game off the lead and let Detroit know that the road to the division still goes through them. Lose, and a lot of the confidence shift to the Tigers side of the ball. Whatever the outcome tomorrow, their will still be 70 games left to play.
A ton can happen - and it usually will when Vazquez is on the mound. It was a bold move, KW, but it's time to put Brandon McCarthy in the rotation and groom Javy for a relief role in the postseason.
It's not a question of if...but when.
Labels: Notre Dame Football 2006