image by Samara Pearlstein
This has kind of been Armando Galarraga’s entire season. He’s cruising along the Highway of Awesome for a while, rockin’ out to the radio, no-hitting the Racist Logos for four innings, etc. Then he hits some roadblock like a busted umpire call or an error, or he gives up a big hit, and it’s all over, he just falls apart right there on the mound.
Today it was a Matt LaPorta home run that set him off. I know the kid has been a disappointment in general, but the power is kind of why the Racist Logos picked him up, it’s what he is supposed to do. Sure, it can be disconcerting to get hit by a Disappointment, but it’s not like we’re talking about a proto-Adam-Everett or something. Matt LaPorta and home runs were BFF once and the organizational hope is that they will be BFF again soon.
The point is that Armando should not have felt so bad about giving up a LaPorta HR that he immediately fell to pieces out there, all arm-bits goin’ in one direction, eyeballs goin’ another way. But he DID get that rattled, because he DID fall apart.
Ever since The Perfect Game, he’s had reason to believe that he was being victimized, and he’s had all kinds of awful reinforcement of that idea. In the 20 starts he has made since that game, he’s gone 6+ innings 10 times, and the Tigers have won 8 of his starts… but he’s only gotten 3 Ws for himself. So he’s had a lot of losing and a lot of non-support. Add to that the fact that every time a vaguely borderline call goes against him, he gets to enjoy the nagging feeling that it’s because the umpires hate him, not necessarily because the call has real merit. His trust has been shattered, he may never trust again.
It often ends in a freak-out like this one, which is terrible because then it makes him give up a lot of runs and lose, which is just MORE negative reinforcement, further evidence that the entire world is against him, etc. There is an obvious explanation, but that doesn’t make it any less sad to watch.
Oh, and Miguel Cabrera had to leave the game with an ankle injury. Apparently X-rays were negative and it’s ‘just a sprain’, but if it’s an even remotely serious sprain, he may well be done for the season. Why risk injuring the one consistently glorious hitter on the team? The remaining games are essentially meaningless, but Miguel Cabrera’s future is FILLED WITH BEAUTIFUL MEANING, and the latter should definitely not be sacrificed for the former.