illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Hey so April 12 is Brennan Boesch’s birthday! He turns 26 years old. We’re leading with this because things have become so dire and awful that I think we need to concentrate on the positive. And what is more positive than Brennan Boesch with cake? I know, I know: Brennan Boesch with kittens and also cake. But there can only be one Matt Joyce, you know.
I was going to try to do some kind of comprehensive round-up of all the things that have happened since I last posted here, but I can’t handle something that organized so you’re just getting whatever is rattling around my head on the general subject of the Tigers at the moment.
—Good like Brennan’s birthday: Phil Coke, Justin Verlander. Sure, they both ended up with losses, but they both pitched well and that’s what we like to see. Verlander, of course, pitched spectacularly well yesterday, and had no run support to back him up. Phil Coke is no Justin Verlander, but he more than held his own on Saturday as he went 6.2 innings, giving up only two runs on four walks and three hits (all singles). Heck, he struck out 7. Verlander only struck out 4 on Monday. Both had very encouraging outings that were ruined by the fact that the bats hate them. Apparently.
—Not good: EVERYTHING ELSE.
–Seriously guys, we need to stop it with the Bruce Chen thing. He’s Bruce Chen. But against the Tigers suddenly he morphs into Roy Halladay? It’s unbelievable. Everyone knows the universe can only support one Roy Halladay at a time.
–Joel Zumaya has been shut down again due to continuing arm pain. Are you surprised? Is anyone, anywhere surprised? Even Zoom’s arm itself is sitting there like, “Ugh, this again? I knew this was going to happen.”
–Now Magglio Ordonez is resting with soreness in his Achilles tendon. I am only mildly surprised by the specific injury– if they call out the Achilles itself, does that mean it’s NOT his Surgically Repaired ankle?– but not at all by the fact of the injured-ness.
–ERRORS. What in the bloody badgers happened on Sunday? There were errors from Porcello, Raburn, Inge, Schlereth… is it possible for a Major League Baseball team to be so deficient in the fundamentals? I mean, yes, obviously it is possible because the Tigers play Major League Baseball and the errors are things that definitely happened, but… but… you know?
–Deliberately putting Miguel Cabrera on base as the tying run, deciding you want to face the next batter in the lineup rather than give Miggy a chance to cut you down… this was precisely the sort of thing that Victor Martinez batting behind Miggy was supposed to eliminate. But the Rangers did it yesterday and it worked out perfectly for them (Victor grounded out to second). I have nothing interesting to say about this. It’s just super wicked frustratingly frustrating.
–Like, ok, there are some things we kind of knew were not going to work (Zoom’s arm, Carlos Guillen’s body). They failed very early, which is unfortunate, but we knew. There are things we hoped would work very well, and for the most part they are (Verlander in a vacuum, to a lesser extent Alex Avila). But there are also things that REALLY OUGHT TO BE WORKING and they just aren’t. Like Rick Porcello. Like facing the Royals at home. Like walking a guy to get to Victor.
These are the things that make fans want to gnaw their own hands off.
(I know it’s still April. But you can only tell yourself that for so long.)
–ALL THESE DAY GAMES. I know they’re trying to outsmart April in the D weather and so far it’s been working, but that doesn’t mean I have to unreservedly love it. Maybe this is why so many things have been so, for lack of a better phrase, topsy-turvy. This many day games in a row is just strange for MLB players. Their usual pregame routines are going to be all out of whack, their meal rotations… even their sleep cycles are probably different.
I am totally going to seize upon this as an explanation. It’s a comfortable one, because the day games won’t go on forever… of course as soon as this series of daylight baseball ends, the Tigers head west where they will be all wonked out on time zone differences. So they will still be off-schedule and tired, just for different reasons, and we will all miss games because we’ve fallen asleep, instead of missing games because we’re at work/school.
So, um… happy birthday, Brennan!