Category Archives: Kenny Rogers

in which Roar of the Tigers finally watches a spring training game

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Finally, FINALLY I get to see a Spring Training game, ON MY TV, and my thoughts are mainly thus:

1. Wow, it’s windy there. Like, really windy. Extremely windy. Joyous-laughter-at-the-sight-of-Magglio’s-hair-flying-freely-in-the-breeze kind of windy. Feeling-bad-for-the-outfielders kind of windy. We’re talking serious AIR CURRENTS, people.

2. If I never have to see those green hats ever again, it can only be a good thing. They were hideous, especially on the coaches, where they were paired with the solid navy Spring Training jacket things. We need to never do that again. Next year can’t we have everyone celebrate by wearing a green armband or something? Something small? How many guys on the team are even of Irish ancestry anyways? Like, seriously, we think St. Patrick’s day holds great meaning for Placido Polanco?

Of course I did pay attention to the actual baseball at times. And it was fun! Baseball, on my TV! Dusty Baker deciding to lead off with Corey Patterson! (I know it’s just Spring Training and all, but… why? Or is that a stupid question when the obvious answer is “Dusty Baker being Dusty Baker”?) Magglio’s hair is extra long now! Rod and Mario! Getting to glare at Miguel Cabrera in an attempt to negatively compare him to Brandon Inge before grudgingly admitting that he does in fact look to be in pretty good shape and is probably as good as everyone says he is, dammit! (Sigh.)

The fact that (as we heard today) Kenny Rogers hasn’t thrown a single breaking ball yet this spring is both encouraging and worrying. Hear me out. It’s encouraging because he looked like he was doing OK out there even without it, so his other pitches are coming along nicely. It’s also encouraging because it means that he’s acknowledging his recuperative limitations and isn’t trying to push himself unduly out of some sort of misguided macho urge (take note, Pudge). It’s worrying because holy freaking cats there are two weeks left ’til Opening Day and Kenny Rogers still doesn’t feel comfortable throwing his breaking ball.

While we’re on the subject of Kenny, can we talk about his at-bats for a minute? He didn’t even TRY for the first one, just stood there with the bat on his shoulder and looked stoic, and he STILL almost worked a walk (again, Pudge, take note). The Cincy pitcher KNEW Kenny wasn’t going to swing, and he still couldn’t get the ball over the bloody plate. I don’t know what they’re saying about this Cueto kid out there in Ohio, but that was a pretty weak at-bat. And then, Kenny’s next time up, for reasons possibly known only to himself, he was hacking gamely away. He actually managed to make pretty sharp contact, but he hit it right back up the middle, and Josh Roenicke speared it neatly out of the air. After acting like hitting was a filthy action completely beneath him the first time up, Kenny actually looked upset that he didn’t get his hit the second time around. Weird.

Like I said before: this was my first time seeing Miguel Cabrera in anything other than short clips and photos this spring, and he looked good. The Brandon Inge fan in me most emphatically does not want to admit this, but there it is. The kid looks like he’s in shape, and, as if to prove this, he made a diving grab in the bottom of the second inning for a ball that landed fair and bounced to the foul side of third. It wasn’t elegant: he landed awkwardly and was sort of slow lurching to his feet again, but he made a great throw more or less from his knees and got the runner anyways.

So he doesn’t have Brandon Inge’s range and he’s not going to be as defensively pretty as Inge is. We knew this already. His arm strength will make up for some of that, and I guess his bat will make up for the rest. I will not sulk.

I don’t like how he slides, though. He goes down really hard, right on his knee. Kinda looks like David Ortiz’s sliding style, which, to be perfectly honest, is not a sliding style that anyone should want to emulate, if they actually like their knees.

A few more things from this game:

-WHAT was up with Dane Sardinha’s catcher’s mask? It was, I don’t even know, navy and white scalloping. Nary a tiger stripe in sight. Dude, if you’re gonna go with the hockey-style mask (I think we all know how I feel about that anyways), the LEAST you can do is get something cool in a vaguely tacky way. It definitely has to have Tiger-related imagery plastered all over it. There wasn’t even any ORANGE. I can’t support that.

-At one point I very distinctly heard a Reds fan in the crowd yell, “C’mon Dunnsy!” when Adam Dunn was up to bat. Dunnsy? Really?

-That WIND! Can I emphasize again how crazy-strong it was? When Denny Bautista was out there (listed at 6’5, 190 lbs, uniform hanging off him like a bloody topsail) I seriously worried for a bit that he was going to blow right away and our bullpen situation would resolve itself without our input.

-I didn’t even know Kent Mercker was still in baseball. Shows how much I’ve been paying attention.

-Kenny Rogers’ dad was at the game. His dad is nicknamed Big Earl and has that strawberry farm we hear about all the time when people talk about Kenny Rogers’ childhood. Rod Allen is quite possibly in love with Kenny Rogers’ dad, or at least in love with the pure concept of Kenny Rogers having a dad named Big Earl who owns a strawberry farm.

-Speaking of Rod Allen… I might have missed the beginning of this, since I missed the pregame stuff and what-have-you while I was getting home from my afternoon class. But apparently Rod Allen has a new measure of ballplayers, something he’s calling “comfy/strong” [Ian correctly points out that this was a result of distorted hearing via my congested head, and Rod actually said “country strong,” which makes a lot more sense in a Rod Allen kinda way. Still hilarious]. He applied it to Adam Dunn. It seems to boil down to something along the lines of “that dude is large” and “that dude can probably hit for power” and “that dude looks kind of cuddly”. I don’t know. I just… I don’t know. He called Dunn “a mountain of a man,” in that admiring Rod Allen voice he has, and.

Yeah.

I’m so glad there was baseball on my TV today.

ETA of WOE: Mike Hollimon, who tried to dive just like Inge or Cabrera at third later in this game, dislocated his shoulder and is out for the rest of the spring for sure, possibly much longer than that. Ugh. You just hate to see crud like that happen, especially in a spring game.

Kenny is back, get out your bubble wrap


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Gosh, my second bubble wrap reference in only a few posts. Obviously this says several things: it speaks of the long dark shadow that Injuries cast over our team, and it also speaks of the wondrousness of bubble wrap. Pop pop!

Kenny Rogers has re-signed with the Tigers for a year, making all of us who took his firing of Boras as a Sign most incredibly smug.

The Detroit News says that it believes the contract is for around $8 million, and we know it’s for one year. That’s not bad at all. That’s also not something that Boras would have agreed to, because even a player of Kenny’s age could probably command at least two years from some desperately frothing team or other. Kenny himself admitted what we all knew the moment he tossed aside the Bore:

Me changing representation, I guess you could say, was moreso my desire to stay with Detroit,” Rogers said. “It had nothing to do with Scott as an agent or an attorney. He’s as good or better than anyone else out there. But my position was [to re-sign] with Detroit.”

If I felt like being a true free agent, Scott would still be my representative. But in my heart of hearts, I felt like I didn’t want to pitch anywhere else.”
MLB.com article

Why go through the whole charade in the first place, then? I initially thought it just took Kenny that long to actually make up his mind about how much he wanted to stay in Detroit, but I think he’s probably telling the truth when he says that he knew, on some level, that he wasn’t keen on pitching elsewhere pretty early in the process. I reckon it was a Respect thing. If he’d just re-signed with the Tigers right off the bat, they might have gotten to feeling all high and mighty and in control of Kenny Rogers. Of course KENNY ROGERS, Enemy to Cameramen, cannot have anyone thinking he is so easily controlled (so very like Gary Sheffield in this way!). He had to stick his nose out into the free agency winds just a little bit, so the Tigers would fully recognize his autonomy and the fact that HE, and he alone, had power over his own destiny.

I can accept a little chest-pounding and puff-feathered posturing from the male of the baseball-playin’ species. It is to be expected.

So, obviously, I like this deal. Kenny is a known quantity, and by that I mean that we KNOW he can pitch consistently when healthy, which is more than we can say for some of our rotation (I am going to harp on poor Bondo continuously until this is fixed, because this is not a problem that can be cured by ignoring it, BONDO). The key there is “WHEN HEALTHY”, and that’s a difficulty for Kenny. Kenny Rogers is 43 years old and experienced shoulder liquefaction last season. He may be healed from that particular bout of woe, but his durability wasn’t exactly improved by the experience.

Bubble wrap for his shoulder. Inflatable swimmers for his arm. Padded walls for his hotel rooms. Whatever it takes to keep this dinosaur healthy and pitching should be done. A healthy Kenny Rogers will make Dombrowski look like a genius (and if he gets hurt, you just know you’re going to start wondering if the Tigers should have pushed a little harder for an additional starter during this time of year….).

Kenny gives Boras the ol' heave ho


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Well! THIS is promising!

First we heard that Tom Hicks wanted an apology before reconsidering Kenny Rogers, which was already a nice little indicator pointing towards Kenny re-signing here in Detroit, or at least somewhere other than Texas. I’m not saying that Kenny CAN’T apologize, or WOULDN’T, but Hicks was making the whole thing sound like he wanted Kenny to come crawling back to Texas, and I have a bit of a hard time imagining Kenny Rogers scraping and bowing to get signed somewhere when he doesn’t absolutely have to do so. I don’t think self-abasement is one of his strong suits.

Then we hear that Kenny has fired Scott Boras, although it’s unclear whether or not he’ll be able to free his soul from the standard Boras contract.

This really makes it sound like Kenny’s coming back to Detroit, or at least like he really wants back on the Tigers. Scott Boras does not care if Kenny Rogers is in Detroit or if he’s in Tampa Bay: if Tampa Bay was offering the highest price, Boras would encourage Kenny to sign that contract, and if Kenny didn’t want to play with floppy chondricthians, then by gosh, Boras would duct-tape that pen to his hand and MAKE him sign it. Kenny was always expressing at least some interest in coming back to Detroit if the price was right, whereas Boras always seemed much more interested in having him test the market and wring it for every last penny that was there to be squeezed out… which probably (hopefully) would not have been Detroit.

So by firing Boras, Kenny says two things. He says that he realizes what a slimy spineless hagfish of an agent Scott Boras is. And he also says that he realizes staying in Detroit is more important to him than absolute top dollar (‘tho we can assume he’s not going to sign with Detroit for peanuts), and he recognizes that Boras is ONLY after that absolute top dollar, so if Kenny wanted to protect his own actual interests he had to get rid of Boras.

Do we want Kenny back? For the right price (and, more importantly, for the right number of years), we sure do. I’d rather have him than Livan Hernandez….

Timo and Inge to the rescue!


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Timo Perez and Brandon Inge: talk about an unlikely pair of rescuers. I mean, on the one hand you’ve got a guy who spent most of the game with his tiger tail parked firmly on the bench, specifically BECAUSE his bat has been so atrocious lately. On the other hand, you have Timo Perez. Yet this is the combination of players that won us the ballgame. Oh, Baseball. I shall never fully understand you.

Heath Phillips made his big league debut in the 11th inning, and I would feel sorry for the kid, but I’m in a heartless mood. Brandon Inge, in his first at-bat of the game, smacked a double (Brandon Inge! Getting an extra-base hit in a key situation! Be still my heart!). They walked Carlos, because if you’re a wee squeaky new pitcher in the 11th inning of a tied game, Carlos Guillen is scary. Up came TIMO PEREZ, who whacked a single hard enough to score Inge and win the game.

I at that point MAY have made some noise and jumped around in a somewhat undignified manner.

Kenny Rogers’ 5 innings of 1-run ball were pretty encouraging. He threw 83 pitches in that time, which is NOT encouraging, but heck, it was his first game back. When he “recovered” from injury the first time this season, he went 6 innings and threw 75 pitches in his “yay I’m back” start. So, you see, we have some room for improvement. I’m pretty glad they pulled him after 5, though. There’s no need to stretch him out when he’s fresh off the DL, because he’s already had one immediate bounce-back so far, and we don’t want to support any more.

The only run he gave up tonight was a homer to Danny Richar, a baby White Sock. Maybe his unfamiliarity with Richar made that possible, maybe he was getting tired (it was in the 4th inning), maybe he just happened to groove a bad pitch in there. It’s probably not reason for concern.

The bullpen looked great again, although Jonesy did his usual rollercoaster thing (putting a couple of guys on and getting himself into a sticky spot and generally being more likely to induce a heart attack than a Coney dog with all the vile fixin’s). Just keeping us all in our proper place as fans, I suppose… that place being somewhere in our living rooms, curled up and cowering in sheer terror. Good work, Todd. Job well done.

Zach Miner’s bacon-saving ways seem even MORE important now, because in 11 innings tonight we managed to go through 5 relievers. I know the rosters are expanded right now, but STILL, that’s a bloody lot of pitchers, and Miner’s ability to take yesterday’s game wholly onto himself meant that the best guys for the moment were able to go out there today and keep us in the game. Truly the King of the Bacon.

This is even better because the Wrong Sox went through 7 relievers, even though their starter went longer than Kenny, and only Myers threw an insignificant number of pitches. This bodes well for tomorrow, assuming we can knock the hilariously paranoid Mark Buehrle out of the game in any kind of meaningful way.

I hate saying things like “we MUST win this game, or else DOOM DOOM DOOM!”, especially when we’re looking at a Buehrle/Durbin matchup, but, to be honest, we’ve kind of got to win the game tomorrow. The Mariners are coming to town and, since we’ve got our sights squarely aimed at the wild card nowadays, we have to FLATTEN the moose-lovers. Coming out on the fat end of the stick that is this Wrong Sox series would be really, really nice going into that.

a win is a win, but this should've been Nate Robertson's win


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Nate Robertson pitched his little goggles off tonight. With Fernando not available we really reeeeeaaallly needed Nate to go deep, and deep he went. He went 7.2 innings, the most a Tigers starter had gone since Bondo pitched 8 back on July 7 (sad). He had a season-high 9 strikeouts, to which he said, after the game, in gently dismissive tones, “I knew I was striking some guys out… I mean, I don’t have a little ticker in my pocket out there.” Oh, Nate.

He deserved the win. I mean, we’re definitely all fired up to get any kind of win at all, but by the time the 8th rolled around I think we all ESPECIALLY wanted to see Nate get himself that W. The score was 6-2, there was a man on base, and there was only one out left in the inning when Jason Grilli took over from Nate. Easy enough, right?

Ha HA. No. Never with this bullpen.

Grilli gave up some singles to load the bases, and then floated an absolute meatball down the middle of the plate. This meatball ended up a soul-crushing grand slam hit by Jonny freakin’ Gomes. I don’t say “Jonny freakin’ Gomes” because it’s strange that he hit a ball out of the park- it’s not, he’s got 13 home runs on the year. I just say it because ARGH! Seriously! Jonny freakin’ Gomes and the Devil freakin’ Rays!

You could almost feel the air just get completely sucked out of the stadium. Schooom. Grand slam. Tie game. All that glorious Nate pitching gone to waste. So on and so forth.

Then Ryan Raburn, awesome tiger cub that he is, led off the next inning with a double. Suddenly everyone remembered that they had actually WON the night before. All was not dark! All was not lost! All was not tainted with Grilli-ism!

Nate Robertson is not a vengeful man. He’s too nice for that. Instead of griping about being absolutely ROBBED of a win by Grilli, he was propping up Grilli after the game. He’s looking at the big picture. In his postgame chat with FSN he said, “Evaluation of the game? We won.” And that was that.

Random bits from tonight:

–Hey, congrats to Chad Durbin! He’ll be starting tomorrow but, more pimptastically, his wife just gave birth to their first kid, I think this past Friday. Cade Griffin Durbin: that’s a pretty pimp name.

–Ryan Raburn made his first start this year at second base, and was using Brandon Inge’s glove. When asked after the game if he was going to give it back now that he’d had such a good game with it, he said (with some kind of hilarious hick Floridian accent), “Prolly not. An’ y’know, he can pick it pretty good over there wit’ that glove, so hopefully it’ll brang me some luck.”

–Rod Allen, urging Curtis Granderson on while he was up to bat with some men on base: “Curtis needs to spread out, choke up, do whatever you need to do, baby boy, to get that run in…” Baby boy? Eek.

–Tonight we learned that Justin Verlander played golf in high school. He looks like that type.

–At one point the FSN camera focused on Kenny Rogers in the dugout. He was doing something with his hands. Mario wondered if he might be whittling, because that’s what it looked like. Verlander was sitting right up next to Kenny, intently watching whatever it was. FSN got a couple different camera angles on it and finally found one that showed what was in Kenny’s hands clearly.

He had eviscerated a baseball, taken out the core, and was whittling it down with a small knife until he finally cracked it in half and got a look at the black rubber ball at the very center.

My first thought: WHO ALLOWS KNIVES IN THE DUGOUT?! Have we learned nothing from the Emil Brown pellet gun incident? Baseball players are not to be trusted with projectiles other than baseballs or pointy sharp things other than cleats!

Second thought: wow, Kenny must be bored out of his MIND.

Third thought: awww, Justin has such a hero-crush.

–Rod Allen, talking about someone’s timing on the field: “He knew because of the biological clock in his head.” No further comment needed.

Bonderman latest victim of the Spazzosaurus


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We are going to have the best-fed Spazzosaurus in all of baseball at this rate. Other teams may allow their Spazzosauri to feed every so often, but we are handing pitchers over to the Spazzosaurus one after the other. No wonder they’ve all been spazzing out lately, and no wonder the scores have accordingly reflected that.

The first inning, with Bondo, is always the Danger Zone. We all know this. If you remember this thread, you’ll remember that someone had done some fancy chartwork for us all, and had noted that Bondo threw mostly fastballs in the first inning, not mixing in his offspeed stuff until later.

In this game, I kept track of what he threw for the first few batters, and it was almost exclusively fastballs. In fact, I think the first NONfastball I saw him throw was a changeup to Garrett Anderson… the fourth batter of the inning… after he had already thrown 2 fastballs to him for balls. And that’s after he had allowed a single and a double on all those fastballs (and a K, but you know). After a while I stopped keeping track, because so many damn batters came up during the first inning and it just got depressing, but the point is that he’s doing it again. Fastball fastball fastball, which the opposing team just feasts on, until eventually his soul is so broken down that he starts mixing some offspeed stuff in, I guess.

We have an idea of what’s going on with Bondo. But this still doesn’t tell us WHY. Why, for instance, is his fastball so incredibly sucktacular in the first inning? When he’s on he can spot it pretty well, so….. why isn’t he ever on in the first? And why, why, WHY does he insist on throwing so many fastballs in the first inning, when this trend (throw tons of fastballs early= get roughed up) is so obvious by now that even internet gremlin-y bloggin’ folk are picking up on it?

“It wasn’t really something that I was really expecting today,” [Bonderman] said. “Felt good in the bullpen. My arm felt great, so I was really looking forward to coming out and trying to give us a lift. Obviously, it went the other way. I just kind of added onto the fire, threw a little kerosene on it and let the sucker burn. It was not pretty, man.”

“Just wasn’t locating,” Bonderman said. “When I fell behind, I left the ball over the plate too much. I was trying to create things before it happened.”
MLB.com article

No, you don’t say?

The inability to locate is a clear case of Spazzosaurus nibbles. But the Spazzosaurus, for all his influence, does not make anyone throw fastballs vs. sliders vs. changeups. The Spazzosaurus doesn’t care what anyone throws, so long as they throw it badly enough to make the thrower start to emit more and more spazz-energy out of nervousness and a sense of overwhelming failure. So even though Bondo is VERY OBVIOUSLY suffering in the loving embrace of the Spazzosaurus (see image for incontrovertible proof), this still does not explain why he throws all those fastballs in the first inning, again and again, despite the endless reams of evidence showing that this does not work for him.

DEEP BREATH. DEEP BREATH.

Angry-making hilarity: Chad Durbin came in with the bases loaded and Vlad Guerrero up to bat. Pudge called for a ball away. Durbin lost control of the pitch, which rode in and hit Vlad, forcing in a run. Did anyone in the UNIVERSE think that was intentional? What sort of idiot would intentionally force in a run in a game that looked bad but was still, at that point, in the early and (with our sometime-offense) changeable stage? Apparently Ed Montague thought that the Tigers were exactly that sort of idiot, because he came trotting out right away to point fingers and sternly issue warnings.

For an obviously unintentional pitch.

I laugh now. At that time I just became even more infuriated at the stupidity of it all.

“If Justin Verlander is the show pony… then Jeremy Bonderman is the work horse.”

That was Orel Hershiser, before this game. I just liked the mental images that it conjured up. I mean, Justin Verlander versus Jeremy Bonderman? Works for me!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Kenny Rogers is back on the DL, this time with inflammation in his pitching elbow. On the one hand, this is good, because it explains his last couple of starts, which means that Kenny doesn’t stink at pitching, his elbow just stinks at being healthy. On the other hand, well, he’s back on the DL. Crabnuggets.

the dread Tiger E, and other creatures of a loss


digillustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s hard enough to win games when the offense is in a funk– if nothing else, it puts all kinds of pressure on the pitchers, and while our pitchers are of course the best in the universe, the most awesome in baseball and in life, heroes on the field, etc., that’s still not exactly fair. We just finished winning an entire series with minimal offense. Time to cut the pitchers some slack and allow them to be human.

Unfortunately for us, the Royals decided to cut Kenny Rogers into all kinds of slack, and the offense did not come riding up on their majestic white tigers to sweep Kenny out of danger’s way. Actually, if the offense ever gets their acts together and manages to bail out a starter’s mediocre-to-bad pitching with big bats, that’ll be the photoshop of the day. Until then, you get the sadly tiger-striped E, to remind everyone of our sins.

Because, you know, if it is hard to win when your starter struggles and your bats don’t back that up, it is even HARDER to win when you match all that with a bunch of errors, even if it only resulted in one unearned run. Non-run-producing errors still kind of drag everyone down, and if the players are already feeling kind of cruddy about being destroyed by the Royals, when they start making errors, they start feeling worse, which makes them more prone to committing errors and less prone to getting hits and it all becomes a big snowballed mess of Es and sadness.

It was just a matter of time before Kenny came back to earth. His injury was so severe, and his return so remarkably good, we may have gotten into the habit of thinking of him as some sort of superhuman pitching machine. Then you watch him get knocked around by Mark Grudzielanek and his buddies, and you realize he’s human after all (not knockin’ Grudzie, who is a pretty nice little hitter).

And of course you’ve got to give credit to Gil Meche, who gave up a homer to Sheffield (likely to happen to anyone) and let Maggs bonk in an RBI (likely to happen to anyone), so you could say that he pitched a very good game, and you would be right.

As for the fact that this loss came to the ROYALS… well, I’m not surprised. I just got done watching them dismantle the Red Sox, so you could say that I’m incredibly, horribly aware of their hot streak right now. I think it should be the sworn duty of the Detroit Tigers to kill this hot streak, which is clearly a violation of the laws of nature, by any means necessary.

welcome back, Kenny


photo by Emily Smith

A day of hellos. A day of goodbyes. A day of incredibly weak blog openers.

It was BLOODY GLORIOUS to see Kenny back on the field (that photo up there is from his rehab start in West Michigan, thanks as usual to the genius lens of Em) in any capacity, and to see him pretty much dealing was even better. Two hits over 6 innings… NO walks… FIVE strikeouts… ZERO runs… and, wait, the best bit? Those 6 innings? He only threw 75 pitches.

I know his arm exploded on the inside, and he’s on the wrong side of 40, and he’s already had quite a lot of wear on the blood vessels in that shoulder, but I can be excused for feeling a little optimism, right? It’ll probably be gone soon, so let me bask for the moment.

*does the “Kenny Rogers is back, and Kenny Rogers pitched like woah” dance*

Now, Magglio. See, look, there goes the optimism. Watch it as it flees.

I know, I know: X-Rays were negative. The fact that the ball ricocheted as much as it did, combined with the negative X-Ray, indicates to me that the ball may have glanced off the bat and thus not hit his hand full-on. Which is good! Just a bruise! JUST A FLESH WOUND! OPTIMISM!!

Except that I have my usual paranoid fears, in this centering around the completely unfounded worry that there could be a small fracture in his hand that the X-Ray didn’t pick up… the kind of thing that would enlarge and become problematic if he continues to play without getting it properly treated. Seriously, this is the stuff I worry about.

It’s not as though we haven’t got anyone other than Magglio in the lineup. He can sit out a few days if need be, to let the swelling (if swelling there is) on his hand go down without doing too much damage to the offense. But he IS our best hitter (best hitter anywhere! eee!), and so yeah. I worry. If he has some sort of tiny hairline fracture, and it messes with his grip…. you know where that leads. DL. AND WOE.

Also sad today: being faced with Ledezma, in his brand new capacity as a Brave. Nothing major, I know, but the times, they are a-changin’, and we no longer have anyone on the team named ‘Wilfredo’. This is a harsh blow that was felt more keenly when we had to try to bat against an opposing Wilfredo. Oh, baseball is indeed cruel.

I also heard that Miller is slated to remain in the rotation, with Durbin moving to the ‘pen when Nate gets back from his imaginary injury. Don’t like it. I’ve been telling everyone that I wouldn’t mind seeing Miller head back down to AAA for a bit and making his triumphant return in September, but apparently the team has other plans. Billfer brings up a good point about young pitchers (see: Verlander) and arm fatigue due to a sudden jump in innings pitched (see: Verlander at the end of last season). I assume someone in the Tigers’ organization has weighed all these factors. I’m just setting myself up pessimistically again.

And of course if you see below, you will note by the deformed avian heading that Mike Maroth has been traded to the Cardinals for ANONYCARDINAL, to be recieved at a later date.

But I am happy. HAPPY. LOOK AT MY GRIN. Kenny Rogers IS back, even in the midst of all this turmoil and insanity, and he seems to be REALLY back, so throw your flower petals into the air and dance a merry hippy dance, Tigers fans. For this one thing at least.

pug marks, June 10-11


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Excellent game. Miller was shaky early, but it looks like Glavine was shakier overall. How many 22 year old kids get to say that they went up against Tom freakin’ Glavine, and outdueled him? Granted, 4 runs in 5.1 innings isn’t too great, but it’s loads better than 9 runs in 4.1 innings, which is what Glavine managed. Big pat on the back for Miller. He earned every swing of that offense explosion today.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that some TV station somewhere is a bunch of jerks (I think I need to blame FOX for this one, right?), I didn’t get to actually SEE the game. Since I therefore don’t have much more to say about it, today’s a good time for some more pug marks.

pug mark 1
Brandon Inge should break his toe more often.

Since his return from the injury (which he is playing through), Inge has been 6-for-17 with a home run, a double, and 5 RBI, all for a line of .353/.450/.588. For comparison, in the 5 games before his injury, he was 3-for-17 with 1 double, no home runs, and no RBI.

Either Brandon Inge is a secret masochist and the pain is helping him hit, or the pain meds are making him feel just fiiiine and groovy up there at the plate.

pug mark 2
JUSTICE MUST BE DONE!

It’s coming up on that time of the year again. Yes, All Star voting time. Now, the world is used to seeing the All Star game smothered in an excess of Yankee bile, but usually the Yankees involved have SOME claim to the position. This year, however, we are seeing a crime perpetrated right before our very eyes.

Placido Polanco, who is superior to Robinson Cano in pretty much every way, is trailing him in the All Star voting standings, due only to the fact that Cano is swaddled in pinstripes. Quo Vadimus, a Detroit blog, has a Campaign for Righteousness, telling people to go to the polls and vote for Polanco.

A vote for Placido Polanco is a vote for freedom!! JOIN US IN OUR GLORIOUS CRUSADE. Unlike religious crusades, you can happily engage in this one, secure in the knowledge that you are ACTUALLY, PROVABLY IN THE RIGHT.

pug mark 3
The plans to demolish Tiger Stadium have been OKed. Nominally OKed. This is Detroit, after all, and we all know how efficient Detroit is when it comes to getting things done. Especially when it comes to buildings.

Big Al wants the city to just get on with it already. I agree with him that I think the place is beyond ‘saving’ at this rather late date. I am a bit more nostalgic for it than him, though. This probably has something to do with my constant exposure to Fenway Park.

pug mark 4
Kenny Rogers had a promising rehab start. Woo. Miller’s start today may have worked out alright in the end, but I wouldn’t like to rely on the offense that heavily again, you know? I’d be happy to get Kenny back sooner rather than later. Uh. Obviously.

Curiously enough, one of the only triple-Aers to get any hits off of Rogers in 3.2 innings was former Pirate and briefly former Toledo Mudhen Tike Redman.

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Is there anything worse than losing a no-hitter with two outs in the 9th? And having that one hit account for the one run that means you lose the game? I would say no.

Alas for me and all Michigan fans, because that’s what happened to Zach Putnam and the Wolverines yesterday. The link is to my write-up of it over at my other blog; it was traumatizing enough that I’m not keen to get into it a second time over here. Sniffle, sob, etc. We knock off the #1 team in the country, Vanderbilt, and then get stuck with last year’s national champions. Someone up there really wants us to suffer.

Game 2, which is now a possible elimination game, is at 4 pm PST (7 EST) on, I think, ESPN2. So if you’re keen on watching it, there y’go.

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I was going to link one of the analytical pieces over at Tiger Tales here, but then I couldn’t decide which one to link. There’s the most recent Run Preventing Events post…. there’s a good post about Bondo (almost) leading the universe in Fielding Independent Pitching… there’s a nice little concise prospect report. Just go check Lee’s stuff out if you’re into baseball analysis and Deep Thought and all those things you’re less likely to get ’round here.

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If you have ever expended one tiny bit more thought on baseball mascots than they deserved, you should read my insane rant on the subject. I have very strong feelings about mascots, OK? And some of them are just… well, they deserve strong feelings. I’ll give Paws credit, though… he’s moved up some in my estimation with his new, less mothy suit this season.

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This is kind of hilariously recursive… I’m linking to Mack Ave. Tigers’ version of a pug marks post. LOL INTERNET. But it’s worth it, because Kurt goes into who he likes and dislikes in the bullpen before he gets to the links, and I mostly agree with him. Except I would say that instead of “sorta disliking” Fernando, I “hate and mistrust” Fernando, and I’m much higher on Ledezma than he is.

"Tigers are dropping like flies."


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

That’s what Rod Allen said during the game today. “Tigers are dropping like flies.” He wasn’t talking about the standings, although he could have been; the Devil Rays had another curiously effective game today, and the Racist Logos squeaked one out from under the Red Sox to up their divisional lead to 2.5 games. No, Rod was talking about injuries.

Injuries! The bane of any team’s existence. You can have the best team in baseball and it won’t do you a lick of good if the injury bug (fly?) gets into their soup. I mean, look at this.

Healed: Placido Polanco, Jeremy Bonderman.

Polanco had that side/stomach/oblique/rum tum tum strain, or whatever it is, that sidelined him for a few games. Luckily, he’s back, and it doesn’t seem to be lingering… although its returnability is yet to be seen. Bondo had his finger all blistered, and if his last outing was any indication, he has fully and gloriously recovered from that.

Busted up: Kenny Rogers, Vance Wilson, Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney, Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge. Oh hell, let’s throw in Roman Colon too.

Kenny, of course, exploded his shoulder before we even had a chance to properly miss him. Woe and sadness and all that. It’s hard to say precisely how much we’ve missed him (especially since Durbin’s been more passable than expected, as I keep finding ways to say in nearly every post), but I think it’s pretty fair to say that we’ve missed him in three distinct ways:

1. Lots.
2. Tons.
3. Badly.

Vance Wilson (wasn’t he supposed to be back by now?) might not be as sorely missed as some think. His average last season was pretty unVanceian and I guess there’s no real reason to think that he would repeat it. We probably do miss him defensively, though. There’s no way Rabelo is as good with the pitchers as (according to the pitchers themselves, anyhow) Vance is. Was. Is. Whatever. Seriously, wasn’t he supposed to be back by now? Maybe he’s dead. That would be tragic.

Zoom, as we all know, destroyed his finger simply by throwing a pitch. He’ll be back as soon as they finish fashioning a bionic finger for him- they’re waiting on the adamantium. In the meantime, we miss his power and the intimidation factor he brought to the bullpen. The rest of the league does not miss him.

Fernando has biceps tendonitis, which is basically this:

Biceps tendonitis (also called bicipital tendonitis) is an inflammation of the long tendon of the biceps muscle, which is located in a bony groove of the upper arm bone (the ball-and-socket joint). The tendon becomes swollen and inflamed as a result of repetitious lifting, especially overhead lifting with the arms held outstretched. The swelling and inflammation weakens the tendon; unusually heavy lifting while the tendon is irritated can lead to tendon rupture. In most cases the inflammation will resolve over several weeks with an absolute limitation of lifting.
UpToDate patient information

Assuming no actual damage has been done to the tendon, he should heal so long as he actually rests. All this does is thin out our bullpen even more. Woe, and woe again.

Carlos grounded out today and grounded right into a “mild left groin strain,” which could mean that he’s back in two days, or it could mean that he will never walk or make babies again. Only time and perhaps MRIs will tell. I suppose we’re obliged to be happy that it’s not his knee, because I’m not sure how many mentions of Carlos Guillen’s Surgically Repaired Knee I can take before I lose my mind and start drawing his various injured body parts with little eyes and mouths and have them playing a game of baseball all by themselves or something.

Kneecap at third! Groin tendony bits pitching! Get well soon Carlos, seriously, no one needs to see that.

Brandon Inge. Sigh. Brandon Inge got his toe broken by a pitch. CURSES BE UPON THE DEVIL RAYS. CURSES BE UPON ALL WHO DAMAGE THE SACRED PERSON OF BRANDON INGE. They dared to break his toe! WE SHALL BREAK THEIR SPIRITS. Uh, not this series, obviously, but, you know….. eventually.

Because he’s Brandon Inge, of course, he couldn’t even get his toe broken by a Zumayan fastball or anything like that.

“It hurts,” he said, and removed his sock to brandish a deep red and purple bruise, both on the top and bottom of the toe.

“It’s amazing, [the pitch] was 71 mph. That’s why I was like, ‘I’m not even coming out of this game.’ Nobody would believe a 71-mph curve ball [could do that]. They’d be like, ‘Oh, Inge is a little sissy.'”
MLB.com article

Sigh. SIGH. They say he can play on it so long as it’s properly braced and he’s shot full of pain meds, so I guess he’ll be doing that as soon as the swelling goes down and he can actually fit it in his cleat without collapsing on the ground in a sobbing mess of agony. It’s killing me to think about this, it really is. BLEEPING BLEEP BLEEP DEVIL RAYS.

Oh, and I just threw Colon in there because I’m sure that if he wasn’t DLed (something to do with his neck, wasn’t it? or am I thinking of someone else?), he would be a great help, since our bullpen is all smoke and mirrors and Wilfredo Ledezma these days.

Now we have to play the Racist Logos again. No more tiger-flies dropping, guys! We can’t spare another body. One more person puts a sneeze out of line, and I’m breaking out the bubble wrap and the duct tape, and everyone can learn how to play ball through that.