Bonderman latest victim of the Spazzosaurus

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We are going to have the best-fed Spazzosaurus in all of baseball at this rate. Other teams may allow their Spazzosauri to feed every so often, but we are handing pitchers over to the Spazzosaurus one after the other. No wonder they’ve all been spazzing out lately, and no wonder the scores have accordingly reflected that.

The first inning, with Bondo, is always the Danger Zone. We all know this. If you remember this thread, you’ll remember that someone had done some fancy chartwork for us all, and had noted that Bondo threw mostly fastballs in the first inning, not mixing in his offspeed stuff until later.

In this game, I kept track of what he threw for the first few batters, and it was almost exclusively fastballs. In fact, I think the first NONfastball I saw him throw was a changeup to Garrett Anderson… the fourth batter of the inning… after he had already thrown 2 fastballs to him for balls. And that’s after he had allowed a single and a double on all those fastballs (and a K, but you know). After a while I stopped keeping track, because so many damn batters came up during the first inning and it just got depressing, but the point is that he’s doing it again. Fastball fastball fastball, which the opposing team just feasts on, until eventually his soul is so broken down that he starts mixing some offspeed stuff in, I guess.

We have an idea of what’s going on with Bondo. But this still doesn’t tell us WHY. Why, for instance, is his fastball so incredibly sucktacular in the first inning? When he’s on he can spot it pretty well, so….. why isn’t he ever on in the first? And why, why, WHY does he insist on throwing so many fastballs in the first inning, when this trend (throw tons of fastballs early= get roughed up) is so obvious by now that even internet gremlin-y bloggin’ folk are picking up on it?

“It wasn’t really something that I was really expecting today,” [Bonderman] said. “Felt good in the bullpen. My arm felt great, so I was really looking forward to coming out and trying to give us a lift. Obviously, it went the other way. I just kind of added onto the fire, threw a little kerosene on it and let the sucker burn. It was not pretty, man.”

“Just wasn’t locating,” Bonderman said. “When I fell behind, I left the ball over the plate too much. I was trying to create things before it happened.” article

No, you don’t say?

The inability to locate is a clear case of Spazzosaurus nibbles. But the Spazzosaurus, for all his influence, does not make anyone throw fastballs vs. sliders vs. changeups. The Spazzosaurus doesn’t care what anyone throws, so long as they throw it badly enough to make the thrower start to emit more and more spazz-energy out of nervousness and a sense of overwhelming failure. So even though Bondo is VERY OBVIOUSLY suffering in the loving embrace of the Spazzosaurus (see image for incontrovertible proof), this still does not explain why he throws all those fastballs in the first inning, again and again, despite the endless reams of evidence showing that this does not work for him.


Angry-making hilarity: Chad Durbin came in with the bases loaded and Vlad Guerrero up to bat. Pudge called for a ball away. Durbin lost control of the pitch, which rode in and hit Vlad, forcing in a run. Did anyone in the UNIVERSE think that was intentional? What sort of idiot would intentionally force in a run in a game that looked bad but was still, at that point, in the early and (with our sometime-offense) changeable stage? Apparently Ed Montague thought that the Tigers were exactly that sort of idiot, because he came trotting out right away to point fingers and sternly issue warnings.

For an obviously unintentional pitch.

I laugh now. At that time I just became even more infuriated at the stupidity of it all.

“If Justin Verlander is the show pony… then Jeremy Bonderman is the work horse.”

That was Orel Hershiser, before this game. I just liked the mental images that it conjured up. I mean, Justin Verlander versus Jeremy Bonderman? Works for me!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Kenny Rogers is back on the DL, this time with inflammation in his pitching elbow. On the one hand, this is good, because it explains his last couple of starts, which means that Kenny doesn’t stink at pitching, his elbow just stinks at being healthy. On the other hand, well, he’s back on the DL. Crabnuggets.

8 responses to “Bonderman latest victim of the Spazzosaurus

  1. ivantopumpyouup

    I was kind of hoping you’d make a graphic of Justin and Jeremy a la this disturbing fella but I suppose it’s for the best. :P

  2. Curse you, Spazzasarus!
    The only consolation is that the rest of the East has been equally sucktacular* of late.
    A great word that’s even better when applied to non Tiger things like the Indians, Twinkies, Yankees and the majority of ESPN’s announcers.

  3. God. Gawd. GAAAAAAAHH.
    I didn’t watch one game this weekend (as I was hidden away in the wilderness) but even reading about the Attack of the Spazzasaurus makes me want to gauge out my eyes!
    Seriously! When do these boys get a day off? Or get to go home? They are hurtin’.

  4. …but that is the best Spazzosaurus picture yet. It looks very upset.

  5. See, here’s my problem… If 12-year-olds on the Internet (not to disparage anybody, but even if you aren’t actually 12 years old, your baseball knowledge should be about the equivalent of a 12-year-old when compared to, oh, I dunno, a PITCHING COACH, let’s say) can figure this out, why can’t anybody on the Tigers?
    Alternate theory: Even though Bondo has this disturbing trend of way too many fastballs in the first inning, maybe he’s doing that because, as he emerges from his bullpen session, his slider/changeup/other breaking balls are (it’s hard to imagine, I know, but still) EVEN WORSE than the fat, straight lasers he’s throwing down the middle of the plate. Now that would be a problem that would be a lot more un-fixable. How do you get a guy properly warmed up to the point where his slider is as wicked as it needs to be without burning him out before he ever reaches the mound?

  6. Crabnuggets indeed.
    And Jeff, the thing is, THAT HAPPENS. Not on the Tigers, maybe (so far), but ask any Cubs fan if the fans were ever figuring things out that the coaches gleefully ignored, to the detriment of the team…

  7. ivan, yeah… that’s starting to enter dangerous territory, that is…
    farlane, there’ve been lots of well-fed Spazzosauri around the league lately. I just wish ours will get some diet time in soon.
    tiff, be thankful you didn’t see it. I considered just turning this one off after the first couple innings, but decided to be optimistic and see if the offense could bring us back. The more fool me.
    Matt, he’s simultaneously upset and happy that he gets to feed so unrestrainedly.
    Jeff, what would be worse than his first inning fastballs? They get hit, and they get hit hard. I fail to see a worse outcome than that. One of his pitches in the first (or maybe second) inning last night ACTUALLY HIT THE DIRT A FOOT OR TWO IN FRONT OF THE PLATE, and skittered away for a wild pitch. Could he be throwing worse than that? Probably only if he was throwing backwards.
    I think he needs to mix in his offspeed stuff in the first even if it feels awful coming out of his hand, because awful offspeed pitches can’t be any worse than awful fastballs that get hit for homeruns or that end up wild pitches. At the very least, he might confuse some batters by changing speeds, even if his location is all shot. Why not at least experiment with it by having the coaches/Pudge tell him he can only throw so many fastballs per offspeed pitches in the first? What’s the worst possible outcome? What happened last night? In other words, it can’t GET much worse for Bondo.
    But we KNOW that his current approach doesn’t work. I don’t know why the coaches haven’t sought to change it. Maybe they have a really good reason. But until I hear it, I’m going to worry.
    PfP, let us hope like heck that we aren’t going anywhere near the way of the Cubs…

  8. Grrr, that Spazzasaurus has been fed pretty good, and running around Comerica Park’s Daiquiri stands and the Big Boy…Bondo needs to get more control, and all the Tigers need to give him a Non-Alcoholic Daiquiri with that Big Boy Double Decker…

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