It is pretty hard not to feel bad for the residents of Detroit. With real problems like unemployment and the highest murder rate in the county coupled with sports problems like the recent Piston’s fiasco, Miquel Carbrera and the state of the Detroit Lions, Detroit needs a win. Being the benevolent fanbase that we are, I am sure that we can give them a meaningless grapefruit league game.
With Cliff Lee making his first spring start in a Phillies uniform, Detroit seemed destined to be dealt another in a long series of crippling blows. Lee, however, was not as sharp as we have come to expect. After leading the league in WHIP and BB/9 last season, the left hander hit Will Rhymes to start the game and let him advance to second on a wild pitch. To put this in perspective this would account for 33% of his wild pitch total and equal how many people he hit during last season. Reports that Lee was using his right hand to pitch are unconfirmed.
The Tigers handed the ball to 23 year old lefty Andrew Oliver. In his three innings of work, he managed to keep Detroit in the lead surrendering only an RBI single to Jimmy Rollins.
I believe this was a split squad game for the Tigers, meaning that we were treated to more random players than usual during the course of the game. Move over Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander. Big name talent such as Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas were on full display during the 6-2 Tigers victory.
Positives from today’s contest were Rollins driving in a run and a solid two inning performance from Kyle Kendrick ( I know! I did not expect it either!).
Negatives included former Tigers farmhand Eddie Bonine getting torched by his former employer, Cliff Lee’s uncharacteristic wildness and the continued struggles of Domonic Brown. Brown is still 0-spring and struck out two times. I think that the rookie’s struggles can be directly attributed to attempting to change his swing in the process of fighting for the right field spot. This guy is way too talented to not succeed at some point. Figure on him heating up at some point this spring.
Next up the Phillies and ace number three Roy Oswalt face the new look Baltimore Orioles.