Category Archives: Andy Dirks

DFA your way to victory.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Don Kelly was DFA’d before tonight’s game. The general thinking seems to be that he will pass through waivers– he’s hitting next to nothing, and has hardly been playing at all, so it’s not as if he’s a particularly attractive prospect for other teams at the moment. On the other paw, he IS one of the most versatile cats in the game, and maybe some other team is super into that idea. Who knows.

Point is, he could very easily remain in the Tigers system even following this move, in which case we’d see him back in September; but this could also spell the end of his Detroit tenure and that makes Don Kelly, Jim Leyland, and various other clubhouse personalities sad, sad kittens.

However.

Andy Dirks is back! Finally! And he was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in his return game! And the Tigers were inspired to great offensive heights, putting up 10 glorious runs on the Racist Logos! Prince Fielder hit all of everything! Anibal Sanchez got his first tiger-striped win! Exclamation mark, exclamation mark!

It is a little unfortunate that this stunningly attractive win should coincide with the potentially permanent departure of Don Kelly– of course, it is probably more accurate to say that this stunningly attractive win was a result of the Tigers at long last running into a team more woebegone and determined to slide ignominiously down the standings than they are. But beggars who have just come off a fairly terrible road trip can hardly be choosy, so we will take the win and Andy Dirks, and wave goodbye to Don Kelly, for now at least.

Verlander is the stopper, Andy Dirks is a wizard.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers have problems this year with the Boston Red Sox. This is maybe an understatement. It’s kind of extra sad because, of course, the Sox have been scuffling quite a bit in 2011, but after five games with the Tigers people were starting to talk about the Red Sox Getting Back on Track and starting to Do What They Were Supposed to Do, Achieving their Destiny and Beginning to Take Their Rightful Place in the Standings and other such dramatic-novel-storyline statements. Thanks for the boost, cats!

The Sox were on a roll, a juggernautic series of games in which they had won 13 of 15 and scored 5+ runs in nine of those. They were not shut out once over that entire stretch. The Detroit weather had forced the last game of the Sox/Tigers series to be played as the latter half of a day/night doubleheader that was not even going to be televised until the last minute. Not wicked promising.

BUT JUSTIN VERLANDER WAS HAVING NONE OF THAT.

He four-hit the Sox (three singles, one double). He pitched into the 8th inning. He outdueled Josh Beckett. He did that Verlander thing where he was throwing in the high 90s long after his pitch count had passed the century mark. He marched up to the Red Sox and said, “HAY. I’ve had enough of you and your bats. I’m winning this game whether you like it or not.” And they did not like it, but when Justin Verlander puts his foot down, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it.

We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy, etc.

He’s been playing well lately, both at the plate and in the field, but this cartoon is here because the Detroit Free Press has accused Andy Dirks of BLACK MAGIC:

Is Tigers rookie Andy Dirks to blame for all these rainouts?

I realize that this is a snip of the shenanigans writers get up to when the rainouts are depriving them of actual things to write about but they are still required to get articles out there. The article offers no actual evidence of Dirks’ dabbling in meteorological manipulation via supernatural means, but I think we can all see what’s being implied here. You better watch out, Andy. John Lowe is on the job and you won’t be able to hide those arcane chalk symbols on the clubhouse walls from his eagle eyes forever.

Avila’s big day, Phil Coke’s mutant foot, and so on.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Normally Justin Verlander has to bail out the offense. This is the way of the world: Verlander pitches ridiculously well, the bats give him a meep of an effort, maybe the bullpen does something offensive, Jim Leyland leaves Verlander in until he has thrown more pitches than three other starters on that same day combined, and sometimes the Tigers win. Nature. But on Tuesday, the offense bailed out Justin Verlander!

Granted, the bailing didn’t happen quickly enough to actually get Verlander the win, but it did get the TEAM a win, and kept Verlander from having to swallow a loss. These are important things, because it is awfully nice to see the rest of the team offer a few helping paws on a night where Verlander was not his usual Verlanderian self (6 innings, 104 pitches, 6 runs).

It was Alex Avila who did much of the heavy lifting. He was responsible for some errors, yes, but he also hit TWO home runs. In the same game! With his very own catcher arms! Home run, then home run again! After the second one they cut to a shot of his dad sitting high up in the ballpark behind glass, not celebrating, just sort of quietly smiling as if to say, “Yeah, I made that. Bow down, mortals.”

(No, I don’t know why he’s holding the bat like that in the cartoon. I think I originally had him posing with the bat up on his shoulder and then I had to finish it after I got home from work and was falling asleep, and whatever that is ended up happening. Smile and nod.)

Miguel Cabrera also homered in the Verlander-support effort. It was a three-run homer, which was oddly enough the first three-run homer the Tigers have had all season. This says something depressing about leaving cats on base, I’m sure, but let us choose to turn our minds away from such thoughts right now.

The funniest moment of the game came when Andy Dirks hit a fly ball into the right field corner. Matt Joyce chased it down and caught it, awkwardly slamming into the wall and losing his footing after. He never let go of the ball, but Dirks apparently couldn’t see the play, because he didn’t stop. He just kept running around the bases at full inside-the-park-home-run-wantin’ speed.

Funny? Maybe a little, but mostly that’s just a rookie showing some serious effort. The funny bit was Gene Lamont windmilling like mad as Dirks rounded third, hurrying him home as if the catch had not been made. It’s one thing for Dirks to not have seen the outcome of the play; he was on the basepaths, trying to run hard and not fall over his own feet or whatever. But Lamont should have known that Joyce had already made the out. It’s like he saw Dirks running hard (so very hard) and questioned the evidence of his own eyes. Or something. I don’t know. When Dirks crossed home plate, umpire Gerry Davis held up one fist in the ‘out’ sign like, “Hate to do this to ya, kid, but…”

I wish it HAD been an inside-the-parker, obviously, but it was a nice moment of levity (for fans– Dirks seemed fairly embarrassed), and it was actually very encouraging to see Dirks running that hard. Big effort from the kittens: we can always use more of that.

Phil Coke is on the DL. He stepped off the mound weirdly while pursuing a bunt, turning over his foot. At first it looked like it might have been an ankle injury (eek), but it’s just a bone bruise in his foot. If that is TRULY all it is, he should be ok to come back once the 15-day DL time has run its course.

How did his misstep result in a bone bruise? Well. It turns out that

PHIL COKE IS A MUTANT

Yeah. This is a fact. An MRI showed that he has an extra bone in his foot. This previously silent mutant bone banged into one of his other innocent, non-mutant footbones when he landed awkwardly, causing the bone bruise. Phil Coke’s own body is conspiring against him! His mutant parts inflict pain upon his regions of genetic normalcy! WHAT A TERRIFYING WORLD THIS IS.

It was Brad Penny’s birthday on Tuesday. He turned 33 years old. Happy birthday, Brad Penny!

Welcome, Andy Dirks! We promise we support great pitching outings sometimes. Just not today.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Andy Dirks, up to take the place of Magglio Ordonez, made his big league debut on Monday. Cause for celebration? He went 1-for-2 with a walk, and all of his limbs appear to be in good working order, which makes him a marked improvement over the brittle husk of Magglio’s Surgically Repaired Body already. Mild yay.

His parents and girlfriend were in the stands to watch him do Olde English D things, a fact that FSD enjoyed. They made sure to show the parental reaction after Dirks’ first hit (a single), and they sent their new in-game interview-random-fan-in-the-stands reporter up to ask them some questions, including my favorite: “Did you think he’d ever make it here to Detroit?”

Really. What are they going to say to this? “Nah, y’know, we kinda thought he’d top out at double-A, everything since then has just been a bonus.” You’re talking to his mom, lady, even if nobody else ever thought he was going to make the big leagues, she did, and even if she DIDN’T, she’s certainly not going to SAY so. I mean, basically everything that gets asked in these little ‘yay look here is a fan let us speak to him or her’ chats is a stupid question, but that one in particular stood out as a question with really only one answer.

He did get picked off at first base, and didn’t look too good doing it, but it could have been much worse. They could have been Miguel Cabrera’s parents, in the ballpark watching what HE did in this one. What did Cabrera do? Let us not speak of it, except to say that it was something that sounds a whole lot like ‘terror’, and he did it twice.

As for the rest of the game… poor Max Scherzer. He gave up ONE run in seven innings, and that run wasn’t even earned. He walked ONE Blue Jay, and he didn’t allow ANY extra base hits. He made several plays off the mound, coming in on dribblers/bunts/whatevers and fielding them correctly despite the fact that his natural throw to first is a soft and horrifying rainbow. What did he get for his efforts? Nothing. NOTHING.

I suppose it’s nice that he didn’t get the loss (that honor went to Joaquin Benoit), but it is infuriating because he should have had a win. He DESERVED a win. He pitched a win-worthy game! But the bats could not make it happen and Benoit made the Toronto bats happen, and pfeh. I spit upon the cruel treatment of Max Scherzer in this game.

Verlander does his usual: awesome. Magglio does his usual: not awesome.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Magglio Ordonez has gone on the DL with ‘a hurty ankle’ (medical term). Surprise! Wait, no. The opposite of surprise.

It is, of course, his SURGICALLY REPAIRED ANKLE and it’s been bothering him to greater and lesser degrees basically all season; the Tigers were hoping he could work through it and play the soreness out of it, or something. He just couldn’t get it right. Rather than continue to watch him hobble around the stadium, and fail to get hits because he can’t push off in the batter’s box, they decided to stick him on the DL, get his limbs looked at, and see if some rest does him any good.

He’s hitting .172 so, you know… probably for the best.

Andy Dirks was called up to take his place, although he didn’t play in the Friday night game. He’s a left-handed outfielder, he’s 25, he was hitting pretty well in Toledo, and he went to Wichita State, which makes him a Shocker. He is not going to be Magglio-at-100%, but it would be difficult for him to be much worse than current-Magglio, so his presence will most likely be a positive thing.

Anyways, I had to make an ‘Andy Dirks’ category in case he sticks sooner rather than later and I need to start making posts about things that he’s doing. I have so many Andy categories now. Andrew Miller, Andy Oliver, Andy Van Hekken, Andy Van Slyke, plus Dirks. Andrew Miller isn’t an Andy but he could have been, so I’m including him.

About that Friday game: JUSTIN VERLANDER. It’s not enough for him to throw a no-hitter, oh my goodness no, he has to go out in his next start and no-hit those poor fools too for almost 6 innings. He had more strikeouts this time (7) but he was still relatively efficient, throwing 105 pitches to get through 8 innings. This is firmly within the realm of the acceptable.

Is there anything more splendid than Justin Verlander’s pitching when Justin Verlander is ON the way that he’s been ON lately? I think not. We are not worthy enough to gaze upon his pitching.