photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Be the game 13 innings (long) or a one-run squeaker in the 9th with a man at third base (hard), the Tigers seem to be able to find ways to win. And Tigers bloggers find excuses for shameless use of cheap innuendo.
long cat is long! by Samara Pearlstein
If you don’t quite understand what’s going on with the longPaws image up there, you may need to be educated about the legend of the longcat. Beyond that, it’s a longPaws for a longGame, you see.
What a crazy series. I don’t think I even knew where my own head was by the end of that Saturday night marathon. How amazing was that game? Bondo had his usual little bit of first inning trouble, and then settled down into proper Bondonian pitching form. Kason Gabbard (Kason FREAKIN’ Gabbard!!) went 6.1 while giving up only 3 hits. Who would have predicted that a matchup of Jeremy Bonderman and Kason Gabbard would turn into a pitching duel? If you say you were predicting that, you are a filthy liar and we are going to have to poke you with sticks.
You have to understand, I was watching this game with a large number of older, bitterly sarcastic Red Sox fans (“If Manny swings at the first pitch again, I sweah to Gawd, I’m gonna lose it”), which meant that I had to keep somewhat quiet. My internal dialogue, therefore, was something like this:
Red Sox Fan Brain: Julio Lugo is a piece of dirt. Why is he here? Why is he making money?
Tigers Fan Brain: Thank cats Lugo is in the lineup here. It’s such a nice break for our bullpen. Like being in the NL and throwing to the pitcher.
RSFB: What is he doing? Is he striking out? I think I just vomited inside my own mouth.
TFB: Yay! Tigers pitching!
RSFB: Walking Big Papi? Talk about disrespect to Manny!
TFB: This is 100% the right move. Ortiz will kill you in a pressure situation 8 times of 10. I just made that stat up.
RSFB: I like that stat, even if it is only a product of our fevered imagination.
TFB: Bondo! Bondo! Bondo! Bondo!
RSFB: Kason Gabbard! C’mon! It’s like watching a man with no hands successfully throwing the ball! He’s holding his own! It’s IMPRESSIVE!
TFB: Bondo! Bondo! Bondo! Bondo!
RSFB: A MAN NAMED KASON!
TFB: What’s a Kason?
RSFB: What’s a Bondo?
TFB: What’s your mom?
RSFB: The same as your mom.
TFB: Oh, snap.
A glorious example of Tigers/Red Sox brain explodey. Because that game. That GAME.
I will say two things.
One: the bullpen acquitted themselves very well in this one. We’ve been hard on the lads, and in truth they’ve richly deserved it, but everyone did what we asked of them. Some even did rather more than we would like to ask of them. I’m talking in particular about everyone’s favorite mustachioed, much-mocked and much-Photoshopped Todd Jones. Not only did he pitch TWO scoreless innings in that game, he then came out TODAY and pitched another scoreless inning. How was his arm not falling off? How did he not manage to float something in there that would destroy the game? How?
Two: when Gary Sheffield came across homeplate to score the winning, walk-off run, he kicked it. Like he kicked his foot across it, towards Varitek’s retreating back. Was it just excitement? A big “screw you guys” to Papelbon (and ‘Tek?) for the fact that he had been hit by a pitch? Whatever it was, I didn’t like it. It seemed bush league. The HBP wasn’t intentional and if he’s just excited there’s still no reason to show up the other team like that, especially when the opposing pitcher is still basically just a kid. Ugh. Wanker.
As for Sunday’s game, eh, it was messy and I was equally upset with Matsuzaka (where is the DOMINANCE, kid?!) and with Leyland for leaving Nate in as long as he did (dude is CLEARLY throwing on fumes, get him OUT OF THE GAME before the game gets so close that we all have to get cardiac-ed by Jonesy), and with some of the seemingly sloppy play in the field (maybe a result of the heat, though).
What sticks out, about Sunday’s game, is that catch Curtis Granderson made.
If you didn’t see it, someone (I think Wily Mo Pena) hit a ball that seemed destined for homerunhood. Granderson leapt at the wall, caught the ball OVER the wall, and fell to the ground, sno-coning the thing but somehow still holding onto it. It was unreal. You don’t see that stuff outside of video games, usually.
There’s almost nothing I can say about the catch, it was so good, so I had to ‘shop some wings onto Granderson and leave it at that. If you didn’t see it, find out some way to do so. It is a thousand times worth it.