Thursday, April 30, 2009

Upcoming: Carl Pavano

I know this will sound really whiny, but doesn't it seem like a "struggling" pitcher comes in and shuts us down all too often?  Enter Carl Pavano, 0-3. 9.50 ERA,  over 4 starts and 18 innings pitched.  Opponents are batting a robust .363 against Pavano.  He's only walked 5, but has given up 29, count 'em, 29 hits in his four outings this young season, resulting in a 1.89 WHIP.  He's got 16 strikeouts, eight of them coming in a six-inning start against Kansas City on April 14.  Now, his ERA is a little inflated as he only lasted one inning in his first start of the year and gave up 9 earned runs in that teeny little inning.  His other starts are as follows:

4/14, KC, 6 innings, 8 hits, 4 ER, 8 SO, 0 BB
4/19, NYY, 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 ER, 4 SO, 1 BB
4/24 MN, 5 innings, 11 hits, 5 ER, 3 SO, 1 BB

Is he gonna storm into Detroit and blow away our lineup?  I hope not, but I won't exactly be stunned if he does.

You know what?   My view of baseball is all too myopic.  I don't have time (scratch that, I don't take the time) to keep up on every MLB team.  I don't want to sound like I'm any busier than the next guy--we all make time for what we want to do.  Me, I'm focused in tunnel-vision style on the Tigers for the most part.  Surely this type of thing happens to all teams from time to time.  Maybe one of the "real" bloggers will dig into the stats and let us know whether the Tigers are more susceptible than other clubs.  I think part of it is that good ol' Rod and Mario may over-emphasize when a pitcher is struggling, and then express surprise when that guy pulls it together against the Tigers.  It's too early in this season, but many pitchers experience peaks and valleys over 162 games.  You can't just assume that a pitcher is going to continue to struggle based on the last couple starts alone.  

It's nice when a pitcher is consistent over the course of a season.  Take Armando Gallaraga, for instance, who happens to be tomorrow's starter.  He generally goes pretty deep in a game, and gives the club a chance to win.  Last year, he averaged 6.26 innings over 28 starts (Baseball Reference).  Long relief.  Um, while it is oh so gratifying to see various Tigers get playing time, rather than rotting on the bench, I'll take a quality start when given the choice.  We fans inexplicably like to give our fingernails a chance to be something more than nubs.

So Gallaraga, keep on rolling, or at least gut it out like you're so good at doing if you don't have your best stuff.  Carl Pavano???  Well, let's just say you're not a Tiger, so...

13 Games, 13 Opportunities to Own the AL Central

Apparently, the Detroit Tigers players, coaches and management do not read my blog.  What a shocking revelation!  They didn't get my message that we needed to win the Yankees series.  Hmm.  Guess I'll take to purchasing ad space inside Marlboro, Phiten and sunflower seed packaging and get the word out that way.

I don't have to worry about them getting the message I'm about to share with you.  They already know it, and so do you.  We need to win our upcoming 13-game sortie against AL Central opponents.  Last year, we were abysmal against divisional rivals.   Please, oh please, can we change that this year?  I beg of you.  Restore the roar of divisional ownership.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of the preceding public service announcement.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two Words


One Series: Available to Highest Bidder

Ok boys and girls.  I'm not gonna sugar coat this.  We need bragging rights over the Yankees.  I could lie and say that it's only one series early in the season, and we've got to keep it in perspective, the season is marathon, not a sprint, we've got to keep our emotions on an even keel, focus on one game at a time, not get overhyped based on the opponent.....are you buying that line of crap?  I hope not.  Our bullpen took one inning and turned it into a hall of shame moment in baseball history.  I'm so glad that my son had his school play last night so I was spared seeing that live.  With DVR, one can simply fast forward through the scenes of disaster.  Hey, a little head-in-the-sand action spares the sanity.

 I want to win tonight--badly enough that I'm considering a last minute ticket purchase, along with the very unsound idea of taking my 9 year old to the game on a school night.  Even worse, his mind has been poisoned in favor of the Yankees, so I'd be opening myself up to heckling, jeers and being doused with beer.

Adding to the interest of this game is tonight's matchup-Porcello/Chamberlain.   I like RoT's nickname for Porcello--"Little Ricky."  Might I add one adjective more and make it Pretty Little Ricky?

Eat 'em up Tigers, eat 'em up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How Could I Forget Mi Magglio?

I neglected to mention that my Tiger, Magglio Ordóñez, hit a two run homer to right field last night, notching his second extra base hit of the season.  We were sitting directly behind where the home run hit, so it was difficult for us to tell whether the ball had hit of the top of the wall, or off of Swisher's glove.  I looked at the highlight this morning to ascertain what happened, and as you probably know, it hit off the top of the wall.

Well, that game winner was a pretty nice cap to my evening.

Now, if only I could go back to the ballpark tonight.   

The 2009 Season is Now Officially Underway

I finally saw my first game of the season in person last night.  If May had arrived before I made it to a game, I would  have had to shut down my blog and turn in my Tiger fan card.   Hey, I heard you say that you wish that had happened.  No one forces you to read this swill, you know.

Well, young Mr. Verlander turned in a very fine performance indeed.  He struck out nine and walked none over 7 innings before giving way to Bobby Seay in the 8th.   Bobby decided 0.00 is the number for him, so he stranded Justin's two baserunners in short order.

Fernando Rodney.  The man who loves to induce indigestion among Tiger fans everywhere.  He wanted to see if you could turn a non-save situation into an old fashioned nail-biter.  He succeeded in that quest in no uncertain terms.  Rodney's actually been pretty good this year, IMO.  There are some very frustrating moments, to be sure.  For example, on Sunday, he got Aviles down 0-2.  Unfortunately, I prophesied the home run ball he gave up next.  Sorry.  It's just that I've seem him do that too many times.  He has a guy looking like he's on the ropes, swinging harmlessly at stuff--and then gives up the long ball.  Oh well, he did get the job done both Sunday and last night.  Let's focus on that, why don't we?

Last night's game was very, very good.   The weather was just about perfect, with the rain holding off entirely.   The company was excellent--thanks for indulging me, guys.  The game was a well-played win over the dreaded Yanks.  Hmm, doesn't get much better than that.  Here's to a few more nights like that one this year.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Break out the formal wear, it's homecoming.  I'll be donning my ball gown and wrist corsage to see game 1 against the yanks tomorrow.  Would that be out of place at the ballpark?

Well, I'm happy to say that we took 2 of 3 from the Royals after losing 2 of 3 to the Angels--that series was not pretty.

My main note from today was a nifty square and throw from Sardinha to nip CoCo Crisp at second.  Very nicely done.  Our catchers are clamping down on the base-runners.  I like that.  His light-hittingness even got an RBI today on a sac fly.  Rod Allen said Sardinha's nickname was pineapple.  It sounded kind of sterotype-ish to me.  Let's start calling the Latin players taco.   

I was wondering about young Dusty Ryan, so I peeked at his numbers.  He's struggling a little at that plate, batting .175 over 40 at bats with the Hens so far.  I guess they just want him to get his reps in at the lower-pressured level.  Probably not a bad idea.

Right now, the Red Sox are poised to sweep the Yankees, so I hope they don't come into our house will all kinds of pent-up, angry energy that inspires them to kick our tails around.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Going To Kansas City, Kansas City Here We Come

Rick Porcello is learning on the job.  He's brilliant at times, and at other moments folks are putting the ball out of the park.  That's ok.  We've got to let him grow at a natural pace, however much we want/need to win ball games.  I'm not going to scapegoat Porcello, that's for sure.  I had a bad feeling about tonight's game after learning that last night's game was not a day game on a travel day from Pacific time to Central time (and on whom in MLB scheduling can I practice some of those "enhanced interrogation techniques" we've been hearing about)?  The team plane wasn't due to touch down in KC until around 4:30 am, so um, that's not good for the internal body clock.  I know that Porcello travelled ahead of the club, so he for one, did get a decent night's sleep, but when the rest of team is all bleary-eyed, using caffeine and who knows what else as a crutch to stay awake, it's not necessarily going to be pretty.

Once again, my DVR efforts went awry.  I was doing other things, saving the game for later, while my husband was watching the NBA playoffs.  In glancing at the basketball game, I saw the *&@#! bottom line thing, and the Royals/Tigers score flashed by (5-1 at that point).   I stomped out of the room in anger, with my husband calling after me that it wasn't his fault.  I conceded this point with as much equanimity as I could muster.  That is IT, I will have to start watching games live, or just pick them up in progress.  I've utterly failed in attempts to record and watch games later.  It's a shame that I'm not able to take advantage of the technological wonder of DVR, but I'm just going to accept it.

Greinke was absolutely dealing--with Tiger after Tiger hacking away like Charles Barkley swinging at a golf ball--striking out the side in the 8th in spectacular jaw-dropping fashion (and making my stomach churn in the process).  Yeah, it's so worth staying up until 1 am to watch this, oh is it ever.  It'll be a long time before I'll be able to fall asleep after this waking nightmare--expected or not.   Like Gary Sheffield after a HBP, I vow revenge on Greinke for embarrassing my club this way.   If anyone wants to know where to find me, I'll be lurking around Kauffman Stadium awaiting the perfect opportunity.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh To Be a Kid Again...

First, allow me to remind you that I did not start loving baseball until I was 13 years old.   Even then, I never knew of the wondrous item about which I am going to tell you.  I assure you, if I had known, I would have broken open the piggy bank right then and there to go buy one. 

The other day, I had to stop by the local sporting goods store to buy my son some cleats for his baseball team--woo hoo he's playing baseball--and his first practice was then rained out.  In the baseball aisle, I saw the ingenious MLB money-maker you see pictured above.

I'm not gonna lie.  I wanted one.   Bad.   I didn't care that I wasn't eight years old.  The little mini helmets are just so mini, so unpretentiously adorable.  And may I ask the rhetorical question, how much fun must it be to switch the little helmets around each day as the standings change?  

I think I'm going back tomorrow to get one.  Seriously.  Don't make fun.  You know you want one too.  Or, you already have one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mourning Patch

Obviously, the Angels are wearing mourning patches to honor the memory of Nick Adenhart.  Those patches are over the players hearts, are circular, and have the number 34, along with Adenhart on them.

I noticed a second patch, however, and was not aware of its significance.

The Angels are wearing a black diamond patch on their right sleeves in honor of Preston Gomez, long time Angels advisor, scout and coach, who did in January at the age of 86.  Read the LA Times article here.  Gomez is credited with straightening out reliever Jose Arredondo.

Blogs, Tweets & Trainwrecks

I think just about everyone in the world already knows this (at least everyone who reads Tiger blogs), but Curtis Granderson is not blogging for ESPN this year, he's contributing to Big League Stew.  I finally updated the link on my blog roll at right.  His posts have the title "The Grandstand."  Grandy's also Twittering on under CG28, click here.  Michigan and Trumbull has rather ambivalently decided to Twitter also.  You can follow him here.  I have nothing against Twitter, but I've gotta be honest, it seems a little gratuitous to me.  I barely have time to keep up on the stuff I do read, so adding more from author's whose blogs I already read is a little over the top.  Now, it could very well be that I'm just not hip enough here, and that's fine.  Maybe the lightbulb will go on and I'll be jumping on the Twitter bandwagon tomorrow, who knows.

Um, Justin Verlander has now officially entered the realm of lost efficiency, lost confidence, or lost pitcher's identity.  It's rather excruciating to watch him pitch right now.  Thankfully, I fell asleep (again) for part of last night's game, and so I missed the last three of Justin's seven earned (debatable ER total, since Raburn misplayed two very playable balls in right that were scored as hits) runs given up.  Things are a little scary for JV right now.  I think someone needs to have a little chat with him.  I'm not sure what he needs exactly, but someone on the club better figure out what it is, and then give it to him.  He seems to exude a deluded sense of confidence/denial in some ways on the quality of his outings, but maybe that's just a mask for massive insecurities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bad Dreams

Too bad it wasn't just a bad dream, although it sure seemed like one.  I dozed off a couple times (sorry) during last night's west coast game.  I did awaken at the most inopportune times, however.  First, to see Brandon Lyon give up the go-ahead run on Gary Matthew's double.  (Lyon is not yet endearing himself to the Tiger faithful.)  Then, I get to see our flameout in the ninth.

Actually, I'm not going to bellyache too much about it.  Carlos Guillen did his job to get on base as leadoff.  He of the sore Achilles was promptly replaced with pinch runner Josh Anderson.   Adam Everett !! comes in as a pinch hitter, and can't execute the bunt.  (We find out after the game that Thames was unavailable due to an rib-cage-muscle injury that puts him on the DL, and recalls Ryan Raburn from Toledo.)  Anderson gets picked off.  Everett then proceeds to strike out.  These things will happen from time to time.  We've done pretty well on risky plays so far this year (two successful squeezes).  So, I'm not going to go off the deep end over last night's failed steal and sac bunt.

Let's just say that I'll be hoping for better "dreams" tonight.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hemorrhaging Halos

It almost feels wrong to come into LA to face the Angels right now.  They're battered and beat down.  Just so everyone's up to speed, I'll briefly recount their miseries:

They're still reeling (as are we all) at the loss of Nick Adenhart.

Vladimir Guerrero has a torn pectoral muscle and is out for a month.

The following pitchers are on the DL:

Kelvim Escobar
John Lackey
Dustin Moseley
Ervin Santana

Darren Oliver had to come out of the bullpen to start a game for the first time in five years, and naturally could not be expected to last more than 4 or 5 innings. (He did last 4, and had a one-run lead when he left the game on Saturday.  The bullpen came in and.....)

The team is collectively hitting .250 right now.

I could go on, but let's just stop.  To go any further would just be piling on.  Now I feel for the Angels, I do, but I will have to draw the line at rolling over to them.  Let's not get crazy.  I hope everyone rallies 'round them as they're grieving.  Team lines should evaporate in a show of consolation and empathy.

But injuries are a part of baseball, and every team has got to deal with the loss of player personnel during the season.  Steve Bisheff of the LA Times thinks it's crisis point already for the Halos, and is calling for a shake-up.

Oughta make for an interesting series.

Former TIgers On Parade

In the gaping absence of Tiger baseball (again) today (because, yeah you need an off day to travel from Seattle to LA), I tuned in to the Marlins/Pirates game.  Lo and behold, Andrew Miller was on the hill, and Craig Monroe was coming up to bat.  Monroe grounded out harmlessly, and Miller got out of the first after allowing one run. 

The announcer was describing Miller's stellar college career, and then mentioned that Miller came to Florida in the "Dontrelle Willis" trade.   Really?   Not the Miguel Cabrera trade?  Not the Cabrera/Willis trade?   I waited, but there was no mention of our nickname-less hero, nor any snickering afterward to betray any intended sarcasm.  Either the guy was totally deadpan in his joke, or...

There were 17 people in the stands at PNC Park.  I mean, even directly behind the plate, there was noone.  It was such a pitiful sight to see baseball being played in such desolation.   I wanted to board the next plane to Pittsburgh with a whole gang of baseball-crazed fans to people the stands for tomorrow's game.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feel Free to Squeeze with Santiago

Jim Leyland puts on the squeeze play twice in a series, and they both work?   We've all heard how much Jim loathes the squeeze, and I don't really blame him.  I'd be so nervous putting it on I might need to invest in some discreet protection products.  Both times Santiago was the one bunting--wonder whether he was nervous too?  Today, Inge got a great jump, or the play would have resulted in Jim Leyland downloading "My Way" to his i-Pod (regrets, I've had a few).  Exciting stuff for those not on the block when things go bad.

Santiago generally makes the most of his playing time, and boy has he done that so far this year.  Again, we (at least Blake, Kurt and I) find ourselves wondering, why is it he has not been given a shot to play more?  What possible reason can Leyland or Dave Dombrowski give if they don't?  I'm stymied.  

Anyway, the youngest player in MLB pitched quite well today, I guess.  I recorded the game, turned on the TV to watch it, happened to have the channel on FSN, and tragically saw the last play of the game along with the final score by mistake.   Idiot!  I watched a few little bits, but the game was spoiled for me.   Happy with the final result though.  Surprising how difficult it can be to not find out the result of a game you've recorded for later viewing.   I've had a few mishaps already this year, most notably when my folks come into town, and I warn them not to say anything if they know what happened with today's game, and my dad replies "we already know they won."   Well all right!

Mariners get Jack-ed

Well home plate umpire Dale Scott's strike zone was like the broad side of a barn tonight, but at least he was consistent with it.  He call that low strike all night, and for both sides.   Several times, I was agape at the called third strike.  Bedard had 8 strikeouts, the first six of which were looking.

Jackson, who reportedly had flu-like symptoms, pitched a gem through 7 2/3, and looked really upset when he came out of the game.  It was his first walk of the ball game, and I was like, head up Edwin, you pitched a great game tonight.  He had batters swinging at all kinds of stuff out side the strike zone, and had 8-pitch innings in both the sixth and seventh, his fastball topping out at 98 mph.

Rodney had to walk the first batter he faced just to make it interesting before finishing off the middle of the Mariners' lineup.

Two putouts at home plate--one for each side.  Assists go to Granderson for the Tigers and Chavez for Seattle.

Not sure why, but I felt like we needed that win.  It's imperative to win those close ballgames when you get such a sparkling performance from your starter.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The High Hard Ones

You know the saying about the elevated fastball--can't hit 'em, can't lay off 'em.  That was largely true tonight for the Mariners and Tigers.  Check it out.

In the first inning, Polanco strikes out swinging on the high hard one.

In the third, Franklin Gutierrez also whiffs on the fastball up.

Brandon Inge swings at one up in the zone in the 8th, and pops up.

Ken Griffey Jr. climbs the ladder in the bottom of the eighth and singles to right.

Polanco again fails to lay off in the 9th, and pops up to end the game.

Well, that's all I'm going to say about tonight's game, because to speak on other aspects will only illicit much hand-wringing (Verlander pitches great except for a melt-down in the 5th) and object-throwing (Magglio leaves the bases loaded in the 2nd).

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Looong Gone!

As I type, I'm watching Gary Sheffield's at bat in an MLB Network live look in at the Brewers/Mets game.  It's 4-3 Brewers in the 7th, with no outs and nobody on.  Specially hologrammed balls are being used for each of Sheff's at bats, to enable authentication, thereby allowing some lucky fan to cash in on the historic 500 ball (I mean, so the ball can be donated by some benevolent lover of baseball to the Hall of Fame).   On a 2-2 count, Sheff rips two balls foul , then takes ball three, a close one just outside.   He then fouls one back, and then jacks 500 wearing number 10, his first hit as a Met, gets an ovation from his new teammates, followed by hugs and high fives, and a warm welcome from his manager Jerry Manuel.  Adding to the drama is the fact that the home run ties the game 4-4.

Now I made no bones about the fact that I'd wished Sheff would've hit 500 in the last game of season last year.  He got an extra at bat after Magglio tied the ballgame in the 9th, but no it was not to be.  My hopes for him hitting that dinger were not strictly unselfish.  I thought perhaps if he hit it, he'd retire on top of the world and free up $14 million off our salary for 2009.  Not to mention the fact that I was at the game, and it would be really exciting to be there for such a milestone.

I'm happy for Gary, and hope he enjoys all that goes along with such a crowning achievement.  If there are any shadows of such things as PEDs, well, Gary must learn to live in their shade.  If experience tells me anything, Sheff can talk himself and anyone who will listen into believing that the cream and clear were simply liniments applied like so much Icy-Hot.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Off Day Musings

I don't like these early off days.  My thirst for Tiger baseball is insatiable.  The season just got started.  Sorry to have such a selfish point of view.

A couple minor points I'd like to bring up.  Our lower part of the order and bench/utility guys are making valuable contributions thus far.  Nice--I like that.  It's a good sign, IMO.  We won't have to rely on the big boys doing it all every day.  I LOVE that we're moving runners up so much better than last year.  Laird really impresses on the base paths for someone who doesn't look that fast.  Josh Anderson practices the art of bunting like a fiend, and executes it pretty well too.

Here's an amusing little anecdote for you.  The other day, my son and I were playing catch at the park.  Just tossing the ball back and forth--nothing too serious, since I am athletically challenged and all.  Anyway, one of his throws caroms off my glove and hits me smack in the middle of the forehead.  He rushes over and apologizes like crazy.  I tell him it's all part of playing ball.  I wasn't too worried--it hurt, but it wasn't like a line drive off a bat, or a 97 mph Ryan Perry fastball, you know?  I wasn't seeing stars or anything.  I shook it off and we kept playing.  I wondered whether I'd have a nice goose egg out of it.  When we got home I checked, and sure enough, there was quite a lump, but more robin-egg sized.  I wore it like a badge of honor.  I felt just like Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch.  This shows you how very little sports I've played in my lifetime.   Anyway, I feel really bad for someone who really gets smoked by a hard hit ball, because it's still really sore three days later.  It's easy to see how major damage is caused (Juan Encarnacion).

Catch up with you tomorrow night for the Seattle game.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shhh--Tigers Pitched a Shutout

Armando Gallaraga, Bobby Seay, Ryan Perry and Fernando Rodney combined for a nice little shutout of the Black Sox.  Gallaraga scattered four hits over 6 1/3 innings, while the remaining three allowed ZERO hits.  Perry was a little wild, prompting Josh Fields to get a mite testy after several balls whizzed by his noggin.  It was great.  Sorry.  What I meant to say is that it was a good opportunity for Perry to get some low pressure work in.

Mercifully, Curtis Granderson broke out of his slump with an RBI single in the eighth.  It was beginning to get ugly.

Hopefully, folks are not growing immune to Cabrera's exploits.  Today was a ho-hum 3-5 with a home run and 2 RBIs.

Josh Anderson was on base four times today, and displays some nice speed and adept bunting ability.   A happy contrast to our station-to-station-ness of last year.

I'm still acting like a spoiled brat about yesterday's rainout.  Today, I have to work, and the weather turns all balmy, the sun makes an appearance, and we smoke the Sox 9-0.  Thanks for nothing.  Wait a minute, I guess I'll take the W.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What the?

I've got a small bone to pick with Curtis Granderson right now.  What the crust was Curtis doing striking out yesterday on three straight fast balls in the zone--two of which were in the exact same location?  I'll take a page out of Ian's book and show you the Gameday Pitch by Pitch frame from the at bat.  Here you go, behold the sheer ugliness of this at bat.  I don't expect such mediocrity from Curtis.  I hope I don't see the likes of this anytime soon.

Delayed Gratification

Today should have been my first day at the ballpark for the 2009 season.  I was at the park, however briefly, before the postponement was announced.  That only made matters worse--being there, and then being unceremoniously kicked to curb.  Now, some bloggers point out that today's day without ball is a fitting tribute to the great Mark Fidrych.  I would beg to differ and say that it would've been a more appropriate nod to the Bird to have played the game.  

In any event, I wanted to wail with abandon when the PPD was announced.  You know, like when someone ruthlessly snatches a baby's favorite toy, and she just lets loose, no holding back, snot and tears everywhere.  It's gotta be cathartic to just get it all out of your system and move on like that.  I had to quell the tightening in my throat and act like a grown up.  My mood only grew fouler as I boarded the Nemo's bus and sat staring bleakly out the window at the renovated Westin.  My baseball-lingo-challenged husband texted me and thought that postponed meant rain delay.  He finally got the message when I texted back that "PPD means canx, u idiot!"  The aforementioned mood sunk even further as I drove home faced with the steely gray horizon and the unrelenting drizzle.

Into a sullen funk I slid, and there I stay for an indeterminate period.  I don't have tickets to another game until May 4.  Should any crazed Tiger fan have to wait that long to see a game?  I hope you'll agree that it would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportions.  I'll just have to score some Yankees tickets, that's all there is to it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

One for the Ages

I'm insanely tired right now after 7 hours of painting, so this post will be total rubbish, but I could not go to sleep without basking in the glory of today's home opener.  Now that's Opening Day!  That's how you go out there and pay tribute to the great George Kell.  That's how you begin to dispel the illusion that 2009 is 2008 all over again.  That's how you put a charge into a disgruntled, jaded fan base.

I was not there, having a half day of work and the aforementioned sadistic painting marathon to contend with, but I watched the game at home with Rod and Mario.  I hope some of you were there to experience today's offensive fireworks, paired with a truly fine performance by Armando Gallaraga.  If you took part in the festival of Tigers, please tell us all about it.

Miguel Cabrera owns this town right now.  I hope he doesn't mind mobs of teary-eyed fans barreling toward him, jumping into his arms, and suffocating him in the clutches of gratitude.  I mean, this guy actually has the stuff to sustain what he's doing (unlike, oh I don't know, Brandon Inge, who isn't going to hit three home runs every five games).   Ok, maybe Cabrera won't sport a .700 batting average with six RBIs in every game, but you know what I mean.

I think his nickname should be the Spanish term for "The Crusher."  Self explanatory.

Sleep well happy Tiger fans, sleep well.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Win's A WIn No Matter How Small

Ok, it's just one win.  I doesn't mean that much.  But, it really did mean that much to win today, for some reason.  It was a huge monkey off our back.  I feel a lot better than I felt yesterday, when I was so angry that I couldn't even blog after the game.  I didn't want to just spew, I mean it was only the second game of the year.  So, hey I'll take Zach Miner's 5 2/3 innings, I'll take Brandon Inge's third homer in three games.  I'll take a solid debut by Ryan Perry.  I'll take a 1-2-3 9th by Fernando Rodney.   Winning--it's like better than losing!

Now, people on sports radio today were going a little gonzo, saying Leyland won't make it anywhere near Mother's Day this season before he's fired.  Brandon Lyon is done, buried in the bullpen, not to see the light of day anytime soon.   Now, I was as disappointed as anyone last night--Lyon was just awful.  But it was his first outing of the season.  I mean baseball fans know that there are 162 games to be played, right?  

Everyone's got a REALLY short fuse because of last year's debacle.  I get that.  I'm not feeling particularly generous myself.  But how in the name of balls and strikes do you expect to make it through this season if you're tapped out already?  That's what I love about baseball, it's a LOT of games, a long season.  You can expect to watch a game on a near daily basis.  Off days often irk me.  Where's my Tiger fix?

So, I for one, am going to TRY to kick back and enjoy the season.  Wins, losses, pretty, ugly, all of it.  I am really enjoying Miguel Cabrera, by the way.  But, please, could someone PUH-LEEZ come up with a decent nickname, before I strangle Rod & Mario the next time they call him "Cabby."  Once you've got a good suggestion, stuff FSN's email inbox with it-k?  Overload their server til it crashes repeatedly.  They'll get the message.

OK, I'll grudgingly give Brandon Inge some due also, but it's only the third game in.  I won't issue my apology until he proves himself over the full season.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Excuse Me, Are You Sure This is 2009?

Time warp.  I could swear tonight's game was straight out of 2008.  If it weren't for Gerald Laird, Adam Everett and Josh Anderson, you would have been hard-pressed to convince me otherwise.

There was Justin, racking up 35 pitches in the first inning, and 80 over 3 2/3, before being bombed out of the game.

There was a reliever (granted it was Eddie Bonine, who made five starts with the big club last year, but no relief appearances), letting inherited runners score--with flair, though--a three run homer to the first batter faced!  To be fair, he then settled down, and did just fine.

There was another reliever (ok, another one who wasn't with the Tigers in 2008, Juan Rincon) who had runners circling the bases like little tots getting dizzy on the Big Cat Carousel.

It's the events of the game that gave the feel of 2008, not necessarily the personnel, except for Verlander, who was impersonating his filthy-in-a-bad-way 2008 performances spot on.

On the bright side--believe it--Nate Robertson looked pretty darn good in relief.  Let's hope that bulldog pitches "more left-handed" and earns his spot back, so we can have at least one lefty in the rotation.

Well, the first one is under our belt, and I admit that I was a little nervous before the game.  Geez, I'm not even a player.  What a doorknob.

I started my blog after the season last year, so this is my first "in-season" post after a game.  I haven't read any other commentary (neither mainstream media nor blogs) yet, and didn't even watch "Tigers Live" after the game on FSN due to the NCAA championship.  I'm glad, because I don't want to inadvertently be influenced by others' analysis.  So, anything here that echos anything else is purely coincidental, ya dig?

Here are a couple of final notes:

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Bonine was facing second baseman Aaron Hill, and threw a spectacular pitch on a 2-2 count to strike him out.  The bottom dropped out so well that the ball got away from Laird and he had to track it down and complete the strikeout by throwing over to first.  That pitch was a little diamond (ok, maybe a diamelle--one of those synthetic diamonds) in a steaming pile of manure that was our pitching tonight.

I liked what Rod Allen said about Gerald Laird and his take on Nate Robertson's pitching performances from last year.  Texas got a hold of him pretty good a couple times last year (hey, who didn't?), so Laird saw what was happening.  Rod suggested that maybe Laird can give Robertson a fresh perspective on his pitching.  I hope that's true.  Take all the advice you can get, Nate, and use it to make us all forget your irrational, malcontented ravings about not starting.

I'm going to be like a pitcher tonight, and put a bad game QUICKLY out of mind.  Move on.  The rest of the Jays staff isn't exactly Roy Halladay, and we did get to him a little tonight.

Tomorrow's game will be played in 2009.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Live in the Now

I don't want to be accused of wallowing in the past, reliving past victories, ignoring the here and now, which is Opening Day tomorrow!  However, I have to mention that over at, Steve Kornacki has a cool little "Where Is He Now" piece about Guillermo Hernandez.  He of the 1984 World Series Champion Tigers.  He of 1984 Cy Young and MVP fame.  It's nice to catch up with our one-time closer, who says he regularly went three innings for a save, and his arm never got tired.  On the contrary, he said it got even better as we went along, and "Sparky knew that."  He also still keeps up with the Tigers, and encourages this year's team to go out and get it.  Sadly, his health is not the best, though he's only 54 years old.  There's a companion piece about the Hernandez and the '84 season, also penned by Kornacki.  You've got to read it, because there's quite the anecdote about Hernandez choking on his wad of tobacco as he got mobbed after the final World Series out.

Anyway, enough of the past, and on to the future.  Opening Day arrives tomorrow.  Prognosticators are not generally looking kindly on our Tigers, and it's understandable.  There are quite a few question marks, mostly surrounding our pitching staff.  I'm right with everyone, wondering how the hurlers will perform, but I can't help but be optimistic when it comes to the wearers of the Old English D.  It's a new season, and we've improved our defense.  We've got a good lineup.  Soon, very soon, I'll be at the ballpark.  Bring on the 2009 season.  I'm tired of thinking about it, analyzing it, writing about it.  I'm ready for it to commence.  Will anyone else have a hard time getting to sleep tonight?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Right is Right?

What to make of our all righty rotation, that is the question.  It couldn't be helped, what with Dontrelle Willis' trip to the DL, and Nate Robertson's inability to grab ahold of a spot, but it ain't exactly ideal.  I agree that the best five should make the rotation--notwithstanding contracts and handedness.  Still, let's look at a few of the AL Central lefty bats we'll be facing on a regular basis--and this is not everyone.


Martinez (S)
Hafner (who has had his struggles this spring, but may just be working out timing)


M & M boys
and a whole host of switch hitters

Thome and Sizemore and Morneau, oh my.  I've got a message in to the Wizard of Oz asking for a left-handed starter.

On a side note, I'm all aflutter, because I'm going to see Porcello's CoPa debut in person on April 14.  Whoo hoo!