Category Archives: Freddy Dolsi

little Tigers leaving on little tiger paws


a thing by Samara Pearlstein

Matt Treanor signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.

Brent Clevlen signed a little-cat deal with the Braves.

Dusty Ryan was DFA’d. ETA: He was signed by the Padres.

And poor Freddy Dolsi was claimed off of waivers by the filthy, filthy Wrong Sox.

TRAGEDY! Calamity! Senseless trimming of the roster! What a waste of player resources, what a mind-boggling series of bad moves, one really had to wonder what in the hell Dave Dombrowski is thinking, letting these guys slip through the cracks. Doesn’t he care about WINNING?? Doesn’t he care about THE TIGERS?!?!?!

Matt Treanor, with his awesome wife! Brent Clevlen, with his midwestern name! Dusty Ryan, with his dustiness! Freddy Dolsi, with his 1.69 ERA! O the horror, the terror, the madness, most especially the madness!! How can we live in a world where this is allowed to happen? How can we continue to make sense of this team, this front office, our own senses of self???

ALL IS LOST! ALL IS DARKNESS! Rebuilding year! REEEE BUILDIIIIIIIINNNGGGG YEEEEAAAARRRR!

Ha ha, just kidding, of course! Nobody cares.

Fernando takes the closing reins, much to our potential horror.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Holy cats, even when we win we find ourselves assaulted by ridiculous difficulties. Difficulties such as THE ENTIRE BULLPEN. Let’s sum it up, in the not-necessarily chronological order in which I remember things:

1. Todd Jones has had a difficult and traumatic July, with his three blown saves all coming in recent times. Despite the fact that he has not actually blown more saves than, say, Jonathan Papelbon, Jonesy’s blown saves look so much worse because his overall numbers are uniformly scrod vomit. It is hard to understand how a professional baseball player at the closer position can have a 1.54 WHIP and be more or less successful, but that’s Rollercoaster Jones for ya: his career average WHIP is around 1.41, and he still manages to average about 22 saves per season, with only around 5 blown saves each year.

I know that the save is a kind of useless and certainly often arbitrary stat, but that’s still freakin’ weird.

2. Simultaneously because of and in spite of all that, the Rollercoaster has now been ousted from his closer role in the bullpen and that role has been (temporarily?) given to FERNANDO RODNEY.

3. (twenty seconds of uninterrupted shrill screaming)

4. Fernando has a better WHIP than Jonesy does. He’s more of a strikeout pitcher than Jonesy is. Opposing batters are OPSing slightly worse against him than they do against Jonesy.

5. Fernando has a history of psyching himself out; maybe the worst quality a closer could have that’s not a concrete pitching attribute. Fernando has a worse ERA than Jonesy, although to be fair this is partly a relic of his epically bad numbers coming off the DL and ERA is a ween of a stat anyways. Fernando has a history of repetitive muscle injury. Fernando has a beard that would make ancient Egyptian pharaohs huff in jealousy.

6. Freddy Dolsi has so far managed to avoid the DL, but was temporarily ‘unavailable’ due to ‘shoulder fatigue’, perhaps because, ever since he has come up, Leyland has used him ‘all the time’. He now claims he’s feeling better but this nebulous ‘shoulder fatigue’ will probably ‘recur’ if he continues to be ‘overused’ because that’s what ‘shoulder fatigue’ does.

7. Zoom had to leave the game today with ‘right triceps tightness’. That’s the back of your arm, like the opposite side of your biceps. Obviously it’s good that this isn’t his shoulder, and it could very well just be a cramp, twinge, whatever. It is still not great and I will nervously hope like heck that it’s not any kind of inflammation/tendonitis/SNEAKY ARM-OBLIQUES.

This is just so very much not what we needed right now. The Fernando-to-closer move smacks of irrational panic to me, and while I am aesthetically all in favor of irrational panic, I prefer to see it treated hilariously in blogs and on message boards and among fans, not among people ACTUALLY IN CHARGE OF THE TEAM. The Dolsi and Zoom pitching-stress-type injuries are just the sour icing on the Boo Yah, Fate Hates You and Your Bullpen! cake.

Tomorrow we pop on over to the no-longer-Jake to take on The Racist Logo. Gametime at 7:05 pm EDT. Kenny vs. misspelled avian. Go Tigers!

Jimmy Gobble lays an egg, Tigers happily consume said egg


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So what do we think Jimmy Gobble did to Trey Hillman? Ran over his foot with a golf cart? Spilled ketchup on his favorite shirt? Slept with his wife? He must’ve done SOMETHING to make his coach swear bloody revenge, because the way he left Gobble out there to flounder today (not to mix bird and fish metaphors) just smacked of pure sadism.

Rod and Mario were saying that it was a message thing, like Hillman was trying to tell Gobble, “Welp, I know yer havin’ problems, kid, but you gotta figger ’em out eventually, so here ya go.” That makes sense, to a point, but the point to which it makes sense is somewhere before the ten run mark. That’s right: 10 runs.

If you missed the shenanigans, Gobble pitched the equivalent of one inning (one out in the 7th, two outs in the 8th) and gave up ten runs, ALL EARNED, on seven hits and four walks. Yeeee-owch. That’s a mighty big egg to lay. We’re talkin’ not just turkey egg (gobble!), we’re talkin’ more like ostrich egg. And Hillman just left him out there to suffer, as the inning dragged on and on and on, through 14 batters and 45 pitches. Fourteen batters in one inning. Zach Miner only faced 21 batters in six innings.

Epic.

Speaking of Miner, though, there’s a pitcher who very much did NOT lay an egg! He came up I think earlier this same day and somehow still managed to pitch his way to a quality start. Six innings, three hits, one walk, no runs? Yes please! His sinker wasn’t quite as heavy as it usually is– there weren’t nearly as many groundball outs as is usual for him– but he was effective nonetheless. The fact that he gave up only the single walk is maybe the most encouraging thing, because the last time we saw Miner, he was giving away free passes left and right. If he’s worked out his control issues (big ‘if’, as this was just one game, of course) then it’s possible our starting pitching situation is no longer QUITE so dire.

Of course it’s still relatively dire, because Kenny and Nate have been having Serious Issues lately, but if Miner can step into the rotation at least we wouldn’t be trying to limp along with only four starters any longer.

Worryingly (see, I can’t stop worrying for more than a few seconds at a time), once the Tigers were up big Leyland put in Freddy Dolsi. This was/should have been a good move, because Dolsi has had a few rough outings in a row and blah blah confidence blah blah big cushion etc. He was OK in the 7th, but was undone by the long wait in the 8th, which is where the Tigers ran into the edible Jimmy Gobble and spent like half an hour batting. When Dolsi came out to pitch in the bottom of the 8th, he just fell to pieces and eventually Leyland had to go fetch him, because he wasn’t able to get even a single out.

No big deal so far as the game was concerned; he gave up some runs, but the Tigers had already scored 19 by that point, and Aquilino was able to finish it off fairly easily. VERY big deal for Dolsi himself, though. He’s now had a bunch of bad outings in a row and he can’t be feeling too good about life, the universe, and pitching at the moment. Hopefully he won’t psych himself out.

As for the bats… well, most everyone had a great day at the plate, most especially Matt Joyce (kitten power!), Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson, and Miguel Cabrera. But it seems kind of cheap to give too much attention to the bats when most of the scoring was very obviously the fault of the Royals pitching, and not a result of any particular hitting prowess.

Most hilarious moment of the game: Tony Pena Jr. pitching the last inning. He was brilliant! His arm slot was all over the damn place, but he actually had some respectable velocity (low 90s!) and a little movement, including something that sure as heck LOOKED like a legitimate curveball, which he managed to use to strike Pudge out looking. I was most favorably impressed. Cat knows he can’t hit right now, so maybe he’s got a future in this. Reverse Rick Ankiel?

Tuesday’s another 8:10 pm EDT start, pitting Kenny against Kyle Davies, who I still think is on the Braves. I don’t know why, but my brain is sort of stuck on him as a Brave, and no matter how many times I see him in a Royals uniform I still cannot shake his essential Braveness from my memory. WEIRD. Go Tigers!

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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in all the darkness, a spark of cuddly adorable light for the Tigers

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Of course as soon as I start foaming at the mouth about failure and rebuilding years, the Tigers go ahead and win two good divisional games. WHATEVER. PROVE ME WRONG, YOU CONTRARY FOOLS.

I’m tempted to say happy things about the offense. I’m tempted to say something moronic like, “Now that it’s getting hot out, the bats will start behaving like they ought to have been all season long!” This is stupid because a) it is June, I know it’s been a cool spring/summer so far but we’ve had warmer weather before now and b) we did not have this problem last season, with many of the same bats and c) every other team has been playing in the same weather. So I’m tempted, but NO.

Anyways, we have seen that two wins does not necessarily mean anything at all with a team as maddeningly inconsistent as this one. Not even two good, solid wins. You see what happens when you spend the first two months of the season being awful, Tigers? PESSIMISM. You win and I still skulk around saying things like, “This too shall pass!” in dire sepulchral tones.

If I’m so pessimistic, what’s the deal with the charming image up top? Well, even a traumatized, scarred blogger would have to admit that the performances of Arrrrrrmando Galarrrrrraga and Freddy Dolsi last night were pretty lovely. There were a number of other pitchers who also did well, but Arrrrrmando and Dolsi stole the show.

Arrrrmando was an out away from a quality start but (as my dad was saying during the game) still had a GOOD start, and if there was something that we could call A Start That’s Almost, But Not Quite A Quality Start, that’s what he would have had. He also still has the lowest ERA, by far, of all our starters. You and I know that ERA is a very crude way of judging pitchers, but when the next closest currently active Tigers pitcher is Dontrelle at 4.50 (Arrrrrmando has an ERA of 3.70) and every other Tigers starter has an ERA of ABOVE 5.00, well, even a crude stat is tellin’ you something.

As for Freddy Dolsi, he just came in with the bases loaded and one out, a situation in which Tigers relievers this year have sucked gonads. Dolsi, who had never faced the Racist Logos before, dialed up his fastball and got out of the jam without letting a single runner score. Tigers fans everywhere fainted and fanned themselves with rolled up scorecards and generally acted awed by a reliever in a way they have not been able to act all season long.

It was basically like Arrrrrmando and Dolsi came together, held hands, and skipped around the ballpark, saying, “Look! It’ll be OK! It’ll all be OK!” I’m not sure I believe them, but I do appreciate the effort.

A hilarious sidenote to the Bondo story: the Tigers have been hanging his jersey up in the dugout. Very touching, y’know, whatever they need to do to psych themselves up, but the poor guy’s not dead yet! Now that they’ve got the clot out, the immediate danger has passed, so it’s not even like Bondo’s dangling from a thread or anysuchthing. In fact Bondo himself was in the clubhouse the same day they had the jersey up, and was flattered, if slightly baffled.

Also, Todd Jones text messaged him at 2:30 in the morning because he was so worried and couldn’t sleep. Oh, team.

sweeping the Mariners away

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You know what’s fun? Being able to lump the New York Yankees in with the Seattle Mariners. Granted, the reason for the lumping is somewhat less fun– they’re both struggling teams whose sweeps at the hands of the Tigers may or may not actually mean much– but the simple fact that they can be thought of in the same way is happy-making.

There were lots and lots of players in yesterday’s game who were deserving of the RotT image of the day: Bondo, for his solid outing and the continued resurgence of Mr. Snappy; Inge, for his three-run homer, despite the fact that he was catching for the game and usually finds that too much of a strain for his bat to do anything; Matt Joyce, for his surprising continuing power; Sheff for his 3-for-4 day, which he so sorely needed.

Up there with the sweeps broom and the victorious answer hamster, though, is one Freddy Dolsi, who pitched 3 (!) perfect (!!) innings to earn his very first save in the big leagues. He was wily and economical, needing only 33 pitches to get through those 3 innings. It’s not as though the game was particularly close at that point; the Tigers were already up 9-2 by the time he came in. But Dolsi is not someone Leyland has declared a long relief guy, and there he was, pitching his tail off out there to save the sweep. That’s good enough for me.

The offense was so effective in this series, and the pitchers have been looking up for a while now. It is very, VERY tempting to say that things are getting back on track. We have been down this road once before during this season, though, and we have already learned that what the Tigers can do against a (joyously) awful Yankees team does not necessarily have any bearing on what the Tigers can (and cannot) do against the rest of the league.

The Mariners are bad. I don’t know what exactly is going wrong over there, but their various pieces are just not being put together in a way that works right now. I feel kinda mean rubbing that in, but, as Tigers fans, it’s important for us to realize that. Yes, this was a sweep. Yes, various Tigers looked really good. Yes, happy funtimes. But: Mariners. They’re not the worst team in baseball right now, but that’s just because San Diego has played one more game than they have. (ouch, zing, etc.)

This is not to say that the Tigers are immediately going to dive back into the basement of baseball and life as soon as they dive back into divisional play against the Twins. Things HAVE changed. Dontrelle is back (as long relief, anyways, which for the record I agree with right now), Inge appears to be in the process of making peace with his role on the team, Cabrera and Guillen are hopefully done jetting around the various infield positions. Leyland has flipped out, and the team has had time to realize that papa is very, very angry with them.

“Look,” veteran closer Todd Jones said, “this team needs to realize that this guy took on Barry Bonds. He’d run every one of us out of town. You’re just better off if you don’t cross him. And I think he relayed that message 100%.

“You just don’t mess with him. It’s not that hard. He doesn’t ask a whole lot.”

Jones said Tuesday’s speech reminded everyone in the clubhouse who “the alpha dog” is, if any player were to step out of line. “He’ll tell Mr. Ilitch, ‘It’s him or me because I’m not putting up with it,’ ” Jones said in reference to team owner Mike Ilitch. “The best lesson: Don’t mess with Leyland.”

Jon Paul Morosi/Detroit Free Press article

That’s what I’m SAYIN’! Fear. (Call it ‘respect’ if you like.) GOOD. The hope is that this fearful respect, respectful fear, burning desire to win so that nobody gets their head chewed off in the locker room after games, whatever, will be enough to keep the Tigers winning even when they’re no longer playing a team with deeper sadness than their own.

Coupla quick notes:

–Sorry this post is a bit late. I fell asleep before I could get it done Thursday night. You know how it goes.

–Clay Rapada is on the 15-day DL with the ubiquitously mysterious ‘sore arm’. Tendonitis, we are told. As we have repeated over and over again here at RotT, this kind of inflammation really needs rest in order to heal, so this was probably the only thing that could be done with Clay. Hopefully the rest/icing/anti-inflams WILL heal it to the point where he can come back and not have it immediately flare up again.

–Zoom, Fernando, and Vance Wilson are all supposed to play in an extended spring training game today.

–From the same Freep article, we learn that MLB wants the game of baseball sped up, and one of their new rules includes having the managers jog out to the mound, instead of sedately strolling. Jim Leyland has thoughts on this:

“They want me to run to the mound. I smoke three packs a day. They want me to run on and off the mound.” He added: “I got Todd Jones coming out of the bullpen. We’re going to have to get a golf cart. It’s a joke.”

Free Press article

Good quote, of course, but holy cats. I know we joke about it… he’s seriously smoking THREE packs a day? I’m a little worried about his health, now…

–In the chat post I mentioned that I had taken some photos of Brewers manager Ned Yost with his hands down his pants while at Fenway, and RotT regular commenter PudgeforPrez requested the photos. For Science. Thus:

Baseball guys. When WILL they learn?

The rest of the photoset is over here, if anyone is interested.

in which the knuckleball baffles and dismays the Tigers

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Wow. So, um. I know that the knuckleball is a tricksy pitch, and I know that most guys on most teams don’t see it all that often and don’t have a good consistent method of approach to it when it’s really knuckling, but, uh… the Tigers never learned how to hit it at all? Never saw it before? That’s what I’m almost inclined to believe after tonight’s game.

The thing is, I KNOW they’ve faced Wakefield before. I know it for a FACT. So what on EARTH happened in this game?

Wake’s knuckleball was on. This is true, I was there and I saw it do its crazy knuckling thing. He had fairly good control with it and it had fairly good unpredictable knuckling break almost every time he threw it. He was even successfully mixing in his 70-some-odd mph fastball more often than he usually does. Basically, that was Tim Wakefield at his finest. It would be foolish to discount or downplay that (and I can’t pretend that the Red Sox fan side of my brain didn’t enjoy seeing it).

HOWEVER.

The Tigers had 4 baserunners THE ENTIRE GAME. One of those was an error on Pedroia, two were singles, and one was a double that came in Wake’s last inning of work. Nobody ever advanced beyond their initial base. Nobody walked. Ever.

That’s not just a dominant knuckleballer. That’s a dominant knuckleballer meeting an entire lineup of bats with some kind of serious chronic wasting disorder.

I can’t blame this one on the Tiger pitching. Can’t do it. I know Nate gave up 4 runs in, what was it, 6.1 innings? But he overcame his struggles to keep the Tigers in it… to keep the game in a place where the Tigers SHOULD HAVE BEEN in it, anyways. So he gave up a home run to David Ortiz right before he got pulled; whatever, Papi’s liable to do that to any pitcher, anywhere, anywhen.

And poor Dolsi, whose first big league pitch gets parked into the straightaway centerfield greenery by Manny Ramirez. What did they seriously think was going to happen? The kid is barely older than ME, he last pitched, I believe, in ERIE, and he takes the mound with a struggling Tigers team behind him and only one out to face a guy who is both his countryman and, y’know, MANNY FREAKIN’ RAMIREZ.

Back-to-back home runs are never fun for those on the pitching end of things, but those were really almost predictable back-to-back home runs. I guess maybe the coaching staff hoped that because the Sox wouldn’t have seen Dolsi at all they’d be able to sneak him in there without any damage being done? It’s a nice thought. Not so hot with the actual execution, though.

The team still obviously doesn’t have the right hamsters.

I showed up early for this one to catch BP (since I never really get to see the Red Sox take BP, because I usually see them at Fenway) and took something around a squillion photos. They’re mostly Sox, but there are some cute ones of Miguel Cabrera all buddy-buddy with various Sox, and Polanco getting hugs, and Sean Casey being a lovely human being to fans and FSN personnel alike. I’ll get them online…. um, eventually. Hopefully I’ll get a bunch up here even if I don’t upload the whole game set to Flickr yet. I’m still backed up on U of M baseball photos, which might drive my photo-OCD into a worrying state.

I guess it would’ve been nice to see a Tigers win on my last night in MI, but at least it was a beautiful evening for a ballgame and I got to see some beautifully played baseball. It just wasn’t the Tigers who provided the latter.