Galarraga hopes to have turned corner
Tigers righty had second straight quality start Wednesday
DETROIT -- Armando Galarraga ended up as a sidelight in Josh Beckett's no-hit drama Wednesday night. But the Tigers right-hander with the miserable May believes his outing can be a turning point for him as he tries to recapture his winning ways from last year and this April.
"My delivery was a lot better," Galarraga said. "Now I'm more relaxed, because I'm getting back. I think I'm getting better."
Take away the spinning slider that J.D. Drew hit out for a two-run homer in the opening inning, and Galarraga would've had a pitching duel on his hands. As it turned out, he still ended up with his second straight outing of three earned runs over seven innings.
Just as important as the innings, however, was the efficiency. He needed just 98 pitches -- 64 of them strikes -- over his seven innings Wednesday after using 100 pitches for his seven innings last Thursday at Baltimore.
Red Sox batters took 21 strikes Wednesday, the most Galarraga has had in a game since May 1. And he induced more ground balls (12) than fly balls (11) for just the third time this year. By comparison, Orioles batters hit 16 balls in the air compared to seven on the ground in his previous outing.
Galarraga credits the correction he'd been trying to make in his footwork for at least his past three starts, putting his throwing motion more in line toward the plate rather than opening up his body towards first base. He also felt he had a much better sinker, and he mixed in some changeups.
"He did pretty darned good," manager Jim Leyland said. "I thought he pitched well. After the first couple hitters, I was actually a little concerned the way he was throwing the ball, but he really picked it up. He gave us a chance, kept it close enough."
With some more run support or some relief help, Galarraga might have had a chance at a victory, or at least a no-decision. As it is, he's 0-6 in his past seven starts since going 3-0 in April. He's already scheduled to pitch the day game in Monday's doubleheader against the White Sox, likely opposite another red-hot pitcher in White Sox left-hander Clayton Richard. What happens after that could depend on how the Tigers maneuver Jeremy Bonderman back into their rotation.
Bonderman's Minor League rehab assignment is over, the Tigers confirmed. Leyland wants to wait until Bonderman throws on the side again before deciding the next step, potentially Monday's nightcap.
"Is he a candidate? Yes," Leyland said. "Is it etched in stone? Close."
Galarraga, meanwhile, continues to work, and seemingly improve.
"I really believe I'm going to come back," Galarraga said. "My slider and sinker are coming back, and I'm going to throw a lot of good innings this year."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.