the Tigers have a problem and that problem's name is BULLPEN


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.
ZERO OUTS.

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.

Sigh. Whatever.

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!

8 responses to “the Tigers have a problem and that problem's name is BULLPEN

  1. I thought Leyland was going to start cutting some b**tches, seriously. I was afraid for Angel Hernandez’s life.

  2. Why do the Tigers not try pitching Brandon Inge as a reliever or some thing? gawd, anything at this point…. grrr my hatred of relievers grows. Bring back dead armed Jonesy at least he can throw strikes.
    We drafted a ton of college relievers this year right? Will any of them be ready for next year… I sure hope so.

  3. Yeah, to all the Todd Jones haters out there, remember that you wanted a post-Todd Jones world, and this is what it looks like.
    And let’s not forget that there is one game with the Wrong Sox that will likely not be made up, so there will be no dead-even .500… We will either go 11-0 to end the season 81-80, or else we’re going to be under .500. However, this does help us in the drive to avoid 90 losses, because instead of needing to go 3-9 to do so, we only need to go 2-9. At the rate we’re going, a 2-9 finish seems like a damn miracle.

  4. Paul, I would love to see Inge pitch so much that I cannot even express it. This needs to happen. Why the hell not?? What do we have to lose? At least we can get creative with the end of the season, right?
    Jeff, I cannot even make myself care about avoiding 90 losses. The .500 thing was like the last plateau before the sheer cliff dive into sulking.

  5. The hurting stops when the regular season is over. Just a few more weeks…

  6. ivan, so did I! If he’d had a knife on his person that blade woulda been UTILIZED and there would’ve been an INCIDENT. Guess it’s a good thing we don’t let Leyland carry knives on the field.
    David, no, see, that’s when the hurting gets worse, because there are fewer things to distract me from the Wolverines/Lions/Tom Brady’s busted knee…

  7. I’ve always assumed Lions fans were victims of Stockholm Syndrome.

  8. Well. That’s probably the only explanation that makes sense.

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