Tag Archives: hitting

Verlander hits his career high in Ks, again, but this time something is different…

photo thing by Samara Pearlstein

I will admit that I just enjoyed how startled Verlander looked there, like he’s totally surprised to find himself surrounded by Ks. All these fine letters, where have they come from, what am I doing here, so on and so forth!

As you may recall, back in May Justin Verlander set his career high in strikeouts with 13, and then the bullpen made a feeble blargle noise and the Tigers lost the game. You will of course recall how ridiculous this was. Well, it turns out that all was NOT lost, at least not entirely, because on Wednesday Justin Verlander hit his career high in K-throwin’ once again by striking out 13 Rangers.

And this time the Tigers won!

~*~don’t faint, my children, it’s a miracle~*~

Was Verlander perfect? No he was not: in fact, he gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings, which on a ‘normal’ Tigers night these days would not be nearly enough for a win, because the bats would be too busy making feeble blargle noises of their own to get more than one or two runs. In this game, however, the Hitting Vortex was temporarily banished, and the Big Cats managed to put up 13 run on 19 hits.

The River Thames, Miggy, and G-Money all doubled. Polanco doubled twice. The River and Miggy also both homered, with Granderson hitting two homeruns all on his own. Eleven Tigers had at-bats in the game, and only two failed to get a single hit: Magglio, who was 0-for-4, and Inge, who pinch hit and thus only had one at-bat to work with.

Ryan Raburn and Adam Everett both had 3 hits on the day. G-Money stole a base, basically forced a bad throw home, and manufactured a run with his catcher’s legs. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-6 with 4 RBI.

Crazysauce? You bet your pants it’s crazysauce. Where did this come from? How is it possible for the Tigers to pry themselves away from the Hitting Vortex, which has been sucking them dry on the road ever since, like, June? And was this just a temporary reprieve, or are they going to fall right back into the Vortex’s gravitational pull since they’re continuing on a road trip? And, and, and…

I need to calm down. Justin Verlander is not asking these questions. Right now he’s probably just happy that he finally got a win to go along with his top K contribution, and he’s probably happy that the bats gave him a really big cushion, so that he didn’t have to worry about the bullpen Ruining Everything once he left the game.

(Yes, he threw over 100 pitches again. If you haven’t been keeping track, this means that out of 22 starts this season, Verlander has thrown 100+ pitches 18 times. He is averaging a little over 104 pitches per start this year, but at the same time he’s averaging somewhere between 6 and 7 innings per start, so it’s not like he’s accumulating all those pitches by throwing complete games every time out.)

And I’m slipping into nitpicky paranoia again. This was a pretty good game, and the bits that weren’t so good were masked by the much larger and noisier bits that WERE good. The Tigers have an offday on Thursday, then start a series in Cleveland against the Racist Logos.

Weather permitting, I will be at the ballpark for Saturday’s FredFred/Carmona matchup! I will be wearing a Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey and I’ll be clutching a huge dorky camera like a huge dork. If you see me, feel free to come say hi. RotTin’ will recommence after the weekend, as usual.

the Curious Case of the Missing Tiger Bats

all photos by Samara Pearlstein

The All Star break had ended. The Tigers filed back into the Detroit clubhouse for the first time in days. Jim Leyland sighed contentedly and lit up a cigarette, setting off the smoke detector, which everyone ignored through force of habit. Everything was just as he had left it: the pack of smokes on his desk, the scouting reports piled up in the corner, the Jason Grilli dartboard, the pack of smokes on top of the filing cabinet, the Ozzie Guillen voodoo doll, the framed photo of Andy Van Slyke in his goofy old school Pirates uniform, the pack of smokes taped to the underside of his spinny chair…

“Mr. Leyland!” Magglio Ordonez shouted. “Mr. Leyland! Mr. Leyland! Have you seen my bat anywhere? I can’t find it.”

Leyland was pretty sure that he had remembered to store the bats properly and securely before everyone left for the break. Or, at least, he had watched closely while the clubhouse attendants stored the bats. He had even insisted that all the Tigers give their bats a kiss before they left, so that the bats wouldn’t get lonely and surly after being ignored for four days.

But now… walking out of his office and into the clubhouse proper, he didn’t see any bats at all. He asked all the hitters to take a look: no bats. He checked everyone’s lockers. All the equipment storage closets. The batting cages. He sent Josh Anderson running upstairs to check Mr. Dombrowski’s office (just in case). He even looked in the showers. No bats. Not even a fungo!

Deeply concerned, Leyland stroked his mustache in thought. There was only one thing left to do. He grabbed his cell phone and dramatically punched the address book entry labelled

PAWS

By the time Paws got to the ballpark, Leyland had managed to work himself into a frenzy. He had looked in every corner, under every scrap of rug. He had screamed at the entire team, telling them that this was “absolute horses**t”, and now Rick Porcello was curled up in the corner sobbing uncontrollably while Justin Verlander patted him awkwardly on the back. Leyland felt a little bad. But only a little.

HAY GUYZ WATS GOIN ON IN THIS LOCKRRUM? Paws asked.

Leyland filled him in on the bat-less situation. The matter was crucial! The Tigers had to be in New York in a few hours, and then there were series with Seattle and the loathsome Wrong Sox to get through. They couldn’t show up on the field without any bats! How embarrassing! What horses**t!

WHERED U LAST SEE UR BATS? Paws asked. All the hitters scrunched up their faces in thought. They were obviously unaccustomed to the strain of thinking, with the exception of Curtis Granderson, who promptly replied that he had last seen his bat right before he got to the ballpark, in his apartment, as he put it into his equipment bag. Granderson had been at the All Star Game and so had had his bat with him for the entire break.

K, LETS TAKE A LUK, Paws said. They all crowded around while Paws slowly unzipped Granderson’s bag. He carefully sorted through all the gear once, then again. Then, very slowly, he took everything in the bag out, bit by bit, and laid it out on the floor.

There were lots and lots of blue socks in Granderson’s bag. There was an oversize check made out to a Detroit charity for children. There were a bunch of those stupid titanium necklace things. But there was no bat at all.

“Maybe he forgot and didn’t really pack his bat,” Brandon Lyon suggested.

DONT B DUM, Paws shot back. UR TALKN BOUT CURTIS GRANDRSN, HE IS PURFEKT. IF HE SEZ HE PACKD IT, HE PACKD IT. He stroked the white fluff on the end of his chin in a gesture curiously reminiscent of Leyland’s mustache-stroking motion. I THINK WAT WE GOT GOIN ON HURR IS UR STANDRD HITTIN VORTEX.

Everyone blinked. “Wait,” Leyland said. “A Hitting Vortex? What kinda horses**t is that?” In the corner, Porcello put his hands over his ears and started rocking back and forth.

Paws held up his front paws. IS VURY MYSTERUS. BASICLY IS A VORTEX WHERE UR BATS GO. LIEK A BLAK HOL IN SPACE, ONLY IS UR BATS AN NOT IN SPACE. NOBUDDY NOS HOW IT FORM, NOBODDY NO WHERE IT COME FRUM. NOBUDDY NOS HOW 2 MAEK IT GO AWAYZ. HARD 4 SCIENCE 2 UNNERSTND.

“Gosh golly gee Mr. Paws,” Dusty Ryan said, his eyes huge with rookieness, while Gerald Laird mimed vomiting behind him, “what’re we supposed to do, then? If even Science doesn’t know where our bats got to, how’re we supposed to play a game? Can we bring in new bats?”

NO!!! Paws shouted, causing everyone to jump. IS NOT HOW IT WURKZ! U BRING IN NEW BATS, THEY GONNA GO INNA VORTEX 2. SOON U GOT NO BATS INNA HOLE WURLD. UR MAKIN THE VORTEX, IT GOEZ WHERE U GO.

“You really do know everything,” Ryan said in a hushed, awed voice. Laird mimed passing out in his own mime vomit.

“The infant catcher’s got the right idea, though,” Leyland said. “We gotta do something. We can’t just go out there and… not hit.”

“Well, actually–” Adam Everett started, but Miguel Cabrera tackled him quickly and smothered him with a first baseman’s glove. Leyland nodded in approval.

Paws shrugged. U GOTTA. NUTHIN U CAN DO. U JUS GOTTA WAIT, IF UR LUCKEE SUMDAY THE VORTEX GO AWAYZ ON ITS OWN. SRY.

“This is such horses**t,” Leyland muttered.

Edwin Jackson nudged Verlander, who was poking Porcello every so often to make sure he hadn’t gone catatonic or anything. “Dude,” he said. “This is gonna suck so hard.”

“Dude,” Verlander sighed. “Word.”

wham! a homer! wham! anudda homer!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Nothing like a quick, crisply played game after an offday, eh? A game with few pitching changes, so the action marches right along without a lot of annoying stoppages. A game of control and determination, the pitcher matching wits with each batter as he steps in. A magnificent example of finely played baseball indeed.

Also the complete opposite of Tuesday’s game.

Combining the Tigers and the Mariners, there were

–24 hits, with

–4 doubles,

–1 triple,

–7 homers, and

–1 Magglio Ordonez grand slam in this one.

The Tigers won, so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying, you know: a stately and dignified pitching duel this was not.

Although the collective Tigers pitching entity only issued a single walk, which is rather encouraging, and the Tigers batters managed to eyeball themselves into SIX walks, which is almost unheard-of for them. WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?!

Miguel Cabrera is a freak of nature, which I mean in the nicest possible way. He was 3-for-3 today with two walks, three runs scored, and a homer. He’s toyed with batting slumps for a couple of months now and he’s still hitting .330 and OPSing .949. At this point I would not be particularly surprised to learn that he sweats phoenix tears and that his chin tuftlets are actually portals to another dimension where the world is free of hunger, war, and human suffering.

I also very much appreciated the Magglio grand slam, because poor Magglio cut his hair for naught, let his shining glory be eclipsed by the Clippers of Misguided Dreams, and he’s still been hitting so little that… well. To give you an idea of how truly abysmal he’s been, behold, the following Tigers are currently OPSing better than Maggs:

Ryan Raburn, Placido Polanco, Brandon Inge, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, Ramon Santiago, Marcus Thames, Clete Thomas.

The only Tigers currently OPSing worse than Maggs? Gerald ‘mostly ironic G-Money’ Laird; Adam ‘what are a power bat’ Everett; Josh ‘not in any way Curtis Gr’ Anderson; and Dusty ‘I play so infrequently nobody ever remembers I’m even here’ Ryan.

Let’s face it, when you’re supposed to be a hitting superstar and an imposing batting figure to strike fear in the hearts of your enemies, and Ramon Santiago has hit one more homerun than you in half as many at-bats, you will begin to feel that you have Problems. So the grand slam– which ended up being absolutely necessary, as it was only a two-run win– was especially nice, coming from Magglio, who so desperately, obviously needed it.

Anyways, for a video summing up this game nicely, I suggest you head on over thisaway.