photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
The very worst thing about a futile hint of 9th inning comeback is when that futile hint of 9th inning comeback MIGHT have meant something if your pitcher in the top of the 9th hadn’t hatched a Spazzosaurus egg on the mound.
If you’re good, maybe for tomorrow I will draw you a Spazzosaurus and its egg.
Eulogio De La Cruz had his first unfortunate Major League outing tonight, taking the 9th and stomping all over it like only a ferocious Spazzosaurus can. To be fair, though, the wild pitch and passed ball he suffered through both looked like passed balls to me. I know, I know, how is it possible that Pudge Rodriguez, holder of a solid trillion Gold Gloves, Catcher Extraordinaire, Future Hall of Famer, Owner of a Statue of Himself, how is it possible that this exemplar of catching glory could let by two passed balls in a row?
I do not know. Yet I would swear that, while neither one of those balls was exactly an easy pick, neither one was the kind of incredibly wild pitch that is normally necessary to get past Pudge. So what was up with that? Is it possible that the two foul balls that tipped off various parts of his anatomy earlier in the game, plus the fact that it was near the end of the game, tired him out and made him start to lose his touch a little? Is it possible that I have used way too many run-on sentences so far? Yes to both.
Maybe this rattled Eulogio. But it shouldn’t. He’s young, so if he stays with the Tigers it’s likely he will see a time when Pudge is not the catcher. And the catcher will be some knock-kneed little rookie, and in his first year that hypothetical rookie catcher will make a ton of rookie catcher mistakes. And we will complain about them here, but Eulogio CANNOT let the catcher freak him out. I understand that he’s young now, so this is part of his learning process. Hence the title.
Like I said, though, neither ball was exactly an easy pick, so Eulogio was having plenty of problems on his own. A walk, two RBI singles, and a two-run homer did the damage against him. He was LUCKY to get Sosa to ground into a double play in the middle of all the Spazzing. I’ll give him credit for striking out Melhuse to end the inning, but that is all. Four runs given up (only three of them credited to him, though… he came in with one of McBride’s guys on base) in a single inning. The agony of youth.
This was also Jeremy Bonderman’s first loss of the season. He had some frustrating no-decisions at the start of the year where he would pitch pretty well and get no run support, but this was a loss that he fully deserved. In the fateful third inning, it sure seemed like Bondo threw far more offspeed stuff than he did the rest of the game. His control was off all night, so maybe he didn’t feel good about spotting his fastball, but his offspeed stuff was even more off the mark, and he got beaten on it. Fair and square.
And, to be fair, Kameron Loe pitched a great game. Can’t deny that. The sinker was sinking, and he almost looked like a different pitcher, if you remember back to the last time we saw him (I think he was out of the game before he got through 3 innings). I believe he had been sent down and called back up, so props to him for getting his act together and setting his arm straight.
Good offensive games today for The Mayor, Granderson, and Inge. Brandon Inge’s batting average is up to .259 right now. THE MARCH TO .300 CONTINUES APACE.