Kitten Power gets the Tigers to the All Star break


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!

10 responses to “Kitten Power gets the Tigers to the All Star break

  1. Leslie Monteiro

    Verlander was the only Tiger that showed up this weekend. The rest left a lot to be desired.
    The Tigers need to cut their ties with Sheff. He is done especially since he is not using steroids anymore.
    I think FSN Detroit has the best coverage when it comes to baseball. I love listening to Mario and Rod. They are great announcers. They have lot of respect for the Twins unlike the White Sox announcers. They have fun doing baseball. They just do their homework on the other teams. They are great. You folks are lucky. I wish the Twins announcers were that good.
    I post at Motown Sports, and it seems fans are calling for the head of Dombrowski and Leyland. Dombrowski is now called Dumbrowski and Leyland is considered “senile” Is it time for a change?

  2. ivantopumpyouup

    it seems fans are calling for the head of Dombrowski and Leyland. Dombrowski is now called Dumbrowski and Leyland is considered ìsenileî Is it time for a change?
    Thank God fans don’t run the team. Everyone thinks they can run the team better than who’s in charge, but Leyland and Dombrowski are the professionals. I trust they know what they’re doing. Plus, Dombrowski helped put together a team that got to the World Series. He’s got at least two more years just from that alone.
    Also, I really want to find out if Matt Joyce kept the kitten, and if he named it.

  3. Leslie is right; the White Sox announcers are unbelievably bad. I too enjoy Rod and Mario.
    There is no reason for people to flip out about Dombrowski and Leyland. I would make no changes there; if I could do anything, I would undo the Renteria deal.
    Love the photo.

  4. Clearly, that black kitty sees the puck on the roof of the Hockeytown Cafe and thinks it’s a can of tuna.

  5. Damn, Sam… I’m going to be in Baltimore Friday night, but not Saturday nor Sunday. Maybe next time. Always love your blog, and it’s clear that rescuing kittens is never a bad thing. And the Wrong Sox ever winning any game is always a bad thing (because a kitten dies… won’t anyone think of the kittens?).

  6. Leslie, not too many people at motownsports are calling Dombrowski “Dumbrowski”. People didn’t like the Renteria trade and the Willis extension but most think he is a very good GM. More people are complaining about Leyland but I think that’s because most fans complain about managers when the team doesn’t win enough.

  7. Leslie, Gary’s having an awful July, but he had a tolerable June after he came back from the DL. I certainly agree that at his age the likelihood of him rebounding is not so good, but there’s still a chance. Rod and Mario are about 5,000,000 times better than the Wrong Sox announcers, but that’s not saying much, most announcing teams are better than the Hawk.
    People who are calling for the heads of Dombrowski and Leyland are panicking. No GM is going to make 100 great deals out of every 100, not even Billy Beane does that. And Leyland is doing the best he can with the team he’s got. It’s not his fault that guys are getting injured/old. I do think he’s riding his pitchers a little harder than he should– for instance I think Dolsi has been occasionally overused– but in some cases (*cough*Verlander*cough*) there’s nothing he can do about it.
    ivan, IIRC the team got some animal rescue people to take the kitten. Which is a little disappointing, but probably makes more sense.
    Leshnock, exactly. The Renteria thing was taking a flyer on the guy… nobody really knew if his problems were with the AL or just with Boston. It backfired. There was always a chance it was going to do that. It would be nice to take that back. And it’s easy to say that we’d like all the minor league guys we traded to the Marlins back, but Dontrelle was always going to be the throw-in on that deal, and I think Cabrera has shown that he can hit, so I dunno why people would whine too much about that.
    Ian, wouldn’t it be a can of octopus bits? :P
    Aw, Jeff, that’s too bad. Cats passing in the night. Or somethin’.
    Lee, I was gonna say… I haven’t been around the ‘board that much lately, but that doesn’t really sound like the MotownSports I know and love. Usually people are pretty intelligent about this kinda thing over there.

  8. Leslie Monteiro

    Motown Sports is a great board. I love going there. I post there often. The thing is with the Tigers winning the last few years, expectations have changed. It’s a championship or bust. When the Tigers lose, it hasn’t been pretty, Samara.

  9. Matt Joyce has been named The AL Player of the Week!!!!

  10. Leslie, what’s a Twins fan doing posting all the time at a Tigers board? :P And honestly, the only people who have the ‘championship or bust’ mindset this season are people who have not been paying attention all season. This is a ‘.500 or bust’ season at the moment.
    Kevin, richly deserved, for batting and for kittens. :)

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