photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Well, I guess we know one creature who will be pleased with Bondo’s return outing.
I don’t know what I expected. Fewer homeruns probably would have been a nice place to start. I’m not trying to put undue pressure on Bondo or anything, but, you know… three homers in four innings. Kind of a lot. I’m just saying.
Bondo was coming off of eight days’ rest, which probably wasn’t such a hot idea. His velocity was down, which was at least expected; his fastball tonight was sitting in the high 80s/very low 90s, when it normally hovers in the low-to-mid 90s. Before the game even started he had talked about throwing more changeups, partly because everyone and their pot-bellied pig knew that his velocity still wasn’t up to par. Great idea, I thought. He’s always needed to diversify his pitch armament in the worst way and maybe this whole injury thing will finally force him to do so. And it makes sense to rely less on a fastball when you know your usual fastball speed won’t be there. Maybe he’ll struggle with a pitch he’s less comfortable throwing on a regular basis, but in general I approve of this plan.
Then he went ahead and threw a ton of fastballs during the actual game. Cue horror, dismay, destruction, buildings exploding, cars running off the roads, goats being born with eight legs, etc. All three homers came off of fastballs, for whatever it’s worth.
Possibly the bit about the increased reliance on changeups was an attempt to feed false information to the Wrong Sox. Maybe the Spazzosaurus had got a taste for changeups and Bondo felt like he had to throw fastballs to try to starve the beast out (a strategy that clearly did not work). Bondo has always had a bit of a problem with homeruns and it stands to reason that a slower-than-usual Bondo fastball would be even more likely to leave the ballpark on the wrong end of someone’s big stick, but this is a logical conclusion that seems to have escaped Bondo and/or Gerald Laird at the time.
The most embarrassing bit was the Scott Podsednik homer. We’re talking about a guy who has not slugged above .380 since he came to the Wrong Sox in ’05. Scott Podsednik and Power Hitting are not buddies. Power Hitting goes out to all the happenin’ clubs with the cool kids every night, and Scott Podsednik is sitting at home by himself trading Pokemons over the internet. He almost looked embarrassed while he was rounding the bases, like he didn’t quite know what to do with himself.
I mean, I was embarrassed, for Bondo as a pitcher, and for myself as a fan of Not The Wrong Sox.
It was at this point that I realized Bondo was not merely experiencing run-of-the-mill return struggles, but was in fact under Spazzosaurus attack. It’s a shame. With Dontrelle firmly grasped in the tiny claws of our vaguely saurian orange friend, we could really use a starting pitcher who is not so tasty right now. But Bondo has a lot of meat on his bones and a lot of spazz-energy in his brains; he is prime Spazzosaurus fodder at the moment.
Of course he can’t be held accountable for the rest of the game, wherein the offense decided that they had used up all their hits in the first game and they should make no efforts to find more. I suppose you can credit some of that to Jose Contreras, but since he’s been mostly terrible this season, the bulk of the blame goes to the Tigs. Bad kitties, bad!
But speaking of that first game… how ’bout it, eh? Arrrrmando looked catawful early but managed to give the team nearly 7 innings while keeping them reasonably in the game, which was a) so incredibly key, at the start of five games in four days, and b) so much more than we expected from him after that first inning.
Zumaya got the always annoying blown save + win after giving up a homer to Paul Konerko in the 8th. This is truly a statistical Worst, because Zoom managed to screw up and nearly blow the game (by allowing Konerko to tie the game), AND screwed Armando out of a win that should, in a just world, have been his.
At least there were some friggin’ hits in this game, though. Not a whole lot of power (the only Tigers homerun of the entire day was that River Thames blast in the 9th inning of the night game), but thanks to Brandon Inge and a bunch of Wrong Sox errors and even an RBI for the Pineapple, it was enough to make some temporarily victorious Cats.
The game was a little bittersweet, as we were treated to the disagreeable spectacle of two former Wolverines, playing for the Wrongest of Sox. I am speaking, of course, of Clayton Richard, who was the afternoon’s starting pitcher, and Chris Getz, who started at second in both games. I love to see Wolverines playing in the Majors, but it is rather painful to see them tarted up in Wrong Sox uniforms. A form of cognitive dissonance that I do NOT enjoy.
Speaking of college players… Tuesday is the Draft! For some sick reason they’ve expanded it to three days, with the first day being televised on the MLBN, starting at 6 pm. Because that second day wasn’t boring enough, see. The Tigers pick 9th (first round), 58th (second), 89th (third), and 120th (fourth)– beyond that, who knows. In any event they definitely don’t currently have any compensation/supplemental round picks, so WYSIWYG.
As Tuesday night’s game is not until 8, we should all have a little time to follow the Draft, if only to see how stupid MLBN’s broadcast inevitably will be.