Here are some observations from yesterday’s Tigers @ Phillies game at Bright House Field in Clearwater:
- Detroit is going to have a scary-balanced lineup if everyone stays healthy. Everything lines up perfectly for lefty-righty matchups with Jackson, Boesch, Cabrera, Fielder, Young. If Alex Avila can get back to the way he started in 2011 and Ryan Raburn finally starts to break out like I expect him to, this team is going to score a ton. Buster Olney mentioned yesterday that they lead the Grapefruit League in runs scored/game with an average of over SIX. Don’t think they can quite keep that up, but it should be close. Imagine if they still had Victor Martinez this year!
- Did you see that ball take a crazy hop and hit Miguel Cabrera in the face? Of course we had to watch it like, 10 times on instant replay…I think I cringed each and every time the ball made impact. He was immediately removed from the game…which is a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing how he handled the hot corner. When I first saw it, and I immediately noticed the gushing blood, I thought it hit his eye…luckily, it hit his cheek and I believe his sunglasses absorbed a bit of the blow. I doubt that it will affect him for anything more than the rest of Spring Training, and by Opening Day we’ll still know him as probably the scariest hitter in the American League.
- Without Howard, Utley, and to a lesser extent Polanco, the Phillies lineup is going to struggle to keep up with the likes of Miami and Atlanta. Of course, having three aces on the mound should really help with that…but Rollins to me looked like he lost a little bat speed and while Ty Wigginton provides some flexibility, he doesn’t really excel either offensively or defensively. As long as him and Jim Thome can pop a few homers and Victorino gets on base, they’re still going to be fine. Freddy Galvis had a solid day at second replacing Chase Utley hitting a triple and driving in two, but I thought his approach was a little aggressive and one game is not indicative of overall performance (especially when Scherzer absolutely imploded in the one inning the Phillies scored)
- Bright House Field is a great park. They have some varied concessions (including the obligatory cheesesteak stand) and a rockin’ bar over in left field that stayed pretty full even after the game ended. Parking wasn’t an issue for me at all, but it’s hard for me to judge given that I left about an hour after the game ended due to packing up all of my gear (and the post-game pizza!) On a beautiful day, it’s hard to beat.
- Did anyone see Hot Zone graphics appear on the broadcast? I think we were able to get it in 3 times. What did you think? Does it seem like something you’d be interested in seeing more often? Leave a comment below!