illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
You know, the Red Sox have been scuffling. They had been losing a fair amount, and were falling fast in the highly competitive (and currently upside-down) AL East. The papers were starting to get all agitated about the pitchers and Bobby Valentine was starting to get some especially virulent radio call-in stalkers– the usual Bostonian downward spiral stuff. On top of that, Dustin Pedroia, in many ways the lifeblood of the team, got hurt. Oh, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia just now came down with some sort of draining illness.
So this– this series right here– is precisely what the Red Sox needed. How nice of the Tigers to supply it so easily, so readily! So very accommodating of them! And the sad thing is that I would have been perfectly happy to see this happen with any other team… anyone but the Tigers. Thanks guys.
Poor Drew Smyly. He actually did not pitch that badly– and didn’t even get tagged with the loss, for whatever that’s worth– but that one bad inning was enough. He got the first two outs of the fourth quickly, after having given up only one hit in the previous three innings combined, but then Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground-rule double… and then David Ortiz homered… and Youkilis singled, and Will freakin’ Middlebrooks homered…
Just like that the Red Sox had four runs and Avila was having to go out to tell Smyly that he wasn’t a bad person, really, and everyone would still love him at the end of the day, and Jim would only yell at him a little bit and Miggy could give him so many hugs in the clubhouse after the game but could he please get out of this inning, please, right now, insert comforting butt-pat here.
As I said, he didn’t get the L, because the offense was not completely incompetent in this one, and he didn’t walk anyone so that was nice, but it still was not pretty. With Mister Fister going on the DL (SHRILL SCREAMING), that sort of inning is not what we really want to see from one of our starters. Maybe I am just reacting to the fact that it was particularly painful to see in person, but whatever.
–The only two Tigers who spent significant time signing for fans before the game were Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. That’s kind of weird, right? That the two biggest names in the lineup would spend the most time signing for (mainly) Red Sox fans? It was kind of weird. But they were both super nice about it, which made me happy in my black little heart.
–Relatedly, PRINCE FIELDER SIGNED MY SKETCHBOOK. There’s a story behind this but it is long and probably sort of boring. The main thing is, PRINCE FIELDER SIGNED MY SKETCHBOOK.
–At one point during BP, Don Kelly came over to go into the dugout. A little kid (wearing a Sox hat) started begging for an autograph, yelling, “Mister Fister! Mister Fister!” I suppose all tall-ish skinny white dudes look the same when they’re not on your team.
–There were lots and lots of Tigers fans in the park, including a dude in a neon orange tiger-striped floppy hat that I coveted immediately.
–It was encouraging to see Andy Dirks moving around at least a little bit, even though he is supposed to be hobbled with a wonky Achilles right now. The fact that he got a single in his pinch hitting appearance was nice, even if he had to be pinch run for immediately. Still nice. Nice-ity nice nice.
–Gerald Laird was hitting 9th and DHing, because that’s the quickest and best way to jumpstart your offense, as everyone knows. So once Dirks had come in, and Santiago ran for him, the entire Tigers bench consisted of Don Kelly and Omir Santos. I believe the correct phrase for this is “OMG LOL”.
–For whatever reason I finally noticed Laird’s arm tattoos during this BP. They’re on his forearms, although inside and not outside like Inge. I could have sworn one read ‘Boston’, which seemed a bit odd, so I brought it up on Twitter earlier today and had it fan-firmed. He’s got BOSTON on one arm and BERLIN on the other and we believe these are the names of his children. I got nothin’. Thanks for being you, G-Money.
–A four-hit day for Miggy, with three doubles, is encouraging to see.
–Another BP story. A young-ish-looking dude in Tigers gear came running towards the dugout from the outfield. I took a few photos automatically, because that’s what I do, then looked to see who it was… and was so startled that I actually yelled, “JEFF KUNKEL?!!?” Because that is who it was. Jeff Kunkel, Michigan Wolverine, wearing a Tigers BP jersey and trotting about on the field at Fenway.
I immediately turned to the Twitters, who informed me that Mr. Kunkel had retired (or something) and was now one of the Tigers’ bullpen catchers, and henceforth would be traveling with the team. On the one paw, I am saddened that he has given up on the idea of catching in the big leagues. On the other paw, this is almost certainly a smart move for a whole host of reasons (not least of which is the ability and age of Our Savior Avila), and this way JEFF KUNKEL, MICHIGAN WOLVERINE of the RotT at Michigan Era, gets to stay with the Tigers in some capacity, which of course FILLS ME WITH GLEE.
You rock on with your wicked baseball self, Jeff Kunkel.
–You know what’s funny? The Tigers and Red Sox had exactly the same number of hits. But the Sox had three home runs and the Tigers had zero, and the Sox had more runs in the end. Funny how that works out, isn’t it? I AM LAUGHING SO HARD RIGHT NOW. THIS GRIMACE, IT IS ME LAUGHING.
–Seriously why did we call up Omir Santos, why did that happen