Category Archives: Brad Penny

Why? Because Brad Penny. That is why.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

How appropriate that I already had this photo from earlier in the season! How charmingly accurate for so many Brad Penny starts!

Look, I know these games don’t ‘matter’ in the sense that losing them will keep the Tigers out of the playoffs, but it is still important to keep in the habit of winning, to keep everyone from sliding into the sticky pit of complacency, to put the team in the best possible position going into the postseason, etc. Important! Winning! Not whatever it is that Brad Penny did out there tonight!

What IS it with Penny? At first there was the day game issue, which was understandable– all those day games in the heat of high summer, the annoyance of ALWAYS getting them, etc. But we have gone past that. So… is he injured in some way? Are there issues in his personal life? Is he just bad at throwing a baseball nowadays?

Maybe Brad Penny is just tired of this season and would really like to be left off the postseason roster so that he can go home and close the shades and pretend it’s never time for a day game again.

Seriously, Brad Penny is starting to loathe the sun.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

At this point, the sun is just mocking him. Brad Penny goes out to pitch, and the sun beats mercilessly down upon him. He can hear it laughing at him from way up there in the sky. Bradleeeyyyyyyy, it says. Bradley Wayyyyyyyne. I’m going to beat on all of yooooouuuuuu.

The sun is a real jerk, and Brad Penny knows this now. He knows it all too well.

Here is what Victor Martinez had to say after the game:

To be honest with you, I’ve been catching Brad for a while, and I don’t remember [him having] this kind of a start that he [had] today. The scoreboard really doesn’t say, not even close, how well he pitched today. He had great stuff. His fastball was exploding pretty good with the curveball and slider. The change, split, everything was great.
Chris Vannini/DetroitTigers.com

OK. Yet, somehow, Penny gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in 6.2 innings. He gave up 11 hits and allowed 3 walks and he struck out no one. He had apparently awesome stuff, but that awesome stuff translated into a numerical Start of Shame. Oh, and he got tagged with the loss, bringing his record for the season thus far down to 7-9.

Blame Victor’s pitch calls? Blame the Rangers bats? Blame the Tigers bats for not helping him out? Blame Alexi Ogando for making it seemingly impossible for the Tigers bats to make contributions? Blame Brad Penny’s brain for failing to effectively harness the power of his arm on a day when it was in great form?

No. I blame the sun. Deep down inside his heart, Brad Penny does too.

Brad Penny has had ENOUGH.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You think you can just keep running Brad Penny out there for day games, Jim Leyland? Well, you cannot. Brad Penny has reached his limit. He has started 21 games this season, and 14 of them have been day games, including the last 4 in a row. That is enough. Brad Penny’s willingness to roast himself in the harsh rays of the summer sun has been whittled down into oblivion.

He made his dissatisfaction plain by doing, in the Thursday game, the following:

–Giving up 7 runs, all earned.

–Giving up a home run and a triple to Mark Trumbo alone.

–Failing to make it out of the 4th inning, and managing to throw 74 pitches in that time.

–Screaming at Victor Martinez when Victor attempted to come out to the mound to discuss why Penny suddenly could not get Angels out.

–Posturing belligerently when Victor refused to meekly retreat back behind the plate, forcing Jeff Jones to lumber out to intervene, and causing Carlos Guillen to physically place himself between pitcher and catcher because the angry yelling and gesturing was making him nervous.

What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Penny?

Me and Victor have been friends for a while now, and that happens when you’re competing.

It had nothing to do with pitch selection or anything like that. With a runner on second, I like to come set taking signs. That way, the hitter can’t look at second base and anything there. I’ve pitched my whole career that way, and [Martinez] didn’t want me to do it.
Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com

All righty then. Penny and VMart got along well in Boston, and Penny was supposedly happy to have the chance to work with Victor again when they both landed in Detroit. And really, how could anyone be angry with Victor? He is practically hugs personified.

It’s clear that all the sunlight is getting to Penny. Let the man pitch a few night games in a row, cool his brainpan down, give him a chance to stop slathering himself in so much sunscreen that he’s leaving the ball greasy, etc.

Also in this game: Jim Leyland was ejected for no particular reason (aside from the ongoing War With the Umpires, of course); Austin Jackson had an actual hit-by-pitch that the umpires decided was a phantom-hit-by-pitch; and David Purcey vomited all over the mound, then peed in the vomit, then lay down and passed out in it. But we shall not speak of these things.

Instead we shall speak of this quote, coming to us from writer Chris Vannini:

Avila comes out for BP. Leyland says “What are you doing? You have the day off. Go get a massage or something … You got smoked yesterday.”

There is only one possible reaction to this.

That’s all for a few days, as I will have reduced connectivity while in the Midwest. Remember to search for RotT if you’ll be at the Saturday or Sunday games, and get yourselves ready, because I will have a super special blog post treat for you cats upon my return.

Brad Penny in the daylight


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Brad Penny has made 18 starts so far this season. Of those, 11 were day games. Sixty-one percent of his starts have been day games! This seemed like way more than anyone else in the rotation, which was curious enough to drive me to the incredibly boring numbers.

Five of Justin Verlander’s 19 starts (26%) have been day games. Eight of Rick Porcello’s 16 starts (50%) have been day games. Six of Max Scherzer’s 18 starts (33%) have been day games. Penny is blowing them all out of the water. FredFred is the only one who’s even close.

What does this mean? It could just be a quirk of the 5-man rotation schedule… or it could be a plot to keep Brad Penny in direct sunlight at all times. Is it a sinister plot, with someone in the front office intent on testing the skin-cancer-repelling abilities of Brad Penny’s hide? Or is it a benevolent plot, as Brad Penny is secretly half-plant and the front office is simply trying to let him photosynthesize during games as often as possible?

I eagerly await answers.

In any event. Have you VOTED VICTOR yet? You still have time! Voting continues until 4pm eastern on Thursday.

And you really should vote, because HOLY CATS HAVE YOU SEEN THIS VIDEO OF LITTLE VICTOR ASKING EVERYONE TO VOTE FOR HIS DAD?

Because they understand what is important in All Star Game voting races and in life, the Tigers had Little Victor hold a press conference (!) with Paws (!!) before the game today, asking everyone to vote for Big Victor. Little Victor really wants to go to that All Star Game. He wants to hang out with his friend David Ortiz. Don’t you want to make Little Victor happy? You do. Trust me, you do.

Vote Victor and put a smile on the face of the best kid in Major League Baseball.

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!

A Detroit Tigers Passover, 2011

Last year we covered the seder plate. This year we will be covering a different aspect of the Passover holiday: the 10 plagues. These were terrible events visited upon the Egyptian Pharaoh and his subjects, basically as a way of harassing them into letting the Jewish people go while at the same time convincing them that the Jews had God on their side. It had to escalate to the plague level because the Pharaoh was totally not being reasonable about that whole enslavement thing.

Here at Roar of the Tigers we will be explaining the plagues in terms of deadly Detroit Tigers, working to free the team (the Chosen people, natch) from the clutches of everyone else in the Central. This is probably blasphemy in some way, but let’s be real, if Carlos Guillen reclining semi-salaciously in a dish of horseradish didn’t put you off last year, this shouldn’t either.

The Ten Plagues, Detroit Tigers Style

Blood
The first plague involved turning the water of the Nile river into blood. Not only did this, you know, turn the river into a river of blood, it also killed all the fish. Double whammy. Here Will Rhymes uses his Science to turn the Cuyahoga River into a torrent of CLEVELAND BLOOD.

Frogs
The second plague was a plague of frogs. There were just frogs all over the place, all over the homes of the Egyptians, clogging the roads, all up in the Pharaoh’s business in his palace, everywhere. I guess this was more annoying and disturbing than deadly, although I guess you could slip and fall on a frog. That would be pretty rough. Brandon Inge of course is the frog, because he leaps about the field with power and abandon.

Vermin/lice/gnats/swarming insects
This plague is variously translated– the one we’ve always used at our seders is ‘vermin’, but I’ve also seen it as ‘gnats’ or ‘lice’. The general idea is that something small, annoying, and probably insectile was sent out in massive swarms to bother the heck out of the Egyptians. Austin Jackson gets this plague because he swarms all over the vast Comerica Park outfield, bothering the heck out of anyone trying to hit balls in that direction.

Wild beasts
The fourth plague was a plague of ferocious wild beasts, which descended upon the Egyptians and their livestock, doing ferocious beastly things. A lot of clawing and gnawing and loud beasty noises, I would expect. Papa Grande and Paws share this plague, for all the obvious reasons.

Cattle disease/pestilence
Another variously translated plague. I’ve always known it as ‘cattle disease’ but you will see it elsewhere as ‘pestilence’ or something similar. The plague’s plague. It was supposed to take out most of the Egyptians’ livestock (not just the cattle). I had to think for a long time, debating which Tiger would represent this one, but I settled on Alex Avila in the end because he hunts and that’s killing livestock-like animals and he also probably grills things? Grilling things involves livestock also, when that livestock is dead.

Boils
The sixth plague, fairly self-explanatory. Doing things to the livestock had not convinced the Egyptians to let the Jews go, so the plagues went direct to the people themselves. The boils were uncomfortable and disfiguring, and the fact that they all sprang up at once was supposed to be further evidence of Godly might or something. Justin Verlander is handing out the boils as he pelts batters with 95+mph fastballs. Although I guess those are more welts than boils? Either way. Painful skin eruptions!

Hail
This plague consisted of a crazy powerful storm, with lots of destructive hail. It was bad for the crops and the livestock, and any people who couldn’t shelter effectively from it. Probably busted up a lot of buildings too. Miguel Cabrera generates hail by smashing the storm clouds with his mighty home run blasts, of course, that is how weather works.

Locusts
You’d think the crops had suffered enough already, but just in case there was anything left, the eighth plague was a plague of locusts, which descended in a huge swarm and ate everything that was there to be eaten. The plagues were big on swarms. There was the swarm of frogs, the vermin/gnats/lice swarm, the plague of wild beasts actually translates directly to something more like ‘mixture/swarm’, and locusts are all about the swarm. Brad Penny is the locust because he’s eating the crops.

Darkness
For the second to last plague, Egypt was plunged into darkness. All the lights in the sky (sun, moon, stars) were extinguished, and there could be no fire-light in the houses of the Egyptians either. Obviously this was bad for photosynthesizing things, and was highly disconcerting to the livestock and people. Also inconvenient. Max Scherzer here is smashing lights, bringing about the darkness, because it doesn’t matter to him– he can see in the dark with his magical eyes. Duh.

Slaying of the firstborn male
The last and nastiest plague, this was what it says on the tin: the Angel of Death went around and knocked off the firstborn sons of all Egyptians, from the Pharaoh on down to the people who cleaned the Pharaoh’s toilets or whatever toilet-equivalent they had at that point in human history. Which is totally punishing the people for the sins of the leader, like that toilet cleaner really cared about keeping the Jews enslaved? Pretty rude to go killing their firstborn sons too. But you know what the Torah/Bible is like, smiting this and slaying that and everyone being jerks to everyone else, plus all that moral absolutism.

Jim Leyland is the Angel of Death here, because he is responsible for sending down the youthful prospects when he decides their time has come, and he’s also the oldest Tiger in the dugout, so he gets the responsibility of the flaming sword and all that.

This was the plague that finally convinced the Pharaoh to tell the Jews to get the hell out of his lands, which was all they had wanted in the first place. I think we all know what Jim Leyland has to do. Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Orlando Cabrera, Matt Treanor– you better watch out.

Happy Passover, kids and kittens!

Penny’s a mess


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Two games into the season, it is obviously impossible to make any definitive statements about the team. Especially when those two games have come in cool, damp weather, against a team of players that have managed to convince themselves they’re underdogs despite the fact that they have the highest payroll in the entire sport. You can’t take the first two games of the season, played under those circumstances, and declare them representative of the rest of 2011.

But did you see Brad Penny’s line? Eight runs, seven hits (two doubles and a homer), four walks, and all that in only 4.1 innings. Basically we’re doomed. DOOMED. I mean, he didn’t look mediocre out there– he looked awful.

Maybe it was the weather. Maybe the cavernous Yankee Stadium, so underpopulated in the lower deck, freaked him out. Maybe he was still shaking off First Game of the Season rust. Maybe he didn’t like the feel of the mound. Maybe he just didn’t have It, where It is “whatever it is that Brad Penny sometimes has that makes him seem like a real actual Major League pitcher.” Rick Knapp thinks that Penny was too pumped up, which made him unable to throw his tire-me-out-first-please sinker effectively, which then threw off the rest of his repertoire.

Maybe he’s just not quite good enough to take on the New York lineup. He pitched against them twice when he was with the Red Sox, and the combined result was a 7.20 ERA with a .364 batting average against. There’s a cheerful thought for your second game of the season!

Of course, I suppose it’s possible that I’m wildly overreacting because I’m still traumatized by Penny-in-Boston, and it kills me to have any team I care about lose to the Yankees, and sweet fancy Paws we are going to be a million games behind Chicago because they have been smacking the covers off the baseballs, etc etc. I mean. It’s possible.

(This game was so bad that the Yankees felt comfortable subbing Eric Chavez in for ARod in the later innings, and letting him get an at-bat. Think about that. Then turn your thoughts away from it and concentrate on Brandon Inge’s two hits, or Victor Martinez’s two hits, or Austin Jackson’s home run. Oooo, shiny. Don’t look at that murky stuff back there.)

How agonizing was the Fox broadcast of this one, by the way? Talk about adding insult to injury. I think the whole breath-takingly awful thing can be summed up in two examples.

Foxagony #1
Tim McCarver says: “I just had a thought.” Uh oh, I think, and possibly say out loud. McCarver, talking to Joe Buck right after ARod’s double, goes on to say the following.

“You’re the first person in the world to have been a sports broadcaster when Alex Rodriguez was fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz, and fed a fastball by Brad Penny!”

He then goes quiet, almost audibly glowing with pride at that observation. Is he slowly losing his already-tenuous grip on reality? I think maybe so.

Foxagony #2
Two Yankees fans sitting close to the field (behind one of the dugouts or something) got engaged during the game. The cameras showed them hugging, and later sitting next to each other with the girl wiping her eyes and looking happy. One of them was wearing a Jeter jersey, and the other was wearing a Posada jersey. Buck made some awkward comment about Jeter and Posada being joined together in holy matrimony via this (ostensibly) heterosexual couple, all well and good.

Except Buck and McCarver had noticed that, while both people involved were wearing Yankee jerseys, one was wearing a home jersey and one was wearing an away jersey. Why does this matter? It doesn’t, as all sane and normal people know, but for some reason they decided to make a BIG FREAKIN DEAL about this. They went on about oooooo, home versus away! oooo they’ll have to navigate a rivalry, ooooo! It was like they saw an away Yankee jersey and visualized it as a Red Sox jersey or something. It made NO SENSE.

BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER/WORSE. Because later in the game, they bring on the now-engaged couple for a brief in-game interview, AND THEY ASK ABOUT THE JERSEYS. Like, “So will it be a problem between you guys, having one of you rooting home and one away?” I think the guy in the couple stammered out something about how it would obviously not be an issue, BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH YANKEES FANS WEARING YANKEE JERSEYS, AT YANKEE STADIUM.

It was completely surreal. If it hadn’t gone on for such an extended period of time I probably would have thought I’d just hallucinated it or something, but it went on and on and ON, and I could not ignore it.

DOES ANYBODY IN THE UNIVERSE CONSIDER SOMEONE WEARING AN AWAY JERSEY OF THEIR TEAM TO BE A RIVAL? I have never, ever encountered someone who thought this way. But to Buck and McCarver, it not only seems like a normal thing to think, it also is so obvious that they feel they can spend several innings discussing it.

I am desperately looking forward to Rod and Mario on Sunday.

pug marks 2/16, incredibly important Tigers things


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Austin Jackson climbing redwoods, OK. I actually tried to think of some reason behind this so that it would make a good post, but I couldn’t come up with anything. This is just what happens when it’s February and I haven’t seen baseball in forever and my fevered brain is crying out for sweet baseball relief. Austin Jackson climbing redwoods happens. You kind of signed up for this when you started reading this blog.

On to the paw prints!

pug mark 1
Brad Penny has declared that he is in favor of sartorial splendor, he is on the side of righteousness, he will wear his socks high forever and ever, amen.

[M]ost of the players are dedicated to the sock-less look — or else Daniel Schlereth wouldn’t have grabbed a pair of scissors as soon as he arrived at the clubhouse on Monday and cut through the elastic band at the bottom of his uniform pants.

The one holdout with the high sock look?

Brad Penny.

“I’ll never switch,” he said.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

That is exactly right, Brad Penny. You will never switch, and in fact you should do your best to convince other Tigers that it is only right to switch. There is no one true way to wear a baseball uniform, but all the correct ways to wear it involve high socks. FACT.

And shame on you, Daniel Schlereth! Shame.

pug mark 2
Jim Leyland likes to torment his pitchers. He believes that it’s the best way to get some of them involved in boring Spring Training exercises.

Remember Jim Leyland’s running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who’s competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.

“I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want,” Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.

“Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off,” he said after another one.
Jason Beck

This is the kind of psychology you use on five-year olds– turning a mundane task into a competitive game so they are tricked into approaching the task with enthusiasm and increased effort– but everyone knows that professional baseball players are developmentally similar to five-year olds in a number of ways. Jim Leyland is a genius.

pug mark 3
In the same post Beck notes that Max St. Pierre is still alive and playing Tigers baseball. He also speculates about the bullpen hair situation for the coming season. His guess is that it will be all about the beard this year. I could live with that.

pug mark 4
Scott Pickens has his St. Bernard Wallace back at camp again this year. A couple of days ago, Tom Gage posted this:

Speaking of dogs, big ol’ Wallace – the 140-pound St. Bernard of bullpen catcher Scott Pickens – let lively pup Diego know who’s boss on Monday.

Also a St. Bernard belonging to Pickens, Diego spent about an hour on the disabled list.

Just a minor mix-up between Saints, that’s all.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

A SECOND ST. BERNARD?? And then there was a PHOTO! Yes, look at them! Those are Brad Penny’s Very Pale Legs, but look at the dogs! Look! LOOK! LOOK AT DIEGO OH MY GOODNESS. You are looking at a creature that demands by its very existence infinite cuddles.

pug mark 5
Robbie Weinhardt has snatched up Bondo’s number. I have to admit that it’s going to be weird to see a non-Bondo Tiger wearing #38.

pug mark 6
The Axis of Evil had some words with Patrick Leyland, who is in Lakeland this year as an actual Tigers prospect, instead of just hanging around as the coach’s kid. I’ll bet Jim Leyland feels super old right now.

pug mark 7
The Mothership’s blog has been posting a photo (or several photos) of the day for a while now, and the February 7th post showcased Truck Day. Now, Truck Day in Boston is a public event, where people go down to the stadium to watch the truck get loaded in the freezing cold (seriously) (I was there a couple years ago), so I was kind of sad to see the Detroit truck getting loaded up without any fans around to wave it off.

But Paws in a box made it all better.

Happy Valentine’s/Spring Training Day!


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Welcome, new cats! We are ready and waiting to shower you with love! All you have to do is play the game of baseball reasonably well and not get injured or arrested. I feel like this should not be too much to ask, but since so many cats of our recent past have had issues with these seemingly simple restrictions, let me lay it out for you, as a roadmap to our hearts. It’s all in the spirit of the holiday!

Victor Martinez: You have possibly the easiest task of the three, because we have been carefully training our expectations for the catcher’s position downwards for the last few seasons. We’re horribly used to saying things like, “Oh, any offensive production out of this spot is a bonus, we’re really just in it for the defense. That’s what’s important. The rest of the lineup should produce enough to make this lineup hole a non-factor!” Has it ever worked out like that? Not really. We kept saying it, though, because that is how we keep from crying.

Last year you batted .302 and OPS’d .844. We haven’t seen catcher production like that since Pudge… actually, we haven’t seen a catcher OPS like that since the 2004 version of Pudge. Just remember that Alex Avila is your little buddy and if you feel like bending over to pick something up might hurt your knees or back, make him do it for you. He has a young body and a beard of great health. Don’t be mean to the pitchers and don’t develop a taste for firing balls randomly into the outfield, and I think we will be great friends.

An additional suggestion: don’t go to any Phoenix Suns games. And if you absolutely MUST go to a Phoenix Suns game, don’t bring your grandpa.

Joaquin Benoit: I know that you’ve only ever called obscenely hot places or domes home, and Detroit is most definitely neither one of those things, but it will be OK. Invest in some handwarmers, and maybe a headsock or giant furry hat to wear in the bullpen. It seems impossible to imagine with all the snow on the ground right now, but soon enough it will be too hot for normal people again and we will all be complaining about it.

Perhaps you could form some sort of elaborate ritual with Papa Grande? This would help you become a full member of the bullpen community. Remember that you are setting up, not closing, so don’t feel like you have to put too much pressure on yourself and get injured. Keep your head down and your strikeouts up and maybe learn a few Australian slang words.

Your eyebrows are really something, and your goatee growth always seems robust. With Phil Coke out of the bullpen, you may have to pick up some of the slack in the tonsorial department. How do you feel about mohawks?

Brad Penny: I saw you in Boston, buddy. You can’t hide from me. I know what you’ve done and you are ON NOTICE in the American League. I know we have that big scary thing called THE DH over here, and I know we’re lacking in the soothing lineup presence of a pitcher’s bat. You’re just going to have to deal with it, and you’re going to have to deal with it in a way that does not make us think of Edgar Renteria. You probably don’t have as convincingly wibbly a sadface as Edgah did, but trust me. We will know.

That said… again, expectations are not high. We don’t need you to be Justin Verlander. We don’t even need you to be FredFred or Max Scherzer, and we don’t expect you to be; FredFred is like a fetus compared to you, with a correspondingly fetus-fresh arm, and you don’t have Scherzer’s magical eyes. We just need you to be better than the ghost of Nate Robertson (last seen heading east with a 5.00+ ERA) and more consistent than Dontrelle Willis. Quite frankly, this should not be difficult. Paws is more consistent on the mound than Dontrelle Willis and they don’t even let him pitch.

You do wear the high socks, and this is a positive. Don’t ever change that. We’re counting on it.

We are ready to love you, Brad Penny. We are all standing here, gazing at you hopefully with giant melty kitten eyes. When it comes to the back end of the rotation, things have been hard for us, and our little hearts have been much abused. Honestly, our number five guy right now is Phil Coke. We are scared. We want to give you our hearts. Please don’t stomp on them.

Now let the spring commence and the love blossom in the shining Lakeland sun! Which does not shine on me, but whatever. I can imagine it. With love.

sort of answering my concerns


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Right after I complain about the Rotation Situation, the Tigers sign Brad Penny (not yet official, contingent on a physical, etc). OK! It is nice to know that they take the threat of panicky bloggers vomiting forth extreme amounts of frantic words on the internet seriously. It is, after all, a very serious matter.

Now, I’m not exactly going to dance down the street screaming that our rotation is saved, because I live in Massachusetts and if I went outside and yelled, “BRAD PENNY IS ON OUR TEAM! EVERYTHING WILL BE OK NOW,” people would laugh in my face, and then possibly call the cops, because anyone loudly supporting Brad Penny must be unbalanced and dangerous to the general public. We had him here in Boston and he was… not good.

Of course it was only part of one season, but in 24 starts he literally never went more than 6.1 innings in a game. He allowed two or fewer runs only six times, and he left the mound without allowing a run only ONCE in the entire time he was here. He tended to completely lose it once or twice a month, throwing solid and unimpressive outings the rest of the time, the kind of outings where he wouldn’t leave the team totally scrabbling from behind, but you’d still need a good bullpen and a fair amount of run support to pull off the win. He generally wasn’t HORRIFIC; he just wasn’t… you know… good.

He had persistent shoulder problems in 2008 and was DL’d with a DEADLY OBLIQUE STRAIN last season. He has had plenty of time to rest up from that and normal people might not believe it’s something we need to worry about anymore, but we all know the history the Tigers have with the DEADLY OBLIQUE. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that something in the Detroit air/water is incredibly bad for obliques.

Here’s his fairly boring Twitter account, if you’re one of those tweetin’ sorts. The ‘Words with Friends’ thing he keeps tweeting about is apparently some sort of iPhone crossword game, so maybe he can play word games with Max Scherzer on the plane during the season. There’s also this, which, uh… yeah.

He does wear his socks up, and this would only be a one-year, $3 million deal. There’s also a chance that his partial season in Boston was a fluke and he’ll do just fine in the AL this time around. We are no longer 100% reliant on Phil Coke as a starter. There, see: I’m thinking positive thoughts.