Well, that was unexpected. We’d been getting no offense, no offense, no offense, and then all of a sudden, HELLO 17 RUNS. Who knew all you needed to get your bats going was a nice dose of good old Icterus galbula? I guess the AL East knew, actually.
Bondo didn’t have his most dominant stuff out there. Sure, 7 strikeouts over 6 innings, but for him that’s pretty much par for the course. He was working with men on base an awful lot despite all those Ks and there were a lot of shots of sweaty Bondo shaking his head and gazing at the sky, which is a sure sign that he’s not blowing ’em away out there no matter what the final line will tell you. It was exactly the sort of game that the Tigers of late would see as an excuse to lie down and quietly expire without getting chewed up in the papers the next day for not supporting the pitcher, except that didn’t happen. Hugs and kisses to the Orioles pitching staff.
That image up top there is not related to Bondo’s performance (all those struggles and way too many pitches thrown, and still only 2 runs… and those on solo homers of the sort that you like to just smile and write off when it comes to guys who throw the fastball like Bondo does. Here at RotT we gots mad respektz for that kinda thing), but instead is because of a brilliant observation recently thrown my way. One of my flickr contacts, a guy who doesn’t really follow baseball but will look at all my baseball photos anyways, bless his heart, saw this shot of Bondo and exclaimed, “DUDE! That’s so Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants!”
No. Yes. No, holy cats, IT IS SO RIGHT. Look at that comparison up there and tell me you aren’t scared at how right it is. He’s even more or less the same shade of pink.
I could not let that slide into obscurity. It would have been some sort of breach of blogging integrity.
Back to the game, it was so nice to see the offense get going like that. Craig, Magglio, Inge, and Granderson all homered; Carlos, Casey, Maggs, Gomez, and Pudge all doubled (Pudge twice); Gomez had a Comerica Park special-issue triple. Everybody who got in the game got at least one hit except for Clevlen, Santiago, and Stairs, and both Santiago and Stairs got RBIs anyways. And for the record, I cannot, in all honesty, listen to Rod Allen saying things like “Lotta ribeyes out there on the bases, go get them steaks!” without giggling like a fool.
Just consistent offense all up and down the lineup, which we simply had not seen in recent games, unless you count ‘consistent’ as ‘everyone up and down the lineup consistently not getting any hits’.
Because this is, after all, Roar of the Tigers, we’re gonna have to talk about Brandon Inge. Brandon Inge with his AMAZING defense. He flung himself into the dirt a few times for balls that most other third basemen wouldn’t even sneeze at, and even if he didn’t get to them it was clear (as it always is) that he was making that extra effort. And then that one play to end the second inning. My goodness.
Brian Roberts hit a ball down the third base line. Inge ran towards the foul line and gloved it as he was heading in that direction, sort of a stumbling, half diving, glove-low-to-the-ground kinda grab that looked nifty enough on its own. Well into foul territory and still heading that way as the momentum of his running motion carried him further, he twisted his body around, in the air, and sent a high, arching throw back to first. Sean Casey stretched his glove out, caught it, and BRob was out.
You have to understand, it was not as though we had a Molina running the bases here. Roberts had already stolen two bases in the game. He’s not Dave Roberts, but he’s a pretty respectable runner. For Inge to get to that ball and not let it get past him, that was impressive. For him to accurately throw it to first while heading away from the diamond at a good clip, that was impressive. For him to do BOTH and do both IN TIME to get a good runner out… HOLY FREAKIN’ CATS.
Then he hit a grand slam.
Bow before the greatness of Brandon Inge, Tigers fans.
We’ve got Nate going tonight. We ALL know what the Tigers have, or more precisely have NOT been doing for him lately. Last night was a kind of break away from all that terrible bat limpness. We’ll know we’ve really made a small sort of turn around if we can do something similar for poor Nate.