TDIB 6 April 2008: Almost Anyone Can Relate To...

Sunday, April 06 2008 @ 06:30 AM EDT

Contributed by: Alex Obal

Whoever's out of hand, I'ma give 'em handles.
Light 'em up, blow 'em out like candles.

Yep. Clay Buchholz was lit up (to some degree), and the Red Sox were blown out. Just like Gibby drew it up.

This weekend's series was a minor gut check. The Red Sox had the opportunity to put the Jays in a deep hole by pounding the perceived weakest links in their rotation. Instead, Marcum dominated, Litsch intangibled, the Jays' bats hung 16 runs on two righty starters, and Boston came up empty twice. So in two series against the evil empires, the Rolenless Jays will do no worse than 3-3. And they'll avoid the ugly worst-case scenario of a 1-5 start.

- Unlike the Tigers... (Yeah, I didn't see that coming either.) Unlike the Tigers, who have lost five consecutive home games to open the season and can do no better than a 1-5 start. And are being attacked by the injury bug. Gary Sheffield is day-to-day with a torn finger tendon. Curtis Granderson is out at least a week with a broken bone in his hand. Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya are on the DL with shoulder problems, and Miguel Cabrera DH'd yesterday with a sore thigh. I imagine that such a disappointing start might not be particularly enjoyable, and I would never wish such a thing on the Tigers. Did you know that their leadoff hitter's name is Clete Thomas?

The Tigers' latest defeat came 5-3 at the hands of Chicago #5 starter Gavin Floyd and his renowned Tools. Detroit starter Dontrelle Willis took a five-walk no-hitter into the sixth with a 3-0 lead, but proceeded to issue his sixth and seventh walks to Nick (.200/.478/.200) Swisher and Orlando Cabrera, and then his only hit of the day: a double to (lefty!) Jim Thome. Then he got yanked. Zach Miner, summoned to defend D-Train's honor, let three more runs score and took the loss. Willis' line: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 1 H, 7 BB, 0 K. Welcome to the AL. The Tigers must now win tonight to avoid their second straight home sweep at the hands of a presumed doormat. The weight of their world falls on ace Justin Verlander, who faces Mark Buehrle on Sunday night baseball.

- Most interesting game on the NL calendar today takes place at 1:15 in Cincinnati, where the Reds' haul in the Josh Hamilton trade will be on display. 24-year-old righty Edinson Volquez makes his first start as a Red, opposing Philly's Brett Myers. Volquez's spring stats are even more eye-popping than Johnny Cueto's: 20 innings, 26 strikeouts, 5 walks, 22 hits, 2.70 ERA. The Reds pitched Volquez in a minor-league game to keep him loose after spring training, in which he allowed 2 hits over 7.2 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts, 0 walks and 93 pitches thrown. There's no denying it: Edinson Volquez is clearly ready for prime time. The Reds' rotation already has a couple of solid headliners in Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, and Cueto allowed one baserunner in seven innings in his debut victory. If Volquez manages to one-up Cueto by shutting down the dreaded Philly offense, expect to see the Reds' bandwagon get really crowded, really fast.

- And, of course, there's the big one. The Jays, 0.5 games back of the rampaging Orioles and Rays, look to keep pace by polishing off fourth-place Boston.

Doc! Beckett! Today at the RC, 1:07.