This season in baseball has already been termed the “Year of the Pitcher” for excellent reason. Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jimenez both have thrown no-hitters, Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden tossed perfect games, and Armando Galarraga had a 28 out perfect game. Matt Garza joined the party by no-hitting the Tigers on Monday night, becoming the fifth pitcher of the season to complete the task. While I do not want to diminish Garza’s accomplishment, I would like to point out that several recent injuries to the Detroit Tigers offense eased Garza’s burden.
In the span of a week, the Tigers lost third baseman Brandon Inge, right fielder Magglio Ordonez, and second baseman Carlos Guillen to injuries. Inge broken his hand getting hit by a pitch last Monday, Ordonez broken his ankle sliding into home on Saturday, and Guillen strained his calf on Saturday. The Tigers still had triple crown contender Miguel Cabrera batting cleanup on Monday, rookie of the Year candidate Brennan Boesch batting fifth, Johnny Damon hitting third, and Austin Jackson leading off, but the lineup was certainly less challenging than when healthy. The Tigers had a rookie without a hit in his career in the lineup, as well as three other hitters batting .206 or worse.
Matt Garza is an above average pitcher with good stuff who threw six scoreless innings two starts prior to the no-hitter. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in April and he helped pitch the Rays to the World Series in 2008. He’s always had the type of stuff to throw a no-hitter, but there’s no doubt that the recent injuries in Detroit resulted in the Tigers running out a weakened lineup. Rather than this being a commentary on Garza’s outing, maybe this is more of an indication of how the final two months of the season will go for the injury-depleted Tigers.
Photo Credit: AP/Mike Carlson