photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
You know what was terrible about last night’s game?
What’s terrible is that Tim Byrdak pitched beautifully, better than most of us thought he could, LONGER than most of us thought he could (at 4 innings, the longest outing of his career, actually). He pretty much single-handedly salvaged the pitching aspect of the game. The terrible bit is that it won’t be remembered, because it comes at a time when people are talking about next year and what went wrong this year to keep us from playing in October.
Of course, if something insane happens and the Tigers DO somehow make it to the playoffs this season, this game will very much be remembered, and Tim Byrdak will be given his rightful due. While I refuse to say for sure that won’t happen (still…. in it…. mathematically!), I’m not exactly holding my breath, especially when even the manager is saying things like this:
“We have to win,” Leyland said. “I’m not going to get silly [about the chances], but I will tell you this: This club will play until the end, and we’re going to try to win as many games as we can. You can take that to the bank. Wherever that takes us is fine.”
It was in many other respects a good game: nice hitting for Granderson, Polanco, Pudge and Maggs (the usual suspects), some timely hitting from Inge, some unlikely but very welcome power from The Mayor, a relatively stress-free save for Jonesy.
Pudge caught his 2,055th game, which ties him with Gary Carter for third all-time. He got a nice round of applause from the fans when they announced that in the ballpark. It’s kind of funny to have Pudge get all these records and such with the Tigers, when he spent most of his career in Texas, and got his ring in Florida.
Really the only parts of this game we’d LIKE to forget are Jair Jurrjens’ outing, i.e. the disaster that forced Byrdak to put on his battle armor and march in all heroically, waving his broadsword at the Royals batters, and Marcus Thames’ fielding error. Six hits and 4 runs allowed by Jurrjens in 2.1 innings just isn’t pretty at all, especially not against the Royals. He didn’t walk anyone, which I guess is a plus, but he also didn’t strike anyone out. As for Thames, it’s just never fun to see Tigers committing errors, even if they don’t have a particularly toxic effect on the eventual outcome of the game.
With those being the only two really bad things, it is, like I said, a shame that this game won’t have more legs. Especially because of Byrdak. Poor guy. He mounts what is, to a mediocre middle reliever, a positively herculean effort, and all he gets are a few pats on the back.