photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
So what do we think Jimmy Gobble did to Trey Hillman? Ran over his foot with a golf cart? Spilled ketchup on his favorite shirt? Slept with his wife? He must’ve done SOMETHING to make his coach swear bloody revenge, because the way he left Gobble out there to flounder today (not to mix bird and fish metaphors) just smacked of pure sadism.
Rod and Mario were saying that it was a message thing, like Hillman was trying to tell Gobble, “Welp, I know yer havin’ problems, kid, but you gotta figger ’em out eventually, so here ya go.” That makes sense, to a point, but the point to which it makes sense is somewhere before the ten run mark. That’s right: 10 runs.
If you missed the shenanigans, Gobble pitched the equivalent of one inning (one out in the 7th, two outs in the 8th) and gave up ten runs, ALL EARNED, on seven hits and four walks. Yeeee-owch. That’s a mighty big egg to lay. We’re talkin’ not just turkey egg (gobble!), we’re talkin’ more like ostrich egg. And Hillman just left him out there to suffer, as the inning dragged on and on and on, through 14 batters and 45 pitches. Fourteen batters in one inning. Zach Miner only faced 21 batters in six innings.
Speaking of Miner, though, there’s a pitcher who very much did NOT lay an egg! He came up I think earlier this same day and somehow still managed to pitch his way to a quality start. Six innings, three hits, one walk, no runs? Yes please! His sinker wasn’t quite as heavy as it usually is– there weren’t nearly as many groundball outs as is usual for him– but he was effective nonetheless. The fact that he gave up only the single walk is maybe the most encouraging thing, because the last time we saw Miner, he was giving away free passes left and right. If he’s worked out his control issues (big ‘if’, as this was just one game, of course) then it’s possible our starting pitching situation is no longer QUITE so dire.
Of course it’s still relatively dire, because Kenny and Nate have been having Serious Issues lately, but if Miner can step into the rotation at least we wouldn’t be trying to limp along with only four starters any longer.
Worryingly (see, I can’t stop worrying for more than a few seconds at a time), once the Tigers were up big Leyland put in Freddy Dolsi. This was/should have been a good move, because Dolsi has had a few rough outings in a row and blah blah confidence blah blah big cushion etc. He was OK in the 7th, but was undone by the long wait in the 8th, which is where the Tigers ran into the edible Jimmy Gobble and spent like half an hour batting. When Dolsi came out to pitch in the bottom of the 8th, he just fell to pieces and eventually Leyland had to go fetch him, because he wasn’t able to get even a single out.
No big deal so far as the game was concerned; he gave up some runs, but the Tigers had already scored 19 by that point, and Aquilino was able to finish it off fairly easily. VERY big deal for Dolsi himself, though. He’s now had a bunch of bad outings in a row and he can’t be feeling too good about life, the universe, and pitching at the moment. Hopefully he won’t psych himself out.
As for the bats… well, most everyone had a great day at the plate, most especially Matt Joyce (kitten power!), Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson, and Miguel Cabrera. But it seems kind of cheap to give too much attention to the bats when most of the scoring was very obviously the fault of the Royals pitching, and not a result of any particular hitting prowess.
Most hilarious moment of the game: Tony Pena Jr. pitching the last inning. He was brilliant! His arm slot was all over the damn place, but he actually had some respectable velocity (low 90s!) and a little movement, including something that sure as heck LOOKED like a legitimate curveball, which he managed to use to strike Pudge out looking. I was most favorably impressed. Cat knows he can’t hit right now, so maybe he’s got a future in this. Reverse Rick Ankiel?
Tuesday’s another 8:10 pm EDT start, pitting Kenny against Kyle Davies, who I still think is on the Braves. I don’t know why, but my brain is sort of stuck on him as a Brave, and no matter how many times I see him in a Royals uniform I still cannot shake his essential Braveness from my memory. WEIRD. Go Tigers!