Game 2: Simple Algebra! 100mph x 2 pitchers= Verlander + Zumaya

Took some creative maneuvering, but I managed to swing it so that I could watch the game. I had to wake up much earlier than I like to on Friday to make up for it, but it was worth it.

I know some of you were stuck at work or school or whatever and were unable to see this, so I kept notes on the interesting bits and now you get this running blog.

About last night, when Verlander went out to stretch and Moose didn’t, they’re saying Dombrowski was listening to MLB, who were saying 10 pm, whereas Cashman had access to the radar and didn’t think Moose, who takes a while to warm up, would be ready to go by 10, so he didn’t even send him out. Allegedly when he saw Verlander go out, he sent a groundskeeper to tell him it wasn’t happenin’. Take that with however many grains of salt as you like.

Top 1
Moose Ks Granderson to start. His first called strike didn’t look great to me, a little inside, but he got the call. Well, he’s Mike Mussina and he’s pitching in Yankee Stadium. The other called strike was a good one, and Curtis swung at the last one.

Another bad-ish call, looked high, Placido pulled back a bunt (first pitch) and it was called a strike. Leyland started barking from the dugout and the ump turned around to bark back. IN THE FIRST INNING. Wound tight, much? Ultimately 2-3 K on Plonkers.

Oh my god. Miller and Morgan have some numbers or other, Miller’s say 70% of the time such-and-such happens, Morgan’s say 68%. So Miller is good-naturedly ribbing Morgan about it, saying he’s using the Alias Sports Bureau numbers, which is the official stat keeper of MLB, and Morgan’s using unofficial numbers. Morgan says he’s just using what he was given. Then he pauses and says, “That’s why I don’t like numbers, they’re different depending on who gets them, you know?” Someone alert the FJM guys.

6-3 throw, out of the glove of Sheff. It popped out as he was bringing his hand up and Casey ran him over because Sheff got in his way. Casey safe at first. In slow mo you can see Jeter turning his wrist over the ball. E6.

Bottom 1
Looping fly for Damon to left field, Guillen and Monroe going for it… Guillen slowed a little, I think he saw Monroe, and the ball dropped between them. Seems like it should’ve been Craig’s ball, but he didn’t look like he was going very hard the whole way down.

Jeter bunts, pops it up, Pudge catches it and chases Jeter to first to make sure Damon stays there. Dropped the head of the bat way down at the last second. Possibly the first truly useful use of that superslowmo camera thing they’ve got.

Joe Morgan thinks that Bobby Abreu is what made this Yankee lineup great. Because before they had ARod sometimes hitting third. And they sucked like that. Sure thing Joe. Abreu draws a 4-pitch walk. Leyland’s disgusted, the last pitch was off the plate but the third one could’ve been called a strike.

Justin throws 99mph far inside to Sheffield. Sheffield swings so hard that he twists himself all the way around onto the backs of his heels and Morgan says he wasn’t overwhelmed by that high fastball. I know Sheff does that ‘swing and miss so badly it looks like he threw out his shoulder’ thing a lot, but dude, he was overwhelmed there. Is Joe Morgan watching this game? Then he throws somethin’ offspeed (curve?) to Sheff and gets him to swing, K.

Bases loaded, ARod up. Hmm. We have the possibility of a beautiful thing here. 101 mph, blew it straight past ARod, who takes a huuuge cut. 101, in, ARod fouls it straight back. 85 mph curve, BEAUTIFUL drop right into Pudge’s glove dead center, ARod takes, K! There was another word following that K in the original notes I took, but I removed it because the MVN Master doesn’t like us usin’ de swear wurdz.

Top 2
Two outs, Craig grounds sharply riiiight down the line, barely fair, hit the line, actually. A fan knocks it down, GR double.

Thames singles into center, Cano leaps but there’s no chance, Craig comes around to score, 1-0 Detroit!

First pitch high and inside, almost takes Brandon’s ear off, he twitches away from it. Morgan says it’s a purpose pitch to make sure they’re not sitting on the breaking ball, which is what the last 2 hits came on. I thought Moose didn’t do that, though? Hrm. Miller is shocked at the power of the bottom of the lineup. O NOES, YOU GUYS! HE JUST NOTICED THAT THE TIGERS HAVE HITTERS IN THEIR LINEUP TOO! And here we thought it was only the Yankees who had people playing for them who could hit a little. K according to the first base ump, who says he went around on a mostly checked swing. Eh.

Bottom 2
Matsui quickly singles to right.

Dear Bonnie Bernstein, there’s one on and no one out, shut the kibble up and let us watch the game in peace, we don’t need to hear about how excited Verlander is about pitching in Yankee Stadium. WE CAN SEE THAT WITH OUR OWN EYES.

“With all the great names in this lineup, Posada doesn’t get all the credit…” -Morgan. Right, no one gives Posada any credit. “Just a clutch player… a leader!” -Miller. Oh god, it’s like baseball cliche central out here. Miller just mentioned how “a guy who almost won the batting title is on-deck, hitting 9th!” This is the seven billionth time this fact has been mentioned. Posada walked. Two on, no one out, Cano up. Chuck Hernandez comes out to visit again and the whole infield comes in, Yankee style, to discuss the defense.

Jon Miller: “Cano, who is not married, keeps a photo of he and his mother in his locker in the Yankee clubhouse.” Um. Cano bounces it to third, Inge initially didn’t see it (!!), stands stock still in his tight crouch for two beats, then visually picks it up, hustles over to get it, steps on third and throws across to first too late to get Cano by far, but at least the lead runner is gone. Scary moment.

Damon skies it and Granderson, battling the super bright sun, catches it, no one moves up.

Miller just called Verlander “Zumaya”. Corrects himself thereafter, but still.

Jeter grounds sharply to Guillen, who sends it to second to force out Cano. Verlander’s thrown something like 44 pitches through 2.

Top 3
Nothing happens in this inning.

Bottom 3
Abreu shoots one out hard, hard enough to go for a home run but low so it hits the wall and caroms back so hard that Maggs is able to play it and keep Abreu at first. Wow. Nearly a home run and instead it’s a single.

Sheffield hits into a 4-3 double play.

Curve, Giambi swings big, K! Beautiful how Verlander could have been terrified into weeing his pants when Abreu hit that shot, and instead he comes back stronger than before. Hugs and kisses for Justin Verlander’s intestinal fortitude.

Top 4
Am I the only one frightened by Fudgeums?

Guillen RIPS it past Sheff down the line, bounces around a tiny bit in right, enough so Carlos can cruise into second standing up. It’s so strange to see Sheff at first. Looks undignified, he’s slightly uncertain.

Pudge grounds out 6-3, Carlos goes to third.

Craig bunts, would’ve been a great bunt if they needed to move a guy over, but he hits it and it dies a little in front of home, Moose picks it up and throws Craig out easily. What? Why not swing?? THERE ARE TWO OUTS. The only way that would’ve worked, the ONLY way, is if Craig beats it out to get to first. Did he forget how many outs there were or something?

Hm, Morgan says the position of ARod…. ah, he was really deep, apparently that’s why Craig bunted. But, the ball was inside and so when he bunted it fell in front of him straight instead of off towards third and ugh, I still just don’t like this play right here. Bad play! Bad. No cookie!

Bottom 4
Oh god, ARod flies out, it came more or less to center, Granderson and Craig nearly collide but Craig slides and catches it, even though that’s generally a centerfielder’s ball. I guess Craig has… um, seniority. Yes, that’s it.

61 pitches with one out in the 4th. Matsui rips it hard to right, another single.

Two straight strikes to Posada, then 4 straight balls, walks The Chinless Wonder.

Pudge and some of the infield come in briefly to talk. Two on, one out, Cano up.

Cano flies to Craig, no one moves up.

Damon drives one to the right field upper deck. 3-run homer. 3-1 Yankees. Curtain call, well ain’t that cute. And now of course the crowd is all “rabblerabblerabble”. Ugh, I mean, a 1-run lead over the Yankees wasn’t ever going to be enough, but still, this kinda bites the proverbial posterior.

Jeter doubles to deep left center, Monroe plays it off the wall. Standup double. The crowd is now all “rabbleMVPrabbleMVPrabbleMVP”.

Leyland comes out to talk to Justin. Ledezma is up in the ‘pen. Oh kittencakes. I don’t really want him facing the Yankees. Abreu grounds out to Casey at first to end the inning.

Top 5
Thames chops at the first pitch, bounces a ball into the left field crowd for a ground rule double.

Morgan: “One thing the Tigers do, is they do not quit.” Joe, isn’t that something they’d DON’T do?

Curveball in the dirt escapes Posada’s grasp, I think it hit off his knee or something? Thames moves to third, they’ve done Brandon’s job for him. WP. Inge Ks on an outside strike that might have been a liiiiittle too far outside but is called. Morgan says “That’s just Mussina knowing how to pitch.” No. Really? Mike Mussina knows how to pitch. Huh.

Granderson skies out to center, Thames scores because Damon has a noodle arm made of limp noodley noodles. 3-2 Yankees.

Polanco checks his swing sharply and shears a bit off his bat. Count’s 1-2, new bat. Hit hard past Sheff, who dives for it, Abreu was in good position to get it and fire it back in, holding Plonkers to a single.

Someone sitting near their CF cam (the main view, from behind the pitcher in to batter) is a Tigers fan. Every time Moose throws a ball and a Tiger takes it, this voice is saying, “Attaboy!” Big props for the Tigers fan.

Bottom 5
Leyland on Verlander: “Well the average guy woulda been outta the game by now, but because he’s got such good stuff [he’s been able to stay].”

79 pitches through 4 for Justin.

Called K on Sheffield, might have just nicked the inside middle edge. Debatable, but Sheffield was turning away from it protectively and so didn’t complain. Curve, I think.

Giambi, ooosh, super high and hard hit, hooked foul to the right. PHEW. Mini heart attack there. Giambi grounds out to Casey. Miller says, in a grandiose, quavering voice, “Casey, miiiiiiighty Casey.”

Miller on ARod: “He came up with two outs in the first inning, and Justin Verlander abused him.” Oh MY. Naughty, naughty.

Curveball, called strikeout! Scattered booing in Yankee Stadium. Awesome to see Verlander recover after last inning.

Top 6
69 pitches through 5 for Moose. Grr.

Carlos Guillen INTO THE PORCH IN RIGHT FIELD, HOME RUN, TIE BLEEPIN’ GAME!! Tons of boos in Yankee Stadium. In the dugout, after walking down to the end and high five-ing everyone, he gets to the camera… and, with a tough, hell-yeah glint in his eye, points right at the lens. Oh, love.

Pudge grounds out 6-3, Jeter throws it wiiiiide, Sheffield stretches all the heck out and keeps his back foot on the base for the out, but man, he goes into a full split and for a second there I think maybe he’s torn his groin or something. He gets up looking… not hurt, but pissed off, at himself or Pudge or Jeter, it’s impossible to tell.

Bottom 6
92 pitches coming into the 6th for Justin. Walker and Rodney up in the ‘pen.

Posada, 9th pitch of his AB, drops a single into left.

Zoom and Walker up. 105 pitches for Justin. Leyland, uh, is bringing in Jamie. 1-1 count, Morgan says that Leyland didn’t like the way that last pitch came out of Justin’s hand. I don’t think this is an injury thing, this is Leyland seeing fatigue.

Walker takes the 1-1 count on Cano to 3-1 quickly. Cano grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Miller says, “Jason Verlander leads the cheering from the Tiger dugout.” Wow, we have a new pitcher? I had no idea. TODAY IS JUST FULL OF SURPRISES.

Top 7
Thames drives it hard to left, but Matsui tracks it down quickly and easily enough to hold him to a single.

Inge shows bunt, the ball squirts away from Posada, it’s like the bat got in the way of Posada seeing the ball. No contact, of course, so it’s a passed ball and the ball is far enough away to move Marcus to second. Brandon persistently shows bunt and lays down a beauty right in front of home, which moves Marcus to third and there’s only one out now.

Granderson TRIPLE OH OH OH into deeeeep left, triple! Triple! Hustled for it!!! Marcus comes home, 4-3 Tigers. I didn’t see the initial hit, I have to admit that once it was 0-2 I had my hands clasped, eyes closed, and was repeating, “Please Curtis please please please” over and over in my head. THAT IS NORMAL BEHAVIOR, OK.

CF cam guy yells, “C’mon Polly!”

ARod caught Polanco’s hit for the out, but Granderson dives back fast so ARod can’t double him up.

Casey flies out to Damon, he takes his helmet off and briefly stuffs it over his face in shame. This could be bad, bad, bad later. Stranding a man on third, BAD.

Bottom 7
It’s still so good to see Peter Gammons, bright and talking and as alert and lively as ever. Modern medicine makes me really happy sometimes.

Walker still pitching, Zoom still warming in the ‘pen.

Damon pokes it off the end of his bat, Polanco stumbles forward and catches it in the air. Now they’ll bring in Zoom. Excellent work by Walker today.

Obligatory shot of Jeter’s parents and discussion of why he didn’t grow up a Tigers fan. I reject all their explanations and insert my own: “His inherent evil nature.”

Foul tip off the bat into the glove of Pudge, strike 3 on Jeter! He tried to check his swing. I hate when they know a fastball’s coming, I prefer when Verlander’s in and they don’t necessarily know what he’s going to throw them. This is why Justin starts and Zoom doesn’t, I guess.

To Abreu, 100mph pitch followed by an 84mph slider. Hoo, that’s a difference. Zoom grew up a Padres fan.

102mph followed by 81mph, then, Abreu grounds out 4-3. 21mph difference. You can’t do anything with that.

Top 8
Proctor in. Second pitch was PRETTY high, Maggs says something to the ump, looked very much high to me and Maggs both but it was called a strike. FOX actually shows a good shot of the ball coming in, closeup, showing how it’s super bright white and then suddenly turns dark gray in a flash as soon as it crosses into the shadows. Useful, for once! You can see how this would screw with guys; your pupils can’t contract easily and quickly enough to see that ball when it changes. Maggs walks after going down 0-2. There have been some pretty patient Tigers out there today.

Carlos flies to deep center and Damon catches it in some painful sunlight. Maggs stays put. The outfield is so drenched in sun that it looks neon and more yellow than green.

Pudge sends one to deep center, another sun-battle catch for Damon, 8 or 9 pitches in the AB for Pudge, again Maggs has to stay put.

Craig scoops it up hard and high into left, Matsui catches it for the out. Grrr.

Bottom 8
Zoom still in to face Gary Sheffield, first pitch swinging to centerfield, line shot as Morgan says but Granderson catches it.

ESPN is going to pee itself in collective glee about the fact that Boomer (David Wells) is pitching the San Diego game, and Boomer (Chris Berman) is announcing it. Oh god, the hilarity of it all. THE HILARITY OF IT ALL.

Giambi swings, 103!, Miller says he didn’t know the radar gun went up that high. Giambi swings right through it, strikeout.

Gun says 103 to ARod, who also swings straight through it. Pudge goes out to talk because even though ARod swung through, Zoom missed his target… Pudge wanted outside and Zoom threw it in. I wish Pudge’d just punched his shoulder instead of ruining Zoom’s rhythm by going out to talk… oh strike 2, 103 mph, this time it’s away and he hits it this time, Morgan keeps calling Pudge Ivan. Why the insistence on that, Joe? His nickname is Pudge, everyone else calls him that. 101, ARod swings through again, Zoom punches his fist, crowd boos lustily. Miller says ‘woo’, as he has manlove for Zoom’s fastball, clearly.

Top 9
Was that seriously just an ad to come work at the CIA? What. The. Blubbernuts. I understand wanting to have ads for the military, make it look exciting and/or glamorous so kids will sign up, but for the CIA??

Brian Bruney in to face Thames. Wow, 0.87 in 19 games? Bruney’s been better than I thought, I guess. Thames hit it foul near the right field side dugout, Posada and Sheffield both go over… Sheffield slides into it, Posada runs into it so the railing hits him in his chest, which he then rubs like he’s bruised himself. Neither gets the ball. Bruney ties Marcus up inside and he can’t stop his bat, strike 3.

Bruney comes back from 3-0 to strike Inge out on a big swing through a 98 mph fastball.

Granderson grounds out 1-3 easy oh god oh god oh god it’s gonna be Jonesy oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh my god Todd Jones on no no no no only a one run lead oh oh oh god yankee stadium todd jones oh god oh god

Bottom 9
Matsui base hit to center, single. Bleep. BLEEP. Melky’s gonna pinch run. Bleep BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP. MOTHERBLEEPING BLEEP BLEEPING YANKEES. Leyland goes out to talk to Jones.

Posada up. Strike 3 called, wasn’t watching eyes closed hyperventilating oh god god oh god oh god

cano up craig catches it long atbat oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god

This is the first time Morgan has seen Jones pitch in person on telelvision, how is that even possible? Doesn’t he… get paid to watch baseball games?

damon up damon fouls it off himself knee or shin pudge comes out to see how he is, it was off his knee back knee hes smillin hes too stupid to know when hes hurt, remember that from his sox days

pudge takes moment to talk to jonesy

i cant watch this omg


Kenny Rogers vs. The Wizened Unit at 8 tonight, and we’re back in Detroit. Go Tigers!

8 responses to “Game 2: Simple Algebra! 100mph x 2 pitchers= Verlander + Zumaya

  1. I’m first-time posting to say how much I really, really, love your blog. Not only the best for Tigers fans, but one of my favorite sites on all the “Internets.”
    While Zumaya was pitching there was one close up of his face just before he released the ball that was pure brute ferocity. Did anyone see that? Sorry I don’t remember who he was facing. It was like GRRRRRR evil show-no-mercy death-to-opponent. My jaw dropped and I had one of those I-know-this-game-is-won moments. Then when I saw Jonesey, I froze in fear. I had to mute the sound just before each pitch, close my eyes, and turn it back on after the pitch while I resumed breathing. It was scary, scary, scary.
    Keep up the amazing job you’re doing!

  2. My imaginary love affair with Joel Zumaya is reaching new heights.
    It was a great game, even taped and watched after work. Work life intefering with playoff baseball? Not cool man, not cool.
    I meant to say this before, but I love your blog :)

  3. Another great write-up. Fortunately, I have a flexible enough job that I was able to tell my boss in no uncertain terms I’d be working yesterday afternoon from home, so I got to see the whole thing live and in HD. (I tell ya, HD almost makes it worth putting up with the Yankee fluffing by Fox and ESPN. Did you notice they called Verlander “Jason” in the pre-game once, as well as during the game. Seriously, what the hell?)
    Anyway, to crow just a little, a buddy of mind got 4 tix to Game 4 and is throwing one my way, so I’m making the drive up from Indianapolis tonight. It’ll be my first Tiger game since I was in high school and Mickey Tettleton was on the roster. I’ve only seen Comerica Park once (it was the off-season), so this’ll be a huge weekend for me.
    Again, great blog. Go Tigers!

  4. Yeah, I know I’m about the zillionth person to complain, but it’s just impossible to express enough disgust for the shameless levels of Yankee-love being displayed by these TV people. You’d just think they’d be ashamed, is all. Joe Morgan played for one of The Great Teams; you’d think he’d show a little pride. Tim McCarver is normally all in-my-day-men-were-men-and-Bob-Gibson-would-shoot-you-in-the-face-if-you-SQUINTED-at-him, but if Derek Jeter is in the frame he’s a fawning little schoolgirl. For this reason alone, this series must be won! McCarver must weep! Weep I tell you!

  5. I agree with Todd…HD makes life so much better. It’s clearer than my actual vision – sometimes it hurts.
    Hurts so good!

  6. From the Free Press: “What’s better than having the Tigers in the playoffs? How about having Ernie Harwell in the broadcast booth again?”
    How true. The Voice of The Tigers tonight.

  7. Tiff, thanks! And there’s enough Zumaya to go around… share nice, now.
    Todd, enjoy it… Comerica’s amazing, definitely one of the nicer new parks out there. No matter what the outcome, soaking up any part of the first postseason at Comerica will be fun. :)
    Deni, Zoom does that scowl a lot. As though his fastball isn’t scary enough. And, are you serious? Ernie Harwell on ESPN? I may die.
    Matt, this is one of many, many valid reasons for which the Yankees must be destroyed.

  8. “He stood there like a house by the side of the road and watched it go by!”
    Thank you, Ernie.
    I love you.

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