Category Archives: Chad Durbin

pug marks, Nov. 5

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

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Brandon Inge’s knee surgery is successful. Yay! I am throwing confetti in the air. Metaphorical confetti. Throwin’ metaphors. Anyways, this was not a particularly risky surgery, but it’s still good to hear that it all went well, they didn’t discover any teratoma monsters living in his joints, Inge still has both of his knees more or less attached to his legs in approximately the right places, etc.

Now Mrs. Inge will have six weeks of dealing with an increasingly bored Brandon, as he’s not supposed to put any weight on either knee for that long. I predict a great many video games in his immediate future. My official blogger’s recommendation is to stay away from the Guitar Hero, though. That way madness lies.

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FredFred is the Tigers’ Rookie of the Year. Not the big one, the team version.

I don’t know about you cats, but I am SHOCKED. Shocked, I tell you. I never would have expected FredFred to win this award… I was totally expecting it to be, um… uh… Alex Avila and his 61 at-bats! Obviously Porcello richly deserved some recognition for the season he just had– 14 wins and a sub-4 ERA while he’s still too young to legally get drunk off his rump– but it’s not like this was a tight race with a veritable horde of Tigers rookies getting tons of playing time and all contributing mightily.

How cool would that have been, though? SIGH. Maybe in the future.

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Chris Getz was probably traded to the Royals, in exchange for Mark Teahen and Josh Fields. I say ‘probably’ because neither team has confirmed it as of right now (6 pm on Thursday), but it seems likely to get done.

Why should you care? Because it is good to root for former Wolverines in the Majors. But while Getz was on the Wrong Sox, it was quite difficult to root for him, because, well, you know: Wrong Sox. Sure, he’d still be going to a division rival, but I can gloss over Royalty for a Wolverine. Wrong Soxness is a much more potent state of evil, and thus much harder to ignore.

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The Cubs have just become the first major league sports franchise to have an openly gay owner. That would be Laura Ricketts, a lawyer, out lesbian, and member of the billionaire Ricketts Family, who (as a group) recently purchased the Cubs.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the Tigers, I just think it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

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Chad Durbin’s team lost a game to some bunch of dudes. I guess it was kind of a big deal? I don’t know, I was only paying attention to Chad Durbin.

pug marks, Jan. 21

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s been a while since we had a pug marks post over here, eh? Let us rectify this tragic oversight now!

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The Tigers signed everyone who was arbitration-eligible, except for Verlander. Bobby Seay will make $1.3 million, Zoom will make $735,000, Edwin Jackson will make $2.2 million, and Gerald Laird will make $2.8 million.

Apparently Verlander is asking for $4.15 million and the Tigers are offering $3.2 million. They have until Feb. 1 (that’s ten days from now) to work it out, otherwise it’ll go to arb. And we all know how much Mr. Dombrowski hates that arb…

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Nate Robertson is a soccer mom, uses Pilates to try and get back into shape.

Of course I somewhat obliquely mentioned this in the latest cartoon, but I figure it deserves linking just because of the Pilates-love in this article. Also, because Nate is saying things like this:

“I feel that flexibility. I really do,” Robertson said. “I think it’s worked out real good so far. Everything feels more loose.” article

Feel that flexibility, Nate! Yeah, baby!

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Chad Durbin interview!! Hat tip to Kurt, who sent me the link.

Chad Durbin will be forever beloved around here for his good sense of humor about the whole pimp thing, and it warms my fuzzy little heart to see him saying stuff like this:

BR: Aside from Philadelphia (for obvious reasons), where did you like playing the most (KC, Cleveland, Arizona or Detroit)?

Chad: Cleveland and Detroit stick out most because of the personal relationships I had with some great guys. Kansas City will always be memorable because it’s where I broke into the Big Leagues. article

Nuts to you, Arizona!

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Pre-Spring Training photos! The early bird get the worm, the Floridian ballplayer gets photographed by the always-diligent HueyTaxi aka Roger DeWitt. I spy Cale Iorg, Ryan Raburn, Justin Verlander, and Alex Avila.

He also captured this highly disturbing image of a scruffy, bearded Jim Leyland from October. Um. Hopefully that will be gone by the time Spring Training proper rolls around.

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Lynn Henning has a bunch of quotes from new pitching coach Rick Knapp. The whole first section is about Knapp’s thoughts on Verlander, with whom he’s already been working in Lakeland.

“Watching him play catch, I noticed how after he finishes, he finishes way off-balance,” Knapp explained this week, by telephone from his home in Port Charlotte, Fla.

“He was maybe getting a bit too high. That can lead him to arch, and to fall off as opposed to stepping around after the ball crosses the plate… So, doing long-toss, we had him keeping his hands away from his head a bit more, which seems to free up his arm and his release a bit more out front.

“It was a small little adjustment. But he felt it almost immediately. I’m used to having to sell guys on things because they have a hard time feeling it. Justin picked up on it like that. He was in tune with it.”
Detroit News article

It’ll be interesting to see if this has much of an impact. I also find it curious that falling off weirdly was Verlander’s problem: he’s known for having very good defensive skills, and pitchers who fall crazily off the mound are generally rubbish defensively, as they end their pitching motion in no good condition to field the ball.

Also worth noting is this quote about Bonderman:

“But the thing that stands out to me,” Knapp said, “is how physical he is. I was talking to Gene Lamont (Tigers bench coach) the other day and I said to him, ‘Dang, that guy’s firm.’ He looks strong. I don’t know what else he could do to make his body right — he’s strong as an ox.”
Detroit News article

Who among us has not watched a guy pitch and said to ourselves, DANG, THAT DUDE IS FIRM! Right? Right.

Dontrelle in the D for 3

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers and Dontrelle Willis today agreed to a contract that will take them through 2010. It’s 3 years, $29 million.

It’s interesting that this deal got done now, before the Tigers have any sense at all about how well Dontrelle will rebound from his 2007 season. The thinking probably runs something along the lines of “young pitcher+ crazy market = lock him up”. Dontrelle will be 26 next season; 3 years is in general a very team-friendly contract for a guy that young. In this case it’s evened out a bit by the fact that we don’t know if Dontrelle has ONE good year left in him, let alone 3, but since he IS so young and his delivery may be SO affected by so many variables due to its complexity (thus potentially in part accounting for last season), the odds are pretty good that he’ll be worth our while.

Selnick [Willis’ agent] stressed that Willis wanted the security of a longer-term deal. He also wanted to end the constant rumors about his being traded, rumors that had dogged Willis for the past couple of seasons in Miami.

“He was consistent on getting a deal done when he came here,” Selnick said. article

Let’s put it this way: most players on the Tigers can feel more secure about their jobs than most players on the Marlins. At least they know that winning won’t automatically be followed by panicked rummage sales.

Even though $29 mil seems like a hefty chunk of cash, it’s broken up into 7, 10, and 12 million-dollars-per-season chunks, and those aren’t quite bank-breaking numbers for a team like the Tigers (when it comes to hopefully quality starting pitching). Still, I thought they’d wait a little and see both how Dontrelle pitched and how effective Bondo was, before locking themselves into a contract.

“They’ve shown a lot of love to take a chance and even offer me a deal,” Willis said. “It shows how much respect they have for me and my abilities.

“So, again, I’m gonna do everything I can to not only win a championship but uphold this team and make them proud.” article

A lot of love! Check this out too: barely on the team and already he’s doing charity work in Detroit. I think we’re gonna like the guy.

In other news!

Granderson wins TYIB “defensive play of the year” award. It’s for that over-the-wall catch he made against the Red Sox (relive the event RotT-ly here), which was indeed spectacular and deserving of awards. Of course Curtis Granderson is pretty much deserving of all awards, at all times, so this just fits right in.

–If Granderson had the defensive play of the year, who was the defensive player? That’s right, of course it was Placido Polanco and his zero errors in 2007. Defensive statistics are still not as good as offensive ones, and errors are a flawed system, based on somebody’s feeling that a guy should have made a certain play, and heavily weighted by the player’s range and his willingness to venture to the extremes of that range. That said, who cares? because Placido Polanco is freakin’ amazing.

–I’m sure most of you are aware by now, but Chad Durbin signed with the Phillies. One year, $900,000, and thus was launched a Philadelphian campaign to write as many articles as is humanly possible about the hilarity of having Chad and JD Durbin on the same team. Of all the pinstripes he could have chosen, these are the least objectionable.

Chad Durbin revives the pimp

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I know, I know, Durbin only went 5 innings. But they were 5 PIMP innings, and it has been far too long since we properly acknowledged Chad Durbin’s pimpness around here. Sure, he gave up a pair of doubles and a couple singles, but no runs! And that’s the important bit.

Seventy-eight pitches for someone who’s been tugged between starting and relieving all year is pretty darn good. The poor guy’s been getting mixed messages: we want him to throw short and hard! no, long and steady! no, some weird combination of both! Given all that, he’s remained relatively pimp– which, if you’ve forgotten, means that he’s been startlingly competent for a guy who was supposed to be nothing more than a doorstop of a pitcher in the rotation.

Also pimp today (but not pimp enough to have their own tags): Jason Grilli, Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, Placido Polanco.

OK, OK, maybe Grilli isn’t exactly what anyone would call ‘pimp’, but 2 scoreless innings is all we could ever ask from him. Brandon Inge, continuing to suddenly be able to connect with the baseball, had a bunch of glorious hits, including a home run and a key non-hit that moved the winning run over to third in the bottom of the 9th inning. Sean Casey hit the RBI single that tied the game up. Polanco won it. All of this against the cane toad.

Not AT ALL pimp today: Fernando Rodney. You all know my feelings on all things Fernando, so no explanations needed, but jeez, if we had lost that game…..

Polly Sets Record; Fans Make Error Turning Game On

Since the Tigers’ 7-2 loss to was so craptacular, I’m going to start with just about the only good news to come out of the game. Placido Polanco broke the record for consecutive games played without an error by a second baseman. It’s not going to get the pub of just about any offensive record somebody could set – Stats, Inc. didn’t even notice at first when Luis Castillo set the record earlier this season – but anytime you do something nobody’s ever done in baseball’s long history it’s pretty cool. Congratulations, Polly, and if Samara were here I’m sure she’d photoshop you as a vacuum cleaner or something more clever to show her appreciation.

The funny thing about this record to me is the fact that I was at the game when he last made an error. It was in Pittsburgh, and we got tickets through a sales guy at my wife’s work who knew we loved the Tigers. It was the Pirates, so I naturally expected a win but the Tigers had one of those complete meltdown innings where they just couldn’t make a play. I think they made about four straight errors – or at least misplayed balls that could have been called errors – and I assume Polanco’s was one of them. I was averting my eyes from the horror, so I may have missed it.

Anyway, on to the current Tigers and this turd of a game they played last night. In retrospect, I think the Tigers might have lost this one in the first inning when Chad Durbin gave up the two run home run to Mark Ellis. Sure, they came right back and tied it up but something must of caused Durbin to start pitching around this lineup and the home run seems like the most likely cause. It sure as hell wasn’t the Athletics’ stats.

There was one guy who cleared a .450 slugging percentage in their lineup last night and going down that same lineup, I think there might have been two, maybe three guys who’d bat higher than seventh if they were in the Tigers’ lineup. Yet, there was Durbin walking four guys in 4 1/3 innings. This was a lineup where he should have just been pumping strikes and seeing what they could do, but too often all they had to do was not swing the bat. As a result, Durbin threw 86 pitches in less than five innings and forced the bullpen to once again throw more than four innings. To borrow from Sam’s running theme, he was decidedly unpimplike.

When he was taken out, we were once again treated to the Jason Grilli show, which now apparently begins with boos every time it airs. I feel bad for Grilli having to listen to the boos – you really shouldn’t boo your own players for anything but a lack of effort – but he’s definitely not helping his cause. When he first came out for Durbin, he did pretty well. Sure, he gave up a two run single, but the hit was a slap up the middle and it would have only scored one run if not for Guillen’s ridiculous throwing error on the previous play. But when he came out the next inning, he gave the kind of performance that will get him booed the next time he takes the mound. He gave up two singles before walking Dan Johnson and Marco Scutaro on eight pitches to bring in a run.

Can we have a rule from now on where if a reliever is pitching in an inning he started – especially if it’s not his first inning – and loads the bases on a walk, he is automatically pulled? I mean as soon as the ump calls ball four he should just start walking off the mound. Because twice in this series a Tiger pitcher walked a guy to load the bases and both times I thought the pitcher who did it was done for the night. I was wrong both times and the results were a grand slam and a bases loaded walk on four pitches.

I shouldn’t give the impression that it was only the pitching and defense that were disappointing, though. The offense sucked plenty as well. I was amazed at the groove they let Chad Gaudin settle into after that first inning. When I saw Maggs hit that two run single and then saw Kurt Suzuki setting up way outside for pitches that ended up coming in on the inside half of the plate, I didn’t even think Gaudin would throw enough innings to be eligible for a win, much less actually get one.

But after that single he didn’t give up another run and when he finally walked off the mound, he had struck out nine batters. He did a particular number on Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge. I love Marcus, but he looked pretty bad both times he struck out on those low and away breaking balls. As for Inge, I am afraid I’m going to snap the next time I see him strikeout on a checked swing.

Oh well, this was obviously just one of those games where they didn’t have it, and let’s hope they were saving it for this upcoming stretch of thirteen games with the Indians and Yankees. I think the importance of the much ballyhooed games is overstated a little when everybody says it will make or break their season, but it is important that they come close to at least splitting the games with these two teams. If they break off some putrid 3-10 stretch, it could throw some dirt on the season but that’s usually true of any thirteen game stretch in late August when you’re in a pennant race.


Chad Durbin pimps from the bullpen

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Sorry, Andrew Miller. I know you pitched 6 scoreless innings and managed to get yourself another win despite the fact that you’re so young you’re still wearing Spiderman underwear unironically, but Chad Durbin gets the headline and the leader image, because

a) most everyone else is going to have some kind of awful “Miller time!!!!111!!1eleventy-one LOL!” headline, and I see no need to subject people to more of that sort of thing, and
b) Chad Durbin was in fact pimp.

Instead of being discouraged by his unmerited banishment to the ‘pen, Durbin remained cool, calm, collected, pimptacular. He came in today to pitch 3 scoreless innings with only two hits and one walk. He looked reliable and in charge on the mound.

He ALSO (and this is the good bit) hit a sacrifice fly that went for an RBI! So although he did not manage a hit in his at-bat, he did manage to contribute offensively, and this is A VERY BIG DEAL for a pitcher, especially a newly-minted relief pitcher who, and I cannot stress this enough, was not supposed to be anything at all beyond cannon fodder this season. RBI!! That is DELIVERING THE GOODS. That is PIMP behavior.

Plus he got his very first ever save so, you know, congrats to him for that as well.

We had to face Ledezma again today, which is still weird. THE WOUND IS TOO RAW. Brandon Inge, bless his little high socks, doubled off of him, and then stole third so beautifully that Saltalamacchia (I spelled that without even checking, snap snap etc.) didn’t even attempt a throw. It was as though Inge had timed and anticipated Ledezma’s move perfectly… which is, no doubt, exactly what he did do. Inge may not be the crunchiest kibble in the cat food, but he’s fairly observant when it comes to baseball stuff, and I reckon being Ledezma’s teammate for ages made that steal a whole lot easier.

As for Miller, yeah, perfectly solid start. I would still like to see him working out his offspeed stuff more, and obviously everyone agrees on that… Miller himself said that he wanted/needed to develop his offspeed stuff during a little in-game interview with Peter Gammons. And there was this quote from Pudge after the game:

“He’s going to be a great pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “When he starts to work the slider and the changeup, combined with the sinker and the four-seam fastball, he’s going to be tremendous. He’s doing a good job with basically two pitches. When he becomes a four-pitch starter, he’s going to be very, very tough to hit.” article

I would trust Pudge to know.

With all that said, I think it’s clearer than ever where I stand on the issue of the rotation. I want Miller back in Toledo until September. I don’t care if he’s so far above AAA hitters that he’s blowing the snot out of their noses on a regular basis down there. He needs to work on his offspeed pitches, and he’s going to be more free to do so with the Mud Hens than he is as a starter with the big cats.

I know it worked out OK for Verlander (and I was grumbling that we should keep Verlander in the minors longer too, so possibly I have a brain full of kitty litter), but is Miller’s fastball as good as Verlander’s, when Verlander was at the same point in his tender fledgling development? I say that it is not. And it was Verlander’s fastball that had/has to carry him along until everything else comes. Major League hitters haven’t worked out how to get around on Verlander’s fastball yet, because it’s nasty. Miller’s is, I think, more generally hittable, so when hitters start getting used to him, he’s not going to be able to fight back, because he has no other pitches to really fall back on.


Oh, and it turns out that Mike Maroth has himself a little blog over on his own website. Here’s what he thinks of the trade. I have inserted paragraph breaks myself to make it… less a giant block of text.

The hardest part of the day came after I threw a bullpen at the stadium. It was time to tell my teammates good bye. I had been on the other side many times with guys getting traded or released but this was different. This team is special. I had been through a lot with the Tigers and grown up in the Big Leagues with a lot of these players.

Some of the guys I have played with for many years and had been through a lot with them. I played with Brandon Inge the longest starting back in AA in 1999 shortly after I was brought over to the Tigers from the Red Sox. My closest relationship is with Nate Robertson and we spent quite a bit of time talking and encouraging each other to press on. I have been used to spending almost everyday during the season with these guys and now that was going to end.

The relationships you build in baseball are special. You spend as much or more time with guys than you do most of your family. Essentially, they become your family. So, to say good bye to them was hard knowing that I was leaving the Tigers as well as the AL so there was a good chance I wouldn’t see a lot of them for awhile. But, It is time to start new relationships in a new organization and for that, I am excited. See you in St Louis!!!
Mike Maroth’s blog

So, OK, we could critique his writing style… oh, how we could critique his writing style… but I expect most of us are going to be too busy sniffling (Colt might actually be sobbing) over the content of that little gem to worry much about the fact that he writes like a middle schooler trying to bang out a book report.

I just want to remind you all that All Star voting ends at midnight of the 28th (that is, when the 28th turns into the 29th), and you NEED TO GET OFF YOUR RUMPS AND VOTE FOR MAGGLIO ORDONEZ. He is VERY DESERVING of an All Star trip, and he NEEDS VOTES, and ZOMG DO IT. Make multiple Yahoo email accounts just for the purpose of voting! You can vote 25 times per email account! MAKE IT HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

Magglio Ordonez needs my help, your help, the help of all of us! MAKE IT HAPPEN, TIGERS FANS. VOTE!

Oh, and did the “argument/discussion” tonight between Jon Miller and Joe Morgan about the definition of a slugger vs. a hitter and how that pertained to Magglio make anyone else want to stab their ears out? Or was that just me?

taking some bats to the Nats

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Apologies to Chad Durbin, but no pimp hat today. I mean, 5 hits, 1 run, 5 Ks and 0 walks over 6 innings is pretty… bloody… pimp, but Chad Durbin was the only member of the starting lineup today without a hit. If he had managed a hit he would be declared the UBER-PIMP, but alas, instead he merely had a good outing.

Poor guy. That was probably his one and only chance at bat-wielding glory… and if EVER there was an accommodating opposing pitching staff, this would have been the day. They collectively gave up 17 hits and 15 runs, while issuing 6 walks on the side. The average ERA of their pitchers used today is 5.94 (it’s 7.02 if you leave off Billy Traber’s very lonely-looking 1.59 ERA). The average ERA of the Tigers pitchers used today? 3.05 (to be fair, if you leave off Eulogio De La Cruz’ 0.00 ERA, it’s 4.58). I mean, just look at that! And we think that WE have pitching/bullpen problems…

Still, today was definitely a day to look at the bats. O Tigers lineup, how I do love thee! THE HITS. LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. With specific love for each wonderful special snowflake of a batter thrown in, because it was THAT good a game.

Curtis Granderson
2-for-6, 2 runs scored, a double. Winning smile, loved by the ladies, smart enough to let his publicist run his Myspace instead of posting photos of himself getting trashed at porch parties, unlike SOME Tigers minor leaguers I can think of.

Placido Polanco
2-for-5, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, a walk. Enormous head, perfect size for wearing snoods in cold weather.

Gary Sheffield
2-for-3, 3 runs scored, 2 walks. In my mind he is Paws, the loveable fuzzy mascot. In this way I enjoy his at-bats while not having to think about the whirlwind of abrasive crazy that is his mind/personality.

The River Thames
1-for-1, 1 run scored, 2 RBI, a home run. Who just pops into a game as a pinch hitter and says to himself, “Ho hum, I think I’ll hit a two-run homer,”? Only The River.

Magglio Ordonez
3-for-3, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI, a double. Possibly the only man in MLB who can pull off long curly hair without looking like an escapee from Shakespeare theater summer camp.

Craig Monroe
0-for-3. He pinch hit for Maggs in the 6th. How did he manage to not get any hits or walks with the garbage the Nats were throwing out there? Only Craig Monroe knows. Um…. I’m sure he made a fan smile today. There we go. Yayyyy kittens and sunshine.

Carlos Guillen
1-for-3, 1 run scored, 2 RBI. My All Star votes for him are tiny ineffective drops in the vast ocean of salty Jeterwank that infests New York this time of year, but I throw them in nonetheless because he is a marvelous manbeast of a shortstop. It’s a brave gesture.

Neifi!!! Perez
1-for-2, a walk, a double. Also made an error. Classic sea slug. All he needed to do to complete the look would have been to ground into a double play. (If you have been wondering about the sea slug nickname, it’s because he’s oddly flashy and attention-getting [Gold Glove?? people still giving him jobs???] for something that’s basically just a squishy, shell-less snail.)

Sean Casey
2-for-5, 2 runs scored, 4 RBI, a walk, a double, a home run. Extremely nice game for an extremely nice guy. And it’s beyond excellent to see The Mayor finally go yard (and RFK is no slouch of a park… although the heat might help the balls fly, along with terrible pitching, o’course).

Brandon Inge
2-for-4, 1 run scored, 3 RBI, a walk, a double. Batting average is up to .255…. the road to .300 continues!! We’re going to get there. It will be a wild and wacky ride, but we’ve taken our Dramamine and we’re sticking it out, all for the love of Brandon Inge.

Mike Rabelo
1-for-4, an RBI, a double. Our backup backup catcher is hitting .281. Our backup backup catcher is hitting .281. Our backup BACKUP catcher is HITTING .281!!

And then we have some noncontributing pitchers.

If that litany of offense doesn’t fill you with a slow, mellow joy, then you are not doing this whole ‘fan’ thing properly. I mean, come on now, this was a lineup without Pudge in it, even!

My concern now is that a combination of the hitfest today and Bondo’s start tomorrow (a time when the offense often likes to take a day off) will conspire to silence the bats utterly. Fortunately, the Nats are throwing something called Mike Bacsik (back-sick? is that like vomiting out of your…. yeah, never mind) at us, so the bats really should have no excuse.

(for the record, I feel like I should be fired for that drawing… Audubon would NOT smile upon eagle abuse, I reckon. But it had to be done. Plus it was super quick and [very obviously] super quick to color roughly)

Tiger bats suddenly become tiny kitten bats

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

What, all of a sudden we’re offensed out? Or is Jorge Sosa really THAT good? I guess he’s really that good, because the bats sure seemed like they were on a roll coming out of Texas. Tonight they were kept runless and helpless like teeny tiny little kittens whose fuzzy little kitten paws are far too small and weak to pick up a real baseball bat. Feel that tug at your heartstrings, dontcha?

It’s especially sad because Chad Durbin was back to his pimping ways again. If you’re new to Roar of the Tigers you might not be aware of it, but Chad Durbin is a pimp, and has pitched pimptacularly several times already this season, despite all expectations to the contrary.

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So far this season it seems that Durbin has three pitching modes:

1. Terrible. This is what everyone expects (expected?) him to be. He was supposed to just be rotation-filler until Kenny Rogers recovered from his vascular explosion.
2. Serviceable. This is what everyone hoped he would be, at the absolute best. Nothing spectacular, but just good enough to give the Tigers a fighting chance during his starts.
3. Pimp. This is what he’s been… I think this is the 5th time this season. A pimp start is when Chad Durbin absolutely dominates the snot out of the opposition in a way that is completely shocking when you consider his past baseball history.

Five pimp starts out of 12 so far, that’s pretty bloody good for someone who was supposed to be the pitching version of feeder crickets.

This particular start was an example of Chad Durbin’s pimpin’ ways because he only gave up 6 hits and 3 runs over 8 innings. Two of the runs were single-shot homers to David Wright and Carlos Delgado, and I think it’s only fair to forgive any pitcher who gives up home runs to David Wright and Carlos Delgado. The other run was a guy he put on base who was inherited and dumped in by Byrdak.

He threw 84 pitches over 8 innings (and he pitched to 2 guys in the 9th). Of the 8 innings he pitched, FIVE of them were 1-2-3 innings. Except for the home runs, and when he lost it a little bit at the very end, Durbin was DEALING and ROLLING. Very pimp, yes? I think we can all agree on that.

The bats today, not so pimp. Like I said, tiny little kittens in thrall to the giant baseball head of Mr. Met up top there.

Also not pimp is the news that Vance Wilson, who’s been DLed for a while now with a nonspecific wonky forearm (I guess they’re calling it a torn muscle now, but I don’t remember when they started calling it that… weren’t we not sure if it was a pinched nerve or what?), says that he’s reaggravated the injury and could miss the rest of the year.

Now, Rabelo hasn’t been hitting too badly of late (.286!), and Vance fresh off an injury wouldn’t be likely to hit his own weight even if he WAS coming back soon, but this still doesn’t make me happy. I suppose it’s because that flimsy illusion of depth at the catcher position is getting even flimsier. What if, cats forbid, Pudge gets hurt? A catching tandem of Vance and Rabelo would not equal Pudge, of course, but it might get us through the season. Rabelo by himself could not. What if Rabelo gets hurt? What do we do, run a 35-year-old Pudge into the ground and call up Dane Sardinha? Oy.

Tomorrow is Oliver Perez/Bondo, although I will be watching Michigan struggle against Oregon State. The exciting matchup anyways is Sunday, where we get Tom Glavine/Andrew Miller in the great battle of the ages.

Todd Jones flees the devil ray

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Did we seriously just lose to the Devil Rays?

See, I’m not sure. I didn’t watch the game, because I was busy living in a world where it was a beautiful night at Fenway, THE RACIST LOGOS LOST, Curt Schilling was on fire, Mike Lowell nearly turned a triple play, Kevin Youkilis hit an inside-the-park home run, Trot Nixon returned home to an adoring crowd, there was wacky controversy at the end, and did I mention that THE RACIST LOGOS LOST? Great night for baseball.

I had, of course, been keeping my eye on the out-of-town scoreboard on the Monster throughout the game, and noted that except for one period of time when we seemed to be tied at 2, the Tigers were leading. Either I got so caught up in the controversy at the end and didn’t notice, or the Tigers game went much later than the Red Sox game, because the very last time I checked, we had been up, and I headed home happy in the assumption that it had been a trifecta day: Red Sox win, Tigers win, Yankees lose.


It looks like it was another serviceable if unspectacular outing from Durbin. As I will continue to say until he starts slowing down, this is all we can ask from him. He is not Kenny Rogers, but if he can go 6 innings with only 2 runs (and only 1 of those earned)… heck, some days that’s all you can ask of Kenny Rogers.

Even the bullpen, although they allowed the D’Rays to chip away at the lead, more or less did their job.

Then came Rollercoaster Jones.

This is why we call him Rollercoaster Jones. Some days he blows away the opposition. Some days he puts men on base and makes everyone Incredibly Tense and then he pulls a save out of his walrus mustache. Some days he puts men on base and gives up a walkoff two-run single to a baby Devil Ray who thinks it’s no big deal to threaten to kill his wife. Whee.

As with every Rollercoaster Jones outing, you just have to grit your teeth and hope that you can forget about the loss as quickly as he will.

This would not be so painfully galling if it hadn’t come as a continuation of a losing streak… but I’m still basking in the glow of that Sox win/RLs loss, so I will only be properly infuriated if it continues tonight.

many Tigers do many things which are awesome

I honestly could not think of which Tiger to use for the graphics in this post.

Chad Durbin pimps again, by Samara Pearlstein

Obviously, for the Wednesday game, I needed to put Chad Durbin in another pimp outfit, because when Chad Durbin outduels Bartolo Colon, I think that’s more than enough to put Chad Durbin into another pimp outfit. Durbin dumps Colon. Durbin blows Colon away. Colon busted by Tiger bats. So many terrible, terrible headlines that can be generated. But mostly we just need to put Chad Durbin in a tigerlicious pimp uniform and people will understand that he’s exceeded expectations once again, right? Right.

I mean, OK, 3 runs and 8 hits over 5 innings isn’t exactly the stuff of aces, but when the opposing starter gives up 6 runs on 10 hits over 4.1 innings, it sure looks like it. I also still maintain that ANY quality or semi-quality start out of Chad Durbin can be considered pimp-worthy. It wouldn’t for Bonderman, if we were doing Bondo up as a pimp ’round these bloggin’ parts, but it is enough for Durbin. It’s all relative in the land of pitchers and bad pimp suits.

I also had to briefly consider Granderson for a photoshop, though. Curtis Granderson homered off of a lefty. That’s pretty ridiculous, especially since Granderson has such trouble against lefties that he usually doesn’t even get a crack against them… he’s hitting .071 versus lefties this year, as opposed to .324 versus righties. Granted, he has a much smaller sample size against lefties, but still.

(As a side note, I’m not really sure this is the best policy, pretty much always sitting him against lefties. I understand, of course, that he drags down the team a lot when he’s a guaranteed hole in the lineup if the other team is throwing a left-hander at us, but on the other hand, he has to learn SOMEhow, and he isn’t going to learn it sitting on the bench. Bleh.)

The point is that his home run, against a left-hander, is quite remarkable and would be worthy of some deranged photoshopped image or other, if only it had come in a game that did not also include Chad Durbin pimpage.

Now for today (Thursday’s) game, it was even harder. So many people to consider! So much unrelenting Tiger awesome! Placido Polanco had a triple! Jeremy Bonderman showed that bleeping blister who the bleeping boss is! Jose Mesa didn’t get into the game and therefore improved it simply through his absence!

Carlos and Maggs are too awesome for mere mortals, yo. photos by Samara Pearlstein

In the end I settled on Guillen and Maggs, because they have both been consistently awesome this season, and both were even more awesome in this particular game. Carlos hit TWO home runs (one each off of Ervin Santana and Chris Bootcheck), going 2-for-3 with 5 RBI. Magglio hit TWO doubles (both off of Santana), going 4-for-4 (!!!) with 3 RBI.

The problem with their awesome is that the combined awesome mass of it was too much for my small blogger’s brain to comprehend. My cortex bends before the might of their awesome. I could not even think of a good photoshop. (That could also be the big special feature I just finished today, which I will of course point you folks to when it goes up.)

In the end I just found two of my own shots of them, where they’re both wearing “I’m a ballplayer, I’m hot stuff” sunglasses, extended Carlos’ background so I could stick Maggs in there with him, and announced that they are way cooler than any of us, in baseball and in life. Can’t touch this, my friends.

Anyways. Talk about making a guy feel welcome back. If Bondo was nervous about coming back off the DL, the offense sure helped to soothe his fears soon enough. Bondo mostly helped his own cause, though. Bondo loading the bases with no outs in the first inning was a TERRIFYING thing to watch him do, especially because we are all so used to his first inning struggles. At that point it seemed almost inevitable that disaster would strike.

A sexy 1-2-3 double play and a fly out later, and Bondo had gotten himself out of a drunk-bases-empty-Ks mess more swiftly than I’d ever seen. Either the kid had luck with him today that would make a pair of dice wee themselves in delight, or he was making absolutely perfect pitches, but only when he absolutely needed them most. He probably should’ve gone to rob a bank after the game; he was on that kind of stressfully perfect roll.

Even more awesome: Todd Jones on the fan who ran onto the field and towards the mound during Wednesday’s game.

“He was heading toward the infield, and you never know, so I dropped my glove and tried to get him to just stop. Let me get this last out and let’s get out of here,” Jones said. “I was waiting for a Kyle Farnsworth moment because that would have gotten me on SportsCenter and helped my macho points, for sure.”
official MLB game recap

Sometimes Todd Jones is amazing.

Even more amazing than that: Ernie Harwell was in the booth for the entire game!

Apparently Rod Allen’s kid, or one of his kids, if he has more than one, I do not know, regardless, AN OFFSPRING BELONGING TO ROD ALLEN was graduating high school (congrats to Rod Allen and his offspring!), so he wasn’t in the booth today. I know there are some people out there who are not Rod Allen fans. I am not one of those people. I like Rod Allen; I like the inane things he says, I find them amusing more often than not, and he does actually have useful insight about the game, more often than you would perhaps expect after hearing him refer to ‘feet’ as ‘puppies’ for the 1000th time.

I am a Rod Allen fan, but nothing really compares to getting to listen to Ernie Harwell for an entire game. It doesn’t matter if he’s rambling on about the DH, the weather, the state of catchers today, or the umpires… that last being what he did for a good chunk of this game. Ernie Harwell makes you DEEPLY CARE ABOUT THE UMPIRES. Ernie Harwell makes you realize that there are stories, GOOD stories about the umpires, and that these stories are an integral part of the game. Once Ernie Harwell makes you realize that, Ernie Harwell tells you those stories.

Ernie Harwell also has a sense of humor.

Mario tells Ernie that the fact that he remembers all these stories, about everyone and everything, is absolutely amazing, and he’s got to teach Mario some of those memory skills. Ernie replies, “Well, they just happen to you, and they gather in your so-called brain, I guess.”

Ernie Harwell on the statue of him at Comerica:

“I weigh 350 pounds, did you know that? And I’m hollow. But they got the creases in my pants real good.”
Mario, laughing: “Better in your pants than in your forehead.”
Ernie Harwell: “Oh I got ’em in my forehead. I got ’em everywhere.”

Ernie Harwell on something that Norm Cash had signed specially for him:

“It said on it, ‘To Ernie Harwell, the second-best announcer in the league…. all the other 26 [or whatever number it was] tied for first.'”

Ernie Harwell about his name on the wall with the other Tiger greats, as seen here:

“Oh yes, they got my back up against the wall.”

And finally, Ernie Harwell as the game ends:

“I just wanted to say thank you, Mario, for saying all those nice things about me today. The entire crew was so nice and friendly. It got so sweet in here I thought I had diabetes.”


(And somewhere out in the wide, wide world, Jason Johnson shakes a rageful fist.)