Improved Galarraga working on slider

Improved Galarraga working on slider

LOS ANGELES -- The good news for Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga out of Saturday was that he continued to pound the strike zone and live with the results. He did not try to nibble off the corners and hope the Dodgers would chase, which was partly to blame for his struggles last year.

Saturday, however, was a lesson in the difference between strikes and quality strikes. A few sliders he threw weren't nearly as good as the others, and the Dodgers didn't miss them.

"I think he's definitely better than he was last year," manager Jim Leyland said, "but the mistakes that he made were with his breaking ball, and he's going to have to run the ball in on some people."

Both home runs -- Casey Blake in the second inning, then Matt Kemp in the fifth to knock Galarraga out of the game -- came on sliders.

"I left a couple sliders up and I paid for it," Galarraga said. "I think I made good pitches, a lot of good pitches, but I made some mistakes."

Galarraga was, however, particularly pleased with his fastball, which topped out at 93 mph with both life and command. Blake DeWitt's two-run triple came off the fastball, but Galarraga considered it a good one.

Galarraga said he'll continue to work on his slider before his next start, whenever that is. The soonest that could come is Saturday, thanks to two scheduled off-days for the Tigers this week.