photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Hey there folks and felines, hope you all had a good weekend! I’m back from the Cape, where all my expectations for the vacation came true (i.e. there was fun baseball, there was good food, I managed to get a terrible sunburn despite SPF 70 sunscreen). I saw bits and pieces of the Red Sox games during that time, but no Tigers games. I see that we lost three out of four, which does NOT make me happy, but at least they managed to salvage the Sunday game and head into the break with a win. That’s something. I guess.
A much bigger something is the apparent Kitten Power, which has taken over Matt Joyce with its radiant fuzzy awesomeness. Remember, Joyce rescued a kitten right before the July 8 game. In the 5 games since then he has homered 4 times. He had homered 5 times in the previous 29 games.
There can be only one explanation, and that explanation is kittens. OBVIOUSLY.
Going into the break, things are looking up, kind of, sort of, maybe. The Tigs are playing with more consistency than they did in, say, May. Verlander is starting to look like he’s less freaked out by his own pitch counts. Zoom is back and throwing hard. Inge is back and able to spell Pudge behind the plate again. Jonesy is as elastic of spirit as ever. A bunch of cats who were batting in really atrocious ways to begin the season have started hiking their averages back up around the .280-.300 range. Granderson’s hitting lefties on occasion. The River Thames has been stupidly fun to watch. Maggs is starting his rehab assignment at West Michigan on Monday. Dolsi has been unexpectedly good. Cabrera has been earning his keep of late.
We’re 7 games out of first, 5.5 games behind the second place Twins. We’re squatting squarely on top of .500. We only have one player going to exhaust himself at the All Star game festivities.
Of course things are not nearly as good as they could be. Guillen makes terrible throws from third almost as often as he makes spectacular stops. Arrrrrrrmando does not seem like he’s on a sustainable path. Zoom can’t throw anything BUT a fastball. We don’t actually have a 5th starter and we are NOT a team that can scrape by with grit and guile and 4 starters. Edgar Renteria exists. All the obliques are rebelling against their human hosts. We are, y’know, 7 games out of first and clinging tenuously to a .500 record.
These are fairly big problems, but then I remember Matt Joyce and his kitten– his KITTEN POWER! It really has given him magical ability, or something. Ability to make amazing dives (hopefully EVENTUALLY ability to read the ball correctly off the bat and move into the proper direction), ability to hit the baseball. It is a beautiful thing.
The Home Run Derby is tomorrow, and the ASG is Tuesday, for your apathetic and bored viewing pleasure. Real baseball resumes Thursday in Baltimore at 7 pm. I’m actually planning (weather permitting, as always) to be at the Orioles/Tigers games that Saturday and Sunday, so if you’re gonna be there, drop me a line!
Go AL (insert reluctant and subdued cheer here), and go Tigers!