photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Woo hoo! Two game winning streak! Yeah yeah YEAH! It’s just like we’re a REAL ballclub!
If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be THIS happy about something as simple as a two game winning streak, I would have called you a crazy person. Yet there it is: Roar of the Tigers is all aglow with happiness and good cheer over this little mini series sweep. Sad? For sure. There’s still the chance that we’ll look back on this in July and nod smartly about it being the start of a feline resurgence, though, so… who knows. Certainly the fans have had an expectation adjustment just as severe as the one the players went through.
The good news is that the offense started looking like the offense that, well, we expected to see this season. Sheffield, Maggs, Guillen, and Cabrera all homered (Cabrera’s, if you didn’t see it, was MASSIVE). Pudge walked and stole a base, which is not necessarily what we expect out of him, oh, ever, but is something he’s been doing more and more often these days. Maybe we all should send him letters telling him how much we approve of this. Positive reinforcement!
The general sentiment ’round these parts (me and you commentin’ lot) has been that the offense will turn itself around, that it is practically impossible for the offense to NOT turn itself around. Games like this one are why we Believe. We can SEE the pieces in place. Hopefully now the team can see them too.
More good news comes in the form of the bullpen, which did not attempt to destroy our souls with a terrible blight of sickness and rage. Aquilino Lopez managed an inning’s worth of goodness (do we think it’s gonna last with this kid? ‘Cause he’s been pretty consistently good so far in a bullpen that has pretty consistently NOT) and Clay Rapada got two outs for his very first big league win. He looked all verklempt in his postgame interview, revealing that Verlander had grabbed one of the game balls for him and that he was going to give it to his parents. All together now: awwwww.
Of course Todd Jones made the save AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE before eking it out. I know that all offseason, as soon as we learned that Jonesy would be closing again this year, I joked about laying in a supply of your favorite medicinal cardiac aid, har har etc., but holy freaking cats, practically every time he comes in now I have the opportunity to remember it all anew and end the game in a curled-up ball on my couch, making weak whimpering noises. I get that, by and large, it works for him, and that it has worked for him for a number of years now, but seriously, holy cats.
The bad news (cats forbid we get through a game without bad news) is that Nate had to leave the game after tweaking his lat. In his postgame interview, he didn’t seem too concerned:
I don’t anticipate missing a start… I don’t think I’ll let something like that take me out.
Leyland didn’t seem overly worried either. And while I appreciate their optimism– really! honest! do!– I have a hard time subscribing to it. Our starting rotation is super shaky right now with Dontrelle out and everyone else needing to take all kinds of pressure off the bullpen. Nate at anything less than 100% is not really something I want to contemplate. The lat is a dicey muscle for a pitcher too, because it’s involved in so many motions and can be hard to rest, hard to ignore if it isn’t right, and easy to keep injuring over and over again. Hopefully this was just a little cool-weather tightness or something, and not much of an actual strain.
Tonight it’s Armando Galarraga vs. CC Sabathia, so…. o boy. Hold onto your fur, kids and kittens.