photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
I got home from the Red Sox game just in time to see Fernando Rodney having a gastrointestinal incident out on the mound. Seriously, just poop everywhere. He obviously had little to no control, bowel or ball or otherwise. Just every kind of poop you can imagine, being excreted by Fernando in a sickeningly public fashion. Have some shame, Fernando! Or we will be forced to shame you.
This was especially discouraging because, despite the inherent hilarity of the initial pitching matchup, Eddie Bonine really DID put up a damn good fight against Greg Maddux. I mean, insert cheap age/length of MLB career comparison joke here, but Bonine did what we asked of him, and did it well enough to make winning a possibility, which is really the upper end of what we should expect from a pitcher like him, in his situation. I know he was pitching in Petco, and Petco is a hundred million miles wide, but his last start– where he gave up 6 runs– was in Comerica, and Comerica is also known for its vast yawning dimensions.
So I am pleasantly surprised by his performance here: 7 IP, 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. That’s a quality start, and definitely comparable to Maddux’s day: 7 IP, 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk. Watch out, Hall of Fame, Eddie Bonine’s lookin’ in your direction!
After Eddie’s feel-good-ish performance, the Tigers tied it up on a Placido Polanco home run, which is always a wacky thing to see, because Polanco chokes so far up on the bat that for him to hit something out of the park, well, you can usually assume that the pitch was, as Leyland would say, horses**t. So that made the whole thing even MORE feel-good-ish. Yaaaay, kittens and rainbows, etc.
Then came Fernando.
Do you know what his ERA is right now? 135.00. That is not a typo.
I understand Leyland’s reasoning: if a guy is up with the big club Leyland is not going to baby him, he’s going to use him in tough situations, because why else would the guy be up? OK, and ideally it would be true– if someone wasn’t able to handle tough situations, just send that cad back down to AAA and call up someone who CAN handle tough situations, because if a fellow can’t handle a little pressure, why, he shouldn’t be in the majors!
I get that, I really really do, but in the Real World, the one with Fernando Rodney in it, that’s not how it works. Fernando is up with the big club, and he absolutely cannot be put in pressure situations right now, or at any point in the immediate future. His control out there was A SERIOUS LOT OF DUNG, and the Tigers have paid for it with two losses– which, I might unnecessarily add, we cannot in any way afford, not after we spent the first two months of the season digging ourselves a Comerica park-sized hole.
On the plus side, it was good to see Zoom back and throwing 100mph still. Although he too was not spectacular, he also came into a really cruddy situation (bases loaded, no outs; Fernando came into a clean inning) and managed to not give up any runs of his own (he did let two out of his three inherited runners score). The velocity, as I said, was there, and he was mixing in his offspeed stuff freely. His location was a little spotty but infinitely better than Fernando’s. Not that that would be difficult. In any event, he looked like he was in a good place, and hopefully he’ll be able to work his way back to his usual self with minimal drama.
The Wrong Sox lost today, so at least there’s that. Go Cubbies!
Tomorrow Nate Robertson goes up against a dude who has not even been a starter for most the season. Somehow we will probably find a way to make him look heroic. It’s another 10 pm start, because obviously that’s what you want to do with your Saturday night. Go Tigers!