photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Aside from, you know, all the many other problems the Detroit Tigers have right now.
We were leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. I know that two runs is not a huge, wildly safe lead, but CATDAMN FERNANDO, ARE WE CALLING YOU A CLOSER OR NOT? And if we ARE, then THIS IS WHERE YOU CLOSE OUT THE GAME. Catdammiiiiiiiiiit.
This is the third time in as many days that the bullpen has blown a game in a big, huge, explosive, heart-wrenching way. These are not your garden variety blown games. These are EPIC blown games, where first you get way high up with happiness and the thought of a win, and at the last moment it is all cruelly snatched away.
Today Zach Miner allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits in 7.1 innings. He walked one and struck out three. He pitched a great game. He deserved to get a win. The bats, although once again suffering from the Extra Base Hit Allergy, managed to put the Tigs up by two runs. Miner’s win seemed possible… probable, even.
Fernando came in to pitch the 9th inning. This is how it went:
Michael Young walks. Jim Leyland objects MOST strenuously. More on this later. Zero outs.
Josh Hamilton singles, moving Young to second. Zero outs.
Marlon Byrd triples. Young and Hamilton both score. Game now tied. Zero outs.
Fernando intentionally walks Hank Blalock. Zero outs.
Fernando intentionally walks Nelson Cruz. Blalock to second. Bases loaded. General confusion about this strategy. Zero outs.
Chris Davis singles to deep left. Byrd scores. Walkoff win, Rangers.
Fernando blew the save, took the loss, gave up three runs on three hits and three walks, and DID NOT RECORD A SINGLE OUT. *insert variety of vomiting noises here*
I don’t like many things going into next season, but the bullpen situation has to be near the top of that list.
As for Jim Leyland, well, he thought that Young had struck out to start the inning. He admitted that the rest of the suck in the game was fully the fault of the Tigers, but he did not agree with that Young walk call. He was so angry that, after the game, he came out of the dugout and looked like he was going after the homeplate ump, screaming and gesticulating wildly and having to be restrained by the rest of the umpiring crew and eventually herded away by his own coaches.
From the postgame interview:
Shouldn’t have been a leadoff walk. Everbody thought Michael Young was struck out, including Michael Young. He was walking back to the dugout. Michael Young was struck out. Clearly. Clearly.
That has nothing to do with… that gives us no excuse for losing the ballgame, but Michael Young was struck out. Period.
We didn’t close it out. That’s been the story all year long. We just haven’t done enough… in the bullpen.
I mean I’m upset we lost the ballgame. I don’t put the blame anywhere, I’m just saying when you earn something you should get it and Michael Young was struck out… [stuff about how we lost the game and didn’t earn to win and he’s not saying we did]. In my opinion Michael Young should not have been on. Michael Young was walking to the dugout because he thought he was struck out, because he was.
The Race to .500!
Screw the wins, we have only 1 loss left to spare. Oh humble dreams of mediocrity, I can feel you slipping… slipping away…
Wednesday. 8:05pm EDT. Freddy Garcia in his first big league start since early June 2007 vs. Dustin Nippert the Tall. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow afternoon. It will probably be more fun. Go Tigers!