Category Archives: the River Thames

the River Thames flows on

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers have effectively released Marcus Thames tonight, sending him off into the thorny wilds of free agency. At the same time they set Matt Treanor free, but we barely got to know him. The River has been with us since the ’04 season.

~*~the end of an era~*~

And what a weird era it was. The River showed promise here and there, usually in the form of power. Most of us probably have a memory or two of some favorite, massive, awe-inspiring Thames home run. That was where he excelled. His ability to hit for average was always pretty weak, and his ability to get on base was usually not massively better (although it WAS better). He didn’t have much speed and he was an indifferent outfielder. But when he got around square on a baseball… hoo boy.

As Rod Allen would of course say: COUNTRY STRONG!

The River only played in 100+ games twice in his Tigers career, in 2006 and 2008. In both those years he had solid numbers: slugging percentages over .500, 20+ home runs, OPSs over .800. He was never really a proper regular, though, not even in those years. Despite their willingness to trot out all kinds of disasters at various times, the Tigers never did seem to warm up to the idea of an everyday River. Jim Leyland never acted like he thought Thames was a legitimate starter, even when there was a dearth of legitimate starters on the team. Obviously this did not work out well for The River, who ended up sitting more than he wanted to and perhaps quite a bit more than he would have on another team.

Why? I don’t know. I can assume (hope) that the coaching staff and front office had their reasons. Like I said, it’s not as though The River was some sort of star fielder, or had some amazing ability to get on base. He was always a fairly depthless power guy. But that never seemed to stop the Tigers where other cats were concerned.

The River will be 33 next season. He’s done with the Tigers; here’s hoping he catches on somewhere else and tears it the heck up. So long as said tear-ups don’t immediately and negatively affect the Tigers.

Clete saves the day

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You hear “walkoff homer to dead center in Comerica” and you don’t automatically think “Clete Thomas”. Unless maybe you are Clete Thomas. But tonight all of Clete’s walkoff dreams came true, and thank cats they did, because the Tigers REALLY did not need to lose a Verlander start, especially after what happened this weekend.

It was the bottom of the 9th, the game tied at 5. Granderson had run the count full, then struck out swinging; Polanco looked at four pitches before grounding out second. Clete stepped up with two outs and the entire team fervently praying that he would not make another one. After all, the Tigs had just played a zillion innings in a row, with back-to-back 12+ inning games followed by a day game that turned into a rout. And then they had to travel back to Detroit. Definitely not circumstances that would lead a Cat to look forward to the prospect of yet more extra innings.

Clete fouled off a couple pitches, giving everyone reason to fear, and then got something from Danys Baez that he felt good about. He felt so good about it that he dumped it 424 feet away over the center field wall. Apparently it was his very first walkoff ever.

Thank cats. Fernando had pitched the top of the inning and, given the way he’s been used lately, I was really, REALLY not

looking forward to seeing what would happen if this thing had extended into a 10th frame.

This was a fast game, under two and a half hours, and that was partly because Justin Verlander was so good for innings 2-through-8. About that first inning? He threw 25 pitches in the first inning and allowed 5 runs, including a leadoff homer for Brian Roberts. He gave up 9 hits in 8 innings, and 6 of those hits came in the first inning.

The fact that Verlander was able to get past that first inning and go on to pitch a fairly good game is worth noting. It shows good mental fiber, or whatever, and an ability to make adjustments, or whatever. It shows that while the Orioles may have made a very good study of him, they only came prepared for one version of Justin Verlander, while Verlander (and Laird, and Rick Knapp) had at least one other version lurking in the wings, waiting to be trotted out on the mound. Fine Pitching Qualities.

But what in the HELL happened in that first inning? The Roberts homer came on only the second pitch of the game, so maybe that shook Justin up… or maybe the Orioles really did have excellent Verlander video and had prepared so that they knew exactly what to do with his fastball, and when he started mixing it up a little bit more, they were lost. Maybe the Orioles were all set to bust butt out of the gate, and when the Tigers attacked right back with three runs in the bottom of the first, it took the wind out of their little orange wings.

Whatever it was, it needs to NOT HAPPEN ANYMORE, because with that many pitches early, Verlander was well over 100 pitches for his outing. AGAIN. You have to go all the way back to June 16 before you hit a game where Verlander threw fewer than 100 pitches. That’s ten starts ago. He’s already thrown 2,531 pitches this season, which is the MOST out of ALL THE PITCHERS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES OF BASEBALL.

I love that he’s able to go deep into games, I love that he’s able to fight back so that he doesn’t need to be taken out after a first inning like the one he had today. I love that he hates seeing the bullpen pitch just as much as I do. But I DON’T love the number of pitches he throws on a regular basis with his history of tiring late in the season/in the postseason, and I don’t love how Leyland is so cavalier with his arm while at the same time treating Rick Porcello with unnecessarily starched kid gloves. I realize that I have been harping on this but I was probably traumatized by Jeremy Bonderman, I see doom and gloom at every corner now, and I will keep harping until Something Is Done.

Ahem. Anyways.

How about that River Thames? He made two good catches today: a running, diving grab to rob Matt Wieters of a hit, and then a leaping catch at the wall later in the game, which ended with his glove coming off his hand. The River held up the glove, with the ball still in it, to general overjoyed applause. In fact this post was mostly going to be about The River’s defensive display, but then Verlander just kept going and going, and then Clete went and got all heroic and whatnot. Good stuff.

Tuesday we get our first look at Jarrod Washburn in a Tigers uniform. ‘Most everyone looks good in the Olde English D, of course, and the Tigers have been much better at home than on the road, but it’s still worth saying that we really need this series, so, yanno, you want a warm Detroit welcome, Wash, please do all you can to earn it.

The Tigers are saved! Saved, I tell you!

photo by Samara Pearlstein

WE HAVE SIGNED FERNANDO RODNEY AND THE RIVER THAMES. Thank cats. Now we know that all will be well.

Oh, you want the details? Both signed one year deals, and both get approximately $1 million raises. The fact that Fernando is actually GETTING A MILLION DOLLAR RAISE kind of blows my mind, but what can I say, I’m not the one cutting the checks.

By signing these contracts, both guys avoid arbitration and Dave Dombrowski, who seems to have a general dislike of the process, is temporarily appeased. The Tigers have 17 more days (until February 1) to avoid arb with the remaining eligible players: Verlander, Zoom, Seay, Gerald Laird and Edwin Jackson.

I’m not anticipating any shenanigans even if these guys DO go to arb, though. Zoom and Verlander certainly won’t be commanding top dollar after their varyingly FAILtastic performances this past season. Neither Seay nor Jackson made over $800,000 in 2008. And Laird is…. well, whatever, he’s a catcher, so we might be overpaying for him even if his salary remained at its current level ($1.6 million in ’08, a jump from a little over $400,000 in ’07). I reckon the official front office policy on overpaying for a catcher is something along the lines of, “Eh, such is our lot in life,” so they’re not going to be too freaked if it ends up that way.

I mean, now that we have our mostly-superfluous fourth outfielder and our Please-Holy-Cats-No potential closer in place, life is good in Detroit, wouldn’t you say? Gracious me, what GLORIOUS Tigers news. The River Thames and Fernando freakin’ Rodney. Your prayers have been ANSWERED.

Really I’m just happy for an excuse to post that photo of Marcus again. LOOK AT HIM. If that smile doesn’t make you smile, you are a bad person and you should feel bad.

this should have been the 'Marcus Thames is a hero and a man among boys' post


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Instead it is the ‘Ugh Kyle Farnsworth I want to punch you in the face’ post.

Uggggh. Kyle Farnsworth, I want to punch you in the face:

– with my fists
– with the Joe Louis fist sculpture
– with Marcus Thames’ fists

For those of you who didn’t see the game or didn’t see all of it because it got late and was boring, let me sum up what happened.

1. The game is boring for 6 innings. Kenny melts down late (and by late I mean… in the middle of the 5th inning), nobody is hitting the Dank Danks, Jim Thome hits his 539th home run. 7-0, Wrong Sox. Blah blah, the Tigers are who we thought they were, etc.

2. Mike Hessman hits a 7th inning two-run homer off of Linebrink. 7-2, Wrong Sox. Whatever.

3. Granderson starts off the 8th by homering off of Daniel Boone Logan. 7-3, Wrong Sox. Ennui still reigns supreme.

4. Polanco singles, Magglio singles, Miggy walks. 7-3, Wrong Sox.

5. The River Thames hits a GRAND BLEEPING SLAM off of Octavio Dotel. Improbably, 7-7, tie! Suddenly, dude, there’s a baseball game? I’m awake, I’m awake, honest! Marcus Thames is our savior. He is a protector of kittens and small, vulnerable rookies and all things fuzzy and wonderful. He is a large and important waterway in England. He has tied a game that the other team had already written off as a win.

6. Bobby Seay enters the game in the bottom of the 8th only to let a guy single, allow him to advance on a sac hit, and issue an intentional walk. 7-7. He manages to get two outs.

7. Kyle Farnsworth comes in and allows a single, thus loading the bases. 7-7, only one out needed.

8. Dewayne Wise hits a grand slam. 11-7, Wrong Sox.

9. I have a disturbingly vivid waking dream that involves fists, Kyle Farnsworth’s face, and the intersection of these elements.

Man, that sucked. I know that a lot of these games have sucked lately, but that sucked even more than usual, didn’t it?

The rain this weekend screwed up the Tigers’ scheduling something awful. Even with the double header on Sunday they have a spare game that needs to be made up at some point, and the two teams do not have any mutual off-days left. Can they make it up after the season officially ends? I thought they should have tried to play a triple-header on Sunday. Just start ’em off at 8 am and make ’em play until they’re all caught up. It would’ve been worth it just to see Edgar Renteria spontaneously bursting into tears of exhaustion, sobbing uncontrollably into his glove and having to be led gently off the field by a trainer sometime in the middle of the third game.

The Race to .500!

With the TWO losses this weekend, the Tigers still need 11 wins to reach the promised land, and only have 3 losses left to spare. Can we make it through the entire rest of the season with three or fewer losses? I say ‘no’, so I fear that the Race to .500 has already been lost.

*uncontrollable sobbing*

We’re off to Texas on Monday for an 8:05 pm game. Dontrelle Willis takes on Brandon McCarthy the Former Wrong Sock. Yes, you read that correctly. Dontrelle Willis is starting a game. HOLD ME. Go Tigers!

death by walks


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

What is this? Armando can pitch against everyone EXCEPT for the Twins? I would blame the Gopher Dome but half of his Twins-related losses this season have been in Detroit.

The walks were what killed him today. Well, OK, Justin Morneau’s grand slam also killed him, but he only got that grand slam because Armando was walking guys all over the stupid turfy place. The run they scored in the first inning was also mostly the result of walks. Six walks in six innings… blech. That’s also very unlike Armando’s usual style. Maybe he’s allergic to pixie vests?

Liriano pitched a great game, so I got half the wonderful pitching duel I was hoping for yesterday. Somehow this fails to please me.

The River Thames was the only bright spot in the game, and I do mean the ONLY one. Nobody else had an extra-base hit (only 3 other guys had hits, period!) and none of the pitchers did particularly well. The River, however, managed to hit two homers off of Liriano. His line is a marvelously absurd .238/.291/.534. Just a teeny tiny bit lopsided.

ETA: OK, I lied, I remember one other awesome thing. Apparently Curtis Granderson was wearing a suit on the plane to Minnesota that had Rod and Mario beside themselves. It was (we are told) powder blue, with white pinstripes, and “bright white shoes.” Mario was making cracks about wearing white after Labor Day, and then we got this amazing/typical exchange –

[amidst bouts of semi-hysterical laughter at the memory of this outfit]
Mario: “You were all over him!”
Rod: “I wasn’t the only one!”

Rod and Mario are the gift that never stops giving. But WHY ARE THERE NO PHOTOS OF GRANDERSON IN THIS SUIT? How can you fail me at this vital moment, Internet?

The Race to .500!

Wow, give this team ONE goal, they do everything they can to avoid even that. Sad. With this loss we still need 14 wins to reach the promised land, and we’ve got only 7 losses left to spare. How pathetic would it be for this team – which was supposed to be the best and most expensive and shiniest and sparkliest powerhouse of them all before the season began – to finish the year under .500? REALLY PATHETIC.

Fourteen wins, kittens. Get cracking.

Saturday’s game is at 3:55 pm EDT. Gopher Dome. Verlander vs. (Timothy) Scott Baker. Verlander is coming off his Worst Outing Ever, so he’ll be pitching like he’s got something to prove. Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen. Go Tigers!

the return of the tigerfly


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Because Tigers are dropping like flies. Again. Obviously this has been going on in fits and starts all season, but let’s just look at the recent damage, shall we?

The River Thames missed several games last week with a sore shoulder, then came back and didn’t hit for much power until tonight, when he cranked a solo shot. He pulled up lame while rounding the bases on an unrelated play later in the game with what we were told was a ‘left calf cramp’. Hopefully it is actually a cramp and not some variety of strain.

Carlos Guillen, who has been having back problems for quite a while now, had to leave the game today with back spasms. He missed a few games before because there was inflammation in his back, which pinched a nerve. Who knows if he’ll have to miss more than one game with these spasms? I would guess it would depend on whether or not the inflammation had also returned, and whether or not the spasms subside overnight.

Dontrelle Willis has been trying to rehab/regain his mental equilibrium/whatever at Toledo recently. He started today’s game and had to leave after only one inning due to the always charmingly unspecific and uninformative ‘forearm tightness’. Not that I was counting on Dontrelle coming back any time soon, but still. Salt in the wound, man, salt in the wound.

Nate Robertson has some tendonitis in his knees, but doesn’t believe that this is related to the complete disappearance of his slider. To be fair, probably 95% of ballplayers have some degree of tendonitis in their major joints by this point in the season.

Rollercoaster Jones has a bonked-up shoulder. It has been variously described as suffering from ‘tendonitis’, ‘looseness’, ‘old age’, ‘clicking’, and ‘colonization by mutant, osteophagous micro-termites’. As with many baseball injuries, the true, precise cause is unknown and is indeed possibly unknowable, but I’m putting my money on the termites.

Bondo is still dead, obviously, but I could not pass up the opportunity to mention this Freep article about the fact that he’s not physically ready to start rehabbing just yet. They asked Jim Leyland if it was OK that he’s not rehabbing yet. Ask Jim Leyland a pathetically obvious question, get an amazing answer:

“He puts on his bib overalls — no shoes and socks — got a straw hat, got a case of beer next to him, got the hat slightly over his eyes with a fishing pole in his hand and taking a nap,” Leyland said. “That’s what he’s been doing … I’m not being funny. That’s what he’s doing. He’s sitting by a pond with a fishing pole and a case of beer and a straw hat and having a good time, and he should. Why shouldn’t he? He can’t do anything. He’ll be fine. … He’ll be raring to go (in spring training).”
John Lowe/Detroit Free Press article

The mental images summoned up by this quote just about killed me. Why isn’t he wearing shoes?? BECAUSE IT WOULD NOT BE AS POETIC AN IMAGE WITH SHOES. Jim Leyland is a veritable painter, but with words as his paint, and with Jeremy Bonderman as the elegantly reclining muse/model (I just grossed myself out for a second there, to be honest – in art school, you’re usually working with nude models, and… yeah, no). Tip of the paw to Ian, who mentioned it like five days ago.

I don’t have much else to say about Monday night’s game, except that at one point Kyle Farnsworth dusted Ryan Garko high and inside, right up around his chin. It was an offspeed pitch, in the high-to-mid 80s, not his heater, but Garko went down like a sack of potatoes and stayed down, like he could not in any way believe that he had not actually been hit by the ball. I guess any time The Farns comes high and inside on you, it’s gonna make you pee your pants a little bit.

Tuesday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT and features one of the best matchups you will see all season. Cliff Lee (18-2 record, 2.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, AL Cy Young contender) goes up against Chris Lambert (25 year-old kid out of BC, fresh up from Triple-A and making his first ever major league appearance). I smell a pitching duel! Go Tigers!

in the future, Todd Jones will kill us all


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Dear Todd Jones,

This (see above image) is what watching you pitch 9th innings like that does to my heart. It is not healthy for me and it is probably not particularly healthy for you. Please stop and do your part to preserve the (now fragile) cardiac health of Tigers fans everywhere.

yours in sincere arrrgh,
Roar of the Tigers

So, I’m a little peeved by the whole ‘everyone gets a 4-day weekend WHOOPS EXCEPT FOR YOU!’ scheduling thing, and I’m still recovering from that 9th inning, but aside from that: yay for the win! Yay for gaining ground on everyone else, even if it’s only because they were all still lounging slothfully pool-side today! Yay for, um… using the majority of the bullpen at the start of a four game series… er… well. Maybe that’s somewhat less yay.

EXTRA YAY, however, for Brandon Inge, who was so very excited to NOT CATCH that he went ahead and hit a two-run homer in celebration. I think we’re all well aware by now that Inge would much, MUCH rather play third, but apparently he still feels the need to emphasize this point. He made some nifty defensive plays too, just to make sure that Jim Leyland had really got the message.

Sheff also homered, which was nice to see, because cat knows he’s been struggling lately.

Oh, and The River Thames homered. But that’s just The River Thames doing what The River Thames does. He also doubled, which is much more unusual; usually The River hits home runs, or doesn’t hit at all (35% of The River’s total hits this season are home runs. Compare that to 16% for Miggy, 13% for Maggs, and 12% for Granderson) (36% of Matt Joyce’s hits have been home runs, but that’s extra small sample size lulz).

Now, let me remind you that ROAR OF THE TIGERS WILL BE IN BALTIMORE FOR THE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY GAMES. Expect many photos upon my return. I will be missing the Friday game um because my friends and I are going to see Batman in IMAX shut up, and I will NOT have computer access in OrioleLand, so don’t expect anything here ’til Sunday night at the earliest, more likely sometime on Monday.

Again, if you’re going to be in Baltimore Saturday and/or Sunday and you see me staggering around the city or the ballpark, feel free to come over and say hi! I’m very friendly unless you’re a Yankee fan or a creepy molester (or both, which I guess would be Jason Giambi). Look for the cat with the offensively neon orange Tigers hat, brown and pink hair in a bun, a really honkin’ big camera, and some variety of goofy Tigers tshirt (probably Ingecredible! one day and this hand-painted monstrosity the other). I’m easy to spot.

Tomorrow is Arrrrmando vs. Jeremy ‘OK, fine, he eventually went to Stanford’ Guthrie. Saturday I should be seeing Nate vs. Daniel ‘a million feet tall in person’ Cabrera, and Sunday should be Justin vs. Brian ‘I literally have nothing to say about him’ Burres. I expect nothing but wins, because every Tigers fan in town will deserve them after suffering through the heat of Baltimore in July. Keep your kitty kibble in the food dish, folks and felines, don’t kick it under the fridge while I’m out. I’ll see you when I get back, and 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?

PITCHERS

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
Reason: CONTROL. GET U SUM.

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.

Fernando
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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Miguel Cabrera is the Puma


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Miguel Cabrera is in some circles nicknamed ‘the Puma’ (not, I don’t think, ‘the Big Puma’, which is Lance Berkaman)??? THIS IS VITAL INFORMATION, PEOPLE! Plus it meant that during today’s game we got the following glorious series of exchanges between Rod and Mario…

Mario: You know what a puma is, right?
Rod: *uncertain pause* Cat. *another pause* Big cat.
Mario: Jamie Walker’s nickname was ‘the Cat’.
Rod: Uh huh!
Mario: Not the big cat. More like medium cat. *pause* Medium-sized cat.

Oh man you guys I love baseball so hard.

The Puma went yard twice off of Racist Logos pitching today, which is excellent, because the Puma still cannot run much on his bum hip. After each home run he lumbered around the bases, returned to the dugout, and consumed a deer haunch. He then buried the rest of the deer carcass under the pitching mound so that he could come back to eat it tomorrow (true puma behavior FACT!).

The River Thames, sensing competition, also homered, as is his wont. It was one of those ridiculous little afterthought bat-flips that makes you squeal in high-pitched appreciation for The River’s power, because a swing like that should in no way result in a home run, especially in a park like Comerica. There is of course no telling how The River’s power will hold up after the All Star break, but he is certainly seizing his moment as best he can.

To add insult to the already emotionally injured Racist Logo pitching, Pudge also homered. Pudge this season has all the power of a pygmy marmoset (this was only his 4th home run, and pygmy marmosets have wee tiny hands that can barely hold baseball bats), so if the R.L. pitchers weren’t already planning to cry themselves to sleep tonight, this would have cemented it.

I must say that I was pleased to see the R.L.s wearing their alternate hats for this game. I find it much easier to spend 9 innings looking at that swoopy I, as opposed to the horrific Chief Wahoo.

ALSO THIS HAPPENED:

Their afternoon visitor didn’t seem like a good sign. With rain forcing the Tigers inside for batting practice, they were in the cage when someone heard the sounds of a cat’s meow. Matt Joyce grabbed a chair, took a look above the cage and inside the stadium and found a black kitten tangled in wires and cables.

Joyce and some teammates took the kitten into the clubhouse and fed it a little. Then Tigers personnel found an animal rescue program to help out. But the superstition was not lost.

Some players got a kick out of it. Others stayed away. Starting pitcher Justin Verlander stayed away because he’s allergic to cats. Cabrera avoided it for the superstition.

“I thought that was hilarious,” Joyce said. “I said, ‘Yeah, this thing’s gonna bring us good luck.'”
Jason Beck/MLB.com article

DEAR MATT JOYCE,
WE LOVE YOU FOREVER.
-ROAR OF THE TIGERS

Although it’s very disappointing to hear that Justin is allergic to cats. I guess this could explain some of his struggles this season… Paws needs to stop with the pregame hugs.

Wednesday’s game is at 7 pm EDT and pits Eddie Bonine against Paul Byrd. Misspelled cows vs. misspelled avians! ANIMAL FIGHT!! Go Tigers!

Marcus Thames saves our tiger-striped bums


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Marcus Thames is a beautiful bat-wielding man and anything else that I type on the subject is simply not going to do him justice. Eight out of his last nine hits have been home runs. I no longer know what to even do with that information because it is so intensely crazy. Today, his 2-run blast was the deciding factor. The River is majestic and mighty and we had best enjoy it while it lasts.

The bullpen today was pretty good, probably because neither Fossum nor Rodney pitched. Leyland apparently has a scheme in place to set Fernando to rights again. Every other day or so, he’ll throw a bullpen session off a mound. Not hard, just to the catcher. The idea is that throwing to the catcher on a regular, non-reliever-y basis will help him regain his so obviously lost control. My thoughts upon hearing of this: yes, throwing the ball to the catcher is indeed a vital baseball skill. Also, if this is what he has to do, so be it, but does he really have to do it while taking up space on the major league roster? Inquiring minor league pitchers want to know.

There was a moment in this one where both Inge and Guillen went for a foul ball and got tangled up with each other, ending up almost toppling into the dugout. They landed pretty hard on the top step, Inge on his back, making me immediately fear for his oblique. I also feared for Guillen’s entire body, because he’s that sort of a player.

To make up for that there was a GLORIOUS moment where Khalil Greene tried to score from third and Magglio threw him out at home on a lovely big on-hopper that got there in plenty of time. It was a great throw, and the game was 7-5 at that point, so it was huge.

We also learned in this one that Zoom took Bobby Seay out to his hometown of Chula Vista, where they had dinner and Zoom forced Seay to order in Spanish. Adorkable? Yes. Although I wouldn’t have pegged Seay for one of Zoom’s better buddies. I thought he was all BFF with Granderson and Verlander, right?

Anyways. Good win, big win, especially since the Cubbies came through for us again and knocked the Wrong Sox down another peg. Mooooovin’ on up.

Sunday’s game pits Verlander against ARRRROOOOOOOOOOOOooooooOOooooooo, which is the howling-at-the-moon-style sound I imagine Randy Wolf makes every time a blogger makes a bad joke about his name. It’s at 4:05 EDT, thank cats, because I really don’t enjoy staying up until 2 am to get this stuff done. Go day game! Go Tigers!