Monday, May 30, 2005
Hark! What is that sound? The gentle rustle of a hundred thousand stiff wheaten bristles, jostling with one another and scratch scratch scratching across the ground, a noise at once minimal and cacophonous, a noise of cleanly joys to one and destructive shame to another....
SWEEP! Ha ha, yes indeed.
Wielding the broom were Dmitri (he of the 'DO-RAG WHICH IS BEYOND QUESTIONING and also homeruns), Pudge (the doubles are coming back, a very good sign that he's getting back on track overall at the plate), Nook (TEH SPEED!), Craigger (teh clutch hitting which doesn't exist but still! also homeruns) and the back end of the bullpen (that being The Farns, Jamie 'holy shit his ERA is still 1.96' Walker, Frankie, and Ugie-- no runs off of any of them).
Carrying the slop bucket behind in shame were Ramon Martinez (0-for-5 with a GIDP, BAD REPLACEMENT PLAYER, BAD!), Ledezma (4 innings, 3 hits, 4 runs, an error, plus 5 walks, kinda speaks for itself), and Chris Spurling (2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, the same).
A fun fact! If you look at the pitchers used today, you'll see that the Tigers used 6 guys while the Orioles used 5. On the Tigers, only one of those pitchers has an ERA over 3.00 (and that was the starter, Ledezma). On the Orioles, only two of those pitchers have ERAs under 3.00, and one of them was James Baldwin who like played in his first game ever tonight so his stats don't even count. So that's ONE guy under 3.00. I tell you kids, this Tigers bullpen has been catcher-ass hot lately. Troy Percival who?
And those ERAs sure meant something tonight, because it was 6-2 Orioles when their starter, Bruce Chen, left the mound. The Tigs came all the way back to win it 8-6 off of a reeling Oriole bullpen, which is great for Detroit because it's exactly the kind of duke-it-out-and-come-from-behind win they haven't been getting, and terrible for Baltimore because ha ha your bullpen fucked up a huge lead.
The hapless Carlos Pena was not in the lineup tonight. Mario Impemba, the play-by-play announcer for the FSN TV broadcasts of the Tigers games, has a blog and recently asked Brandon Inge how he got out of his slump a few years ago, with an eye towards helping Pena do the same. Inge responded by saying that he went to the team shrink, who gave him the following visualization exercise, which got him hitting again:
"All I think about is the pitcher, seeing the ball and hitting it off his forehead. No mechanics enter my mind. That is my visualization."
Every time Brandon Inge is up at the plate, he is imagining whacking a line drive off of the opposing pitcher's forehead. I love it.
As for the Sox, well, you can get that from all the other billions of Sox blogs out there, can't you? David Wells pitched into the 9th inning after no one in the whole wide world thought he was going to make it out of the first inning alive. He also switched numbers with Edgah, wearing 16 instead of his coveted 3 (a number that Edgah had worn his entire career). Apparently Edgah had to offer a considerable monetary incentive to get his number back, but one has to believe that the immense sucktasticness of Wells' performance with number 3 on his back greased the way for the transaction to take place at all.
David Ortiz launched two homeruns so monstrous that they were bordering on the obscene. COVER UP THAT BALL, IT DONE VIOLATED THE CODES OF DECENCY. Joe Torre fears the Big Papi: "It's nothing new. We've watched that for a couple of years. He's a very tough hitter. Obviously, he has a lot of confidence in this ballpark. You look up there and he's hitting .280. I don't know who's getting him out -- somebody is."
At one point the ESPN announcers were prattling on about A-Rod and his therapy and his lack of a father figure (I am not even kidding) and on and on, and they kept putting the camera on A-Rod the second there was a tiny break in the action (it was a very long and drawn-out at-bat). I was watching the game with my friend Jess, and after this had been going on for about 5 minutes we both started groaning in disgust and rage at the continued A-Rod love-in. The at-bat went on, and the A-Rod talk went on, and on, and it got ridiculous.
Then the at-bat ended. In a bouncing linedrive hit to A-Rod, who let the ball carom off the top of his glove and into the outfield. It was too perfect. The camera zoomed in on his grimacing purple lips and we cackled with glee.
Me: "I'll bet he was thinking about his long-lost father just then!"
Jess: "He's gonna have to discuss that error with his therapist!"
(Yes, I am the meaner one. Couldja tell?)
The last excellent bit came just after Francona had sent Wells from the mound in the 9th ("I didn't know if he was going to give [the ball] to me"). In the dugout afterwards, the camera caught Tito ambling over and offering Wells a handshake. Wells reached out and grasped Tito's hand and shook it. Tito attempted to pull away, Wells gripped harder and pulled back. Tito laughed a little and tried to pull away again, and Wells just tightened his grip and reeled him back in, grinning rather fixedly by now.
Tito finally leaned in and let Wells say whatever he wanted to say (Wells speaking with a very strained smile by now, I imagine he wasn't overly pleased about being removed in the 9th), and eventually Boomer let him go. Jess and I were in hysterics, though.
Jess: "Oh man, he knew there were cameras around, so he couldn't punch Francona, I guess that was the next best thing."
By squashing the Orioles into a widgy little orange smear of birdy bits, the Tigers helped a suddenly-hot Boston squad launch themselves back into second place... barely. The Sox, Yanks, and BJays all have 27 wins but New York and Toronto both have 23 losses, while Boston only has 22. So we're sitting precariously but really need to whallop the O's at Fenway this week to make it stick.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this series by the Tigers and Red Sox, but the Tigs sweeping (sweeping!) the first-place Orioles and the Sox taking 2 out of 3 from the Yankees (who had just swept Detroit in the previous series) was about as far from my nebulous expectations as possible.
Everything was a surprise. Craigger going yard in all 3 games? Edgah getting his groove back? Moose laying his pretty head down on the mound and sobbing hysterically? Mazzilli leaving in Steve Reed (thanks bunches, dude!)? DaMeat going out before every game of the series, catching an oriole using traps cunningly baited with fruit, and eating the captured prey live? OK, not exactly, but damn, he must've been doing something... 10-21 this season against them, 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles, and three RBI in this last game? Cor blimey.
To all you Red Sox fans, I'd like to say, on behalf of Tigers fans everywhere: