photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Sorry, Andrew Miller. I know you pitched 6 scoreless innings and managed to get yourself another win despite the fact that you’re so young you’re still wearing Spiderman underwear unironically, but Chad Durbin gets the headline and the leader image, because
a) most everyone else is going to have some kind of awful “Miller time!!!!111!!1eleventy-one LOL!” headline, and I see no need to subject people to more of that sort of thing, and
b) Chad Durbin was in fact pimp.
Instead of being discouraged by his unmerited banishment to the ‘pen, Durbin remained cool, calm, collected, pimptacular. He came in today to pitch 3 scoreless innings with only two hits and one walk. He looked reliable and in charge on the mound.
He ALSO (and this is the good bit) hit a sacrifice fly that went for an RBI! So although he did not manage a hit in his at-bat, he did manage to contribute offensively, and this is A VERY BIG DEAL for a pitcher, especially a newly-minted relief pitcher who, and I cannot stress this enough, was not supposed to be anything at all beyond cannon fodder this season. RBI!! That is DELIVERING THE GOODS. That is PIMP behavior.
Plus he got his very first ever save so, you know, congrats to him for that as well.
We had to face Ledezma again today, which is still weird. THE WOUND IS TOO RAW. Brandon Inge, bless his little high socks, doubled off of him, and then stole third so beautifully that Saltalamacchia (I spelled that without even checking, snap snap etc.) didn’t even attempt a throw. It was as though Inge had timed and anticipated Ledezma’s move perfectly… which is, no doubt, exactly what he did do. Inge may not be the crunchiest kibble in the cat food, but he’s fairly observant when it comes to baseball stuff, and I reckon being Ledezma’s teammate for ages made that steal a whole lot easier.
As for Miller, yeah, perfectly solid start. I would still like to see him working out his offspeed stuff more, and obviously everyone agrees on that… Miller himself said that he wanted/needed to develop his offspeed stuff during a little in-game interview with Peter Gammons. And there was this quote from Pudge after the game:
“He’s going to be a great pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “When he starts to work the slider and the changeup, combined with the sinker and the four-seam fastball, he’s going to be tremendous. He’s doing a good job with basically two pitches. When he becomes a four-pitch starter, he’s going to be very, very tough to hit.”
I would trust Pudge to know.
With all that said, I think it’s clearer than ever where I stand on the issue of the rotation. I want Miller back in Toledo until September. I don’t care if he’s so far above AAA hitters that he’s blowing the snot out of their noses on a regular basis down there. He needs to work on his offspeed pitches, and he’s going to be more free to do so with the Mud Hens than he is as a starter with the big cats.
I know it worked out OK for Verlander (and I was grumbling that we should keep Verlander in the minors longer too, so possibly I have a brain full of kitty litter), but is Miller’s fastball as good as Verlander’s, when Verlander was at the same point in his tender fledgling development? I say that it is not. And it was Verlander’s fastball that had/has to carry him along until everything else comes. Major League hitters haven’t worked out how to get around on Verlander’s fastball yet, because it’s nasty. Miller’s is, I think, more generally hittable, so when hitters start getting used to him, he’s not going to be able to fight back, because he has no other pitches to really fall back on.
*SENSELESS PANIC-MONGERING AND FLAILING*
Oh, and it turns out that Mike Maroth has himself a little blog over on his own website. Here’s what he thinks of the trade. I have inserted paragraph breaks myself to make it… less a giant block of text.
The hardest part of the day came after I threw a bullpen at the stadium. It was time to tell my teammates good bye. I had been on the other side many times with guys getting traded or released but this was different. This team is special. I had been through a lot with the Tigers and grown up in the Big Leagues with a lot of these players.
Some of the guys I have played with for many years and had been through a lot with them. I played with Brandon Inge the longest starting back in AA in 1999 shortly after I was brought over to the Tigers from the Red Sox. My closest relationship is with Nate Robertson and we spent quite a bit of time talking and encouraging each other to press on. I have been used to spending almost everyday during the season with these guys and now that was going to end.
The relationships you build in baseball are special. You spend as much or more time with guys than you do most of your family. Essentially, they become your family. So, to say good bye to them was hard knowing that I was leaving the Tigers as well as the AL so there was a good chance I wouldn’t see a lot of them for awhile. But, It is time to start new relationships in a new organization and for that, I am excited. See you in St Louis!!!
Mike Maroth’s blog
So, OK, we could critique his writing style… oh, how we could critique his writing style… but I expect most of us are going to be too busy sniffling (Colt might actually be sobbing) over the content of that little gem to worry much about the fact that he writes like a middle schooler trying to bang out a book report.
I just want to remind you all that All Star voting ends at midnight of the 28th (that is, when the 28th turns into the 29th), and you NEED TO GET OFF YOUR RUMPS AND VOTE FOR MAGGLIO ORDONEZ. He is VERY DESERVING of an All Star trip, and he NEEDS VOTES, and ZOMG DO IT. Make multiple Yahoo email accounts just for the purpose of voting! You can vote 25 times per email account! MAKE IT HAPPEN, PEOPLE!
Magglio Ordonez needs my help, your help, the help of all of us! MAKE IT HAPPEN, TIGERS FANS. VOTE!
Oh, and did the “argument/discussion” tonight between Jon Miller and Joe Morgan about the definition of a slugger vs. a hitter and how that pertained to Magglio make anyone else want to stab their ears out? Or was that just me?