now THAT is how to start a Tigers season


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Let us forget the first game of the season. Yes. Wipe it from our minds. I vote that we instead make the home opener the official first game. Don’t you think that would be much more appropriate? In case you have forgotten:

season opener (road)
–Justin Verlander gently sobs, goes 3.2 innings, gives up 8 runs
–Juan Rincon secures a 27.00 ERA for himself
–two Tigers errors, including one from a player acquired specifically for his defense (Everett)
–game delay as rowdy fans throw things onto the field
–damn Canada
–loss, 12-5

home opener
–Armando Galarraga goes 7 innings, gives up 1 run, strikes out a career-high 8
–all three opposing pitchers made to feel very bad about themselves
–Miguel Cabrera hits a grand slam, has 6 RBI on the day
–Detroit fans do nothing to impede the game in any way
–win, 15-2

Yes, I do believe I know which game I will be choosing to remember.

We could not have Verlander start this game because he had ‘earned’ the ‘honor’ of opening the season proper. We could not have little Frederick start this game because he is seven years old. We could not have Zach Miner start this game because he is Zach Miner. Armando was the only option, and he rose to the challenge admirably. Gloriously. With strikeouts and dramatically stern facial expressions. He should have had a cape attached to his jersey, so that he could swirl it for effect after each K. It could be navy blue velvet with a giant Olde English D on the back in white. If this would not making pitching so much more difficult I would petition for its addition to Armando’s uniform RIGHT NOW.

Maybe he gets an extra kick out of showing Texas how wrongity-wrong-wrong they were to trade him away? I support your quest for revenge through better living, Armando!

Miguel Cabrera also had a game of glory. Although I wouldn’t expect him to remain on precisely this pace (11 hits and 3 homers in 5 games), it is more likely that he will continue to hit than, say, Inge (although Inge was 1-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 walks today, so… shut up!).

The crowning touch, of course, was the fourth inning grand slam, which came with two outs in the inning. Magglio had just struck out, and the Tigers had stranded a whole bunch of cats on the bases in the previous inning, so I was all set to write 500 incoherent words about leaving men on base and how it’s bad for the environment or something. The Puma to the rescue!

After Cabrera’s grand slam:

Rod Allen: I’m gonna go out on a limb here, podner.
Mario Impemba: MVP?
Rod: Player of the Week!
Mario: Ha ha, that’s not a very long limb!
Rod: I’m gonna write it on my ballot!

I missed Rod Allen this winter, I will not lie. Orestes Destrade helped to fill some of the void, but it is like two different but equally delicious flavors of ice cream. The presence of one is enjoyable, but at the end of the day if you have a hankering for mint chocolate chip, you’re still gonna want that mint chocolate chip.

Rod was also in fine form during last night’s game:

“[Michael] Barrett’s putting down a series of signs, I’m not smart enough to know what they are. Not yet!”

After a Brandon League pitch that went to the backstop, Rod said that the catcher had no chance at all to get the ball, none: “N-U-N, none!”

Actually I guess that I should mention yesterday’s game too, as it was Frederick’s major league debut, and it’s a big deal when a seven year old kid makes it this far, this fast. I thought he looked OK. Not spectacular, but also not terrified out of his Pampers. He seemed to have a little trouble getting his offspeed stuff to consistently do what he wanted it to do, which to be quite honest reminded me of the first couple times Verlander got called up. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

He gave up a couple of home runs and he needed an awful lot of pitches (89) to get through 5 innings, but he only walked one guy. The Jays’ starter gave up 2 runs; Porcello gave up 4, but one of those was an inherited runner that Nate brought home. So, I don’t know. I still think it will all end in tears, but I was grudgingly, mildly impressed by his first outing.

Two 1:05 pm starts this weekend, I suppose to try to maximize the exposure of the ballplayers to sunlight, so that Detroit does not kill them with its usual seasonal weather. Verlander on Saturday, Jackson on Sunday. Here’s hoping that Jackson repeats his prior performance, and Verlander does not.

10 responses to “now THAT is how to start a Tigers season

  1. Frederick … I love it. Have you been calling him that all along?
    Also, did you notice this weird thing Armando does with his mouth? He pulls his jaw back into his throat and makes this open mouthed grimace, as if he’s eating the soul of the Ranger he just struck out. I saw him do it twice. Combine that with the fact that I’ve never seen the man smile, and … I believe we have one DEEPLY DISTURBED INDIVIDUAL on our hands.
    I don’t know, Samara, seemed like the kind of thing you’d notice.

  2. ivantopumpyouup

    He’s smiling here!

  3. I stand corrected.
    Maybe he was just cracking his jaw.

  4. That smile is the smile of a sated soul devourer. Armando demands yummy meta-physical nourishment.
    Oh boy, does this win brighten things up! Especially since the Rangers mugged the Cleveland Baseball Club something fierce.

  5. Love this blog!
    I believe the Armando picture where he’s smiling may be after he has consumed the life essence of a foe.

  6. That was one of the best games I have even been at and I think the most runs the Tigers have ever scored when I was at a game.
    The pictures that I took:
    http://s110.photobucket.com/albums/n119/bowling255/tigers/Tigers%20April%2010%202009/

  7. I agree wholeheartedly. Do you think we could petition Selig and have the first four games struck from the record? Or, at least games 1, 2, and 4?
    I was in the car for part of the game today and heard Jim Price and Dan Dickerson talking about how excited Armando was at the thought of pitching on Opening Day. All I could think was “Bless his little heart!”

  8. Oh, it was so nice to have a good opener. I’m glad the weather is going to be pleasant all weekend long so our cats’ bats won’t freeze out there.
    Let’s keep it up and run down those Twinkies in the standings fast!

  9. We’re in first!

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