Tigers split the double-header, try to send all fans to an early grave

photo illustration thing by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t think I am strong enough to handle this division race. I mean, Tuesday’s double header nearly did me in. I am but a frail blogger, plus I have a cold, ok, my constitution is weakened. Things like THE FIRST GAME OF A DOUBLE HEADER GOING INTO EXTRA INNINGS and WHATEVER THE HELL HAPPENED AT THE END OF THAT SECOND GAME are just not stresses that I can take right now.

I must admit that I did not watch the first game all that closely, so while the overall stress was high (division lead down to one! argh! gack! forehead stabby!), the specific stress was not quite so bad (with Porcello more or less cruising, I was doing other things and not paying such close attention to each and every pitch) until the very end. Unfortunately then it was VERY bad. I don’t know who the dude out there on the mound throwing multiple wild pitches was, but it wasn’t any Brandon Lyon that we know. Our Brandon Lyon wouldn’t do such a thing. I mean, duh, we all know that. So it must have been… hmm… actually, it only could have been…

You know how he operates. Sneaky jerk.

That second game, ugh. I WAS watching that one closely, and by the end I really did think I was going to end up gibbering on the ground in front of the TV, my tender little mind destroyed forevermore. I tried to take notes, they may better demonstrate the fragile state of my mind at the time.

Notes From the Conclusion of a Near-Deadly Ballgame

**One out in the 8th. Verlander well over 100 pitches. 121? That is TOO MANY PITCHES. But he is staying in. Men on first and second, tying man in the form of Joe Mauer at the plate. On the one hand I’m thinking, even without first base open, he may walk this guy. On the other hand, awww sh–t.

A wild pitch opens up first. He’s got to just walk him now, right? 2-0, tying man… Joe freakin’ MVP Mauer… right?

Shattered bat ground out to first, scores the run from third, 5-3. Man on third, two outs. Not the worst thing that could have happened under those circumstances, I guess, but still. Meep meep meep.

Kubel, next man up, doubles. 5-4. ASF;LKJASDFL;KJLKJKKDSFA;LJ. Tying run in scoring position, Verlander must be up to 250 pitches by now. Awwww jeez I can’t handle this game, I can’t handle it, I am going to vomit up my spleen oh my holy cats Jim Leyland went out there to talk to Verlander SURELY HE WAS GOING TO PULL HIM, NO, NO HE’S LEAVING HIM IN THERE BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LIKE BRINGING IN FERNANDO WITH MEN ON BASE OH JEEZ OH JEEZ HOLY CATS ARGH

Cuddyer up. TYING RUN IN SCORING POSITION I AM GOING TO CRY VOMIT OUT OF MY TEAR DUCTS, FOR SERIOUS, I AM SICK AND AND AND THIS IS STRESS I DO NOT NEED

Slow roller to third, Inge comes in onto the infield grass to field it, takes his time with the throw, Miggy scoops it at first, Cuddler out, inning over, Verlander escapes, I make a sort of wheezing squeak of relief, fan my forehead weakly. I need a paper towel and an alcoholic beverage.

It’s the bottom of the 8th and all I can think about is the fact that we’re going to be seeing Fernando here in the 9th. CURTIS GRANDERSON 30TH HOMER OF THE SEASON TO LEAD OFF THE BOTTOM OF THE 8TH, OH CURTIS, I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE SO PERFECT, YOU ARE THE LIGHT THAT MAKES THOSE KIDS FROM THE CORNERSTONE SCHOOL COMMERCIAL SHINE.

Leadoff man in the 9th, Fernando throws an 0-2 pitch, the ball bounces off the heel of Polanco’s glove. It looks like an error to me and Rod Allen, but the scorekeepers call it a single.

Jose Morales pinch hits. Fernando is wiping his forehead a lot, which he always does, but I also see him blow his nose to try to clear it once. Does he have a cold? I have a cold too, Fernando. See, I feel your pain! Let me take on some of your pain, so that you may pitch with a clearer head. He strikes Morales out with a high fastball.

One out, Matt Tolbert up, dude on first. He pops up… Polanco camps under it, catches it easily. Two outs.

Little Nicky Punto up. Crowd chanting ROD-NEE, ROD-NEE… ohhhhhh no, Punto pops it up to center, Granderson has it… misjudges it, the ball is just over him, son of a fat raccoon leadoff man scores, 6-5, Punto the tying run at second, Denard Span up, ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh the crowd needs to stop chanting, they are just making Fernando more mental-gidget-y, it is not what he needs ok he has enough problems on his own oh jeeeeeezzzzz.

Span pops up. To left. Raburn gets it. Magic number down to four, Tigers BARELY win, but win they do. Thank cats. Oh, thank cats.**

Then I stretched out on the couch and quietly died for a few minutes until I felt able to change the channel and watch the end of the Red Sox game go about the rest of my highly productive evening business.

Just a couple other thoughts from these two games:

–So FredFred and Verlander both appear to be trying to grow full beards (i.e. not just the goatee that Verlander always has). Late season rally beards? FredFred might just be trying to look older, which might actually kind of work because he’s so freakin’ tall. It won’t work on us, though. We know his wee-pitcher-ness too well to be fooled by facial hair.

–Rod broke out a MR. SNAPPY for Verlander in this one. He really did have the good fastball today, though. Good curveball too, lots of movement. Throwing in the high 90s when his pitch count was well over 100. If ‘pitching’ was a person that could be called sexy, instead of an amorphous concept consisting of a number of arm motions, physical effects on baseballs, and MLB regulations, I would say that Verlander’s pitching today was mostly very sexy.

–Wilkin Ramirez came in to pinch run for The River Thames in the bottom of the 7th in the second game, and got picked off first. Unacceptable for a dude who was put in the game solely for his baserunning abilities. He wasn’t even trying to steal at the time, he was just farting around over there. I know he’s just a tiger cub, and I know he probably got his rump roasted by Leyland after the game, but still, I feel the need to point it out with a sternly disapproving frown.

–Curtis Granderson homered in both games. Just sayin’.

10 responses to “Tigers split the double-header, try to send all fans to an early grave

  1. my reaction to the first game was much the same as yours, and i cannot believe that was our brandon lyon who has been so clutch after being so horrible. NO IT WAS NOT HIM BUT THE SPAZZ. the first game was really an exercise in squandered opportunities, they should’ve put up 6 runs on blackburn in the first few innings – but they let him escape jam after jam.
    the second game was made more nerve wracking by the loss of the first. i knew JV would be clutch! and to think rodney letting a run score actually had nothing to do with him! if curtis (who is perfect but was struck with momentary blindness) hadn’t misjudged the ball (not that he did because he is perfect) the game is over bim bam boom.
    2 game lead. 5 games to go. Much better than the end of last season.

  2. My first thought, after seeing Curtis let that ball go over his head — There is going to be a picture of Spazz on Samara’s blog tonight. I was not happy about it, but I knew it was coming…
    I’m loving that we have two hitters (count ’em, two!) with 30 home runs now. I was hoping for a trifecta of 30-run hitters before season’s end, but what are the chances Brandon’s going to hit three in the next five games?
    I am glad I was at work during Game 1 today, so I couldn’t watch the implosion that was the 10th inning. I was trying to keep track of the box score throughout the day, though, so, if you came across me sitting at my desk a few minutes before three this afternoon, you may have noticed the fact my face was read and I was probably not breathing normally… It certainly felt closer to hyperventilation.

  3. So my dad doesn’t ordinarily have as foul a mouth as I do, but oh man, he cussed out Wilkin Ramirez pretty bad for getting picked off! That was SO ridiculous!!! Here kid, go run for Marcus, this is your ONLY JOB, run the bases like you are not a dumbass. Epic Fail, Mr. Ramirez. Thank the gods for Grandy. If the next two days are like this … I may just keel over and die.

  4. The Tigers left Comerica Park in good shape last night by gaining a split, which is the way they drew up. It’s hard to win both, and the Tigers received a great pitching performance by Verlander last night to get the second game. No harm no foul concerning Game 1.
    Game 3 and 4 determines what happens in the division. Right now, I like the Tigers. I bet Bonine figures out to stymie the Twins.
    All the Tigers need is a split in this series, and it’s all over. Three out of four would be nice, but that’s not necessary.
    As far as the first game goes, I question why Brandon Lyon pitched the tenth inning when he had nothing in the ninth inning. That did not make sense.
    Verlander pitching 121 pitches? At this point of the season, no one should worry about pitch count. It’s about willing your team to a victory.

  5. Gotta give ‘Nando his props for last night – this time he succeeded despite the defense…
    While I may have aged a few extra years during last night’s game (something I can ill-afford), this is why I love baseball…

  6. Oh – forgot to mention that the Peeking Spazz and accompanying chronicle of your breakdown made me laugh almost to the point of injury (insert snarky Joel Zumaya reference here).

  7. I agree that it was a bad move to put Lyon out there for a second inning in the first game… Knowing that Grandy goes yard in the bottom of the 10th, the key play of the 1st game was Lyon’s walk of Joe Mauer in the top half. Doesn’t it make MORE sense to save Brandon Lyon for a possible appearance in the nightcap by not throwing him another inning? Seemed like a bad move on Leyland’s part.
    Now, the second game I was watching… Man, Verlander was so good in innings 4-5-6, when the lead was 3-0… It was like “I can smell this win, and, by God, I’m going to get it ALL BY MYSELF from here on out if I have to.” Unfortunately, all those K’s pushed his pitch count up, then especially the 7th inning when Minny broke through for 2 runs. See, this is why Brandon Lyon should have been reserved… He could have started the 8th. But then came the worst non-move of them all… If you’ve seen Jason Kubel’s numbers against right-handed pitchers (.316/.394/.591 vs. .241/.301/.348 against lefties), it made no sense to leave a 120+-pitch-count Verlander in against him. Fu-Te Ni has been nothing short of wicked against left-handed batters (.119 OBA!), what the hell was Verlander still doing out there?
    At the moment that ball went over Granderson’s head, I had momentarily forgot about the extra run that he himself had tacked on in the bottom of the 8th. I think I died for about 3 seconds.
    Still, the magic number is 4, and even if they split tonight & tomorrow afternoon, that’s a magic number of 2 with 3 left to play for each team. And they’re gonna face Zack Greinke again. And if Greinke finishes the season with an ERA that starts with “1”, I think he pretty much guarantees himself the Cy Young Award, so he has that to pitch for (he’s currently at 2.055). I have high hopes for Bonine the Bovine, and Nate has done nothing but surprise us all so far, and he’s not exactly facing Greinke.

  8. Samara Pearlstein

    Tiff, ha, yes, better than the end of last season, but the stress! The stress! And I’m not even on the team! I mean, poor Gerald Laird is probably gettin hives or something out there.
    Heitk1le, the Spazzosaurus was clearly out in force yesterday. Not a good thing, but at least we have some sort of explanation. I guess we just hope that he’s been sated for now…
    Colt, right? Like, it’s one thing for Joe Average Hitter to get picked off when he’s not even trying to steal, but Mr. Wilkin was put in SPECIFICALLY AS A BASERUNNER. What a time of year to have the kids up trying to learn. :/
    Leslie, Verlander actually ended the night with 129 pitches. I would worry less about his pitch counts now if he hadn’t spent all season prior to this racking up quadzillions of pitches on his arm…
    Sparky, ha ha, cats forbid! Injury by laughter… it may be the only injury left unsampled by Zoom, and so we may have to expect that it’ll be the next one up.
    Jeff, I don’t know what to say about the Lyon handling, because it sort of baffles me as well. Leaving Verlander in makes more sense when you consider Leyland, though. He LOVES letting guys finish what they’ve started when at all possible, and he does, for better or worse, put a good deal of stock in a pitcher saying he’s fine to keep pitching (which I assume is what Verlander said when Leyland came out to the mound). Kubel has a good record against Verlander this season too, so I can only assume that Leyland was workin’ solely on those gut feelings and whatnot.

  9. I never made the connection before… Jim Leyland has obviously been listening to a little too much Stephen Colbert. Thinking with your gut ALWAYS leads you to the right decision, clearly.
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/218576/february-11-2009/truth-from-the-gut
    (Not trying to inject politics here, so if you’re a Glenn Beck fan, please fast-forward to about 3:30 of the video.)

  10. Bleach.
    The Tigers are killing me.

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