photo by Samara Pearlstein
This series with the Wrong Sox was huge. Huge! Four games compressed into three days, the division lead hanging in the balance, the lives of many kittens at stake. And while the last game in the series was not so hot, the Tigs managed to win the first three, which is, to be honest, way more than I had expected from them. They’re two games up on the Incorrect Footwear, a lead that is not in the least bit comfortable or safe, but is better than it could have been had this weekend gone differently/more evilly.
Maybe the biggest news is the return of Carlos Guillen from the DL, where he has been languishing seemingly for all time, even though apparently it’s only been since, like, early May. Feels like years. We’ve basically gotten used to the idea of a Guillen-less Tigers team and have been expecting the team to behave accordingly, but with the trade deadline coming up and the Cats hitting in weird, inconsistent and unreliable little spurts, his name started coming up again as a possible no-trade bandaid.
Behold! In the three games he’s been back, Carlos has gone 5-for-12 with a homer and 3 RBI. One of those was a walkoff RBI single on Saturday, in the 10th inning. He’s had at least one hit in every game and no part of his body has exploded yet (surely helped along by the fact that he’s DH’d all three games).
Of course it’s too early to tell if Carlos will be the regular offensive boost the team has needed post-All-Star-break. It’s quite possible that the Hitting Vortex will re-form, or that the inconsistency of the other hitters is contagious and because nobody ever uses tissues or washes his hands in a baseball clubhouse, Carlos will soon catch the disease.
But this was an encouraging return, even more so because it came in a big series where the Tigers desperately needed it.
— Casey Fien made his big league debut on Sunday. He pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that he came in with the bases loaded and stranded all three runners. I hope he feels good about himself.
Is it pronounced “feen” or “fine”? The crew last night was saying “feen” but you can’t always trust those ESPN types.
— Lots of little moves lately. Freddy Dolsi got sent to Toledo when Eddie Bonine was called up for his spot start on the back end of the Friday doubleheader, then Fien was called up when Bonine was sent back down. Josh Anderson was DFA’d when Guillen was activated.
— The fact that Verlander threw a complete game on Friday is nice, in the sense that we always like to see starters go the whole way so that we don’t have to gaze upon the bullpen, but it was another zillion-pitch outing. Yeah, he ran up the worst of his pitch count early and settled down later in the game, but I still don’t think it’s a particularly sustainable long term strategy, allowing/encouraging him to run himself out there for 100+ pitches every single time.
In 21 starts this season, Verlander has had FOUR games where he threw under 100 pitches (97 and 96 pitches in one close and one blowout win, 80 and 73 pitches in two blowout losses).
— Bondo and Nate have both been throwing. For whatever that’s worth.
— Mr. Beck had a cute headline today about the Galarraga/Laird battery returning home. Arrrrrmando got his start in Arlington, throwing to Laird, who was not yet G-Money in those long ago Texan days.