Remember the good.
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illustration by Samara Pearlstein
It is truly a remarkable thing. First Delmon Young strained his oblique. Then Magglio Ordonez rebroke his ankle. The Tigers found themselves suddenly lacking in outfielders, since Brennan Boesch is out with his thumb thing. Ryan Raburn was already going to get playing time because of Delmon. Don Kelly was already on the roster, and needed to be free to sub in all over the place. Andy Dirks should not get regular postseason at-bats at this point in his career. So who would step in for Magglio?
DUH. Just reactivate Delmon! He can swing but not throw, so it’s basically business as usual! That totally makes sense! It’s not like he was injured wicked recently or anything! He’s had plenty of time to heal up! We all know how quickly and thoroughly oblique injuries heal, especially when you start playing on them again as soon as possible!
I don’t blame this for Game 2. Many things factored in, and the game did go to extras, so the Tigers were playing things close. In the ALDS, they were winning very close games. Now they are losing very close games. Nobody can count on always getting the win when the win depends on a single run; that leaves far too much room for luck to come into it, and in short (non-162 game) series, you want to eliminate the element of luck as much as you possibly can. The Tigers have not really done that. The absence of Delmon and Magglio was felt, but not intrinsic to the gut-wrenching walkoff loss.
Ugh. Magglio may be done. Like, maybe forever this time. He thought his ankle was healed, but clearly that was not the case. Then again, if his ankle felt fine, and all his tests came back clean, how long was he supposed to wait before playing on it again? His body apparently wants him to wait FOREVER. His bones have become brittle and unreliable. I find it hard to believe he can come back when his ankles are literally snapping beneath him on the field. Behold as he limps off into the sunset.
Please do not let this become a metaphor for the season, Tigers. Please.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
So excited to be done with the Royals for now. Sure, it’s the Wrong Sox up next and they’re a slightly bigger deal, but I think we all need a break from Eric Hosmer. He’s just not right. One might even call him baseball evil.
Did you know that every single time he came up to the plate on Thursday, Hosmer reached base? He was 3-for-3, and he also had two walks. He homered, AGAIN. He is a Royal Pain in the Posterior. A couple weeks off from him can only be a good thing.
Jacob Turner was back for this start, and was victimized by Hosmer, among others. He gave up 6 runs in 4.1 innings, but the pattern of the offense meant that Phil Coke was the one who got tagged with the loss (and the blown save). A simple tale of pitching woe, except for the fact that it came against the Royals. I don’t care what Jim Leyland says about how dangerous the Royals have become, it’s the principle of the thing. They are still the ROYALS.
But of course Jacob Turner is a mere kitten. As Jason Beck pointed out, there is less difference in age between Turner and the Kids Take the Field urchins (max age 14– 6 years younger than Turner) than there is between Turner and Magglio Ordonez (age 37– 17 years older than Turner).
Maybe this Sunday they should let Turner run the bases.
Speaking of elderly right fielders, Magglio actually had a very good game. Like, almost Hosmer-good! He was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run AND a stolen base and a pleasant little boost to his self esteem. He will undoubtedly be icing his entire body right up until gametime tomorrow, but it’s nice to see the old cat has some play left in him.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Magglio Ordonez has gone on the DL with ‘a hurty ankle’ (medical term). Surprise! Wait, no. The opposite of surprise.
It is, of course, his SURGICALLY REPAIRED ANKLE and it’s been bothering him to greater and lesser degrees basically all season; the Tigers were hoping he could work through it and play the soreness out of it, or something. He just couldn’t get it right. Rather than continue to watch him hobble around the stadium, and fail to get hits because he can’t push off in the batter’s box, they decided to stick him on the DL, get his limbs looked at, and see if some rest does him any good.
He’s hitting .172 so, you know… probably for the best.
Andy Dirks was called up to take his place, although he didn’t play in the Friday night game. He’s a left-handed outfielder, he’s 25, he was hitting pretty well in Toledo, and he went to Wichita State, which makes him a Shocker. He is not going to be Magglio-at-100%, but it would be difficult for him to be much worse than current-Magglio, so his presence will most likely be a positive thing.
Anyways, I had to make an ‘Andy Dirks’ category in case he sticks sooner rather than later and I need to start making posts about things that he’s doing. I have so many Andy categories now. Andrew Miller, Andy Oliver, Andy Van Hekken, Andy Van Slyke, plus Dirks. Andrew Miller isn’t an Andy but he could have been, so I’m including him.
About that Friday game: JUSTIN VERLANDER. It’s not enough for him to throw a no-hitter, oh my goodness no, he has to go out in his next start and no-hit those poor fools too for almost 6 innings. He had more strikeouts this time (7) but he was still relatively efficient, throwing 105 pitches to get through 8 innings. This is firmly within the realm of the acceptable.
Is there anything more splendid than Justin Verlander’s pitching when Justin Verlander is ON the way that he’s been ON lately? I think not. We are not worthy enough to gaze upon his pitching.
illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
Apparently Daniel Schlereth, who was born in Anchorage, wishes to be known as The Alaskan Assassin. True fact (thank you, Mr. Beck). Who am I to deny Daniel Schlereth? So here he is, attired for Alaskan climes, with his sidekick seal and a knife for assassinatin’ folks.
Of course everyone already knows about Papa Grande/the Big Potato. Brayan Villarreal says that he has been calling Al Alburquerque ‘Avatar’; Jason Beck says like the movie, but I don’t really get what he has to do with the movie… it doesn’t matter anyways since I’m just going to keep calling him AlAl. Brad Thomas does not get a nickname because everyone has been content to simply make fun of his accent, which is stupid because his accent is awesome. Still! There are other worthy nicknames in the bullpen!
Villarreal is Zorro. The explanation given for this was “the hair”, even though I thought Zorro didn’t have particularly long hair, he just had that pencilly mustache thing. But… I mean… whatever.
Ryan Perry is Cyclops, because of his recent eyeball-related DL stint. Before that he was apparently called Agent P, and also the Platypus, for reasons completely unknown to me until I googled it and discovered Perry the Platypus. This is sort of amazing and as soon as the eyeball thing has faded from the forefront of our collective memory a little bit I am going to start drawing Ryan Perry as a platypus at all times.
Magglio Ordonez’s bat has been waking up a little. Thank cats.
Joel Zumaya is having exploratory surgery. He is probably done for the season (as if anyone expected otherwise?), he is possibly done forever. At least with the Tigers. Everything is very dire and sad and filled with wistful what-ifs and coulda-beens. If you own Guitar Hero, take your controller outside and burn it as a fitting memorial.
You may notice that Zoom is in civvies here. I just can’t reasonably draw him in a Tigers uniform anymore.
Paws had a birthday! He turned 16 years old, and is now legally able to drive, but he still cannot partake of celebratory champagne (if the Tigers ever start playing consistently and skillfully enough to deserve such things).
There is no real reason for this last, but Brandon Inge has been playing some cruddy baseball lately and I am angry with him, so he gets tattoonsulted. Also, have the rest of you noticed that we’re over a month into the season, and the goatee is still absent? I’m going to keep drawing him with it, though, so as to not upset the balance of the world.
photo by Samara Pearlstein
Another year of hoping he’ll grow the hair back out! It seems that Magglio Ordonez will be returning to the Tigers for 2011. If he can stay healthy (if! If! IF! IF!!), I think this will make us all into some very happy cats and kittens. Sure, it’s a $10 million contract, and Magglio will be 37 next season. But it’s only for one year, and if healthy (if! iiiiiiifffffffffffff) he can still hit the heck out of a baseball. Warm happy feelings of goodness!
Now, we kind of knew this was coming. As with all Boras-sitized baseball players, there was the chance that things would go expensively haywire and he would sign elsewhere, but it seemed most likely that he would be back in Detroit. The fact that he re-upped is, in and of itself, not surprising. But there IS something weird going on here.
Looking at two-year deals from other clubs, Ordonez chose to return to the Tigers with a one-year, $10 million contract out of loyalty to owner Michael Ilitch. Ordonez is a Scott Boras client.
Player loyalty to an owner? Does not compute. BORAS CLIENT loyalty to an owner?? Does not compute does not compute does n– BOOM COMPUTER FREAKIN EXPLODES INTO A MILLION FLAMING PIECES
Is Mr. Ilitch so glorious, so wonderful– so inspiring as a physically embodied concentration of business acumen, affability, generosity, determination, and love for the city and people of Detroit– that he has overcome the entire ‘Every Man for Himself and the Most Years/Dollars, Hometown Discounts Are For Scabs’ attitude of the modern day baseball player? Are his powers strong enough to turn a player away from the shrillest proponent of that attitude, the ultimate owners’ enemy that is Scott Boras? Is Mr. Ilitch made of magic??
Or were the Tigers just the only team willing to offer Magglio the equivalent of $10 million over the course of ANY contract? Because if the best he could do elsewhere was 2 years for, say, $7 million total… well. This is a lot less heartwarming.
Actually… wait, no it isn’t. I don’t care. Because Magglio! Magglio is back! I refuse to think too hard about this, or worry too much about the fact that he will probably suffer some sort of horrific injury before the season is half over. Magglio is back, yaaaaay.
Totally unrelated but in case anyone still cares: Adam Everett signed a minor league deal with the Racist Logos.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
This made sense when I first thought of it, but then I started thinking about it more, and the mohawk has to stand up with hair gel, right? It’s not going to stand up all that well on its own. And I’m pretty sure most hair gels are highly flammable. So don’t do this at home, kids and kittens. Phil Coke is a trained professional.
In other Tigers news, there are some ‘early signs’ indicating that the Tigers are close to bringing Magglio Ordonez back. That would be cool with me– provided we all remember the eternal health caveat.
illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
–As I mentioned before, apparently everyone got injured while I wasn’t looking. I was of course already aware of the Inge situation, but now Carlos Guillen is on the DL with a calf strain and Magglio Ordonez is out six to eight weeks with a broken ankle?? We’re all doomed. There are like 10 weeks left in the season or something, so if Magglio misses eight of them…
–The only ‘good’ thing here is the fact that Magglio’s 2011 option, which was tied to at-bat appearances, will probably not be able to kick in now.
–I cannot believe the way the Tigers lost this game. I can’t believe how they’ve BEEN losing. At least they were able to get SOME hits today?
–For once I am not even mad at Justin Verlander’s pitch count. He threw 113 pitches to get through 8 innings. Fine. That is acceptable. I had the pregame show on for a hot minute and I am pretty sure I heard them say that Verlander thought pitch counts were ‘overrated’, which I took as a personal affront. Also, Justin’s beard is coming in nicely.
–Will Rhymes got his first big league hit today. Yay, etc. BJ Upton appeared to catch his cleat on the carpet and injured himself on the play. I’m not sure what that means, but surely there is symbolism of a sort in there.
–Triple-A lineup is still triple-A.
—Billfer is picking up his cleats and going home. The end of an era. I think we are all saddened by this news.
–There was more I wanted to say, but I am falling asleep. So I will just note that July 27 was Max Scherzer’s birthday! It was also Dave Dombrowki’s birthday! Yes, they share a birthday, it is a beautiful and magical thing.
ETA: Oh right, I wanted to discuss the whole Jim Leyland allegedly spits on an umpire thing. Partly because Leyland’s reactions are as good as they usually are when he gets fired up–
“I don’t give a care what [Foster] says, and I don’t give a care about what anybody else thinks when they read it in the [Commissioner’s] office. I’m tired of not saying anything. I don’t care that he missed the play. That’s part of the game. When you make an accusation that’s a total, blatant lie, that’s upsetting to me.”
“I don’t know what they’re going to do, and I don’t give a care. They can do whatever they want to do. I’m tired of it. I don’t care that they missed the play. That’s part of the game. I don’t care that he ran me. That’s part of the game.”
–(was he really saying ‘I don’t give a care, Mr. Beck?), and partly because it’s worth noting as yet ANOTHER example of the umpires being at war with the Tigers. I don’t know if it’s just confirmation bias and we’re noticing it more often now because we’re looking for it or what, but it sure SEEMS like the Tigers are having more issues, and more serious issues, with the umpires than in previous seasons.
There have always been bad calls and arguments, of course, but it’s gone to a whole new level this year.
photo by Samara Pearlstein
So it just took a couple of days, that’s fine. I am trying to be patient, serene, and good-natured, just like Armando Galarraga. If the bats want to be unhelpful for Bondo and oddly helpful for Porcello, well, that’s just… fine. It’s fine. Really.
And they needed to be as helpful as possible, because FredFred himself was all kinds of dirty (not in the positive way), and there were FOUR separate errors courtesy of the infield. This one was just never going to happen with one barely eked-out run.
Magglio Ordonez heard the call for help and went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double and a triple and holy Paws, he was actually a single away from the cycle. He had 5 RBI on the day! Austin Jackson heard the call for help and went 4-for-6 with three freakin’ doubles. This is crazy-good. It’s like… crazood. Goorazy.
The number of errors is rather disturbing, especially as two of them came from two of our alleged defensive specialists (Inge and Everett). Then there were two throwing errors by Carlos Guillen, but he’s still settling in over there at second, getting used to playing regularly at the big league level again AND trying to learn how to best play the position, so I am much less inclined to fret over those.
I guess the bullpen also did some good things, picked Porcello up and set him back up on his delicate kitten feet. He threw 95 pitches in 5.1 innings, proving that he watched Armando and learned absolutely nothing. Five relievers came in after him, and not a single one allowed a run. This is upsetting in one way (FredFred departing so early) and heartening in another. As the game DID end with a Tigers win, let us call it a wash.
Magglio and Jackson make the remaining worries go away with their gameplay. Thank cats. We needed another win so badly. And let us be honest, who can feel bad about things when Austin Jackson is out there campaigning as hard as he can for Rookie of the First Half?
ETA: The whole pregame scene, with Armando bringing the lineup card out to a tearful Jim Joyce, was rather remarkable, both because of what it was (a fine gesture by the Tigers, one which they totally did not have to make) and because of the understated way Armando went about it. There were camerafolk maneuvering all around him, so he had to walk slowly, but he didn’t drag it out unnecessarily and he didn’t try to inject unnecessarily ridiculous pomp into the encounter. He didn’t try to make out like he (or Joyce) was some sort of baseball martyr. He just walked out, gave the guy the lineup card, and looked him in the eye. I don’t want to say that this would have been impossible for many other ballplayers… perhaps much more unlikely.
There has been a lot of chatter about a possible reversal of the one-hitter. It does not seem likely to happen. The most we might get is a more serious look at the expansion of instant replay use (or even more umpire conferences… Joyce clearly had the best look at the play, but if the umpires had been able to huddle and talk it over and reverse the call right there because the homeplate or second base ump saw something, we might have been able to avoid this even without instant replay).
That Joyce feels terrible is beyond doubt. That Armando Galarraga is a classy, decent, gracious individual in a sport of foaming-at-the-mouth prima donnas should also now be beyond doubt. I hate that it took something like a stolen perfect game to make that fact known to the greater, non-Detroit public. I guess it’s good that we can gleam one small positive from this mess.
Oh, and Armando got a new Corvette, because GM got a little overexcited. That’s cool though, I understand. When I get fired up about the Tigers, I make a blog post. If I was the president of GM, I could see those impulses being channeled into vehicular giveaways. We each deal in our own way.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
I know it’s been all bullet points all the time around here lately, but I am simply too freakin’ tired for Real Person Paragraphs that are, like, all connected and coherent and whatever. It’s not happening.
–Two in a row dropped to the A’s! Ugh. It’s not even as if the A’s are bad this year. I just still have this idea that we should always be able to take on AL West teams. I am aware of the fact that the Central is the Division of Overarching Patheticness now, not the West, but this is just a vestigial bias of my own and I find it annoying to see it trod upon so carelessly by everyone involved. The Tigers should play up and the A’s should oblige us and play down. What is Mark Ellis doing hitting those home runs? I mean, really. What does he think this is, 2007?
–Carlos Guillen has played a couple of games at second base now. So far it has not been completely disastrous. From what I’ve seen he has actually looked more comfortable there than he ever really did at the corners, or maybe I’m imagining things because I want him to be OK. In my mind he has looked like a mostly competent second baseman. Not Placido Polanco, mind you, but then again no one else is.
–Speaking of Placido, Roy Halladay threw a perfect game for the Phillies today in Florida. In the pile afterward I saw a happy Placido all jumping around in there and I got all sad and jealous and sadly jealous. I wish Placido was still on our team, and that Justin Verlander would throw a perfect game so Placido could do happy perfect game jumps with him. SIGH.
–Rick Porcello had a ton of fly ball outs tonight for whatever reason. He’s usually a big groundball pitcher, so this was strange and uncharacteristic. In truth he wasn’t horrific in this one, just sort of uninspiring and vaguely inefficient (as opposed to acutely, or Justin Verlanderly, inefficient). Brad Thomas and Eddie Bonine were the cats who provided the pitcher suffering. Please note that while Bonine’s line doesn’t look so bad on the face of it, he inherited three baserunners from Thomas and let them all score.
–I noticed that Miguel Cabrera is letting his horrifying chin fuzz grow out a bit. This doesn’t improve it, just makes its horrifying lack of cohesiveness, awkward fluffy fly-away texture, etc. even more obvious.
–Magglio Ordonez made a great catch in the 4th on a Kouz hit. He caught his cleat against the wall (in the space between the padding and the dirt, it looked like) and fell over, but he managed to make the catch as he was going down, and he held onto it for the out. I was honestly a bit terrified, because it looked like the kind of play where he tore every single bit of connective tissue in his foot and ankle, but he got up and stayed in the game, so I guess we should (?) assume that he’s OK.
–Forgot to mention this yesterday, but I saw The Farns pitch in Fenway for the Royals, and it was glorious. He has pitching goggles and a goatee now. I took about a million photos, which you lot will see eventually.
–Zach Miner had successful Tommy John surgery, ending his season. The hope is that he will be back by the time next season starts, maybe even by Spring Training if his rehab progresses very, very well. But you can definitely shelve any Miner-thoughts you were still having about 2010.
–Max Scherzer will be back from his Toledo interlude to start Sunday’s afternoon game in Detroit. He was very good in a couple of starts in triple A and now we shall see if his alleged mechanics adjustments actually apply up here, or if it was all smoke machines and clever use of mirrors.
But you can’t get something for nothing and somebody had to go to make room for Scherzer. There was some speculation that it would be Armando. But Armando is safe for now; instead it will be Dontrelle who is designated for assignment. Jason Beck seems to think this means that it’s all over with Detroit and Dontrelle:
…the Tigers technically will have 10 days to try to trade Willis or see if another team claims him on waivers. Neither option seems likely.
With Willis all but certain to decline a Minor League assignment, this essentially means the end of a pairing that went perplexingly bad from the start in 2008 and never saw Willis return to his Florida Marlins form.
For now, Willis will be in roster limbo but could well be headed for a release. Claiming Willis on waivers would involve taking on the rest of his contract. He is scheduled to make $12 million this season, the final year of the three-year, $29 million deal he signed with the Tigers after they acquired him from Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade.
With Willis all but certain to decline a Minor League assignment, as is his right, he could become a free agent in a week and a half, which would allow him to sign with another team for the Major League minimum and have the Tigers pick up the rest of his salary. More importantly for him, he’ll get a fresh start in a new organization.
I don’t know why he’s so dead certain that Dontrelle would decline a minor league contract, but if so, this is sadface indeed. You all know that I love Dontrelle and want Dontrelle to work out so badly that I am rarely able to see reason where he is concerned. Does he have the worst numbers in the rotation right now? Yes? Well… I reject your numbers and substitute my own. So whatever.
Wherever he ends up, whatever he ends up doing, I just hope Dontrelle can find a way to be happy. Ever since I had to hear about his joy for the game of baseball being gone, that’s really all I’ve wished for him.