Category Archives: Don Kelly

ALDS Games 1 and 2


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You all know this story already. The Tigers attempted to kill us all on Sunday. They played as ridiculous a game as they could possibly play. It came down to the very last at-bats of the very last inning. With one out and the bases loaded, the big cats already stashed safely on first and second, Don Kelly came up. And what did he do?

He did not hit a towering grand slam of a home run into the center field foliage. He did not ground into a double play. He did no more and no less than what he absolutely needed to do, which was simply hit a ball far enough to score the cat on third. Not flashy. Not dramatic. Just Don Kelly– just baseball.

Also this happened: for those two of you who somehow didn’t see it/haven’t heard about it yet, AlAl fielded a huge out, and kissed the ball before tossing it to first. Was it a little hot-dog-ish? Sure. Was it a little rude? Sure. Was it premeditated? Absolutely not. Was it hilarious and sort of endearing? You bet your tiger-striped tail it was.

I know the A’s are all surly about it, but quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Game 1 was nice too.

Now, given the way the Tigers played going into the postseason, I had low expectations. I honestly had a hard time envisioning them making it out of the first round. Yet here we are, up 2-0, needing to win just one more game out of the coming three. Of course, all three are in Oakland, and it is not at all out of the realm of possibility for the Tigers to completely muck that up, especially as Verlander and Mister Fister have already pitched, and as we all know, things get a bit thin behind them in the rotation. But this is already so much better than I had dared to dream.

I mean, Don Kelly, you guys. The Tigers are heading west in this best of all possible positions thanks to Don Kelly. Roll that one around in your mind for a while.

DFA your way to victory.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Don Kelly was DFA’d before tonight’s game. The general thinking seems to be that he will pass through waivers– he’s hitting next to nothing, and has hardly been playing at all, so it’s not as if he’s a particularly attractive prospect for other teams at the moment. On the other paw, he IS one of the most versatile cats in the game, and maybe some other team is super into that idea. Who knows.

Point is, he could very easily remain in the Tigers system even following this move, in which case we’d see him back in September; but this could also spell the end of his Detroit tenure and that makes Don Kelly, Jim Leyland, and various other clubhouse personalities sad, sad kittens.

However.

Andy Dirks is back! Finally! And he was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in his return game! And the Tigers were inspired to great offensive heights, putting up 10 glorious runs on the Racist Logos! Prince Fielder hit all of everything! Anibal Sanchez got his first tiger-striped win! Exclamation mark, exclamation mark!

It is a little unfortunate that this stunningly attractive win should coincide with the potentially permanent departure of Don Kelly– of course, it is probably more accurate to say that this stunningly attractive win was a result of the Tigers at long last running into a team more woebegone and determined to slide ignominiously down the standings than they are. But beggars who have just come off a fairly terrible road trip can hardly be choosy, so we will take the win and Andy Dirks, and wave goodbye to Don Kelly, for now at least.

In search of a fifth starter.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Who’s it going to be? If the Tigers decide to keep their wandering eyes at home, that coveted final spot in the rotation will have to go to one of the following:

Drew Smyly
Pro: The very thought of him should make everyone happy.
Con: Only one season of minor league service under his belt thus far.

Duane Below
Pro: Most pun-able name, a boon for headline-writers throughout the Tigersphere.
Con: Potential hellish pun onslaught.

Andy Oliver
Pro: Has some big league experience, won’t be freaked out by Comerica or naked postgame hugs from Papa Grande.
Con: Big league experience was not that confidence-inducing.

Paws
Pro: Really tall, great downward motion on the mound.
Con: Lack of flexibility, pretty poor pick-off move.

Don Kelly
Pro: Can catch for his own relievers if necessary.
Con: May not be sufficiently stretched out to start.

Let the final run up to Fifth Starter Decision 2012 commence!

This must be kitten season.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

First Miguel Cabrera and his wife have a baby, then Don Kelly is out because HIS wife is having a baby! What a month of kittening for the Tigers. This is the second child for the Kellys, this one a boy. Clearly we are breeding the next generation of Tigers right here.

I saw a video clip earlier this season, during one of those rain delay things, showing Don Kelly running around on the field with his kid. The kid was wearing a little Kelly uniform, complete right down to the high socks. Magnificent. I am certain this new child will be raised with similar upstanding morals when it comes to baseball socks.

Because Kelly was placed on the paternity list, as with Miggy, the Tigers were able to call up a spare player. Danny Worth got the nod this time. Now, Rod and Mario were speculating about when Kelly would be back, as you can take off up to 3 days with the paternity list. They weren’t sure if Kelly would return to the team right away, or if he would take the full 3 days. The joke was that Miguel Cabrera was not given a choice, Leyland told him to get back to the team as soon as possible, but Don Kelly could take his time if he wanted.

–The Twinkies were working some powerful black magics last night, starting a pitcher named Scott DIAMOND. Scott Diamond who throw a baseball on the baseball diamond. We all see what you were doing there, Twins. Thankfully the Tigers brought their protective amulets and the black magic was thwarted.

–The controversial play at first, where Ben Revere grounded out to end the inning… yeah, he was safe. We’ll take it– Paws knows the Tigers have had plenty of plays go against them this season– but that was not a good call.

–Rick Porcello looked a bit rough early, but settled down. I wonder if Verlander is sharing his calming routines, or if Alex Avila is getting that good at concentrating the focus of his pitchers. Perhaps our little FredFred is just growing up all on his own.

–Ryan Raburn, of all cats, got three hits in the game. He also let go of his bat during his last time up and almost murdered Brandon Inge in the on deck circle, which I know will endear him to some of you maniac animals.

the Wrong Sox are mean to kittens, plus a hot foot


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I know this is not a surprise to any of you, because we are all well aware of the fact that every time the Wrong Sox win, it results in cruelty to kittens. But this sad truth was even more evident in Monday night’s game, as the Wrong Sox were mean to Duane Below and Chance Ruffin specifically, and these are two of our most kittenish Tiger cubs right now.

SHAME. Shame on you, Chicago. It takes a truly heartless beast of a team to be so mean to fluffy baby Tigers.

It was Chance Ruffin’s big league debut. Obviously this was not the way he would have liked to come into the majors (he came in with the bases loaded and ended up letting two of those runs score, plus two of his own). But it was just one outing, against a rude team that had the taste of blood in its mouth already, so hopefully he will not let it get to him too much.

Jim Leyland’s response, when asked about the roughness of Ruffin’s first appearance? “Well, yeah, so what?”

I assume everyone has heard about and seen the hot foot from Sunday’s game by now. The video is really good enough on its own, but I thought it deserved a TC just for posterity.

Don Kelly was the victim. He is an innocent, trusting soul and was oblivious for a while, letting the flames reach an impressive size before he noticed them, or had his attention brought to them. His teammates, because they are all 10 year old boys, were in hysterics.

Justin Verlander was the likely perpetrator. Kelly first accused him because Verlander was carrying a cup of water around almost as if he knew it might be needed to avoid some sort of flame-related problem. During a FSD broadcast the next day, Verlander refused to confirm or deny his involvement, until Kelly caught him out by praising the quality of the hot foot he had been given, asking Verlander if it was his first one.

No,” Justin said, almost immediately realizing that by bragging of his hot-footing credentials he had totally incriminated himself. On camera. GUILTY. It was pretty obvious he was guilty even before that, though, because Justin Verlander may be very very good at throwing a baseball, but he is absolutely terrible at pulling a poker face.

And here’s Brent Morel for no reason at all.

Don Kelly does it all


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Outfielder? Check. Infielder? Check. Relief pitcher? Check. Catcher? After tonight, Don Kelly can finally add that final check.

A shoulder bruise knocked out Victor Martinez. Sunday was set to be a day game, and a rain delay had already made the Saturday night game extra late, so Leyland did not want to use Alex Avila. There was only one option left, and that option was the infinitely versatile Don Kelly. This season alone he has played every outfield position, first base, third base, DH, and pitcher– and now catcher. In previous seasons he has seen (brief) time at second base and shortstop as well.

Here are my questions:

–Whose gear was he using? Is that his very own catcher’s glove? Is the hockey mask his? Victor and Avila both use the old school masks. I know Inge used the hockey mask when he was catching… is it his?

–Obviously he has pitched, but only in relief, never as a starter. Would that count as a separate position? Can he safely claim, in his own heart, that he has played every baseball position right now, or should he try to beg for a start first?

–Relatedly, could Don Kelly really be that much worse than some of the starting pitching the Tigers have been throwing out there lately? He probably couldn’t go very deep into a game, but that’s nothing new (Verlander starts excepted).

–How scary/ridiculous was it when he tried to call for time by meekly holding up one hand like a shy first-grader who really has to pee but is kind of scared of his teacher, and they’re supposed to raise their hands and ask to go to the bathroom, and he really needs to go, but he doesn’t extend his hand all the way because the teacher just makes him nervous? The homeplate ump racing out of the way because of his total lack of confidence in Perry’s ability to throw a baseball straight and Kelly’s ability to actually catch such a beast was pretty good too.

–Are we in the presence of utilityman greatness? This one has an answer: quite possibly yes.

downing Coke, and the pitching of Don Kelly


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t know what’s going on here. Why are so many of the pitchers suddenly losing their grip on reality all at the same time? Look, Paws knows Jose Reyes is good at baseball, but the rest of the lineup is still the Mets! Why is FredFred struggling so much when he says that his ‘stuff’ feels fine, and that he “doesn’t feel lost“? Why is the bullpen having such difficulties? Why is Phil Coke– nah, actually, we know what’s up with Phil Coke, he’s psyching himself out and nobody in the clubhouse is giving him consoling hugs to counteract it.

I’m only half joking about that, by the way. This was Coke’s quote after the game tonight:

Boos, no boos. Happy people, not happy people, it doesn’t matter, I’m doing the best I can. But I’m sick to my stomach right now.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

In general, a MLB starting pitcher will not come off a bad game and freely admit to the media that he is ‘sick to his stomach’ over it, even if that is what he’s actually feeling. But this is Phil Coke. He has Nervousness and A Lot of Feelings and he’s not afraid to talk about them, and make bloggers all concerned that he’s not getting enough hugs. SERIOUSLY GUYS SOMEONE NEEDS TO JUST GIVE PHIL COKE A HUG AFTER HIS STARTS.

Where is Paws in all of this? If the other Tigers are falling down on the hug-job here, surely this is where Paws can pick up the slack, right?

Sigh.

The positives for this game: Rhino homered, Jhonny hhomered, Andy Dirks homered, and Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs all by his lonesome, because Miguel Cabrera is better at hitting a baseball than many a cat.

There were about a zillion stolen bases by the Mets, which is not a good thing, but it was Victor Martinez catching, so the positive is the fact that Alex Avila remains unsullied.

Also, Don Kelly pitched.

Yeah. That happened.

He faced one batter– Scott Hairston– and got him out to end the top of the 9th. He threw five pitches: two for balls, one called strike, one foul, and then the final pitch, which was lofted to Austin Jackson in center for the out. He hit a flaming 86 mph on the radar gun and that last pitch was a curveball, or something. It was in any event a breaking ball, which startled the heck out of Hairston and amused everyone else observing the game at the time.

Don Kelly can play at any position, and mostly has so far this season, except for catcher… and he’s the emergency backup catcher, so we may well see him there before the year is done. He already warms up the pitcher between innings for Avila sometimes (hilarious to see).


photo by Samara Pearlstein, from this season

The last inning, which featured DJ Carrasco’s impeccable stirrup socks, and of course the pitching Don Kelly, was thus by far the most enjoyable inning of the game. Even including the Tigers offensive outputs, since those were quickly negated in enjoyability when Tigers pitching promptly failed to hold the Mets back following a bunch of runs scored. But high socks and position players pitching are forever.

What did we learn from this game? I don’t know. Life sucks and then Don Kelly pitches. Also, Rod and Mario do NOT properly respect the noble food that is the garlic fry. They were discussing them at various points throughout the game, and talking about how you only need to eat a few and then you’re done, and so on. BLASPHEMY.

ETA: Coke has been moved to the bullpen. Charlie Furbush will take his place in the rotation, at least for now. And if you missed it last night, Daniel Schlereth was sent to the feathery embrace of Muddy– Brayan Villarreal is up for him.