Category Archives: Maggs

o magical day, the Tigers have achieved .500!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This will have to be somewhat brief’n’choppy, because I didn’t even get home until after 1 am and wat i dont no how to maek wordz no morr.

For the first time all season, the Tigers have won baseball games as often as they have lost them. Our heartache is balanced by our… heart-joy! The glass is evenly split between fullness and emptiness! The utter filth of the start of the season has been answered with some squeaky clean good play in this past month! Happiness and sadness dwelling within the same batch of ballplayers! Perfectly average mediocrity! .500! .500! .500!

Man, if only we were in the NL West. We’d be GOLDEN right now.

Stuff I am totally unable to work into connected paragraphs at 2 am:

–Magglio left with an oblique spasm. WHAT DID WE EVER DO TO THE GOD OF OBLIQUES, SERIOUSLY. Sheff, Inge, and now Maggs? This is the worst season in the history of the Baseballverse for Tiger obliques. I swear to cats, if Leyland pulls an oblique tomorrow during a deep-lung coughing fit, we’re going to have to take drastic measures.

–Freddy Dolsi’s first win! Awww, we pat him on his fuzzy wittle Tiger head.

–Rollercoaster Jones’ first blown save. No fond head pats for him on this day.

–Jason Grilli: somehow still weak horses**t.

–Another solid outing from Fernando. Maybe the tiger yelling at him helped? We do what we can to help here at RotT.

–JUSTIN STOP THROWING SO MANY PITCHES SERIOUSLY JUST STOP 118 PITCHES IS TOO MANY IF YOU’RE NOT EVEN GETTING THROUGH 6 INNINGS AND I DON’T CARE HOW SOLID THOSE 5.2 INNINGS ARE, THEY ARE STILL 5.2 INNINGS. I know Jeff Francis threw a lot of pitches too, but this is a recurring issue with Justin and it is NOT OK ANYMORE. It’s for your own good, Justin! Leyland can’t do anything to help preserve your arm if you’re going to be so bloody inefficient!

–Ryan Raburn with the grand slam! That’s gotta feel good, especially with all the yo-yoing the Tigers’ AAAA-type guys have had to do this season. At least he can sleep secure in the knowledge that there wasn’t much more he could have done tonight to demonstrate his worth on the big league roster.

–Miguel Cabrera with the walk-off! We’ve had quite a few of these lately, which is not great– I’d rather win games in the 4th inning; a series of walk-offs seems awfully flukey and unsustainable– but nervewracking as they are, they’re still undeniably enjoyable when they turn out for your team. And anything that makes Miggy feel more comfortable here is good, because the more comfortable he gets the better he’s playing (with the bat and the glove both. He’s made some really nice grabs at first lately, although of course he’s still needing work on some of it, especially knowing how to position his body in response to various different plays).

–From Friday: Eddie Bonine, wtf? Eight innings, one earned run? Skow! The kid has surprised his last two times out.

Tomorrow Kenny goes up against some Rocky I don’t know at all but man that facial hair is awkward. Ouch. Maybe he will be too embarrassed of his own chin to properly hold a baseball. Potential yay! Go Tigers!

perplexing Tigers behavior continues, but this time we are happily perplexed

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So the offense decided to come out to play today. They scored a grand total of ZERO runs on Friday and a grand total of NINETEEN runs on Saturday. Is Boof Bonser really that much worse of a pitcher than Kevin Slowey? Going into his Tigers game, Slowey had a 5.49 ERA. Bonser had a 5.25 ERA before his game.

Obviously they’ve since gone in divergent directions, and ERA is such a coarse way of looking at a pitcher, but it is still mind-boggling that the Tigers can look like two COMPLETELY different teams against two not-overly-dissimilar pitchers. I mean, they made Slowey look like an All Star out there, and they made Boof look like an oversized little leaguer.

If I think too closely about this I suspect that my brain will simply explode, so I’m just going to accept this game as a little present and leave it at that.

Magglio went 3-for-3 with 4 runs scored, a walk, and 6 RBI. He hit two home runs. He is eating Boof Bonser up there at the top of the post because, seriously, LOOK AT THAT. Who hits like that? WHO ACTUALLY HITS LIKE THAT? Magglio freakin’ Ordonez hits like that, kids and kittens. Look upon his mighty hair and weep.

(Also, he seems to be starting a mustache. This is not quite so horrifying on him as it was on Bondo, but I do fear that if he actually grows the mustache out and keeps his hair like it is now, he’s going to look an AWFUL lot like a French musketeer. Which is fine, if that’s the look he’s going for, but I just don’t know that it is.)

It also seems worth pointing out that Polanco has somehow dragged his line back up to .294/.361/.405. I think he was batting .247 at the end of April. This is just Placido doing what he does, but there were people expressing concern about his ability to hit now that he’s a whole friggin’ season older, so I’m just sayin’. Look upon his mighty cranium and weep.

Nate gave us a solid start, and Aquilino looked good for 2.2 innings. It’s not like they had much stress hanging over their heads once the offense got going. Even after the Twins had 3 runs on the board, that was still a 16-run cushion for most of the game, as the Tigers stopped bothering to score after the 5th. Which is a little disturbing, but NO, I will NOT think about it, no need for head ‘splodey. I merely point it out.

Oh hey, exciting new blog feature! (note: blog feature not actually all that exciting) We have a FAQ section now! You can see it in that top row where the tags and links sections are, or you can just click this if you want. I think I covered all the most frequently asked questions, but if there’s something that you think should be in there that I’ve missed, PLEASE let me know.

Sunday Verlander’s up against some lifelong Minnesotan named Glen in a game that I will probably listen to on the radio because it’s in the middle of the day and we need to go buy shrubbery. GO TEAM!

Jose Canseco goes a step too far, again.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Ugh. Now, you cats know that I am a fan of giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially in a written forum, even if that written forum is a blog that occasionally features an orange cartoon dinosaur. But this…

José Canseco, the former major league slugger and admitted steroid user who exposed other players in his 2005 best-selling book Juiced, offered to keep a Detroit Tigers outfielder ‘clear’ in his next book if the player invested money in a film project Canseco was promoting, according to a person in baseball with knowledge of the situation.

Four people in baseball confirmed that referrals were made from Major League Baseball to the F.B.I. regarding Canseco’s actions relating to the six-time All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who was not mentioned in Canseco’s earlier book or in any other report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. All four insisted on anonymity because they said they didn’t have authority to speak about the events.

The F.B.I. did not open a formal investigation because Ordonez said he did not want to pursue the complaint.
New York Times article

He’s denying it, Maggs is saying it’s no big and he doesn’t want any trouble, whatever, whatever, like anyone is going to say anything different to a reporter.

It would be one thing to put Maggs in the book. I am not even dealing with that right now; we’ll cross that road when we reach it and all that. But to say that he can keep his name out of the book if he invests in a Canseco Productions movie?

Hellooooo extortion.

Asked whether Canseco’s alleged actions constitute extortion, Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor, said it would be a hard case to prove. “A demand for an investment isn’t as obvious of a threat, and a jury may be less likely to see it as extortion compared to a demand for hard cash,” he said.
New York Times article

A rose by any other name, etc. Anyways, telling Magglio that his name will be linked to steroids if he doesn’t do Canseco’s evil bidding is, in the world of baseball today, definitely a threat: it’s a straight-up threat to Magglio’s good name and thus to his career and livelihood.

So hey! Jose Canseco! Throw up the names of my players alongside steroids if you think it’ll keep you above the poverty line a little longer. Go ahead. It’s happened to practically every other team out there.

But seriously, sinking to extortion? Way to reach all new levels of sleaze-baggery, you enormous irritated ferret rectum.

Maggs and tigers dash through the snow

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Happy Holidays from Roar of the Tigers! For Chanukah you got Hank Greenberg. Now you get Magglio Ordonez flying a happy team of tigers. If you really want to enjoy the image, you may click here to view it larger.

There is very little going on right now, and some might say that no news is good news. Personally I wish there WAS Tigers news right now, and if it was along the lines of “Holiday Miracle: Joel Zumaya Suddenly Sprouts New and Entirely Healthy Arm Like Some Kind of Limb-Regenerating Lizard!”, so much the better. Both Chanukah and the winter solstice have already come and gone, so Jews and pagans have already done their holiday wishing, but Christians and those who celebrate Kwanzaa still have time to wish for new and improved Tigers.

I suggest wishing first and foremost for bullpen help, and then for a hot young backup catcher. Merely suggestions, of course. If you want to wish for Magglio Ordonez to show up in your stocking wearing nothing but a Santa hat, that is up to you.

Those without winter celebrations may dispense with wishing and may choose to send letters requesting relievers to Dave Dombrowski year ’round, of course. Tigers for all!

So whether you are celebrating the holidays or just lounging around on your days off or simply feasting on candy canes when they go on sale in a few days (something people of all persuasions can come together to enjoy- I choose to interpret delicious peppermint candy as entirely secular, ’cause so far as I know, ain’t no candy canes in the Bible), have fun, Tigers fans!

And if you DO somehow or other get Magglio in your stocking, please let us know. That would definitely be worthy of a post ’round these parts.

Tigers bloggers love Tigers: DIBS Awards results are in!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Patiently you have waited, and now your patience has been rewarded. DIBS has spoken.

In case, in your patience, you have forgotten what DIBS is (other than what you call on a particularly good seat or delicious-looking piece of food), I’ll refresh you. The Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes are a group of Tigers bloggers, cobbled together in 2005 by Billfer and Ryan and Brian, for the primary purpose of rejoicing together in the special joys that come with Tigers blogging. Front row seats to the reemergence of Jim Leyland in MLB? Yes. Prime tickets to the viewing of Kyle Farnsworth going all pro wrestling on the Kansas City Royals? Yes. Backstage pass to the growth and on-scene explosion of Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya? Heavens yes.

Close enough to get our grubby little paws on Brandon Inge? We’re working on it.

The DIBS Awards are a special time in this sea of specialness where all the DIBS writers look deep inside their hearts, their souls, and their stat books to choose winners in three categories: Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Breakout Player of the Year. These are roughly analogous to the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year awards, with obvious exceptions (only Tigers are considered, stats are not the hard and final line when it comes to decision-making, the Breakout Player doesn’t have to be a rookie, DIBS is not MLB, etc).

Know your DIBS! The voting members of DIBS are, in alphabetical blog order so as to be fair to everyone:

Bless You Boys (Ian is a SportsBlog Network pawn, burn him at the stake!)
the Daily Fungo (mmmm, fungo)
the Detroit Tigers Weblog (Billfer just posted the entire press release of this, WEAK)
the Fanhouse (AOL, you are ruining the Dugout :( )
From the Copa (wow, someone whose offseason updating habits make ME look good! hee hee)
Grandy Report (Deaner’s not obsessed at all, no sir, not a bit of it…)
Leelanau Sports Guy (covering everything in Michigan ever)
Mack Avenue Tigers (Kurt has a cold. Feel better soon, Kurt! Drink orange juice!)
Motown Sports Revival (more words than you can shake a stick at, even if that stick is Andrew Miller)
Take 75 North (MVN 4 EVAH. You just can’t beat the MVN Tigers bloggin’ conglomerate, kids and kittens. 100% of FACT.)
TigerBlog (I want that color scheme. Why can’t I have that color scheme? Eh, MVN, eh?)
Tiger Tales (Lee’s numbers, let him show you them.)
the Wayne Fontes Experience (Big Al. Do you need to know more? No.)
Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb? (the baseball cog in the Greg Eno internet empire)

And Roar of the Tigers, of course. Now that you know your DIBS, let us sally forth unto the Awards! (As I mentioned above, there IS an actual press release for these puppies, which you can see at DTW and other sites. I consider posting the press release to be cheating you lovely readers out of… well, out of whatever it is that makes you stop by here to read what I’ve written. So if you want the official word, which has all sorts of fun facts and so on, make sure to check out someone else’s post too.)

Pitcher of the Year

Like you have to ask. Of course it is Justin Verlander, boy wonder. DIBS had no trouble at all deciding on this one– it was the only vote that was decided unanimously. With his 1.23 WHIP and his drool-worthy Youth (hence Potential) and his ability to pitch in the first inning (unlike SOME Tigers starters) and his ability to resist the siren call of Guitar Hero (unlike SOME Tigers relievers), oh, and THE NO-HITTER THAT HE THREW, Verlander was obviously the Pitcher of the Year. You wanna fight about it?

Coming in second place was Rollercoaster Jones, and coming in third was Bobby Seay. I want to see Bondo on this list next year, and it’s a sad statement that he wasn’t. Get your freakin’ kitty litter in order, Bondo!

Breakout Player of the Year

This one went to Curtis Granderson. It makes a lot of sense: he had his personal best year, by far, coupled with the fact that even in the context of the rest of the league his season was good enough to throw him into the MVP discussion. That’s a Breakout, for sure. Shock and awe for everyone in the league except for Tigers and Tigers fans who, as I have said often enough, already recognized and embraced the incarnated awesome that is Curtis Granderson.

Second place went to Ryan Raburn (who was my first place vote, on the basis that his short-service prowess was even MORE unexpected), and third went to Jair Jurrjens (may the NL treat him kindly).

Player of the Year

Dun dun dunnnhhh!! Magglio Ordonez! Zero surprise here too. We’re nothing if not predictable.

Magglio was the batting champ and the MVP runner-up. He did things with his bat that made everyone else look like small weeny men playing T-ball. He pulled off hair that 99.8% of the league would not have a prayer of ever pulling off. It is impossible to argue this, unless you’re a spacker like me who voted Granderson #1 here and put Maggs at #2.

Granderson did come in second, with 2 first place votes, so I wasn’t alone. Rounding us out in third was Placido Polanco, who got relegated to the bottom of the pile after the kind of year that, most other places, would have him gilded and stuck up in the place of honor on the mantle with gaudy spotlights on him 24-7. I know I keep harping on it, but MAN did we in some ways have a loaded team this year.

Just goes to show, kids, stockpile your pitchers, because without them you are nothing.

silver bats for awesome cats

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers are really raking in the shiny this year. Silver Slugger awards are out, and once again the Tigs have some pretty good representation.

Your AL Silver Slugger winners:

C Jorge Posada, Yankees
1B Carlos Pena, Devil Rays
2B Placido Polanco, Tigers
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Vlad Guerrero, Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
OF Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

Not bad. I think we could’ve had Carlos Guillen in at shortstop over Jeter (.840 OPS for Jeter, .859 OPS for Guillen) but they were pretty close and Jeter did have a better regular batting average, so, accepting that these awards are kind of silly and a bit flawed overall, it’s not a bad choice.

Curtis Granderson, though, seems to have gotten overlooked again. Good as Ichiro was, his .827 OPS pales in comparison to the .913 OPS that Granderson put up on the year, and since both of them had batting averages over .300 I’d put more weight on the other numbers. It seems ridiculous that someone could have the kind of year that Granderson had, both in the field and at the plate, and not have any hardware to show for it. The poor guy’s gonna have to bat .400 and play defense like a giant human Venus fly trap and save an orphanage full of children from a host of mutated locusts before he gets the recognition he deserves (outside of Detroit, I mean… here in Michigan we certainly all recognize the full scope of his gloriousness).

But hey, two Tigers getting Silver Sluggers ain’t half bad, and the two who did get them were both richly deserving. Nobody can argue against Magglio’s inclusion here, not with his league-best batting average and his 1.000+ OPS and his flowing locks of mighty fashion and hitting prowess. To argue against Magglio winning a batting award is to argue against batting itself.

Polanco rounded out his incredible year with his second metal-encased baseball equipment award in only a few days. While it’s a little frustrating to see Granderson denied these things, it is AWFULLY nice to see Polanco getting the recognition that he definitely earned this year. It still boggles my mind that we were able to snatch him away from the quirkly embrace of the Phillie Phanatic with such relative ease. Polanco hasn’t just been a serviceable second baseman for the Tigers: he has been a snood-wearing snazzy-fielding sharp-hitting awesomely-grimacing seemingly bottomless source of skill and entertainment for us all.

I mean, OK, they did need to free up Chase Utley, and it’s not like he’s played poorly for them since they managed to give him starting time. Still. Polanco, you know, = love.

It’s also worth mentioning that Carlos Pena got his very first Silver Slugger award this year, and it was well earned (his 1.038 OPS was actually BETTER than Magglio’s still incredibly impressive 1.029, to give you some perspective on the kind of season he had). I always said that Carlos always had the raw ability to be a good hitter, and all he needed was consistency over an entire season. This year he finally found that consistency. It’s too bad that it took him until he got to Tampa Bay to figure his business out; it would have been very sweet for the Tigers’ investment in him to be rewarded by a good season in Detroit, but I’m happy for him nonetheless (…and of course it’s easier to be happy for him since the Rays didn’t really pose much of a threat during the season).

the season ends, and Magglio goes out with a bang

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s sad that the season is over (for us), but what a way to end it, eh? It would have been nice to do that for, say, the last three games, as opposed to only the very last one, but at least we ended it on a high note of offensive anti-Wrong Sox mastery.

The big story, of course, is Magglio Ordonez, aka The Hirsute Hero, aka The Long-Locked Wonder, aka The Answer to the Question ‘Who’s Your Tiger?’ for Some of You, aka 2007 AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING CHAMPION. Magglio Ordonez: man? myth? legend? I’ll take option D– ALL OF THE ABOVE. He ended the season with a .363 batting average. Wolf whistles welcome.

You and I know full well that batting average is not a good way to get a comprehensive look at a player’s value on the field (I misspelled at least 5 words in that sentence fragment, including a mash-up of ‘on’ and ‘the’ into some mutant word that looked like ‘onthne’. This was how I knew it was time for me to go to sleep and finish this post in the morning. 100% fact), but that’s why the Batting Title is so nice. It has no pretensions. It doesn’t really try to say, “this ballplayer is the best hitter.” All it does is say, “this dude had the highest batting average at the end of the season, and that is something to celebrate.” It says, “I don’t really care if the dude was hitting home runs or dribbling singles, the point is that he put his bat on the ball in a productive way a lot this year and that is a separate skill.” It says, “boo yah! Eat it, Mauer.”

This is what we love about Magglio (aside from the hair): even though he pretty much knew he had the batting title locked up, he still stayed in the game for 5 at-bats, going 3-for-4 with a walk and 2 RBI just to really stick it to Ichiro. Leyland pinch ran for him in the 8th and even some of the Chicago fans cheered. The Spanish-language broadcast was going completely nuts; some of those guys must’ve been Venezuelan.

Magglio wasn’t the only story, though.

“It might’ve been the strangest day ever,” Gary Sheffield said. “I’d never seen so many guys do something on a particular day that could’ve been done two days ago. Just to do all these types of things, it was just crazy.” article

It was a big day for Venezuela in general on the Tigers, because not only did Magglio win the Batting Title, but Carlos Guillen also became the first Venezuelan shortstop to get 100 RBI in a season. That might not seem like much to someone like ARod, but for someone like Carlos, who hits fewer than half as many home runs as ARod does, it’s a pretty fine feat. Of course the fact that he was able to get 100 RBI speaks well of his teammates too– those guys had to be on base for him to bat them in.

Placido Polanco got his 200th hit, making this the first time he’s done that in his career. He ended the season with a .341 average… it’s insane to think that a guy batting .341 does not have the best average on the team, but that’s the 2007 Tigers for ya. He ALSO secured for himself an errorless season in the field by not overtly screwing anything up. He ALSO continued to be relentlessly adorable:

“When you retire, that’s what you take home with you, your friendships,” Polanco said. “My friends, my teammates showed that they really wanted me to get it so bad. They stood up, and when I got the base hit, [Chicago’s Paul] Konerko told me at first base, ‘I can tell your teammates don’t like you.’ Because everybody was up in the dugout cheering for me. I started crying.” article

How exactly did we get him from the Phillies again?

You think maybe I’m winding this down, but NO. MORE Tigers reached milestones in this game.

Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 on the day, pushing his average up to .302. It doesn’t really MEAN anything different if your average for the year is .299 or .300, but baseball is like that. You want to bump it up to that next level. I guess saying, “Oh yeah, I hit .300 last season,” sounds a lot better than, “I hit .299.” And, hey, once he hit .300, Granderson refused to come out of the game. He wanted to get his proper at-bats in even though going hitless might have meant that he’d slide back into the .200s. Curtis Granderson plays baseball the Right Way.

So not only did Granderson hit 23 home runs and 23 triples and 38 doubles, he also stole 26 bases, and he ALSO hit .302 on the year. Curtis Granderson is 26 years old.

Am I done? Not quite!

In amidst all this offensive splendor, these enormous roaring tigers of the bat, there was a scrawny little backup tiger. Not a very strong tiger. You know, maybe the other tigers always got to the prey animals first, so he never had anything fresh to eat, so he was also scavenging leftovers like a hyena, and this made him malnourished and weak. It’s just nature.

But today this powerless little tiger finally roared. Mike Rabelo hit his first career home run.

It was pretty awesome; the ball went over the bullpen and the guys out there went COMPLETELY insane, like this was the most exciting thing to happen to them in weeks. Heck, who knows, maybe it was. Virgil Vasquez actually CLIMBED THE BULLPEN FENCE in his excitement. You get the feeling that they’d been ragging on him an awful lot about this, and that just made them even happier when he finally poked one out.

That pretty much wraps it up for the offensive points of interest, but it would be unfortunate if we overlooked Nate’s start (fairly solid, 6.2 innings of 3-run ball) and, more especially, Jason Grilli’s performance. Grilli pitched 2.1 innings. He allowed one hit (a single). He walked no one, and he struck out 4. I know that we’ve had a love-hate relationship with Grilli for most of the season (or, well, just ‘hate’ for a lot of you), but what a statement to end the season, eh? Of course it’ll be overlooked due to the fact that the Tigers decided to rewrite the record books with their bats in the last game of the season, but it definitely deserves mention.

Now, rest assured: Roar of the Tigers is NOT shutting down for the offseason or anything crazy like that. There’s plenty to talk about (already news of who’s coming back next year and who isn’t is trickling through. I’ll address some of that in my next post, probably), and I do like to talk about it. Even during the slowest points of the offseason I’ll probably be posting about 3 times a week… and remember, the less there is to actually talk about, the more insane and irrelevant things I’ll be posting. Get psyched!

hope springs eternal (or at least Timo Perez does)

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The last time I gave Timo Perez his due, it was paired up with some Inge-joy, so I think it’s high time to give Timo his own recognition for a Job Well Done. Gold star for you, Timo!

Timo has looked good– nay, great– out here lately. He knows how to play defense, sometimes spectacularly, and he can sure handle a bat, even if it results in way more doubles than home runs. He doesn’t seem to get rattled at the plate, which I fully admit was one of those fuzzy ‘feelings’ you get about a player just from watching him in some games, but the dude is hitting .415/.455/.573! Yes, that’s only in 82 at-bats, and yes, that batting average/on base percentage differential would be way too small if he was hitting in the .200s, but still, those are some shiny numbers! He always seems to get the good RBI… I’m struggling to not say ‘clutch’ here, but YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE.

Perhaps most importantly of all, he’s a Perez who is mercifully not Neifi!!… ‘though I still confuse the two in my mind all the time. Infinite apologies to Timo.

Last night he went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. I was all set to be happy and impressed by him even if we lost the game but happily that sort of dogged optimism wasn’t necessary.

The Tigs came out on top in large part thanks to Magglio, who, while playing with pain, still managed to spank Twins pitching to the tune of 3 RBI, including a 2-run homer. Ichiro went 2-for-6 with no RBI last night and is batting .350… Maggs is batting .359. There’s Eau de Batting Title in the air, and I think Maggs can smell it.

Because the Rays won last night (thank you Rays!! See, I’m so pleased with your performance that I’m not even making fun of your name change), the Tigers are still MATHEMATICALLY SPEAKING in this thing. It’s sudden death, though: as I said yesterday, if the Yankees win a single game, OR if the Tigers lose a single game, that’s that. It’s pleasant to prolong the ‘hopeful’ bit of the season as long as we can, but since the Yankees finish up the season against the Orioles, I don’t think we can really hold out TOO much hope. But y’know what they say… hope springs eternal….


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s baseball. You never know what’s gonna happen in baseball…. We do everything together and we’re gonna win the game.

That was Magglio, after batting in the walk-off run.

Bow down before the majestic flowing locks of Magglio Ordonez, for he is mighty, and he is a hero.

How do you describe that game? Halladay was amazing. He probably “deserved” to win. The Tigers ended up winning at the last possible moment; with two outs in the bottom of the 9th they got 5 hits, 2 for RBI, the last of which won the game. Is this representative of how Halladay had pitched for 8.2 innings? No. Do the standings care about that? No. Today, that works for me.

Halladay had been SO dominant. It seemed impossible that we would win this game. Terrible things kept happening too, it just didn’t feel like we had enough for this.

For instance, Pudge leaving with ‘dizziness’…. you KNOW it must have been bad, because he came out of the game with nary a whisper of complaint, which is VERY unlike Pudge. According to Leyland he “hadn’t been feeling well and had been taking some medication.” Hadn’t been feeling well in what sense? Taking what kind of medication? As usual, it is not for us to know.

Dizziness is a little worrying, because it could be nothing much (dehydration or a bad sandwich or something), or it could be an indicator of some horrifically bad brain issue. Pudge was upright and talking to FSN after the game, so hopefully it’s not too debilitating.

I’m not sure what this means for tomorrow’s double-header. I would assume that they’d WANT to sit him, because you don’t mess with dizziness and brainz, but they can’t exactly have Rabelo catch both games, and if Pudge feels at all better he’s going to make a nuisance of himself until they put him back in the lineup regardless of what any pencil-necked doctor-types might say.

Also leaving the game was Joel Zumaya, who spent some time peering at his finger in a worried way as he came off the mound, causing everyone watching to FREAK THE HECK OUT. Not to fear: he didn’t destroy any tendons. He did, however, “pull back the nail” on his index finger. This is obviously 1000x better than his previous injury, but it’ll probably still keep him out for a bit… he can’t very well pitch with a busted-up fingernail even if he wants to. Bad timing? The worst.

DESPITE all of this, the game was won. Why? How? MAGGLIO. Not only did he slam in the winning run, he also went 4-for-5 on the day overall, with a double, a run scored, and 2 RBI. I don’t give a flying cowpat about ARod’s home runs: Magglio is the MVP.

Oh, and more from the good news/bad news department: Bondo’s MRI showed no structural damage on his elbow, just a lot of inflammation. The good news is that he doesn’t have a snapped tendon or something. The bad news is that even inflammation might be reason enough to shut him down for the rest of this season. Kenny had better be solidly back…

Remember, tomorrow is Tigers Bloggers at the Ballpark Night! We’ll be up in the pavilion somewhere for the night game, and hopefully it will be awesome.

the Battle of Insanely Good Venezuelan Baseball Players

photo by Samara Pearlstein

There was a LOT of background noise in this game. The rotating pitcher door that the Tigers kept spinning after Andrew Miller’s (somewhat early) departure… the wacky management (subbing a pitcher in on a 1-2 count?)… the stress of a close game with a division rival…

All that came down to a pitched battle between countrymen: the Battle of Insanely Good Venezuelan Baseball Players, aka Johan Santana vs. Magglio Ordonez.

On the one paw, we have Johan Santana. He may be small (he is listed at 6 feet; this is pretty much a blatant lie), but he has a 2.65 ERA, an 11 and 7 record, and a whole mess of strikeouts. He has a changeup that makes batters wee their pants a little. He is the kind of player who prompts opposing managers to talk about luck and grit and other such David Ecksteiny things, because they have trouble thinking of a way to beat him otherwise.

On the other paw, we have Magglio Ordonez, who is hitting .358/.436/.600 in direct violation of the laws of baseball sanity, with 15 home runs and a whole mess of hair. He is the kind of player who prompts opposing managers to talk about impossibility, as in how impossible it is to pitch around him in this lineup, and how impossible it is to pitch TO him as well.

Santanta pitched 8 innings of solid ball today. Even a Tigers fan has to feel kind of bad for him. He ground out 118 pitches and basically blew the snot out of everyone and everything, except for…

Magglio. Who went 2-for-4 with a run scored (home run) and 3 RBI (aforementioned home run, and a 2-run double) and was responsible for every last drop of Tigers offense today. Uh, again.

Nobody, it seems, can touch Santana… except for Maggs. But Maggs gave him all kinds of bad touch tonight, and the Tigers were able to ride that sliver of a lead to victory on the backs of the entire bullpen, and a general anemia of the Twins bats. I’ll take it.

The truth is that almost every team in the league would KILL to have a game pitched like the Twins pitched today. Santana is always someone you want on the mound, and Pat Neshek is a glorious unhittable pitching freak this season. The fact that the Tigers somehow found a way to win in the face of pitching that good is heartening. (…for Tigers fans. It’s probably incredibly depressing and discouraging for Twins fans who realize that their team left 14 men on base today, and thus had opportunity on top of opportunity to reward that Really Good Pitching with a win, but failed to do so. Miserably.)

All hail the mighty Magglio Ordonez, winner of this particular Battle of Insanely Good Venezuelan Baseball Players, and probably winner of all such battles so far this season. Andrew Miller definitely owes him dinner.

Oh, and the Marcus Thames catch? Spectacular. Awe-inspiring. Immediately horrifying, because he immediately started howling in agony from his hamstring (or something in that vicinity). Flashbacks to Placido Polanco’s great catch last season that caused his shoulder to explode. Desire to curl into small ball in the corner and hide from the TV showing me these things: very strong.

FSN North, which is what I am forced to watch these games on, showed a clip of Jim Leyland being interviewed/cornered and harangued by reporters after the game. When asked about Thames he said “he’s not good,” and started in on this whole thing about how it was his fault, he probably should have taken Thames out, had Rayburn out there, but if the Twins tied it up he would have wanted Thames’ bat, but it was his screw-up and he felt, in short, terrible and responsible. He said that Thames “is not real good” two or three times. Since baseball managers usually answer these questions with things like “he’s day to day” and “we’re not sure yet”, this does not bode well.

Please be OK, Marcus!