photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
We needed to win that game pretty badly. Not only did we need to win against the Indians, we also just had to win, period, so that the entire city of Detroit didn’t sink into the river in utter despair, leaving Windsor unguarded to wreak a terrible Canadian revenge upon the rest of America. The consequences of Tiger losing streaks are dire indeed.
Thankfully, Windsor will be kept in check another day, because Jair Jurrjens, 15 year old pitcher of glory, stepped up and dominated. His reward for saving the team, and America (and incidentally getting his first big league win)? A shaving cream pie in the face from Todd Jones. It seems hardly enough, but in the locker room after the game he certainly seemed more than happy. If it is good enough for him, it must be good enough for us.
Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so happy to have their hair full of shaving cream. Either that or he’s got a ridiculously huge smile as his default. It’s a very nice smile, and I could get used to seeing it quite often, in conjunction with well-pitched Tigers wins. I would like it to become automatic, Pavlovian; you know, we get to the point where we see the tender 10 year old Jurrjens win so much that just seeing him smile makes us start thinking that we’re in for a win. Classical conditioning of BASEBALL JOY.
Also joyful: Comerica’s reaction when Zumaya came into the game. It was actually a little unfortunate, because he was coming onto the field at the exact same time that Jurrjens was leaving it. So I’m sure people were applauding for Jurrjens and the fact that he had almost thrown a freakin’ no-hitter, going up against Fausto freakin’ Carmona, but most people were going crazy for Zoom. A little unfortunate for the kid.
It was decidedly good to see proof that Zoom was alive and moving and capable of throwing a baseball without any connective tissues exploding on the spot. I’ve missed his crazy fist pumping and his hard-headed confidence in his fastball and his eagerness to play (but not his giant chin squirrel. I mean it. What IS that thing, a fungus? a parasite?). He might have been a little TOO eager to play… I quote, from his postgame interview:
I was a little antsy… in the 5th inning I couldn’t stop walking around. So I drank a Red Bull. It made it worse.
No, Joel, REALLY? I never would have suspected that a concentrated energy drink would hype you up even more when you’re already hyperactive. Good brainwork there, kiddo.
I have to say that Leyland’s bullpen management was not immediately pleasing to me, though. I get it: he wanted Jurrjens (who is after all only 8 years old) out on a high note and this wasn’t guaranteed with the way he was giving out walks and the closeness of the score (and the unlikelihood of us touching up Carmona again), and he wanted Zoom available tomorrow if need be (hence the single batter he faced). But taking Jurrjens out so early meant that we used three relievers where the Racist Logos didn’t use any, and I think we probably could have gotten away with two.
Obviously it worked out this time, but it was the kind of management that probably would’ve been blogged to shreds if we had lost. Taking out a starter who’s pitching that well, even if he’s an infant tiger cub still being groomed by the raspy tongue of his mother-tiger, just to get Zoom in there so he doesn’t gnaw off his own hand out in the bullpen and hopefully grab a quick out while he’s avoiding just that…. it just doesn’t seem like something you want to be doing.
So saith Mr. Leyland, after the game, on the subject of Zoom’s outing:
[We wanted to] get him in, get him out, get his seat wet a little bit.
Get his seat wet a little bit? Someone care to explain?? Cause if this is a comment on Zoom’s bum sweat, I am not going to be happy.