Chris Shelton aside, it was the Tigers’ B team that beat up on Randy Johnson yesterday, The Big Eunuch allowing 5 runs in 4 innings, 5 days after an equally unimpressive outing against the Reds.
The Tigers’ lineup was filled with young players, mostly minor leaguers, and so what you noticed most was the way they dug into the batter’s box and swung from their heels. Without fear. As though they had never heard of Randy Johnson.
But as it turned out, the reverse was true. The young Tigers hitters smacked Johnson around yesterday at least partly because they seemed comfortable that the Big Unit wouldn’t pull a Roger Clemens and come up and in on them to establish a fear factor.
Take Curtis Granderson, for example. A lefthanded hitter who had never faced Johnson, Granderson stepped in to lead off the game and roped the first pitch, a fastball, into right field for a single like he was taking BP.
But that wasn’t the nerviest part. Granderson said afterward that he was looking for a pitch “out over the plate,” and adjusted in time to get his hit.
Whatever happened to the days when a lefthanded hitter worried that he was taking his life into his hands facing the Big Unit? You’d have thought Granderson, a 24-year old with 187 big-league at-bats, would have been taking at least one pitch, just to see how scary it was, and then looking inside, not outside, for the sake of self-preservation.
Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Vladimir Guerrero is no longer expected to join the Domincan Republic’s WBC squad in time for the competition’s 2nd round. Vlad’s roster spot has been claimed by Luis Polonia, which is right up there with replacing Billy Wagner with Gary Majewski.