Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Joy in Mudville

In the first inning of this series finale, Ramon Santiago hit a one-out double down the right field line. With two outs and first base open, Miguel Cabrera strode to the plate, and Maddon pitched to him. Once again, strategy works, and Miggy strikes out swinging, stranding Santiago in scoring position. The frequency of this occurrence begins to wear me out. I don’t blame Miguel Cabrera. He can’t be 100% of our offense. It’s just that it appears that no break will ever come our way, whether it be incredible defensive plays, biased umpiring or voodoo.

It’s possible that I am a mite cranky due to our recent fall off a cliff, but if I have to see another Sam Bernstein commercial, or watch the Labatt Light Refreshment Duo even once more, I may take a fork to my own eyeballs. Not sure if that’s an overreaction, but like I said, I may be slightly irrational at the moment.

In the bottom of the second, former Tiger Carlos Peña hit a bomb to right field. Rod and Mario tell us it hit a catwalk BEYOND the right field wall. I just nod mechanically, yes that’s how things are going for us at the moment. At least I didn’t burst into tears.

Next, a pop foul drops harmlessly between Danny Worth and Ramon Santiago. Tears threaten but do not fall.

Will Rhymes leads off the third with a standup triple. It coaxes a small, no teeth showing smile. Rod says that Will looks like a track star the way he runs with his hands pumping up and down. Rod. You do go on. Hey, maybe Rhymes will hit for the cycle today. (Sarcastic laughter.) Sorry. I know that hardened cynicism is ugly. I’ll try to be sunnier.

Jhonny Peralta arrives in the Tiger dugout during the third inning. Sporting an awkward smile, he is greeted by handshakes and hugs. Must feel a bit odd to arrive mid-game. He is wearing number 27.

Ever informative, Rod lets the viewer know that the Tigers are 3 for 23 with RISP this series. Rod, need I remind you that tears are barely being held at bay here? Geez. Santiago beats out a double play to score Rhymes, and we’re tied at 1.

I absolutely adore the Rays striped socks. They really are all that. The dark blue socks are punctuated by rings of white and powder blue. Very nice. Every one of them should wear high socks at all times.

Cabrera makes a great diving stop on a grounder, but Crawford is too fast, and Porcello can’t beat him to the bag. Bases loaded. Eyes momentarily fill up. Choked back in time to see Porcello strike Longoria out for the second time. Two outs, bases still juiced. Two runs score on a liner that ricochets off Cabrera’s glove. Tough break number 5,427 for the Tigers. Sob. Hey, I held back as long as I could. You’re lucky I wasn’t boo hoo-ing two innings ago. Bases re-loaded on a walk to Matt Joyce. Forget that he saved a helpless kitten when he was here in Detroit. He hit a grand slam to squash Scherzer’s no-hitter on Monday. He’s on my list.

Boesch’s first hit of the series comes on a broken-bat infield single to short. We will take that, along with any other help we can get. Could the thunder rumbling outside the Trop strike any of the Rays occupants inside? Just asking. Raburn swings under an elevated fastball to run the count full. I can never say this enough about the high hard ones, “can’t him ‘em, can’t lay off ‘em.” It holds true most of the time.

The stupid carpet at the Trop is said to be wearing on free-agent-to-be Carl Crawford. He has a sore back every night from standing on the artificial surface. Can anyone steal him from the Yankees? I would appreciate that.

Ha. Laird comes up with runners on first and second with one out. Would you take the over or the under if I said the odds on him hitting into a double play were set at 85%? I’m not going to apologize for being jaded any more. It’s just what this season has done to me. Deal with it. I have to. Well he flies out to right, so at least it wasn’t the GIDP. It’s up to little Rhymes now, who sort of resembles a flea. Joyce runs down a fly ball, which had threatened to shoot the gap in right. Side retired. Bernstein commercial follows. I change the channel.

Miggy strikes out looking to start the sixth. Price has struck him out three times today for sobbing out loud! I almost just said “what more could happen to us?” but that would have brought on a hailstorm of destruction, so I refrained. Boesch strikes out. Quickly. I mean, he was hardly at the plate for three seconds. Two outs. None on. Raburn at the plate. He singles to bring Laird to the dish. Laird ground out weakly to second. Ahem. Another Bernstein commercial.

Porcello has now retired 9 straight batters and there are two outs in the bottom of the sixth for Willy Aybar. Porcello strikes him out for another 1-2-3 inning. There’s a little bright spot.

Price balks Worth over to second in the seventh with one out for Austin Jackson. A RISP? Oh, sadly, we can predict what will happen next. Well, we did score one run, but then Maddon walks Cabrera AGAIN to load up the bases when runners were on first and second, and Boesch grounds out weakly. I…just…

Porcello then dispatches the Rays in order to help me retain the vestiges of sanity. Thanks. Rod and Mario marvel about that new-fangled gadget the iPod touch. Guys. Please.

In the top of the eighth, we are carved up like so much roast beef. Porcello comes back out and gives up a single, then balks the runner to second. Are you serious? The balk looked suspect to me. Umpires are in a conspiracy against the Tigers. I am now convinced. Groundball advances runner to third. Leyland walks Longoria intentionally. Brings in Coke to pitch to Peña. AGAIN a groundball glances off Cabrera’s glove to score a run. Some evil puppeteer is orchestrating this game with the deliberate intention of driving Tigers fans to Bedlam. There IS NO OTHER explanation for the repetition of such horrors.

Down 4-2 and here come our last at bats. Danny Worth flies out to right to lead us off. Woo hoo! Austin Jackson does have an RBI single today, soooo let’s see what he can do with nobody on and one out. He chases two high hard ones to strike out. Here we go kids! Ramon Santiago remains our last hope of avoiding a four game sweep at the Trop. He grounds weakly right back to the mound to end this thing. Excuse me while I go lose my lunch and my mind.

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