Went to my first game at Joker Marchant Stadium here in Lakeland Florida today. The stadium itself was quite an upgrade from Knology Park yesterday but with that improvement, there were some drawbacks. It is quite a bit harder to get close to the players than at other parks in the area, though significantly easier than at Comerica Park. The ushers are very diligent on keeping fans off the gates and out of the aisles to the point of being annoying.
There are still plenty of opportunities for those looking to get an autograph though, but it’s best to arrive very early if that is your goal. I doubt there is a really bad seat in the house and today made for a nice day for a ballgame.
Nate Robertson looked outstanding. He threw consistent strikes and he remained in control for his entire four innings of work allowing a single hit while striking out four. It’s hard to get too excited about this outing for a number of reasons:
- Nate has outings such as this all the time during the regular season and they are constantly followed by horrible showings. Consistency has always been Robertson’s nemesis but he’s shown more control over the years.
- It’s Spring Training and it was against the Pirates.
The bullpen was the problematic piece of todays game as well as the most worrisome moving into the season. Aquilino Lopez and Macay McBride each had a solid outings but Byrdak and Larrison both struggled. Todd Jones was the major let down allowing four runs. His stuff was not fooling any of the Pittsburgh minor leaguers. According to Jason Beck he is still working on locating his fastball:
Jones said afterwards that he was working on locating his fastball, with obviously dire results. He spent the rest of the game in the dugout with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez trying to talk over mechanical issues. With just under three weeks before the Tigers head to Detroit, Jones has time to get his fastball location down.
I sure hope so since the last thing Detroit needs to go find early in the season is another closer.
Click on the Continued button below to view some pictures from today’s match up.
1. A view of Joker Marchant Stadium from the outfield lawn. A nice place to watch a ball game and catch a home run ball.
2. Nate Robertson on the mound in the first inning. Nate consistently threw strikes and was ahead of batters.
3. Pudge on third base. The Tiger offense looked alive letting us see some of the potential.
4. Brandon Inge at bat trying to move Dane Sardinha up.
5. Dane Sardinha on third base.
6. Brandon Inge walks back to the dugout.
7. Inge at third base while Danny Worth holds down shortstop.
8. Freddy Guzman running home after his game winning walkoff home run.
9. Players running some post-game sprints in the outfield.