Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Stupidity

Early in the game, Mario informed us that Toronto starting pitcher Marc Rzepczynski's nickname is Scrabble because of the high score his last name would earn in that game. Rod responds that he "likes the game. It's a good family game." I would be willing to bet my devalued house that Rod has never played a game of Scrabble in his life. I found it funny, though, because Scrabble is my most favorite of all games.

In the fourth, Inge had to make an off-balance throw to first to get John McDonald. Mario says that Brandon Inge "does not play around." Oh, because most third basemen do? They kind of just lazily go after balls hit their way and lob the ball over to first? Sigh.

None other than Jose Bautista broke up Porcello's no-hitter in the fourth. I'm pretty sure he's on steroids or HGH. Sorry. Just kidding. I'm not bitter. Actually, I blame Rogo of DesigNate Robertson. He always jinxes no-hitters. Ask him about how he messed up Jujstin Verlander earlier this year, Max Scherzer's no-hitter against Tampa Bay, and Armando Galarraga's August 20th effort.

It's been fun watching the shirt of home place umpire Brian O'Nora become increasingly drenched with sweat. It started out as a small circle on his abdomen, and is now just about soaked. Gross. Go change in between innings, could ya? It's kind of distracting me. Ugh, now the entire front of O'Nora's pants are wet too. HD is not always our friend.

John McDonald hit a home run down the left field line in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rod and Mario immediately express their incredulity. Rod especially, was like "not Johnny Mac!" Mario added, "You don't expect HIM to take you deep," Poor John, his power was dissed repeatedly by our broadcasting duo.

In the top of the seventh, Miguel Cabrera stole second base. I was laughing out loud with joy. So endearing. As if everything he does isn't already. We heart you. Inge followed with a two run homer, so you know what that means. Player of the game. Poor Raburn, he has no shot, even though he has gone deep TWICE in this game.

The boo birds (bad pun intended) came out for Jesse Carlson as he surrendered four hits and three runs in the seventh. I always hate when the camera zooms in on a guy's face as he's getting booed. You can almost always see a certain look in the poor guy's eyes. It makes me feel bad.

Porcello goes seven strong, and looked just outstanding. So happy. So happy. Phil Coke comes on for the eighth. I am mystified. Coke is battling tired arm or dead arm. And WHYYYY do we keep running him out there mercilessly, as if there is just noone else? Especially in a blowout like this, there is no good reason for Coke to be pitching. I don't care if Leyland wants to get the bad taste of Friday night's walkoff loss in extras out of his mouth. He should be resting.

Rod and Mario begin talking about some upcoming off day that will occur in Chicago. Rod keeps talking about "bellying up" somewhere to people watch, or watch the MSU game. Not sure what he thinks he means by that, but it sounds completely ridiculous.

Apparently Valverde is still struggling a bit, but at least we had enough of a cushion on this one. Sigh.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No Hero

I wasn’t a big fan of the Johnny Damon signing. The best thing I could say about it at the time was that it was a one-year deal, not two. Damon has turned out pretty well for us, I guess. I’m not overly gaga, but satisfied. Now, he has been virtually deified by choosing to remain in Detroit over going back to Boston to relive his “Idiot” days.

Excuse me if I don’t hand the guy a medal. He didn’t want to be the constant subject of ire among Boston fans who still remember his turncoat ways. Sure, he probably likes playing in Detroit, with our softie fans and media. It’s a pretty nice gig. The CoPa is usually a full house, and you’re not going to get skinned alive by the beat writers every day. Suddenly, Johnny has realized that Detroit is a lot more cosmopolitan than he thought. Somerset Mall is so enchanting. In reality, Boston doesn’t have much more of a shot than we do at the playoffs, so what’s the point of switching teams with a month left in the season? It’s too much upheaval.

Also, Damon probably knows that Mr. I has pretty deep pockets, and isn’t afraid to reach into the coffers for a valued player. He knows he has a decent shot at getting a nice payday for next season from Detroit. It’s a win-win-win-win for him. He gets paid, likes his teammates and coaching staff, enjoys easy treatment from fans and media, and has the added bonus of becoming a candidate for sainthood for “sticking up for downtrodden Detroit.” Please.

Adding fuel to my fire, FSN showed the following stat during last night's game, in which the team went 1-16 with RISP. This season, Johnny Damon was hitting .200 with RISP. Then he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the tenth inning. He flied out to the right fielder.

The guy is milking this whole thing for all its worth. Don’t expect to find any two-percent here, Johnny.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is What You Get

Well, I got shafted by a friend with whom I was going to watch tonight's game, so guess what? You will now be subjected to my lame commentary about game 128 versus the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. If you're really bored, feel free to read on. You may want to reconsider and enjoy some of this beautiful weather we're having, however.

In the middle of the second inning, Rod says something to the effect that Max Scherzer is filthy tonight, and clearly has his best stuff. Um, how many times have we seen a guy look good through three or four only to get tagged shortly thereafter. Let us attempt to withhold judgment of a pitcher's performance until the sixth inning, shall we?

Ryan Raburn throws out Edwin Encarnacion at second as he tries to stretch a single to a double. I must offer a personal apology to Ryan, because earlier this year, I was grousing about his defense, recommending that he take extra fielding practice. He must have done so, because he is much, much improved. Several nice plays of late spring to mind. Mr Raburn is simply scorching right now, between the ramped up defense and his fiery bat. I see you, Ryan!

Jhonny Peralta hits a three run shot to left in the fourth of Romero. Wow, I guess apologies must be passed out all 'round tonight. My comments upon the Tigers acquiring Peralta: "You know a players stinks when a team will deal him within the division." Again, so sorry.

Casper Wells had 21 home runs in Toledo this year. Now he gets a chance to prove he can do it in the Show. Who's left in Toledo at this point?? Leyland said as much when referring to September callups. There won't be many. Between injuries and callups at this level, and some injuries to players already in AAA, we're more than depleted, we're gutted.

Oh for the love of pine tar--Gerald Laird racks up two RBI in one swing to make it 6-0 in the fourth! I am agape and amused. So is he, as he exhibits a rueful smile upon approaching the dugout. Kind of a mixture of "I know, I can't believe it either" and "finally, I've made an offensive contribution."

I know this is not from tonight's telecast, but poor Rod has made some, um, interesting comments lately. The other night vs. KC, Willie Bloomquist got handcuffed by a screamer hit by Johnny Damon. Rod says that third basemen are not accustomed to the ball coming at them so hard. Huh? Isn't that why it's called the Hot Corner????

Miguel Cabera enters the batter's box with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th. I think I was holding my breath. Escobar snares a sharp, low line drive to rob Miggy of a hit and an RBI. Pure larceny.

Oh dear, Raburn whiffs. Two out, bases still juiced. If we strand all three right here, I cannot be responsible for what happens to my home. I could claim that it was burglarized. It will look that way when I'm through with it. Doesn't much matter anyway, I found out yesterday that the place is worth about as much as a bucket of batting practice baseballs.

Peralta saves the interior of my crib by working a bases loaded walk. Two apologies to the same player in one day? Unprecedented.

Scherzer makes little hearts appear in my pupils right now by coming out for the 7th. Our pen was just about spent after yesterday's extra innings affair with KC. Hey, so he gives up a solo shot to Bautista. Who doesn't give up a home run to Bautista? You tell me that. He gets a free pass with me. See how the rest of the inning is uneventful? More hearts.

Scherzer, having thrown 102 pitches, comes to the mound for the 8th. Oh my. Now, I give Rod the green light to gush on at will. THIS is the time to do it. Scherzer ends the inning by making Fred Lewis hack helplessly for strike three. Eight innings! One run! I feel a little giddy.

Cabrera shoots the gap for a double to lead off the 9th. I'm pretty drunk with baseball happiness at this point.

Eddie Bonine gets two quicks outs and then goes 2-0 to Vernon Wells. He pauses, looks around like he's a lost six year old in a department store and then gives up a double. Sigh. It's ok. Wells is promptly stranded at second to put this one in the W column. Enjoy the afterglow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Second Movement

Top story tonight--Rick Porcello's strong outing? No. Brandon Inge's 1000th major league hit? Hardly. Johnny Damon's benevolent choosing of Detroit over Boston? NEGATIVE. The hit parade put on by our Bengals? Nope. Mi Magglio will undergo season ending surgery tomorrow. Warm up the pipe organ for the of darkest of dirges. Break out the mourning clothes. Forge an anti-depressant prescription for me, would you?

People have been opining that the loyal Mike Ilitch may pick up Magglio's $15 million option for next year. I believe this to be highly unlikely. I do think the Tigers may try to negotiate a more reasonable salary with Magglio, but his agent is Scott Boras, savvy? Rest assured, the market will be tested. I know for a fact that Magglio likes it here in Detroit. He's made plenty of coin, so he may be inclined in his heart to give Detroit the hometown discount to stay around and retire in a blaze of glory someday, enshrined in all proper majesty at the CoPa (and in our hearts). However, Scott Boras will do his best to ruin all that and send Magglio off to the club with the deepest pockets. Have I mentioned that my loathing of Boras knows no limits, but extends off into infinity, beyond the reaches of human comprehension?

I hope that Magglio comes to the park for fan appreciation weekend, so that fans can shower him with love and gratitude. He was a big part of bringing baseball back to Detroit. I have so many happy baseball memories involving him. When he was dueling Ichiro for the batting title in 2007, and it was coming down to the final weekend in Chicago, I hatched half a dozen schemes of driving to the Cell to see it happen in person. Things didn't work out, but I reveled in hearing the Venezuelan announcers call each of his at bats (FSN cut over to them each time Magglio came to the plate).

I have a terrible confession to make. I had my chance to thank Magglio in person last year at no other place than US Cellular Field. I was there in late September for the Sox/Tigers tilt (remember those days, when we thought we would make the playoffs?? Sorry.) Anyway, we arrived at the park before the gates even opened, and I walked down to the wall during warmups. Magglio was walking straight toward me. I arrived at the wall, and a guy was getting an autograph. He finished, and here was my shot to gush about how much I've enjoyed watching him play, how he was MY Tiger, blah, blah, blah. Well, I stood mute staring like an idiot. Then, in slow motion, I began to reach for my camera to ask for a photo. Meanwhile, he moved down the wall toward other Tigers fans, leaving me behind in a sea of regret. Huge footprints were visible on my posterior (where I had kicked myself repeatedly for being such a first class moron). Don't let something like this happen to you. I'm content to be a cautionary tale, if I can prevent this disaster from affecting others.

Anyway, I would like to thank Magglio myself here and now, even though I know he will never read it. I would like to tell him that his baseball skills have brought smiles and joyful laughter to my face innumerable times. I must express that being at the park when he hit two home runs in one inning is a memory that I swell with pride to recount (even though I missed the second home run because my son wanted to ride the ferris wheel). I have to say that seeing Magglio Ordóñez play in the Old English D has been one of the greatest of pleasures of my baseball-watching life.

I'm sorry if I've overdosed you with high fructose corn syrup, but it just can't be helped where Magglio's concerned.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Days

Well, we completed a sweep of the Cleveland Indians today. Excuse me if I don't do any cartwheels. You see, the Twinks continue to win at a seemingly unsustainable pace, which they somehow manage to sustain. Go take a flying flip off the top of the Metrodome, would you, Ron Gardenhire? Sorry. I really respect Gardy. I just want him to stop sticking it to us, you know?

Justin Verlander rebounded nicely from a crap-tastic outing against the Yankees (which I mercifully missed). Once again, however, we must temper any good feelings with the reminder that this was the Cleveland Indians. Actually, I didn't really have any good feelings to temper after today's win. I feel so underwhelmed.

Maybe part of my malaise is related to the doom and gloom news that Magglio may not return at all this season, and may have played his last game as a Tiger. NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I cannot handle that. I want Mi Magglio to stay here. Retire here. Be enshrined here for eternity. Sigh.

Kansas City tomorrow. I will be attending the festivities. Whoop-de-do. Bondo, do me a favor and hold the head case antics for one game, okay? Bruce Chen, do me a favor and give up a boatload of runs, okay? Umpires, do me a favor and don't screw us over tomorrow, okay? Jim Leyland, do me a favor and run out a lineup that doesn't feature Gerald Laird hitting second, okay?

Maybe I'll try to muster up some rah rah for tomorrow's game. Meanwhile...meh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Seeing Curtis Granderson play against the Tigers in pinstripes--not a pretty sight, but a sight made more tolerable by young Austin Jackson's performance this year in the Old English D. It has been reported that Curtis has not yet been the target of Yankee fans' ire, despite a rather disappointing season. I'm glad, because little CJ does not deserve boos. He just doesn't. Unless he beats us, then Tiger fans will be showing him with boos.

Ryan Perry is our reliever with the best strand rated for inherited runners. He does this job again beautifully tonight in the 8th. So lovely. He needed a little help from Papa Grande to finish the eighth, but I'm happy.

During Valverde's phantasmagorical loss of control during the ninth, I found myself sitting in front of the TV blinking--like if I blinked enough, I might miss the horrors playing out in front of my eyes. Sadly, the blinking did very little. Let's see, he's walked a run in, buzzed Jeter, BUT GETS HIM TO HIT INTO THE DOUBLE PLAY TO END THIS THING!

Here's the bad news. Coke will not be available tomorrow, Perry will not be available tomorrow. Valverde? He's coming off an abdominal strain, and threw like a wild man tonight--38 pitches, only 16 of them strikes. Oh, how jocular. Verlander better be thinking complete game vs. CC Sabathia.

All of our runs tonight came via the home run. Ryan Raburn continues to prove us wrong, and raked a two run shot in the second. Miguel Cabrera flicked one off his shoetops (and off the end of his bat) to give us three. Miguel, you are the MVP.

I will be sojourning in the wilderness for the next five days, so have fun kids! I may tune in to parts of games via a hand crank radio. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wrapped Up in a Bow

I've got to revel in the little things here. As a special little birthday gift to me, the Tigers managed to put one in the W column today. I realize it's one win. I realize we may not get another one for a week or more. But, it's better than a loss on day of my birth, you know? I accept this little offering. It's a nice gesture. Ryan Raburn parked one in the bullpen just for me today. What? You don't think so? Really? Huh. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Justin Verlander once again piled up the pitches to the tune of 119 pitches over six innings. Sigh. But he kept runs off the board. He knew he couldn't give away a whole truckload of runs, because our offense is, um, impotent. Then I had to sternly warn Ryan Perry to do his job when he walked two. He listened to me. Again you doubt? Get over it.

Jose Valverde continues to be inconsistent when he has to pitch more than one inning. I wish we had some other trustworthy arm, but Leyland is severely limited in his choices. He doesn't trust, and I don't blame him. A lot of guys have proven themselves to be gas cans, incapable of stranding inherited runners. I'm going to stop now so I don't ruin the good vibes from our little victor's party.

I strongly advise you to relish this moment as long as possible. Another opportunity may not be right around the corner.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Girls Allowed

I sort of took a mental health break from the Tigers yesterday. I did watch part of the game, which I had recorded, and then someone inadvertently gave away the outcome, so I just let it go. Is THAT what it takes to get a win? I had a lot of fun just tossing around the baseball and playing badminton. It was good medicine. I've mentioned before that my relationship with the Tigers might just be considered toxic.

Allow me to elaborate. When I was fourteen, I wrote a letter to the Tigers inquiring about becoming a bat girl. They, in turn, sent me a letter stating that GIRLS WERE NOT CURRENTLY CONSIDERED FOR BATBOY POSITIONS. What? Sexism running rampant in the mid-80s at Tiger Stadium? I should have sued the pants off the franchise, and been installed as the first female bat person in Tigers history. As it was, all I did was send a nasty-gram, saying how I could do the job just as well as any stupid boy. "Hell hath no fury," you know. Then I craftily changed my name from Jennifer to Jeff and reapplied. I got a standard form letter back saying that there were no current batboy openings, along with a couple decals. This did not placate me. No. I ranted and raved much like I do here for many weeks on end.

I told that story to give you all a little chuckle, a much needed respite from the wretchedness that has become our season, the rotting carcass that is our second half of every season under Leyland, the maggot-eaten flesh festering in a scorching sun....well, you get the idea.

My mother asked me about the Tigers and I told her I just go into every game assuming we are going to lose, and if we do come away with a win, it's just bonus. That's what it has come to.

Mike Ilitch tells us he'll spend money on the Tigers this off season, with some $60 million large coming off the books. Let us just hope it is spent wisely. We could do some things with $60 mill. It could really help the ball club. Our eyes shift ahead to what might be in 2011. It's just self-preservation. I don't want to start screaming at the poor minor league kids that are just doing the best they can after being thrust into positions for which they weren't ready. I want to relax and let them make a wild throw or strike out with impunity. Rod Allen has already forgotten all of Will Rhymes mistakes anyway. Tonight he said that Rhymes was essentially flawless at second while he was up. What? I specifically remember a couple REALLY bad throws. Whatever, I'm letting it go. Just like Rod has.

So, go ahead Tigers, score one run five nights running, implode the bullpen a few times, get no quality starts...go ahead, pile it on! I can handle it. Maybe.

Speaking of imploding the bullpen, what in the name of balls and strikes is going on there? Phil Coke, who was just stellar the first half, has been getting tagged along with the rest of the arms out there. Eddie Bonine has been outed as someone who lets all of his inherited runners score (ok, not all, but waaaaaayyyy too many). Shrek Gonzalez has watched long balls jump out of the park. Sigh. Jeff Jones, you are on my list. And it's a long one.

EDIT: I had to show you my rejection letter, signed by Dan Ewald himself. If you click, it will enlarge.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Unbearable Sadness of Being...

... a Tigers fan. I really hate to be such a baby, but I am unable to cope with yet another loss. Mercifully, I missed most of the game for my son's baseball picnic. What a blessing. I didn't see Justin Verlander give up two runs in each of the first two innings. It's a good thing, too. You would think by this point, I would just be desensitized to all the losing, but no. It still stings. Every day. Day after day after day.

Ok. Big deep breath. This cannot go on. Even horrible, terrible teams don't lose this much. So, by sheer probability, we cannot continue to lose at this pace.

But seriously, who is going to be the stopper in this skid? Verlander couldn't do it. Scherzer pitched quite well yesterday, and where did that get us? I wore the lucky bracelet, attended the game, and...nothing.

It's going to take something extraordinary. Jeremy Bonderman, who sounds like baseball has become rather a chore, and has contemplated retirement after this season, faces off against Scott Kazmir tomorrow. Could Bondo's family come to the game and give him some moral support? Jeremy once said that one of the greatest thing about being a father is that his daughter loves him regardless of how he pitched that day. We need her at the game tomorrow. I am dead serious. Please, I'm begging here. My pride is non-existent at this point. Shame? Don't even know the definition.

Bats. That's another mountain to move. I say we sacrifice a live chicken before the game. All of us. Individually. I mean, if 20,000 fans sacrifice a live chicken, there's no way our bats can fail, right? If you can't stomach taking the life of an innocent winged creature, buy a bucket of KFC.

My last key for victory tomorrow involves sabotage. Part of the work may be done for us, as Torii Hunter quite possibly earned himself a suspension after tonight's histrionics, including throwing a bag of balls onto the field and maybe making contact with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, or at the very least spitting in his eye (not purposely). Anyway, if you can break into the CoPa and steal equipment, that would be really great.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beyond the Pale

Apparently, the Tigers are in a place so dark, they are beyond the usual help I am able to provide. Ordinarily, I can boost the team to victory whenever I attend. Today, my powers were ineffective. Sadly. Heart-breakingly.

Mark Kotsay. You are loathsome. I realize that Jim Leyland's wife thinks you are hot, but you remain an anathema to me. A home run and a triple? Four RBI? Are you serious? Sigh.

Ryan Raburn nearly brought us out of the depths by swatting a three-run homer with two outs in the 9th inning to tie things up. How I ask you, Tigers, how could you squander this thing of beauty?

Valverde only threw 10 pitches in the tenth. It was ok that he went out there for the eleventh. And then, things went horrifically awry. Valverde gave up two singles. The guy in front of me said they needed to pull Valverde. I said maybe he could get a double play ball. You know what happened next. Mark freaking Kotsay hit a two-run triple. All the joy of the ninth inning was quickly sapped away. We'd need two runs in the bottom of the eleventh just to tie it up again. We went out 1-2-3.

The Tigers now trail Chicago by nine games...beyond the pale.

I'll Wear This When Pigs Fly

I'm gonna have to go ahead and say no to this. It makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Much like the Tigers' performance did last night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

I have to tell you something. The past couple days, after the Tigers suffered successive walkoff defeats at the hands of the Red Sox, I have been afraid to let myself read any articles, or listen to radio, or...anything. I've been petrified, quite literally, into total inaction. I can't figure out what to do with all this. The Tigers are seven games back. We are about to play the White Sox four times in three days. We could either climb back into this thing (however temporarily, setting us up for more heartbreak), or we could get buried.

Best I figure it, Monty Hall has set up:

Door Number One: I can give up the season for lost, sit back and watch the kids, try to figure out whether any of them are future Major Leaguers, start dreaming up a free-agent wish list, watch Miguel Cabrera get walked twenty zillion times, and find some way to go to an Arizona Fall League game. If I do this, and the Tigers end up making the playoffs, I will be Benedict Arnold in my own heart.

Door Number Two: I can keep the faith. I can get my heart stomped every night. I can find some way to deal with the pain (some way that doesn't involve substance abuse or binge eating). I can keep telling myself that we can win this division. Shut up. Stop laughing. Seriously.

Actually, my problem is that I cannot commit to either of these oh-so-attractive scenarios.

I'm looking for door number three.