Fernando takes the closing reins, much to our potential horror.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Holy cats, even when we win we find ourselves assaulted by ridiculous difficulties. Difficulties such as THE ENTIRE BULLPEN. Let’s sum it up, in the not-necessarily chronological order in which I remember things:

1. Todd Jones has had a difficult and traumatic July, with his three blown saves all coming in recent times. Despite the fact that he has not actually blown more saves than, say, Jonathan Papelbon, Jonesy’s blown saves look so much worse because his overall numbers are uniformly scrod vomit. It is hard to understand how a professional baseball player at the closer position can have a 1.54 WHIP and be more or less successful, but that’s Rollercoaster Jones for ya: his career average WHIP is around 1.41, and he still manages to average about 22 saves per season, with only around 5 blown saves each year.

I know that the save is a kind of useless and certainly often arbitrary stat, but that’s still freakin’ weird.

2. Simultaneously because of and in spite of all that, the Rollercoaster has now been ousted from his closer role in the bullpen and that role has been (temporarily?) given to FERNANDO RODNEY.

3. (twenty seconds of uninterrupted shrill screaming)

4. Fernando has a better WHIP than Jonesy does. He’s more of a strikeout pitcher than Jonesy is. Opposing batters are OPSing slightly worse against him than they do against Jonesy.

5. Fernando has a history of psyching himself out; maybe the worst quality a closer could have that’s not a concrete pitching attribute. Fernando has a worse ERA than Jonesy, although to be fair this is partly a relic of his epically bad numbers coming off the DL and ERA is a ween of a stat anyways. Fernando has a history of repetitive muscle injury. Fernando has a beard that would make ancient Egyptian pharaohs huff in jealousy.

6. Freddy Dolsi has so far managed to avoid the DL, but was temporarily ‘unavailable’ due to ‘shoulder fatigue’, perhaps because, ever since he has come up, Leyland has used him ‘all the time’. He now claims he’s feeling better but this nebulous ‘shoulder fatigue’ will probably ‘recur’ if he continues to be ‘overused’ because that’s what ‘shoulder fatigue’ does.

7. Zoom had to leave the game today with ‘right triceps tightness’. That’s the back of your arm, like the opposite side of your biceps. Obviously it’s good that this isn’t his shoulder, and it could very well just be a cramp, twinge, whatever. It is still not great and I will nervously hope like heck that it’s not any kind of inflammation/tendonitis/SNEAKY ARM-OBLIQUES.

This is just so very much not what we needed right now. The Fernando-to-closer move smacks of irrational panic to me, and while I am aesthetically all in favor of irrational panic, I prefer to see it treated hilariously in blogs and on message boards and among fans, not among people ACTUALLY IN CHARGE OF THE TEAM. The Dolsi and Zoom pitching-stress-type injuries are just the sour icing on the Boo Yah, Fate Hates You and Your Bullpen! cake.

Tomorrow we pop on over to the no-longer-Jake to take on The Racist Logo. Gametime at 7:05 pm EDT. Kenny vs. misspelled avian. Go Tigers!

8 responses to “Fernando takes the closing reins, much to our potential horror.

  1. At least Cleveland is not, you know, intimidating this season. And also traded away Casey Darned Blake who always seemed to come up with big hits against the Tigers.

  2. Seriously? You aren’t happy to be done with TMFRCJ? After that monumental implosion, in the series that only people on the Tiger’s staff perpetually refused to acknowledge was HUGE even though to anyone with a brain it obviously WAS, it is the only decision left. Personally I have had enough of his ineptitude, and I don’t care who they throw out there in his stead, we will all be better off for it. Kudos to Leyland for making the right decision at the right time, for once. Now only if we could get him to sit Sheff and play Marcus…

  3. I want Jonesy back. Jonesy usually gets the job done. I think he was just having a bad run… granted he probably needs a mini break before resuming his traditional duties. The White Sox just seemed to have our number this weekend.
    If we hadn’t pulled out that last game I know a lot of Tiger fans that would have been preparing to commit honorable seppuku to spare them the rest of this season.
    We have the Sox coming up again soon and we can still get real healthy against the neutered Indians while the Sox get beat up by the evil Twinkies.
    *more crossed paws*

  4. k, yeah, Blake has historically been pretty good against the Tigs. The Indians did get interesting prospects back, but at least they won’t do much right now.
    Phil, for one thing, we certainly aren’t ‘done’ with the Rollercoaster. Heck, he’s on closer duty tomorrow if the need should arise. It’s not like he’s being trundled off to Toledo and it’s not like Leyland isn’t going to pitch him; he’s just (presumably) going to pitch him in different situations.
    For another, while Jonesy is one of THE most frustrating late-game pitchers to watch (I don’t think anyone will dispute that), and while I’ll flail about and squeal and swear incoherently with the best of ’em while he’s on the mound, he has not actually hurt the Tigers, as a team, all that much, nor has he pitched too far off from his career usual… which would indicate that this is not flukey relative success.
    Could we have a better closer? ‘Course we could. I don’t think anybody is trying to tout the Rollercoaster as the best closer in the game right now. But is he THAT much better than Fernando? Maybe right now, in the short run, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens when Fernando gets himself into one of his inexplicable slumps where he can’t throw his change for beans, or his tendonitis comes roaring back, or his oblique falls off, or whatever.
    I’m not convinced that it’s as great a move as some people seem to think– it seems great from an ‘O HOLY CATS TODD JONES’ panic perspective, which is a fine and right perspective for most fans to take, but I’m surprised to see the FO falling prey to it as well.

  5. So depressed about Jonesy. And holy crap, RODNEY?! Of all people, RODNEY?! To whose name I add a certain word now used as Bucky Dent’s middle name? He makes me wayyyyy more nervous than Jonesy. Whatever the numbers are, it seems like Jonesy more often than not just makes you think he’ll blow it and attempts to give you heart attacks before saving everything with a little grin like “Juuuust kidding!” Rodney just blows it. Here’s hoping this Rodney as closer thing is short lived.

  6. ivantopumpyouup

    I’m actually kind of pleased about Rodney. I think the first two games of the series broke my brain.
    Also I love this blog. Fernando has a beard that would make ancient Egyptian pharaohs huff in jealousy. That set me off for a good twenty seconds, while everyone else was screaming shrilly.

  7. So I guess I wasn’t the only one who saw Zumaya walk off the field and thought, “Holy cats, he didn’t injure his oblique, did he?”

  8. the white sox make me want to cry. In Anger.

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