Category Archives: Eddie Bonine

There, there, Eddie Bonine. It's not your fault.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Poor Bovine kid. He did just about everything right, and what is his reward? Sadness.

He was throwing a no-hitter for 5.2 innings. He ended up going 6.2, giving up only two hits. Most unfortunately, one of those hits was a Gordon Beckham two-run homer. Both of the runs were unearned, ‘thanks’ to an uncharacteristic sort of Inge error earlier in the inning (I blame the knees), but that was too much damage for the poor softy kittenish Tiger bats to repair.

So the Bovine Bonine, who was wildly overmatched on paper before the game and was supposed to be obviously weaker than a remodeled Jake Peavy, pitched his little heart out and has nothing to show for it. He has anti-things to show for it, actually, as he’s the one who gets stuck with the loss. You could put this game up as an illustration of the word ‘unfair’ in the Dictionary of Things That Can Be Illustrated Via Baseball Game Example.

In related news, the Wrong Sox are worse than useless, as always. When they play the Twinkies, they roll over and play dead like the most neurotic possums on the planet. When they play the Tigers, oh, SUDDENLY they’ve remembered what it is to fight for a ballgame. FANCY THAT.

What have the Twins got on them? Blackmail material? Is it a conspiracy? I think it must be. This makes little sense otherwise.

Of course I suppose we all know that the Wrong Sox are just evil in general, and maybe this is simply another example of them being evil for evil’s sake, but why do so in the service of Minnesota? Yes, conspiratical blackmail is the only answer. Those photos of AJ Pierzynski and the shaved goat should never have been allowed to come into existence.

Mr. Harwell takes his leave (and some baseball was played)

digillustration by Samara Pearlstein

We’ll get to that image shortly. Bear with me.

Ernie Harwell came out in the middle of the third, because with the news of his diagnosis, he had decided that he would like to say a few words to the fans. The Tigers, knowing what’s what, were not about to stand in the way of that.

They appear to have basically said, “OK Mr. Harwell, here’s a mic. You’ve got the TV audience and the radio audience and a stadium full of fans. Say whatever you want.” This is, of course, the best way to let Mr. Harwell talk. Just let him do his thing however he wants, you know it’s going to come out sounding good.

There was a little video montage (young Ernie Harwell looks so different from current-day Ernie Harwell!), and then his speech on the field, which was closely watched by everyone in the park, including both teams. The Tigers lined up outside of the dugout. I wasn’t paying attention to what the Royals did, but FSND showed a close-up of one of their coaches taking pictures with his little camera. Many of the fans had signs, including one guy with a sign that read “HOW A PERSON SHOULD BE”. There was no name on the sign, but it’s not like people were going to think it was referring to David DeJesus (although a Granderson confusion would have been understandable).

Of course Mr. Harwell had only nice things to say about the state of Michigan, the Tigers, and Tigers fans. When he said, “You Tiger fans are the greatest fans of all, no question about that,” you felt like he honestly meant it. Which, OK, sounds fairly cheesy and stupid, in a way, but how often do you hear statements like that made by rote, or because someone thinks it’s the appropriate thing to be obediently mumbled at the appropriate moment? Often. But that’s not how Mr. Harwell says it; he really, truly MEANS it. You can see it in his face, you can hear it in his voice, and that’s no small part of why Tigers fans have embraced him just as much and for just as long as he’s embraced us.

At the end of his Hall of Fame induction speech (they showed a small clip during the video montage), Mr. Harwell said, “Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball! Thank you.”

But he’s got it turned around, you know. Because it can never be said too many times: Mr. Harwell, thank you.

So, yeah, the rest of the game.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bovine Bonine got the job done. Three runs in five innings is not exactly 110% awesomesauce, but it was enough to keep the Tigers in the game, especially as Lenny DiNardo was just a hair worse (four runs in 5.1 innings). Since the Tigers are basically working with a three-man rotation at the moment, a solid, non-hysterical start from the Bovine Bonine feels almost luxurious. What wonders! What riches!

The bats still seem to be having problems with extra base hits, but the bullpen did not mangle this one (perhaps amazingly). Granderson looked pretty good against lefties today, that counts for something, right? I am trying to come to terms with the fact that wins vs. KC are all I can ask for, that to ask for a clean or emphatic or easy win is TOO MUCH. I still don’t quite understand WHY this should be so, but there you have it. I am but a blogger: like a planarian given a small electric shock, I can only react simply, to the limited stimuli given to me. To hope for understanding is to have far too lofty a goal. Apparently.

Fernando made his first appearance since The Suspension and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save. He looked fine. Well-rested. Maybe the Tigers could consider have him looking well-rested more often, instead of pitching him three or four days in a row all the time. I’m just sayin’.

You know what is sad? How excited I was to see the Tigers beat the Royals, because I was so dead convinced that they were going to screw it up and lose again. SAD.

ALSO going on in this game: some sort of weird charity auction thing, organized by the Tigers wives and girlfriends. The items being auctioned off were, and I am not kidding here, baskets of the “favorite things” of various Tigers.

Rod and Mario had Shani Inge in the booth with them for a little bit, and she admitted that she had made up the basket basically without input from Brandon, until the very end when he had seen it and tried to say that this or that item was not “his favorite” (it was implied that Brandon is a stupid manchild who doesn’t even know what he likes best, and that Shani knows with far greater clarity, something that I do not doubt for a single millisecond). So these baskets may not be the most accurate indicators of their favorite things, but if they can be trusted at all, we have learned that

Brandon Inge likes

–Xbox war games

–Velveeta mac and cheese (not surprised)

–golf

–chewy chocolate chip cookies

–Transformers

Fu-Te Ni likes

–Legos

–something called “Capsule Fighter Online”

–apple juice

–something that the Mothership says is “Wodz” but I think is actually Woodz

Aubrey Huff likes

–Pringles

–Johnny Cash

–fantasy football

–orange Tic Tacs

–Transformers (remember that he’s friends with Inge)

Marcus Thames likes

–Law and Order SVU

–Froot Loops

–washing his car

–Now and Laters

Jarrod Washburn likes

–terrible chain restaurants

–Blokus, which is some board game thing I haven’t even heard of

–Harry & David chocolate

Jeremy Bonderman likes

–Sons of Anarchy

–a serious lot of wine

–Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses (I have never even seen these, but I am intrigued)

–disgusting Full Throttle energy drink splod

Justin Verlander likes

–poker

–Pringles

–golf

–24

–Raisinets

–the DVD of his own no-hitter

Alex Avila likes

–Cheez-Its (reduced fat, though!)

–fishing

–Junior Mints

–Cast Away

Adam Everett likes

–Twizzlers

–Lays Stax (Pringles for people who think they’re too cool for Pringles)

–Ironman (good taste)

–Yes Man (bad taste)

–Phiten

I don’t really know what to do with this information, except cherish it.

September call-ups? For me?!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Gosh, Muddy, you shouldn’t have gone to all that trouble! Let’s tear off that paper and have a look at what’s in the box…

Jeremy Bonderman

It’s always good to have unstoppable flesh-eating zombie death power on our side, so the addition of Bondo ought to be a welcome one. If the Wrong Sox get pushy in the last month of the season, we can just tell him that AJ Pierzynski has spicy, spicy brains, and he’ll go gnaw ’em right out. Let the fear consume you, AL Central.

His fastball is allegedly back (he was throwing 95ish in rehab starts) (so we are told), which, if true, would be something that we haven’t seen in literal years. Here’s a potentially terrifying thought, though: he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen, so EVERY inning, for him, will be like a first inning. The physical issues have ostensibly been defeated; can the same be said of the mental issues?

Eddie Bonine

The Bovine Kid returns! As you may or may not recall, he was the cat sent packing to make room for Aubrey Huff, who has not done much of anything since he threw dirt in Brandon Inge’s face, and that was before he was a Tiger. Now Bonine gets to come back and exact his revenge. I vote for filling Huff’s entire locker with dirt. As Huff digs out his belongings, a Jack-in-the-box-style toy cow with devil’s horns pops out and hits him in the nose. Don’t mess with the Bovine kid.

Casey Fien

Fien replaced Bonine the first time, back in July. He has the powers of a sea cucumber: the ability to change his body from a solid to a viscous liquid and back again at will, the ability to control his own buoyancy, and the ability to vomit up or poop out his own internal organs to frighten opposing teams. His blood is yellow. He will be a fine addition to the bullpen.

Dusty Ryan

It’s always nice to have extra catchers, but unfortunately for Dusty Ryan, there’s a little somethin’ on the Detroit rosters these days called Alex The Savior Avila. Avila brings a sort of glamor to the backup catcher role that Dusty Ryan can barely even imagine. Avila has a Good Story and an inability to remain clean-shaven for any length of time and his dad is a member of the front office, so… good luck with that, Dusty, you poor sod.

Wilkin Ramirez

A little outfielder, he was up briefly earlier this year when Magglio had some personal stuff that temporarily took him away from the team. He hasn’t been hitting super well in Toledo, but he’s got 17 home runs, and in his two games with the Tigers, he had one homer (his first and so far only big league hit was the homer, actually). He’s also pretty speedy. I guess that’s not a bad thing to have on the bench.

I shall call him Mr. Wilkin.

Brent Dlugach

Rod and Mario were pronouncing this one dih’LOO-gitch (short i sound on the ‘dih’), with that wee ‘dih’ almost elided away. He’s a shortstop. I hope he ends up playing in a nationally televised game at some point, because I look forward to hearing non-Detroit announcers crashing through his name like a drunk tiger in a china shop where all the china is actually made out of eggshells that are extra-thin because the birds that laid them were all eating DDT.

Armando Galarraga

Arrrrrrrrrmando needs no introduction. He also won’t be back up until Saturday, because he has to spend at least ten days with the kids. Them’s the rules.

Pretty good haul, right? Thanks again, Mud Hens! Hopefully we’ll be putting them all to good use soon enough.

The cow (bovine) says, "Moo." The reliever (Bonine) says, "Uh oh."

photo by Samara Pearlstein

How appropriate that I had this photo of Eddie Bonine ready to go! How unfortunate that I needed to use it so soon, on a night when he pitched 1.2 innings and gave up four runs on five hits and two walks. Five runs if you count the inherited runner he let score. What a line.

Of course it isn’t fair to lay this one all on the Bovine– there’s plenty of blame to go around (and credit, I suppose, if we were going to talk Rally Monkeys, which we aren’t). Jackson didn’t pitch well (104 pitches over 5-and-a-bit innings), but he also suffered great renting wounds from errors: only three of his six runs were earned. Yowch.

This was, in fact, a remarkably sloppy game. If we look at the Tigers and the Angels combined, there were four stolen bases, fourteen men left on base, three walks with the bases loaded, and five errors in this game. Most unhappily, four of those five errors were made by Tigers.

Were they getting tired? Thinking ahead to their upcoming flight to Kansas City? Were they getting discombobulated and addled by the earthquakes and aftershocks? I have no answers (or hamsters). Only questions, and a gentle sensation of… ah, yes, concerned disappointment. A fine vintage with which I am well acquainted.

The positives? Er… Granderson has continued to hit, and Brandon Inge hit another home run, his 6th of the season. That’s, you know, nice.

Still sick, still tired, so this post will just have to end on the inevitable disjointed thoughts. Sorry! But not really!

— Whenever they said “Treanor to the mound,” I heard it as “trainer to the mound,” and got all worried for a second.

— I noticed this with Bonine. He licks his fingers before he picks up the rosin bag, presumably so that the rosin will stick better. Then he throws a pitch. Then, when he steps off the rubber, he licks his fingers again. Doesn’t he get rosin all over his tongue? Isn’t that pretty gross?

— Zoom is allegedly coming back this weekend. I refuse to express even cautious optimism when it comes to him anymore, so, whatever. I fully expect something to blow out or become wildly strained before May is over.

— Rod and Mario were having some sort of conversation about batting average on the flight to LA. Matt Treanor apparently overheard them and interjected, “Someday I’d like a batting average.”

— Juan Rivera knocked himself out of the game by running into Miguel Cabrera. It didn’t even look like he was going that fast (and Miggy was essentially stopped at the time), but he ran straight into Cabrera and went down like a sack of wet concrete. THUD, and so on. Miggy was barely ruffled, and looked a bit confused.

— I don’t follow NASCAR, uh, at all, so can someone please explain to me that Digger thing that’s been showing up in the FSN commercials? The computer generated… thing? It’s supposed to be a groundhog, right? What does a groundhog have to do with NASCAR? Not to put too fine a point on it or anything, but wouldn’t it just be roadkill?

— I hate Digger et al, I feel like I have lost brain cells every time they show up on screen.

I have a really crazy Friday + weekend staring me in the face, so I’ll see you kids and kittens on the flipside, where the flipside is late Sunday or on Monday. I EXPECT TO RETURN TO Ws, TIGERS. HEED THOSE WORDS.

the midseason report card, Roar of the Tigers style


photo by Samara Pearlstein

OK, I’ve seen a lot of blogs on the magical internets doing these midseason report cards and scorecards. I am currently being bored to tears by the All Star game, so what the hell. Obviously this is going to be RotT-style, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

PITCHERS

Jeremy Bonderman
Grade: n/a
Reason: deceased

the Bovine kid
Grade: C
Reason: Every time he goes out there and doesn’t sit down on the mound and start screaming, it’s a plus for us. He’s not handling major league hitting all that well but then again nobody really expected him to do so. In an ideal world (or a less-than-ideal world that nonetheless did not include the destruction of Bondo and Dontrelle) he wouldn’t be anywhere near the big league roster right now.

Freddy Dolsi
Grade: A-
Reason: I saw the very first ever pitches he threw in the big leagues in person, and it seemed eminently likely that the poor kid was going to be scarred for life. This has not been the case. Leyland has been leaning on him awfully hard and he’s bearing up under the pressure remarkably well for a kid who is 12 years old and weighs about 100 pounds.

the Fossum Possum
Grade: D
Reason: Look, it’s Casey Fossum, what do you expect? He doesn’t fail because a) he’s a lefty and b) he gives me an opportunity to say ‘Fossum Possum’.

Arrrrrrrmando Galarrrrrrraga
Grade: A
Reason: The thing with Arrrrmando is that he SHOULD be like Bonine– every time he goes out there and doesn’t start screaming hysterically on the mound, it’s a major plus for the Tigers. But Arrrrmando has been serviceable. Heck, more than that, he’s actually been GOOD. He has been performing so far above any reasonable expectations that it would be downright churlish to give him anything other than an A and a bunch of extra Rs in his name.

Rollercoaster Jones
Grade: B-
Reason: I know this is going to seem insanely generous to a lot of cats, but Jonesy is dead weird and cannot be graded according to the standards of normal people. Sure, his ERA sucks. Sure, his WHIP sucks a LOT (a 1.54 WHIP is pretty bad for a starter, let alone a closer; the best closers in the league right now all have WHIPs under 1.00). Sure, he only has 17 saves– of course the Tigers haven’t given him a ton of save opportunities. But, insanely, he only has 2 blown saves. This compares favorably with some of the best closers in the league. Mariano has none, but Joe Nathan has 2 and Papelbon has 4. Jonesy is frustrating in the extreme but he’s not ACTUALLY deadly most of the time. It’s weird. So, B- .

Aquilino Lopez
Grade: A-
Reason: He’s been fairly good, and kind of flying under the radar. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tigs do manage to convert him to a 5th starter at some point. The best thing about him is still the fact that his name is Aquilino.

Zach Miner
Grade: D
Reason: CONTROL. GET U SUM.

Clay Rapada
Grade: C
Reason: Eh. Sometimes he pitches OK. Mostly he comes up when we need a spare left hand in the bullpen, and gets sent down when more reliable options become healthy/available/sane. Probably the coaches have a good reason for this.

Nate Robertson
Grade: C+
Reason: Nate has had some hard luck this season, we all know that, and he’s pitched some amazingly amazing games, but he’s also pitched some awful games. In a beautiful world filled with fluffy kittens and the ballplayers who hug them, Nate would be a #5 starter. Unfortunately, we do not yet live in that world, and Nate has to play like a less marginal pitcher because we barely have 4 starters, let alone 5.

Fernando
Grade: C-
Reason: Watching Fernando fail on the mound, when I KNOW that he has the latent ability to throw deadly, unhittable pitches, is one of the most frustrating things in the whole wide world of baseball. Fernando makes me want to pull out my own hair and at the same time reach through my TV screen to strangle him. It’s very healthy. He doesn’t get a D because he is at least still (slowly) (incrementally) dragging his numbers back down towards respectability, and because he’s from a city that’s only one letter off from my name. I dig that.

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Eddie Bonine meets the American League


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Heeeeeey, Eddie! Wow, it’s great to meetcha! I’m the American League! Welcome to me!

*inaudible muttering*

Sorry Eddie, didn’t quite catch that. What’dja say there?

*more muttering about already playing with an American League team*

Oh Edster, no no, that ain’t how it works! See, you’re a pitcher, what counts is when you pitch AGAINST an American League team!

*embarrassed silence*

Aw heck, you don’t mean… you didn’t think it was ALL like the National League, didja? Awwww, I’m sorry, kid. It can be rough over here for a pitcher, yeah, I know it.

*embarrassed silence*

Hey, hey. It ain’t just you, yanno? Lotsa guys, um, give up 7 hits and 2 walks and 5 runs in 2.2 innings. Happens to everyone sooner or later!

*mumbles that only 2 runs were earned*

Sure! See, there ya go. It ain’t so bad.

*quietly asks why HIS bats weren’t so good if the bats are good in the AL*

Well. Well. Stuff happens, yanno? I mean, Nick Blackburn happens to your team sometimes! And then whaddya gonna do? Joe Nathan happens, whaddya gonna do? It ain’t pretty when it does happen, but you just gotta shake it off and look to tomorrow. I mean, who you guys playing tomorrow?

*mumbles ‘the Mariners’*

OK! So that’s what you gotta do, you just forget about the Nick Blackburns and the Carlos Gomezes of the world and you go out there and hope you can handle the team with the worst record in, well, me.

*melancholy sigh*

Look on the upside, kid: you still got better numbers than Nate Robertson.

*visibly brightens*

That’s the spirit!

Bonine surprises, Fernando does not.


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I got home from the Red Sox game just in time to see Fernando Rodney having a gastrointestinal incident out on the mound. Seriously, just poop everywhere. He obviously had little to no control, bowel or ball or otherwise. Just every kind of poop you can imagine, being excreted by Fernando in a sickeningly public fashion. Have some shame, Fernando! Or we will be forced to shame you.

This was especially discouraging because, despite the inherent hilarity of the initial pitching matchup, Eddie Bonine really DID put up a damn good fight against Greg Maddux. I mean, insert cheap age/length of MLB career comparison joke here, but Bonine did what we asked of him, and did it well enough to make winning a possibility, which is really the upper end of what we should expect from a pitcher like him, in his situation. I know he was pitching in Petco, and Petco is a hundred million miles wide, but his last start– where he gave up 6 runs– was in Comerica, and Comerica is also known for its vast yawning dimensions.

So I am pleasantly surprised by his performance here: 7 IP, 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. That’s a quality start, and definitely comparable to Maddux’s day: 7 IP, 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk. Watch out, Hall of Fame, Eddie Bonine’s lookin’ in your direction!

After Eddie’s feel-good-ish performance, the Tigers tied it up on a Placido Polanco home run, which is always a wacky thing to see, because Polanco chokes so far up on the bat that for him to hit something out of the park, well, you can usually assume that the pitch was, as Leyland would say, horses**t. So that made the whole thing even MORE feel-good-ish. Yaaaay, kittens and rainbows, etc.

Then came Fernando.

Do you know what his ERA is right now? 135.00. That is not a typo.

I understand Leyland’s reasoning: if a guy is up with the big club Leyland is not going to baby him, he’s going to use him in tough situations, because why else would the guy be up? OK, and ideally it would be true– if someone wasn’t able to handle tough situations, just send that cad back down to AAA and call up someone who CAN handle tough situations, because if a fellow can’t handle a little pressure, why, he shouldn’t be in the majors!

I get that, I really really do, but in the Real World, the one with Fernando Rodney in it, that’s not how it works. Fernando is up with the big club, and he absolutely cannot be put in pressure situations right now, or at any point in the immediate future. His control out there was A SERIOUS LOT OF DUNG, and the Tigers have paid for it with two losses– which, I might unnecessarily add, we cannot in any way afford, not after we spent the first two months of the season digging ourselves a Comerica park-sized hole.

On the plus side, it was good to see Zoom back and throwing 100mph still. Although he too was not spectacular, he also came into a really cruddy situation (bases loaded, no outs; Fernando came into a clean inning) and managed to not give up any runs of his own (he did let two out of his three inherited runners score). The velocity, as I said, was there, and he was mixing in his offspeed stuff freely. His location was a little spotty but infinitely better than Fernando’s. Not that that would be difficult. In any event, he looked like he was in a good place, and hopefully he’ll be able to work his way back to his usual self with minimal drama.

The Wrong Sox lost today, so at least there’s that. Go Cubbies!

Tomorrow Nate Robertson goes up against a dude who has not even been a starter for most the season. Somehow we will probably find a way to make him look heroic. It’s another 10 pm start, because obviously that’s what you want to do with your Saturday night. Go Tigers!