Category Archives: Miner

super wicked very important Tigers news

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Super wicked important news! Vastly important! Must-know, huge effects on the future of the team! Massive impact on the 2011 squad!!

Actually, no: none of those things. Zach Miner signed a minor league deal with the Royals a few days ago.

That’s it. That’s what passes for Tigers news right now.

Miner fans may commence the tearing of hair, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments. Everyone else, feel free to go about your business. Thank you for your time.

PS: To the person who found my blog by searching for “nationalism of Tiger”, the answer is “Detroit” and his name is Paws, not Tiger. You’re welcome.

PS PS: The Yankees are rumored to be showing interest in Jeremy Bonderman. There’s a name for the way this makes me feel… hmm… I know there’s a word for it…

Ah yes.


Miner brings the matzah

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Happy first night of Passover! Huzzah, huzzah, Zach Miner saves us from a potentially horrible pile of hairballs by bringing the matzah here. Or I guess he IS the matzah. I don’t know. I’m really tired right now, these words may or may not actually make any sense in the morning.

I am full of sadness at the fact that Edwin Jackson’s 7.1 inning effort did not get a win and Miner’s 5.2 inning effort did. I am making a very small sadface at the fact that it took Miner 85 pitches to get through those 5.2 innings. However, those are minor (hurr hurr) considerations when put up against the fact that the Tigers have got a win.

Take THAT, drunken trash-throwing Blue Jays fans. Yeah, that’s right. Your team symbol would be eaten by our team symbol. Our team symbol would not even need to chew.

As a further poke to the eyes of the bluebirds, Miguel Cabrera homered not once, but TWICE off of Jesse Litsch. Miguel Cabrera was able to do this because he is filled with awesome, and also because he enjoys celebrating the commencement of Passover with longballs that provide a metaphor for the Angel of Death passing over the houses of the Jews and smiting down the offspring of the oppressing Egyptians. ‘Cause you know that was totally foremost in his mind tonight.

Brandon Inge also homered, but that was just to make Litsch feel bad.

The good start Inge has had to this season (three homers in three games!) is ridiculous fun for an admitted and mostly unrepentant Brandon Inge apologist such as myself, it is a true fact. Although I do entertain starry-eyed hopes and dreams to this effect, I am not really expecting that he will keep it up all season. But I WILL enjoy the heck out of it while he’s got it goin’ on, oh yes, I will gleefully wallow in every moment where Brandon Inge remembers what it is to have the bat make meaningful contact with the baseball. Don’t judge my love.

The bullpen didn’t mess things up, which was nice– it is good to know that that is still at least sometimes possible. The relievers will have to pardon us if we grow skeptical at times. Our trust has been shattered and will not heal easily.

With the first win of the season coming in the THIRD game, the Tigers have blown last year’s seven-game streak clean out of the matzah ball soup. DELICIOUS. I now expect great things.

the Tigers have a problem and that problem's name is BULLPEN

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Aside from, you know, all the many other problems the Detroit Tigers have right now.

We were leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. I know that two runs is not a huge, wildly safe lead, but CATDAMN FERNANDO, ARE WE CALLING YOU A CLOSER OR NOT? And if we ARE, then THIS IS WHERE YOU CLOSE OUT THE GAME. Catdammiiiiiiiiiit.

This is the third time in as many days that the bullpen has blown a game in a big, huge, explosive, heart-wrenching way. These are not your garden variety blown games. These are EPIC blown games, where first you get way high up with happiness and the thought of a win, and at the last moment it is all cruelly snatched away.

Today Zach Miner allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits in 7.1 innings. He walked one and struck out three. He pitched a great game. He deserved to get a win. The bats, although once again suffering from the Extra Base Hit Allergy, managed to put the Tigs up by two runs. Miner’s win seemed possible… probable, even.

Fernando came in to pitch the 9th inning. This is how it went:

Michael Young walks. Jim Leyland objects MOST strenuously. More on this later. Zero outs.
Josh Hamilton singles, moving Young to second. Zero outs.
Marlon Byrd triples. Young and Hamilton both score. Game now tied. Zero outs.
Fernando intentionally walks Hank Blalock. Zero outs.
Fernando intentionally walks Nelson Cruz. Blalock to second. Bases loaded. General confusion about this strategy. Zero outs.
Chris Davis singles to deep left. Byrd scores. Walkoff win, Rangers.

Fernando blew the save, took the loss, gave up three runs on three hits and three walks, and DID NOT RECORD A SINGLE OUT. *insert variety of vomiting noises here*

I don’t like many things going into next season, but the bullpen situation has to be near the top of that list.

As for Jim Leyland, well, he thought that Young had struck out to start the inning. He admitted that the rest of the suck in the game was fully the fault of the Tigers, but he did not agree with that Young walk call. He was so angry that, after the game, he came out of the dugout and looked like he was going after the homeplate ump, screaming and gesticulating wildly and having to be restrained by the rest of the umpiring crew and eventually herded away by his own coaches.

From the postgame interview:

Shouldn’t have been a leadoff walk. Everbody thought Michael Young was struck out, including Michael Young. He was walking back to the dugout. Michael Young was struck out. Clearly. Clearly.

That has nothing to do with… that gives us no excuse for losing the ballgame, but Michael Young was struck out. Period.

We didn’t close it out. That’s been the story all year long. We just haven’t done enough… in the bullpen.

I mean I’m upset we lost the ballgame. I don’t put the blame anywhere, I’m just saying when you earn something you should get it and Michael Young was struck out… [stuff about how we lost the game and didn’t earn to win and he’s not saying we did]. In my opinion Michael Young should not have been on. Michael Young was walking to the dugout because he thought he was struck out, because he was.

Sigh. Whatever.

The Race to .500!

Screw the wins, we have only 1 loss left to spare. Oh humble dreams of mediocrity, I can feel you slipping… slipping away…

Wednesday. 8:05pm EDT. Freddy Garcia in his first big league start since early June 2007 vs. Dustin Nippert the Tall. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow afternoon. It will probably be more fun. Go Tigers!

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

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tigers salvage a tiny shred of dignity

photo by Samara Pearlstein

It’s not a huge honkin’ load of dignity. It’s not much at all. But it’s a little tiny shred, and it’s more than we had yesterday, so what the hell, let’s celebrate it.

Zach Miner had a quality start! Six innings! One earned run! Three Ks! ZERO walks! Second-lowest ERA for a starting Tiger pitcher! Third-lowest WHIP for a starting Tiger pitcher! Woo, woo, WOO! Yeah! ZACH MINER! Don’t you love that our second-best starter right now is Zach Miner? Zach Miner, with his doofy hair and his crazy awkwardly half-folded rally hats and his adorable tendency to hang out in the dugout with Arrrrrmando! Zach Miner, getting a shot again this season because everyone else is either dead or dead terrible.

Zach Miner: for the win.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Miguel Cabrera had all sorts of hits! Three-for-three with 3 RBI! Two walks! Big home run! Twenty-one home runs now! Power! Hitting! Hitting for power! Totally justifying the trade we made to pry him out of Florida! He also made some nice stretches at first for double plays in this series! Plus the cuddling a couple of days ago! Miguel Cabrera, YEAH!

He got rid of the high socks, though, which is most assuredly NOT a good thing.

Carlos Guillen! Two-for-two with THREE walks! A double! A triple! Three runs scored! Especially good because Carlos has not been hitting all that wonderfully this season. But let’s not concentrate on that! Hitting TODAY! Happiness and sunshine!

Fernando Rodney! Another good outing! Two really good outings in a row for Fernando! It’s like Bizarro Baseball World! It’s like Fernando Rodney circa 2005-2006! Fernando is good at baseball! Fernando can throw his pitches for strikes that are not hit a million miles in the opposite direction! Maybe this is the start of a beautiful thing, where, having done it twice, Fernando realizes he really CAN do it, and no longer gets psyched out by tense pitching situations! Or maybe it is all a temporary illusion. Happy illusion! Happy illusion!

Ryan Raburn did not get any hits (he subbed in for The River and only had two at-bats anyways), but he made two amazing plays from the outfield to save our kitty bacon, and the game. I think in both cases the tying runs were on base. The first good play was admittedly half a bad play on the part of the Wrong Sox: they sent Jim Thome home when they probably shouldn’t have done so, and Raburn nailed him (via Santiago) at the plate. The second one was a glorious, heart-clenching diving catch to bail out Fernando. All’s well that ends well.

Tomorrow we welcome the skidding Oakland A’s into town for a 7:05 pm EDT game. Kenny takes on Dallas Braden. What is it with the A’s and pitchers with Texan city names? Frikkin’ weird.

Anyways, I am going to be in Florida from Friday afternoon to Monday night (sadly not a baseball-related trip), so it will be quiet around here until probably Tuesday. Play nice ’til then, don’t let the bigger cats steal your kibble, and Go Tigers!

Jimmy Gobble lays an egg, Tigers happily consume said egg

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the midseason report card, Roar of the Tigers style

photo by Samara Pearlstein

OK, I’ve seen a lot of blogs on the magical internets doing these midseason report cards and scorecards. I am currently being bored to tears by the All Star game, so what the hell. Obviously this is going to be RotT-style, but you already knew that, didn’t you?


Jeremy Bonderman
Grade: n/a
Reason: deceased

the Bovine kid
Grade: C
Reason: Every time he goes out there and doesn’t sit down on the mound and start screaming, it’s a plus for us. He’s not handling major league hitting all that well but then again nobody really expected him to do so. In an ideal world (or a less-than-ideal world that nonetheless did not include the destruction of Bondo and Dontrelle) he wouldn’t be anywhere near the big league roster right now.

Freddy Dolsi
Grade: A-
Reason: I saw the very first ever pitches he threw in the big leagues in person, and it seemed eminently likely that the poor kid was going to be scarred for life. This has not been the case. Leyland has been leaning on him awfully hard and he’s bearing up under the pressure remarkably well for a kid who is 12 years old and weighs about 100 pounds.

the Fossum Possum
Grade: D
Reason: Look, it’s Casey Fossum, what do you expect? He doesn’t fail because a) he’s a lefty and b) he gives me an opportunity to say ‘Fossum Possum’.

Arrrrrrrmando Galarrrrrrraga
Grade: A
Reason: The thing with Arrrrmando is that he SHOULD be like Bonine– every time he goes out there and doesn’t start screaming hysterically on the mound, it’s a major plus for the Tigers. But Arrrrmando has been serviceable. Heck, more than that, he’s actually been GOOD. He has been performing so far above any reasonable expectations that it would be downright churlish to give him anything other than an A and a bunch of extra Rs in his name.

Rollercoaster Jones
Grade: B-
Reason: I know this is going to seem insanely generous to a lot of cats, but Jonesy is dead weird and cannot be graded according to the standards of normal people. Sure, his ERA sucks. Sure, his WHIP sucks a LOT (a 1.54 WHIP is pretty bad for a starter, let alone a closer; the best closers in the league right now all have WHIPs under 1.00). Sure, he only has 17 saves– of course the Tigers haven’t given him a ton of save opportunities. But, insanely, he only has 2 blown saves. This compares favorably with some of the best closers in the league. Mariano has none, but Joe Nathan has 2 and Papelbon has 4. Jonesy is frustrating in the extreme but he’s not ACTUALLY deadly most of the time. It’s weird. So, B- .

Aquilino Lopez
Grade: A-
Reason: He’s been fairly good, and kind of flying under the radar. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tigs do manage to convert him to a 5th starter at some point. The best thing about him is still the fact that his name is Aquilino.

Zach Miner
Grade: D

Clay Rapada
Grade: C
Reason: Eh. Sometimes he pitches OK. Mostly he comes up when we need a spare left hand in the bullpen, and gets sent down when more reliable options become healthy/available/sane. Probably the coaches have a good reason for this.

Nate Robertson
Grade: C+
Reason: Nate has had some hard luck this season, we all know that, and he’s pitched some amazingly amazing games, but he’s also pitched some awful games. In a beautiful world filled with fluffy kittens and the ballplayers who hug them, Nate would be a #5 starter. Unfortunately, we do not yet live in that world, and Nate has to play like a less marginal pitcher because we barely have 4 starters, let alone 5.

Grade: C-
Reason: Watching Fernando fail on the mound, when I KNOW that he has the latent ability to throw deadly, unhittable pitches, is one of the most frustrating things in the whole wide world of baseball. Fernando makes me want to pull out my own hair and at the same time reach through my TV screen to strangle him. It’s very healthy. He doesn’t get a D because he is at least still (slowly) (incrementally) dragging his numbers back down towards respectability, and because he’s from a city that’s only one letter off from my name. I dig that.

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Zach Miner saves our bullpen bacon

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

What, we can’t even win against the Wrong Sox now? The Wrong Sox, who are 0.018 points away from being the worst team in baseball, behind only the benighted Devil Rays? The Wrong Sox, who have a manager flipping out on the team in public expletive-laden rants (which are high comedy, I have to admit)? THOSE Wrong Sox, we can’t even win against THEM?

I am. Going to try to be. Relentlessly cheerful here. Pulling myself up by the bootstraps and all that. I’m trying out different coping tactics to deal with the Michigan loss (still).

Bondo didn’t look… OK, he didn’t look great, but he also didn’t look terrible. Three runs over 5.1 innings is not something to write home about, but the scoreless 1-2-3 first inning (again!!) very well might be. Can we put those terrible, frustrating, more or less inexplicable days behind us? Are we really out of dangerous first inning waters when it comes to Bondo and pitching? Have lessons truly been learned? I do not know. I can only hope.

Zach Miner, now, THERE was a pitching performance, and talk about saving our bullpen bacon. There were 3.2 innings left in the game, and he pitched them all, and pitched them brilliantly while he was at it, possibly just to remind us again that he can in fact start. I don’t know. I understand that we needed the room in the rotation, but it just seems to me like the constant long/short outing bouncing of Miner this year has more hurt than helped him. A martyr for the Tigerian cause? Only if we WIN.

Anyways, he most assuredly saved the aforementioned bullpen bacon, because cat knows how many pitchers we would have gone through in those almost-4 innings if he hadn’t stepped up. And the very last thing we want to do is give the bullpen more excuses for dropping future games.

The pitching stepped it up and did the best with what they were given. So, of course, this means that the offense fell flat on its collective face. No no, OPTIMISTIC! HAPPY! CHEER AND GLORY! Bacon! Zach Miner! Whee!!

tiger-striped hit parade

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Wham! Bang! Kapow! Bazam! Onomatopoeia that hurts Yankees!

You know, I had heard that Mike Mussina was having some… oh, let’s be generous and call them ISSUES. I had heard that if he had one more bad outing he might get demoted to the minors. So, do you think this qualifies as a sufficiently bad outing? Heck, it was only 6 runs and 9 hits over 3 innings (although if that sounds bad, Henn’s subsequent 9 runs given up– tho’ only 7 earned– over 2.2 innings looks downright apocalyptic). He was as aware of the demotion talk as well as everyone else, and in response he spun this, ahem, gem. Maybe he wants a break and was actively trying to bring it about.

The little interview he gave in the lockerroom afterwards didn’t make it seem like something he wanted to do, though… he looked like death very lightly warmed over. I’m sure the lighting had something to do with it, and Moose always looks like he’s got those bags under his eyes, but wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him looking quite so terrible as this. Sickly, tired, defeated… well, he WAS that last, at least.

If the Moose was pale clammy death, then Verlander was fresh green life. He hasn’t looked that Verlanderish in a while and it’s nice to see that the pitcher who can throw a no-hitter still exists somewhere in that gangly kid. The Yankees only got 3 hits against him (Damon, ARod, and Melky, all of whom are darn good hitters), and they were all singles. Chew on THAT, baseball analysts who claim that Detroit no longer has the best lineup in baseball!

We all know that Verlander’s a good pitcher with a great future, but this latest stretch, with his depressed fastball and his bewildering inability to locate, had started to concern me…. not for his career as a pitcher, obviously, but for his career as a pitcher this season. The truth is that we NEED Verlander to be on top of his game, most especially since Bonderman’s issues have gone from the small adorable monkey on his back to the 400 lb gorilla turning his spine into powder. Verlander can’t “make up” for that deficiency in the rotation, but by pitching well he can make it sting a lot less. Hopefully this start will jolt him right back on track.

SPEAKING of getting back on track…

With 20 collective hits, everyone got in on the fun. It’s like they just needed to know that Gary Sheffield is actually on the DL and not coming back right away, and only then could they rally ’round and get all their bats going. It’s not really indicative of much (for each individual player) except for the fact that the Tigers are good enough to take advantage of some really atrocious pitching… but! Brandon Inge! Three-for-four with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI! All of his hits were doubles! All of his awesome was on display!

The thing with Inge is that an outing like this will HOPEFULLY jump-start him in a big way. Again, it doesn’t say much about an individual player when the whole team is spraying the outfield with baseballs, but if a guy’s been struggling sometimes all he needs is one really good game to remind him that he CAN hit, and to get his timing back. This might be that game for Brandon Inge.

Too bad for the Yanks. You know your pitching is having problems when the current incarnation of Brandon Inge’s bat gives you tsuris…. and when Sean Casey hits/legs out a triple, you may just want to lay your pitching down to rest once and for all. I love the Mayor and all, but him running sufficiently fast to get a triple is NEARLY as (un)likely as a Molina doing it.

If you’re Sean Henn and you’re watching the Mayor motor towards third with all the speed and grace of a train crashing into a giant vat of molasses, what are you thinking? Are you thinking that this is the lowest point of your life? Are you thinking about the best ways to pack your bags when you get back to the hotel and get sent down to AAA? Are you thinking about cat food?

Also awesome in this game: Curtis Granderson. Three-for-six, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, a double, and a stolen base off of the Moose. His average is up to .291… if he can get it to .300, the Tigers will have 5 men in a 9-man lineup batting .300 or higher (admittedly, this counts good-hitting-but-small-sample-size-friend Raburn). His strikeouts are still inexcusable in a leadoff hitter, but his OPS is so marvelously boosted by the fact that when he DOES get on base, it so often is for MULTIPLE bases, because his slugging percentage is better than Manny Ramirez’s right now. So I guess you can say that Granderson was awesome in this game, but he’s mostly awesome in GENERAL.

Polanco, Guillen, the usual hitting suspects had their fun (Maggs had a quiet game with only one measly single, but I guess he’s human after all. O noez, batting average down to .355! The horror!). Cameron Maybin got in for a couple of at-bats and hit a double, making the entire Detroit region salivate with anticipatory glee, as it does every time he hits. Ryan Raburn continued to hit startling well for Ryan Raburn. Even Pudge had a couple of hits and an RBI, which is good, because he hadn’t had any hits at all in this series or in the earlier series back in New York.

Zach Miner rounded out the game with 2 scoreless, hitless innings. At that point he was pitching against guys like Wilson Betemit and whichever-Molina, but it’s still pretty nice to see a guy who had just been sent down to the minors in a sulk come back and do something like this, PLUS it saved the rest of the bullpen from having to come out in a blow-out.

(WHY couldn’t the STUPID R. Logos lose yesterday? Knowing that they won and that our glorious win doesn’t vault us over them or anysuchthing is like the fly in my baseball contentment ointment.)

I do enjoy a nice hit parade, and I do enjoy a nice Tigers hit parade even more. But when it comes against the Yankees, and is not just a blow-out, but a shut-out as well…. why, then it’s also a YANKEE SHAME parade, and that’s the best kind of parade of all.

Oh, and I also wanted to point out that, a couple games ago, I was stuck with the Yankee announcers, and Michael Kay declared that it was interesting to see Ramon Santiago up in the big leagues again, since he is “the shortstop of the future” in Detroit. Good job knowing things about baseball, Michael Kay!

the Spazzosaurus feasts upon Zach Miner

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I know that this will sound kind of crazy, but the worst part of this game, for me, was not when Zach Miner threw away the ball that lost us the series. That was pretty bad. Some might even call it “horrific”. But the worst part of the game for me was immediately after that, as Scott Podsednik blasted around the bases, and the Wrong Sox announcers realized what was happening.

I think the Hawk was responsible here, ‘though it could very well have been the other one. As Tigers fans stared in horror, whichever announcer it was said, in tones of deep satisfaction,

“It’s amazing sometimes what a simple bunt will do.”

The both of them then went on in this vein for a while, but I didn’t get any more quotes about how awesome bunts are and how perfectly the Wrong Sox executed this play, because after that one initial line I was screaming at the TV in a demented rage.

Yes, the Wrong Sox had to put the ball in play in order for that error to happen. Yes, Scott Podsednik’s speed also made this whole thing possible. HOWEVER.

That was an error! An ERROR! On the TIGERS! That was NOT a PERFECTLY EXECUTED WRONG SOX BUNT. It was an ERRRRRRROOOOORRRRRR!!! Zach Miner threw the ball away! It’s amazing what a simple error will do! It’s amazing what can happen when the Spazzosaurus gets his knobbly little teeth into a pitcher! It is maybe amazing what a simple bunt can do, but THIS IS NOT THE SITUATION IN WHICH TO BE AMAZED BY A BUNT, because in THIS situation, the bunt was not the amazing thing!

I don’t understand how it’s possible for these announcers to have watched the same game I did. There’s rooting for the home team, there’s homer-ism, and then there’s ridiculously and willfully ignoring the actual game in order to pretend that the home team has done something it hasn’t. They were CROWING about the PERFECT GLORIOUSNESS of the bunt! Not one mention of luck! Not one mention, even, of the Tigers’ painful recent postseason track record with pitchers and errors! Nothing except for how marvelous and clever the Wrong Sox were, to lay down so archetypal a bunt!

The fact that it’s now many hours later and I’m still stewing over this should give you some idea of how happy I am that by the time the Tigers go back to Chicago, I’ll be back at school, and thus will watch the games on Detroit TV. I don’t think I could handle another go ’round with the Hawk.

*deep breath*

Poor Zach Miner. It’s so obvious what happened. When Podsednik got on base, it freaked Miner out. He knows perfectly well just how fast Pods is, and he knew perfectly well that the game was tied, the series was tied, everything was hanging on HIM. That’s enough to make anyone start to emit some spazz-energy. And, as we all know, the Spazzosaurus feeds off of spazz-energy.

So there was Zach Miner, silently freaking out on the mound, exuding spazz-energy hither and yon… what Spazzosaurus could resist such a feast? You almost can’t even blame the Spazzosaurus; after all, it’s just his nature.

That was that. The Spazzosaurus snuck up unseen, as Spazzosauri do, and started gnawing on Zach Miner. Miner, due to the fact that he was getting eaten by a giant invisible orange saurian, chucked the ball away over everyone’s heads. Scott Podsednik is fast. We lost the game. Justin Verlander shed a quiet little tear.

I know that everyone has losing streaks, and I know that it’s better to have one now than at the very end of the season. But, my goodness, it is BEYOND infuriating to lose two series in a row, both to division rivals, and not even to the BEST division rivals (who are, as we speak, being violated repeatedly by Manny Ramirez, much to my glee). It needs to STOP. We are playing the Angels next. I expect to be feasting gluttonously on lightly grilled rally monkeys by Sunday night.