illustration by Samara Pearlstein
There it is! The Verlander performance for which we have all been waiting! He threw 116 pitches, yes, but he managed to stretch those out over A WHOLE NINE INNINGS. Justin Verlander! Was! Efficient!
Finally! Finally! FINALLY! PRAISE BE TO PAWS!
I cannot overstate my happiness with this Verlanderian performance. Dallas Braden pitched a good game, so it was imperative that Verlander be great and not merely piddlingly good. He stepped right up to the task on little kitty paws and extended his little kitty claws and tore the hell out of the Athletics. Just blood everywhere. Then he cleaned his paws off by licking them, as all cats do, while Ryan Sweeney stood there crying.
Actually I’m not really sure where I was going with that, but I guess you can take it as my overall impression of the game.
I was sort of taking notes until I started falling asleep, but one of them said 68-69 pitches for Justin through 6!!!!!!! Obviously I was pretty excited by that. Now, I wasn’t paying super close attention to the pitch selection, but I did note that Justin was striking guys out at a much, uh, gentler rate than usual. I’m sure the Oakland hitters were helping him out some, but he did not seem to be living as squarely in the hit-it-or-die section of the strikezone as he has in the recent past. This was a good thing! Fewer pitches in that zone = fewer fouled-off balls = fewer endless at-bats = efficient Verlander = complete game victory = happy RotT.
–Brandon Inge shaved off his mohawk. It seems this is not a hairstyle that many Tigers can stomach for too long. ALSO IT WAS BRANDON INGE’S BIRTHDAY TODAY. He turned 33 years ancient.
–Dallas Braden has one of those hipster tattoos of a mustache on the side of his forefinger, so when he holds his finger up under his nose it makes a fake mustache. Rod and Mario were laughingly incredulous.
Mario: “Now, would YOU go to the trouble of getting a tattoo on your finger, just so you could do that?”
–I also noticed that Braden had ripped out a section of fabric from the front and center of his undershirt collar. Pretty sure this was done to obliterate the Nike swoosh that usually lives there, and if so… well done, Mr. Braden. Continue the fight against insidious logo creep.
–The first run of the game for anybody came in the top of the 7th, with a Brandon Inge leadoff home run of infinite glory. The game was scoreless for six innings, that’s how wicked the pitching was all ’round.
–Danny Worth, of all cats, was 3-for-3.
–The A’s did not manage to get a single extra-base hit against Verlander. None of them had more than one hit on the night.
–Rajai Davis was wearing his socks up. They’re dark green low stirrups with yellow sanis, and he has a yellow A’s logo on the outsides of his ankles. Pretty sharp. Little white or orange Olde English Ds on the ankles of high Tiger socks would be sweet.