Category Archives: Kenny Rogers

Do trade rumors make you nervous? Trade rumors make ME nervous.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

So many trade rumors are flying around right now, you’re lucky if you can make it through the day without getting at least one or two smacking right into the side of your head, all claws out and wings flappin’, giving you a major headache. Or does that only happen in the RotT Headquarters? I’m never quite sure.

The bulk of the rumors thus far seem to be flying around Magglio, getting their pointy rumor bits tangled up in his hair and all that. Why Maggs? Well, he’s going to be 35 in January, and that’s the wrong side of 34 for an outfielder with a history of nagging and spasmy injuries. He can still hit, but it’s unlikely that he’ll put up 2007 numbers ever again, and he’s rapidly approaching DH Land, or at the very least Outfielder But Not In A Cavernous Outfield Like Comerica Land.

Those facts, combined with his big shiny name and his big shiny hair, make him a relatively rare commodity in the Tigers organization: a player who is old enough to make trading palatable for the Tigers, but still viable enough to make trading palatable for other teams. He, uh, also still has $48 million left on his contract, which probably works against moving him, but we’ll cross that river when we stagger up to it, and the fact that he has three years left might make him attractive to someone… I mean, they’d have him under control for a good solid while… as he aged precipitously…

Look, there are stupid teams out there, right? We can’t rule this sort of thing out just because there seem to be logical points against it.

What do the Tigers hope to get from a potential Maggs deal (or from any other deal)? Now that Brandon Inge has been declared the third baseman of Christmases Past, Present, AND Future, we’re probably going to need a catcher. Dusty Ryan is all well and good, but he’s just a kitten and we don’t really know whether he’ll be able to consistently hit major league pitching or not.

I don’t know what catcher we’d pick up– we’ve talked about this before– but I’m gonna say right now that Jason Varitek is not the answer, and anyone who seriously talks about Varitek as the answer to the Tigers’ problems behind the plate is stuffing their face with pure sugary crazysauce. I know that he’s a Leader and a Captain and a Clubhouse Studmuffin and a Pitcher Whisperer, but the Sox were leaving Kevin Cash in games to take at-bats even after the knuckleballer had been pulled by the end of the season. KEVIN CASH. I love Tek, as a Red Sox fan I am contractually obliged to love Tek, but really, no.

There’s also the question of shortstop. The Edgar Renteria Experiment didn’t work out (surprise!!) and even if he’s re-signed to a smaller restructured contract, it will not magically start working. Edgah doesn’t do the AL. It’s been tried twice now and it didn’t work either time. Let it go. As much as I don’t want to see Ramon Santiago starting the season at short, I want to see Edgah back even less, so hey: Ramon 4 eva, unless someone better can be picked up. Ramon 4 eva conditional.

But then there is the position we need filled most desperately: PITCHER. Relief pitcher, for sure, but we should at least be sending out feelers on starters as well, especially since Nate Robertson underwent a collapse of astronomical, black-hole-style proportions. If a bad, fleecy deal of Pudge was able to get us a single maddeningly inconsistent relief pitcher, Maggs should be able to bring in a good bit more.

In other news, Kenny Rogers is thinking about pitching in 2009. If he wants to pitch for another team, whatever, but I don’t particularly want to watch him slowly mouldering on the Tigers anymore. The staff was depressing enough without that piled on top.

Pay your last respects to Virgil Vasquez, by the by, as he was plucked off waivers by the Red Sox. He wasn’t doing much with us (how down on a guy d’you reckon the team had to be to NOT call him up during the disaster that was the 2008 Season in Pitching? PRETTY DOWN, I would guess), but by golly, he had a fabulously alliterative name, and we’ll miss that.

The fact that he was on waivers at all, thus freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster, would seem to point to the possibility of a trade coming up soon. Thus the rumor flocks. Hopefully we shall soon see what there is to be seen, and hopefully it will be good for us. I don’t want to wake up some day soon to a repeat of the Pudge deal, where I spend the entire day after gaping in mute horror, because Pudge Rodriguez straight up for Kyle Farnsworth, really?!?!?!?!??!?!.

You hear me, Mr. Dombrowski? NEVER DO THAT TO US AGAIN.

the disintegration of Kenny Rogers

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Apparently Thursday was some sort of Seniors Day promotion at Comerica. And Kenny Rogers was the starting pitching. Insert several hundred cheap ‘old lol’ jokes here.

Of course if Kenny had pitched, you know, WELL, maybe we could have avoided the har har a senior pitching for the seniors! oldsterrrrrs! business. Instead he allowed six runs over two innings. At least he didn’t walk anyone?

It was almost a Verlanderian outing in its brevity and suckitude, although it did differ in several key ways. For one thing, Kenny only threw 39 pitches, as opposed to the 70-some-odd that Verlander usually throws in the same number of innings: they just happened to be 39 really awful, extremely hittable pitches.

The other differences are less encouraging. Verlander has a bad 4.74 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Kenny has an even worse 5.49 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. In his last 12 outings, Verlander has had six quality starts, all of which resulted in Tiger wins. That’s not great, mind you; the non-quality starts were usually REALLY bad, and there were all kinds of problems with even the quality starts (PITCH COUNT). But in his last 12 outings, Kenny has had four quality starts, and only two of those resulted in Tiger wins.

For comparison, I offer Armando Galarraga, who in his last 12 outings has NINE quality starts (and one start where he gave up two runs in 5.2 innings — in other words, one out away from making that a total of ten out of 12), with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

The difference between Kenny/Verlander and Arrrrmando is that Kenny and Verlander are terrible at throwing a baseball this season, and Arrrrmando is not. The difference between Kenny and Verlander is that Verlander, who is having his WORST SEASON EVER, is still pitching better than Kenny, and Verlander is 25 years old to Kenny’s 43. There’s no seven-year conversion for pitcher age like there is with dogs, but you can probably take that to mean something like… I dunno, Verlander has the arm of a 40 year old and Kenny has the arm of an 80 year old man.

Verlander, basically, is salvageable (we hope. Oh, how sincerely we hope). Kenny? Well…

Rogers has spent years defying his age. Now he has to decide if he’s simply trying to defy the stats.
“I assess my ability and my responsibility as much as anyone,” Rogers said. “That will easily have a bearing on what I want to do. I’m not one to hang on. I want to pitch well.”

Rogers isn’t going to make any decisions now, not in this state. The way he finishes the season, though, will have a bearing on what he decides to do come the offseason. To decide anything now, he said, would be “a decision out of frustration.”

Yet when he came off the field Thursday to polite cheers, not boos, that had an effect on him, too.

“I can’t even explain what that feeling is,” Rogers said, “to know you have support like that. Supportive as they have been, I think that makes you want it even more, which isn’t a good thing.”
Jason Beck/ article

Let’s not even get into the fact that Kenny gets ‘politely cheered’ after a horrific outing like that, while certain other Tigers players get booed for bad play. That would probably take a whole other series of posts to hash out properly. Just pointing it out for now.

He was thinking about retiring after last season. It’s obvious that he’s thinking about it again right now, and he probably should be. If he wanted to play another season, could he do it? Maybe. I would guess that some team could probably eke a solid first half out of him, like the Tigers did this year. But I don’t think he has it in him to pitch like he did in 2006 ever again, and I don’t think he even has it in him to maintain a straight line for an entire season anymore.

He’s going to finish out the season, such as it is, barring injury. Beyond that, well. He’s had a long career. It’s probably time.

The Race to .500!

Today’s loss means that we still need 14 wins to reach the promised land, and we have only 8 losses left to spare.

Friday we head off to the Gopher Dome. The game’s at 8:10 pm EDT, Arrrrrrrrmando vs. Francisco Liriano. I would kind of like to see a hard-fought, low-scoring, near-complete-game-on-both-sides pitching duel. When was the last time we had one of those? I honestly can’t remember. Wow, that’s depressing. Go Tigers!

insert bad joke about sloppy baseball here

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Sigh. I don’t even have the heart to crack a properly uncomfortable joke about this one.

I hate errors, I really do. Not that I think Chris Lambert would have been A-OK without the errors in this one; he was falling apart pretty hard in the third, and back-to-back homers to start the inning had nothing to do with the fielding behind him. But giving up six runs in your first big league start is rough enough without only two of them being earned. That’s rough on a whole other level, because now the poor guy is feeling cruddy about his pitching ability AND will be spending a while wondering, ‘Aw, but… what if?…’

It’s also not that I think we would have won this game if it wasn’t for the errors. I mean: Cliff Lee, you guys, seriously, I feel like we should be saying THE Cliff Lee. Versus Chris Lambert, who was so nervous that his legs were shaking on the bench between innings when FSN zoomed in on him. Poor kid. You kinda just wanted to go up there and give him a great big hug and tell him it would all be OK, the season was over long before today anyways.

I’m actually not sure that a blogger hugging him would have been much comfort (probably more like, ‘Auugh!! Blogger! It touches me with fingers it uses to MAKE WORDS ON THE INTERNET!’), but still, y’know, he inspired those kinds of feelings. In short, this was not a game that was leaning in our favor anyways.

The errors just made it so much worse. They added untold amounts of anguish to poor Lambert’s sufferings on the mound, and they made it hard for a fan to watch the game. It’s one thing to watch Cliff Lee strike your guys out; it’s another thing entirely to watch a two-out ball squirt past your outfielder, thus prolonging an inning that should have been over AND bringing in another run that never should have scored. The former is merely par for the course when it comes to annoying baseball. The latter is the kind of thing that makes you really understand the need for those foam bricks they sell specifically for throwing at your TV.

The four runs scored off of Aquilino Lopez were also not too much fun, but he was in there after only 2.2 innings, and it’s hard to blame the bullpen when excessive demands are placed upon it.

The best moment of the game, by FAR, was a simple foul ball that popped up and back, towards the Racist Logo dugout. Inge tossed aside his mask and chased after it, leaning over the rail hopefully. The ball bounced harmlessly on the dugout floor and I think back into the crowd. Inge kind of looked around for a second, saw a spare ball sitting on the back side of the dugout wall, scooped it up with his glove and held it aloft, pretty much completely deadpan.

The umpires, of course, did not buy it for a second, but it was a hilarious attempt. Eric Wedge in particular seemed to be beside himself with mirth.

So that was the highlight: our catcher being his usual ridiculous self on a pointless foul ball. Hooray team. I’ll also note that Inge’s hair looks like it’s growing back in nicely, and I hope he learned his lesson and NEVER LETS FREDDY DOLSI ‘CUT’ HIS HAIR AGAIN.

Oh, and you guys know that instant replay is coming, right? Blah blah blah, Tigers have things to say about that, blah blah.

…[Kenny Rogers said,] “It’s part of the game. It’s the beauty of the game. I mean, mistakes are made. It’s not like anybody wants to make mistakes, especially the umpire. They’re doing the best they can, and that’s always enough. The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”

“I’m against it for a lot of different reasons,” [Kenny] Rogers said, “but mainly because I think it’s just a slap in the face of umpires that have been around a long time. And they’ve done a very good job with difficult situations in all aspects. So they get calls wrong once in a while. We’ve all done things wrong once in a while. I wish we could take them back. It’s not part of the game. It’s not part of life.”

“I don’t think we have to follow the direction of other sports,” Rogers said. “I think our game is beautiful the way it is. Subtle changes here and there are OK to a degree, but I think they’ve made quite a few changes over the last 50 years.”

[Brandon Inge’s take on it:] “Me personally, I don’t like it, because I’m also about the tradition of a game. I would think that Babe Ruth and Teddy Ballgame might be rolling in their graves about stuff like this. This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction. You have the umpire calling the game, when it’s his call, he’s doing his best.”
Jason Beck/ article

Baseball players hate change. SHOCKING, I know. But I also entreat you to examine the first paragraph I’ve pulled here, where Kenny says, “The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”

First sentence: no. This is not kindergarten, Kenny. Your best effort is not always enough, especially if your best effort is, say, terrible, or demonstrably WRONG. I know that a lot of people in baseball really really REALLY want to believe in the Gold Star for Effort Theory of Baseball Management, but many very smart people have proven that this is usually a bad way to run things. Nobody is denying that a professional baseball player has a tough job, or that a professional MLB umpire has a tough job, but in this day and age you (should) no longer get a gold star for effort. You (should) get a gold star for ACTUALLY DOING WELL. This is true for players and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be true for umpires.

Second sentence: what? Seriously, what is he talking about there? A certain hierarchy? I don’t even know. I mean, is he pointing fingers at… I can’t even begin to guess. Owners? Managers? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? The military hierarchy? The patriarchy? What?

Next please examine the Brandon Inge quote that says, “This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction.”

Do you guys really go to baseball games to see the human interaction? I mean, I can see human interaction at my local Dunkin Donuts, I don’t really need to shell out for baseball tickets to get my human interaction fix. I usually go to professional baseball games to see baseball played by people who are good at baseball. But maybe there are people out there who go specifically to see the delicate human interaction between the umpire and… the strikezone? The poignantly evocative human interaction between the umpire and the manager when the manager comes out onto the field to scream at the umpire that he’s a blind idiot who isn’t fit to hold the manager’s jockstrap?

I dunno, guys. You tell me.

Mr. Leyland, give us some sanity.

“I like it for home runs,” Leyland said on Sunday. “I think a home run should be a home run. It’s tough to see in some of these places.”

When told that the system would go into place this weekend, Leyland said, “Fine with me.”
Jason Beck/ article

Thank you.

Wednesday. There is a game. 7:05 pm EDT. Tigers vs. Racist Logos. Justin Verlander The Inefficient vs. Dr. Fausto Carmona. We’re looking to avoid the sweep. Maybe we’re also looking to see some incredible human interaction. Maybe SOME OF THE BASEBALL PLAYERS WILL TALK TO SOME OF THE OTHER BASEBALL PLAYERS. I don’t know about you guys, but gosh, I can’t wait! Go Tigers!

Miner wins, Kenny loses, but aren't we really all losing at this point?

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Eh, mixed weekend. Zach Miner was wicked good on Saturday, and Kenny Rogers was wicked bad on Sunday. We took the series, which is something, I guess. Does it even matter anymore? We’re not going to be playing in October. Ehhhh. The Lions season is starting dangerously soon, which is coloring everything a terrible shade of Mauve Malaise for me right now, and this might be affecting my outlook.

Our goal for the season should be .500 or above. That’s pretty much the only thing we can still reasonably shoot for. If you had said before the season began that come August we’d be struggling mightily to stay above the .500 mark, I would have thought you were wearing your crazypants, or you were just a surly Wrong Sox fan with permanent, irrational hate in your heart. Just goes to show: like a stopped clock, even a Wrong Sox fan can be right under special sets of circumstances, like the semi-inexplicable collapse of supposedly good ballplayers.

So, Miner on Saturday. Wicked good. Seven scoreless innings, only three hits, only ONE walk… and it only took him 88 pitches. Call him the anti-Verlander, if you will. In fact I’m not entirely sure why Leyland didn’t send him out there for the 8th inning. Maybe he wanted to take Miner out while he was still doing well, and didn’t think he could be in for much longer without getting into trouble. Just seems weird that we’re willing to run Verlander into the ground every time he picks up a baseball, but Miner isn’t even allowed to get to 90 pitches. The bullpen (Seay and The Farns) did just fine and the game ended uneventfully, so this is all just feckless internet second-guessing, but hey, that’s what we’re here for!

Kenny on Sunday. Wicked ungood. It took him 107 pitches to get through six innings, and he gave up seven runs (although only six were earned). He just didn’t have his stuff out there today, couldn’t hold a lead, couldn’t keep guys off the basepaths, all that usual terrible stuff.

It was one of those extremely annoying games where the Tigers kept pace with the opposing team in terms of hits and walks (10 H, 5 BB for the Tigs; 9 H, 5 BB for the Royals) but lost because a) almost none of the hits were for extra bases, and b) they couldn’t bring the runs home. I know getting guys on base is the first step and all that, but the Tigers this season are just not taking those subsequent steps. This is one of THE most frustrating kinds of baseball to watch. The players are on base, but nothing comes of it, over and over again: it’s like giving someone a slice of delicious cake and yanking it away every time they try to take a bite. You start to hate your own guys for hitting singles.

The image up top there has nothing to do with any of this, but is instead the kind of thing that often comes up when I have to watch an entire series of Royals baseball. I’m pretty sure it’s been mentioned over here before, but just in case you’re not familiar: Sluggerrr, the Royals mascot (extra Rs are their insertion, not mine), is (nominally) a lion. Royals, lion, geddit? And he’s got a crown for the same reason. But, DISTURBINGLY, Sluggerrr is not wearing a crown. Instead, it GROWS OUT OF HIS HEAD LIKE HIS SKULL IS HORRIBLY DEFORMED.

I don’t understand this. I have never understood this, because it would be SO EASY to have a lion WEARING a crown. Why would you opt to make the crown a part of his actual head? Why would you do that?

So, yeah. The little doodle up there is just me trying to work this out in my own mind. What would the skull of this horrific mutant look like? I have to know. These kinds of things can be very distracting.

Tomorrow the Tigers come home to Detroit for a 7:05 pm EDT game against the Cleveland Racist Mascot Caricatures. Arrrrrrmando goes up against Zach Jackson, which confused the hell out of me, because I saw him earlier this season with the Brewers and completely missed his inclusion in the Sabathia trade. I PAY ATTENTION TO THE BASE BALL. Mostly. Go Tigers!

the rain delay was really just piling extra insult onto the Royals

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Rain delay? Pssh, doesn’t bug US! Team that beat the kibble out of us early in the season? Pssh, that was then, this is now! Night following a high-scoring game? Pssh, we spit upon stupid baseball superstition! Pitchers other than Jimmy Gobble? Pssh, we laugh at them ALSO!

Stupid baseball superstition, in case you’re beatifically unaware, states that if a team scores a stinkin’ lot of runs one night, they have to suddenly find themselves unable to hit on the subsequent night, because they will have ‘used up’ all their hits or ‘burned out’ all their bats. Yesterday the Tigers scored 19 runs on 18 hits. Tonight they scored 7 runs on 12 hits. Stupid baseball superstition can bite our fuzzy little tiger-striped butts.

As with the previous game, I would feel kind of bad hyping up the Tigers batters for credit, because the scoring was pretty clearly the result of terrible Royals pitching. Kyle Davies threw 96 pitches in four innings and that had nothing to do with the rain.

Kenny, however, had a very good game, only tossing 80 pitches in six innings. That’s not, like, amazingly awesometastical or anysuchthing, but it would certainly have been good enough to get him through an additional inning or two if we hadn’t had an extremely long rain delay. He gave up four hits (mostly to Mark Grudzielanek, who appears to have a secret mental bond with Kenny that allows him to know what pitch is coming), one run, and one walk. He also struck out four, which is all kinda of good compared to the single walk. That’s more the Kenny we knew and loved elsewhere/elsewhen and less like the Kenny we’ve been seeing for much of the year, the one who has more walks than Ks to his name.

There was one super weak moment of the game. Apparently the Royals do the whole kiss cam thing, and at one point they focused on Verlander and Miner, who were next to each other on the rail. The Tigs refused to play along, not even to the point of chaste kisses on the cheek. Andy Van Slyke was laying into them afterwards, as he should have done. As Rod Allen so succinctly and appropriately said, “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little peck on the cheek.”

Anyways, are we sure this is the same team that eviscerated us in April and May? I mean, are we REALLY sure? Because it seems kind of impossible.

Wednesday’s game is Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrmando vs. Zack Greinke’s nerves, at 2:10 pm EDT. Awful start time, that. I blame Kansas City and all its other fake time zone ilk. 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?


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

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.

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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Dane Sardinha rides the Rocky dinosaur

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I think this is the first dinosaur-related post on RotT that wasn’t in some way referring to the Spazzosaurus. A landmark occasion!

For the first time EVER this year the Tigers have been OVER .500! I am so consumed by excitement that I do not even know what to do with myself. Over .500, why, that means…. that means that we win MORE than we lose. Did that seem like a possible thing at the end of May? No. No, it did not. It took the death of Jeremy Bonderman to energize the Tigers to this point. Of course that was an unfortunate event but at least something good has come from the senseless tragedy.

There were many good things today. There was Kenny, whose pitching was solid after the 2nd inning and whose fielding was, let us not put too fine a point on it, WICKED HOT. When he covered first on that play where Miggy had to field the ball between first and second and so Kenny had to make a big first baseman-style stretch with his back foot on the bag to get the out? That was hot. And when a ball was hit back at him going 500 mph and he stuck his glove out as cool as you please, plucked the screaming linedrive from midair, and flipped it to the infielders like, hey, ain’t no thang? That was also hot.

I am not usually the kind of blogger who goes all squee! on Kenny Rogers, but if you did not squee at those plays, it is probable that you do not know how to squee at all.

And then we got two scoreless innings out of Freddy Dolsi, and the Rollercoaster earned his name once again by completely forgetting about his previous outing to get a perfect save today. This is why he is Rollercoaster Jones. He can give up 709 runs one night, something that would completely traumatize most pitchers to the point where they’d have to go back to double-A to get over it, and he can carry on like it never happened. This should be the only thing that people mean when they talk about the Closer Mentality: the pitching-specific amnesia. I know that people talk about bulldogs and crocodiles and other tenacious things when they talk about closers too, but I’ve never seen someone bulldog their way past a bad outing. What would that even entail? Peeing on a tree stump? Biting the neck of an umpire until it snapped?

A moderate amount of hitting accompanied these pitching marvels, but really the best bit was the one illustrated up top: Dane Sardinha, ridin’ that purple dinosaur. Mr. Sardinha got his very first big league hit against the fairly hapless Rockies pitching. I say ‘fairly hapless’ because not only did DANE SARDINHA, a dude who has basically never hit at any level, get a hit off of them, but it was a TWO-RUN TRIPLE. Nice way to get your first hit, for sure, although if he ever does it again I will have to do a happy little jig of utter disbelief.

Oh, and Magglio is on the DL. I know it seems kind of extreme, given the fact that Sheff played through his oblique injury for a while, and Inge did the same, but truthfully this is what SHOULD have been done with both those guys. Sheff would have been DLed long before he was if only he wasn’t so stubborn, and Inge would have been DLed long before he was if we had had another catcher. Hopefully the prompt DL designation of Maggs will let his oblique heal more quickly than Sheff’s and Inge’s.

Tomorrow the Tigs return to games against the non-imaginary league, although they’ll be in the Metrodome, which is probably at least partially imaginary. Arrrrrrmando goes up against Glen Perkins, whose name makes it sound like he should be working in a cubicle somewhere. It’s at 8:10 because it’s in one of those fake timezones people keep telling me about. Lies, all lies. Go Tigers!

nothing like a tasty Yankee morsel to get the Tigers going again

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This was a good win for a lot of reasons, but I have to point out that Todd Jones is clearly trying to kill us all. I know that’s what he does, I KNOW, but HOLY FREAKING CATS, that inning! I cannot believe that inning turned out the way it did. I was sitting there joking around with my dad and brother about how Todd Jones was going to take a 6-2 non-save situation and turn it into a definite save situation (for someone else), but it was just JOKING, har har, imagine if he did that, OH CATDAMN NO HE’S ACTUALLY DOING IT.

Six to two. That was the score when Jonesy came in to finish out the game. It was 6-5 and Joba Chamberlain was hopefully warming in the Yankee bullpen when the game ended. I feel that we need something like a Tigers Fan Todd Jones Support System, where we set up some kind of phone tree and all call each other after Todd Jones appearances, just to make sure that no one actually died.

Aside from Jonesy, the rest of the team looked like they apparently usually do against the Yankees this year: bloody good. Kenny looked good… in fact, Kenny’s looked good in his last few starts, it’s just that this time he finally got a win for his troubles (although Jonesy certainly tried his level best to give it away). He’s leading the team in quality starts (that’s at least 6 innings pitched with three or fewer earned runs allowed, mind you), followed by Galarrrrrrrraga, so far all the bellyaching people have been doing about how old he is, how finished he is, etc., he’s actually been one of the more solid presences in the starting rotation this season.

Of course that’s all relative and removed from the sad context of our rotation might not mean all that much, but there you have it anyways.

Also good: Tigers getting hits, and being able to put men on with fewer than two outs on the board, which is something they struggle with against everyone else. It’s hard to say that the bats were on, though, when at least half of the equation was the fact that Kei Igawa was so very NOT on. Rod Allen was saying things about how the Tigers were playing with desperation now; I think they were probably playing with a bit of desperation against the Red Sox too. It’s just that here they were playing with desperation and the sweet smell of pitcher terror in their nostrils.

Still. Four and 0 against the Yankees so far this season. If the question is “How can the Tigers overcome their massive and inexplicable issues with the game of baseball in 2008?”, the New York Yankees are clearly the hamster.

big bats take out the Yankees

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Not everyone had a great day in New York. Guillen, Edgah, and Jacque Jones all failed to get a hit. But don’t tell Phil Hughes that; he’ll laugh in your face (a crazed, hysterical kind of laughter) and start gibbering about the big scary oversize bats all the Detroit hitters were using.

Kenny was not amazing. He walked too many guys, and 101 pitches after 6 innings is better than 101 after 5 but is still way too many. To be honest I’m not really sure how he managed to hold them to just 2 runs… with all the walks it certainly felt like it should’ve been more. It was loads better than I’d been expecting, though, what with his usual Yankee Stadium struggles meeting his current pitching slump.

Instead of merging those two troublesome trends and having some kind of mecha-trouble, he gave the Tigers a shot to win the game, and win it they did.

Polanco had maybe the best day, with 4 hits (one a double), 2 runs and 1 RBI, in 5 at-bats. Every time I see Polanco have a good game now I’m going to be thinking, ‘Is this the one? Is he coming back to full strength?’, and sure enough I thought it again here. The fact that his back is made of anguish and the tears of unicorns hasn’t helped him hit much this season, but if he can do what he did last night… well.

It was the home run that did Hughes in, though, and those came from Granderson and Sheffield. Lovely big home runs, they were. Curtis Granderson, of course, is perfect and can do anything, but a home run from Gary Sheffield in Yankee Stadium is particularly enjoyable. I know that Sheff has a LOT of former ballparks, but watching him pay it back to the Yankees is wicked pleasing.

So, good game on the whole, with too many walks issued by Tigers pitching, a trend disgustingly illustrated in the Wednesday matchup, where Bondo and Andy Pettitte have the same number of strikeouts to their names this season, but Bondo has more than twice the number of walks issued. Pettitte has a 3.23 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a 3-2 record. Bondo has a 4.28 ERA, a 1.79 WHIP, and a 1-2 record. If that doesn’t illustrate to Bondo the seriousness of the problem, I’m not sure what will.

From the department of “Things Rod Allen Says That Pretty Much Only Rod Allen Can Get Away With Saying,” we have this, after the FSN cameras focused on a couple guys in the bleachers, dancing badly to the between-inning music:

Rod: “Usually brothas have rhythm, but that brotha’s not showin’ a lotta rhythm.”


I like Rod Allen, but sometimes I think being his on-air partner must be the most awkward thing in the world. What are you supposed to say when he says something like that? You can’t very well agree….

falling apart the Detroit way

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I would say that getting outscored 18 to 0 over the course of a weekend can definitely be stuffed into the FALLING APART drawer in the armoire of BASEBALL SHAME COMPARTMENTS.

This weekend was awful. Well, not for me– I went to 4 art show openings, a book signing, and an orchid show– but there were no such happy events for the Tigers. No, there was only PAIN and SUFFERING and FALLING DOWN IN THE RAIN and ALMOST BEING NO-HIT BY GAVIN FREAKING FLOYD and GIVING UP EVER SO MANY GRAND SLAMS. No cheerfully pretentious gallery chatter for Justin Verlander and no hybrid Phalaenopsis for Kenny Rogers, alas.

On Saturday, Verlander pitched a damn good game right up until the 8th, when he suddenly couldn’t take it anymore and imploded. Whatever. The weather was terrible and pouring rain and cold, which isn’t the most ideal setting for a pitcher (although it sure didn’t seem to bother Floyd any). There’s still no way the offense should have been as dead as it was; I’m talking dead to the tune of TWO PIDDLING HITS all game long, one each by Edgar Renteria and Brandon Inge. Nobody else had a hit. Nobody! What does that say about the Tigers’ offense? When will I stop having to flail around frantically when discussing this??

Sunday was a more clean implosion, with Kenny neatly taking himself apart on the mound. Four walks in four innings is not acceptable. It was hard to watch, like watching a zombie stagger around with bits and pieces falling off him. Just in case an inability to find the strikezone wasn’t enough for us, Kenny also gave up a grand slam, closely followed by Miner ALSO giving up a grand slam. That is 8 runs in a very short period of time. The offense, feeling as anemic as usual, did absolutely nothing to alleviate the sheer embarrassment.

Nothing is on track and nobody is getting it on track right now. We CAN’T spend all of April stumbling along like this. Aside from the damage that would do to our record and place in the standings, it would also potentially cause me to completely lose my mind.