photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Saving us once again from the ignoble jaws of utter defeat in the stinky-sock-drawer maw of the Wrong Sox: Placido Polanco. Our hero. Our savior. Our…. TIGER!
(Who’s YOUR Tiger??!?!?!?!?!?!*insert a thousand more punctuation marks here*)
You will of course immediately note that Fernando Rodney did not get into this game. And it was an extra innings game. And we won. I mean, I don’t need to comment on Fernando any further right now, do I?
Wilfredo Ledezma acquitted himself very well, very well inDEED. Three innings of four-hit, one-walk ball? No runs? Hot kittens! It’s games like this where Ledezma’s spotty starter-bullpen-starter-bullpen-nobody-knooooooows history actually HELPS him. Right now he’s an inbetweenie pitcher, not quite good enough to go 6 or 7 innings consistently, but with more stamina than your standard reliever. So when he comes on for the 9th and has to keep going… and going… well, he’s able to. Luckily we were able to follow him up with Grilli, who is still wavering on the lines of the Coprolites List, but who is currently in fashion simply because he’s neither Rollercoaster Jones nor Fernando F’in Rodney.
Now, I didn’t see the start of this game (Michigan baseball, you know how it is), so I didn’t get to REALLY see how Verlander did. Looking at his line, I guess it could have been worse. But I don’t like those 5 walks over 7 innings. That’s kind of a lot of walks. Now, maybe he was getting squeezed, but seeing as Garland only gave up one walk over 8, and this was a home game, I tend to doubt that. Granted, Verlander had more strikeouts than Garland too, but I’d rather he get outs other ways and cut down his walk total.
I suppose high walk AND strikeout numbers just means that he’s generally unhittable. I still worry.
The real story here though are the hits, and not just any hits, but the CLUTCH hits. Oh yes, there is no such thing as clutchness, but it is SUCH an appealing myth, yes? And here we have two of the clutchest of mythical clutch hits; the tying home run in the 9th to keep a previously lost effort alive (thank you Marcus), and the walkoff hit in the 12th (the magical magnificent Placido Polanco).
The River Thames has that occasional power. It’s always great to see him go yard, never loses its luster, all that, but it’s something that we can’t count on every time. There is, one would assume, a pretty good reason why Thames isn’t an everyday player by now. This makes him no less a hero of the game, I am just saying so in order to set up a comparison to
so that you may see how truly amazing Polanco is. He’s actually not very clutch at all, because “clutch” implies an ability to perform under certain stressful conditions, and Polanco hits ALL the time, not just at certain vital junctures. He just seems to because we notice it more under those circumstances.
I refer you back to the sonnet for Placido Polanco post. Once again, it more or less accurately sums up my feelings on the matter.