illustration by Samara Pearlstein
1: It’s huge to get the win from a David Price start. He’s no Justin Verlander (then again, nobody is), but he can be really, really good, and sneaking a Tigers win off of him is an essentially unexpected bonus in this series.
2: ALEX AVILA TAKES A BALL OFF THE NECK, STARTS THE NEXT GAME, NO BIG DEAL. No rest for Alex Avila ever. EVER. Alex Avila scoffs in the face of totally irresponsible player abuse. Alex Avila denies his mortal nature, not because he feels he is above other men or because he believes he is somehow invincible, but because Jim Leyland asks him to do this and Alex Avila gives 110% when his coach asks. Even when that 110% is 110% of his good health and future soundness of body. Alex Avila plays as if he is made of solid metal. ALEX AVILA IS IRON MAN.
3: Here’s something creepy. I actually drew Iron Man Avila yesterday, and colored it during the game today. After the game I went to the Mothership to look at the box score, and what did I see? An article with this headline.
GET OUT OF MY HEAD, JASON BECK.
4: Iron Man totally would not give 110% if his high school baseball coach asked him to, but we are ignoring that. Also, Tony Stark totally did not play high school baseball. ANYWAYS.
5: Phil Coke, pitching Helper Monkey. Phil Coke, Emergency Closer. Phil Coke, Dude With a Save.
photo by Samara Pearlstein
With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde both unavailable, the Tigers were hoping to see a blowout-type game with no stressful late inning pitching situations (ha!), or a complete game masterpiece from Brad Penny (hahaHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha!). So of course they ended up with a one run game in the late innings and all kinds of stress.
Phil Coke came in to pitch the 8th. Working around a double and an intentional walk, he struck out the side. Lacking any other real options, Leyland let him come out for the 9th. Things got Tense (Rays on second and third) but Coke set aside his concerns and got the job done like a boss. A boss of pitching.
6: In his postgame interview, Phil Coke refused to say anything about his personal accomplishments on the mound. In fact, he was so adamantly against this subject that when Ryan Field brought it up, Coke stuck his fingers in his ears and started saying, “LALALALALA” loudly. It was a special moment.
7: Why do I laugh so hard when Alex Avila hits a double off of Kyle Farnsworth? Why is that so freaking funny?