photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
You can find two good things about today’s effort against Johan Santana:
1. The Tigers made him throw a lot of pitches. He only lasted 6 innings, in part because he threw 94 pitches in that time. (In part because the Twinks were up 6-1 at that point. But we are focusing on the POSITIVES here!)
2. Placido Polanco hit a home run off of him. The seriously high chokehold that Polanco maintains on the bat helps his bat control and his average, but it does not help his power any. This was only his second homer of the year.
Aside from that, this truly was the terrifying manbeast of a Cy Young winner that we know as Johan Santana. The bats just couldn’t bring anything home. Six strikeouts and one walk in six innings… as opposed to Verlander’s five strikeouts and five walks in five innings. Well, and of course there’s Santana’s one run, to Verlander’s six. That is pretty unfortunate.
“Playing against Santana, if your pitcher doesn’t pitch a good game, you’re gonna get beat,” manager Jim Leyland said. “And our pitcher didn’t pitch a good game tonight.
“And that’s OK, [Verlander is] allowed to do that now and then, obviously. Whether he’s a young pitcher or a veteran pitcher, you’re not going to be good every time out.”
No. Now we feed him to the tigers.
Obviously, Verlander’s not going to throw a no-hitter every time out there. Obviously he’s allowed a bad start or two. But tonight was just so WORRYINGLY PERPLEXING. It wasn’t just that he missed a spot here and there and got hit up by freak contact (like Santana with Polanco). His control was gone. GONE. Not in the ballpark. Maybe he left it at home in the wash, and he’ll go back to his place after the game and he’ll pick his control out of his jeans pocket and groan to himself, “Gee, I can’t BELIEVE I totally forgot I had this in here. Now it’s all lint-y.”
He also seemed to get very rattled by the homeplate umpire. In all fairness to Verlander, the umpire was making some fairly awful calls, and was giving those calls to Santana, which I expect would be enough to drive Verlander fully bonkers. Is it just me, or have we had a number of issues with umpires already this season? I wonder what they’ve got against Detroit.
The Twink bullpen was as good as Santana. Sadly. On our end, we had a good outing from McBride, but Eulogio had another bad, spazzy outing. Maybe his youthfulness makes his flesh particularly tender to a peckish Spazzosaurus?
Twins pitching just shut down the Tigers all night. Except for Polanco (who had that home run, and was 3-for-4 on the day, with a double, AND a stolen base, thus accounting for pretty much all our Tigerly offense for the day), nobody did much of anything.
That ended up hurting, because while the Tigers were busy trying to figure out which end of the bats to hold, Joe freakin’ Mauer was busy blasting grand slams out to the bullpens. Scary. Scary. When he hit that ball, it didn’t even look like it had all that much air under it, but rather evidently it did. SIGH.
Anyways, some abbreviated pug marks, I think, are in order.
pug mark 1
Sheffield’s serving a two-game suspension now. Good. Get it over with. And Gary, KEEP YOUR TRACHEA SHUT about it. I don’t want to hear how armadillos are racist and are negatively impacting your game by being racist goddamn armadillos or WHATEVER it is that we all know you’ve got boiling in your head right now. You’re one of the best freaking hitters on the team, so restrain yourself and get back on the field as fast as possible.
Actually, you know what Sheffield could really use? A BLOG. It would be a great venting forum for him, in addition to probable wince-worthy comedic gold. Someone get on that.
pug mark 2
Tim Bydak’s on the DL. They’re calling it elbow tendonitis. Zach Miner was activated to take his spot.
This moves up the number of Tiger relievers on the DL from “many” to “pretty much everyone”.
pug mark 3
Roman Colon is being charged with felonious assault related to the fight with/attack on Jason Karnuth, previously detailed here.
So, you know, first the Tigers suspended him for 7 days. Now he faces up to 8 years in prison, and at the very very least a time-consuming, embarrassing legal battle.
Let us never forget the dangers of touching another man’s iPod. People will end up with DESTROYED FACES and BIG LEGAL FEES.
pug mark 4
Brandon Inge was scratched from the game at the last minute today due to BACK SPASMS.
No! What? Noooo! I hope it’s just a freak thing. And that he’s OK. That it’s because he woke up on the wrong side of the bed and he had slept on it funny and it’s not related to some persistent muscle injury in or around the area. To survive and play through a broken toe… you KNOW the pain must have been pretty bad if it was enough to keep BRANDON FREAKIN’ INGE out of the lineup. Sigh.
For the record, I was going to have today’s image be Santana spanking Verlander, but quite frankly I wasn’t up for wading into the google image search that would have required. Consider yourselves lucky.
Off to New York for the weekend to see some art shows and to root the A’s on against the Yankees on Sunday. Posting shall resume Monday in the usual fashion. Behave yourselves in my (very brief) absence and try not to trash the joint, willya?