photo by Samara Pearlstein
I don’t know how many of you bothered staying up to watch all of this one, but Fernando Rodney did make his return to the majors at some point after midnight EDT. It was…. not pretty. I’m going to assume a lot of you were in fact happily snoozing through it, so I’ll explain what happened.
Verlander went 6, giving up 3 runs (only 2 earned). He struck out 7 and walked 1. Even though he had thrown 98 pitches through 6, he probably could have come out for the 7th if not for the fact that this was a National League game, thus played under a strange and imaginary set of rules. In the top of the 7th, with Pudge on third and the game tied, Michael Hollimon came up and made an out. Hollimon was batting 8th, so Verlander had been ready in the dugout, helmet on and everything (cheap laughs for all, as is ever the case with AL pitchers in batting gear), but with the Tigers needing to score as badly as they did, he was sent back to the bench and Edgah went out to pinch hit in his stead.
Now, Edgah did manage to sacrifice Pudge in for a run (although even this was dicey– Pudge had to slide past a backwards tag by a Molina at the plate, and although he was called safe, FSN replays sure made it look like Molina had managed to catch a bit of Pudge’s jersey), but if Hollimon had done it instead, Verlander almost certainly would have been allowed to go out there and make a fool of himself at the plate, and he would have started the next inning. As you read about the wreck that this game went on to become, just bear that in mind.
With Verlander out and the Tigers up by only a single run, Leyland brought in Freddy ‘Hot Sexy Pitching That’s Just Waiting for the League to Adjust’ Dolsi, who has been pitched so much lately that even the biggest Leyland fanboys are starting to mumble nervously about overuse. He got through the 7th just fine and with not that many pitches, so Leyland ran him out there for the 8th. Questionable? Maybe. But there it is.
Dolsi put a couple of guys on in the 8th, which is not that surprising, given the amount of work he’s had lately and the laws of baseballian averages and all that. With the left-batting John Bowker coming up, Leyland pulled Dolsi and put on…. Fernando Rodney. Mind you, Casey Fossum (A LEFTY) had been warming up alongside Fernando, and was at least as warm as he was. To be fair, that’s totally a Monday morning quarterback kinda thing to say, because at the time it did not seem like such an awful idea to bring Fernando in. He was fresh and pumped up and his last outing in the minors was apparently very very good, even if some of the outings he’d had just before it were not so hot.
Fernando made Bowker look like a whiffing fool on a couple of offspeed pitches, threw him a fastball high and outside for the heck of it, then hung a changeup too high and voila! Three run homer (2 runs charged to poor Dolsi).
He gave up two more runs on more mundane hits, getting a single out in the process, before Leyland finally hooked him. Fossum got the last out of the inning easily, all oh hey, yeah, you know, I was just over there, being warmed up, not giving up three run homers. Just sayin’. You know.
Welcome back, Fernando!
On the positive side of this game, The River Thames continued to hit the snotseams out of the baseball, blasting TWO home runs off of little Timmy Lincecum and sending Rod Allen into paroxysms of glee. I love Tigers home runs as much as the next cat, and I find Thames’ power as much fun to watch as anyone, but Rod Allen has SERIOUS all-consuming manlust for Marcus, or at the very least for his bat. We’re all happy when The River goes yard, but Rod absolutely LOST HIS KIBBLES, even busting out a “country strong” on us.
It is also worth nothing that The River’s last 7 hits have all been home runs. Weird, and weirdly compelling.
Tomorrow Kenny goes up against some kid with a boatload of Ks to his name. It’s at 10 pm again and will contain the hilarity of Kenny Rogers batting, so it should be marginally less than awful. Go Tigers!