That was a pretty freaking tremendous pitching performance all the way around. The Kid was fantastic, albeit he made a lot of pitches. But hey, that will happen when you strike out ten guys. He held the cats to 0 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, and escaped a bases loaded jam in the third inning. His fastball was really popping, and his curveball, though erratic at times, was plenty good enough to get the job done. Fantastic outing.
As if that wasn't enough, the relievers stepped up and tried to outdo him. B-Don entered in the seventh, as Santana had thrown 111 pitches to that point (only 65 for strikes - he had a lot of three ball counts) and retired the side in order, one by strikeout. Shields entered for the eighth and other than a two out double to Ordonez, was his normal virtually unhittable self.
That set the stage for Frankie. As if he had been reading Rob's recent posts, he took the mound and absolutely blew the Tigers away. He blazed three fastballs past Chris Shelton. He got ahead of Craig Monroe and sent him to the dugout on a breaking pitch (Monroe struck out four times). Then, just to show off, he struck out pinch hitter Alexis Gomez on another curve ball. That's now 14 strikeouts in 9.2 innings, and his ERA has dropped to 3.72. I must admit, I'm curious to see what Rob thought was wrong with him tonight. But I kid Rob.
The only thing that could have outshown the pitchers tonight was a big night from Tim Salmon, and to make sure the pitchers didn't get all the credit, he responded with a homer to left on a breaking ball, then added some insurance with a two out RBI single in the sixth inning.
Nice way to start the homestand. Pipo takes the mound tomorrow, and hopefully he can give them five innings or so, and Kevin Gregg can pick up most of the other four, because I gotta think that the back end of the bullpen won't be available. Finally, note to the Tigers color guy, please don't comment on things you know nothing about. Just because Chone Figgins is small does not mean he doesn't have a strong arm. He does. And if you knew what you were talking about, you'd know that. There were also a couple of other asanine comments that I didn't write down, but trust me, they were there. Lucky for him he has a consummate professional in Mario Impemba in the booth next to him.