Wednesday, August 16, 2006
This was, I think, my third time seeing Bonderman pitch in person, and I have yet to see the poor kid get a win. Once was a game early in the 2005 season, where he got lit up; once was this season's home opener, which he lost; and last night, where he pitched SO FREAKIN' WELL and got the no decision. Alas.
The previous night had seemed like a slower game. Part of it was probably that we showed up for BP and were thus spending two extra hours in the park to start with, but it was also the fact that there were all these quick innings interspersed with ridiculously messy long ones. Last night was fast. It seems like we got there, and suddenly it was the 5th inning, and then all of a sudden it was the 9th. Bondo and Schilling of course were responsible, and it was one of those relatively rare times where a big pitching matchup lives up to its billing.
I was at this game with Beth, which led to a rather amusing little tableau. Anyone who's ever gone to a game with me knows how I tend to sit there glued to the camera screen. Usually I'm with someone who is not a camera fiend. But Beth is just as intent on photographing the game as I am and the two of us put together probably took enough shots to fuel the AP photo wire for a week. The people sitting near us probably thought we were insane-- two girls with their faces smashed into the backs of cameras for most of the game, occasionally showing one another a shot on their screens and sniggering at the poses Mike Lowell gets himself into.
Don't let her very gracious post mislead you, though... at the time, there was a lot less cheerful resignation from her and rather a lot more tooth grinding and dolorous insistence that the Red Sox bullpen couldn't hold a lead if it was duct taped to them and saying to me, when I started really getting down to the business of praying the Tigers would pull it out, "Do you really want to make all the little blue-eyed Bostonian children cry?" Well, I'm from Massachusetts, and I've got blue eyes, so screw those kids, that's what I say.
Great night for a game too. It could've been cooler, but it wasn't oppressive, and we got some nice skies before the light went. I do love the seats we were in (THANKS COUSIN BETH!) because they're pretty close to the field and you can shoot the opposing team in their dugout when they stick their heads out AND straight into the Red Sox dugout. Nothing too exciting doing in the Sox dugout last night, but this would be important on the Tigers end later.
But the game! Ah, the game. Both pitchers came out of the gate strong, although Coco absolutely destroyed that ball in the third. That's Bondo, though. He's a classic example of the power pitcher who, because of his power, gets smashed by the long ball every so often. He settled down after that, thanks in part to some great defense from Placido Polanco, who turned a tidy ground ball in the 5th off a very difficult hop the ball took when it caromed off the back of the mound and made a ridiculous diving catch to end the inning in the 6th.
WOE TO US ALL HOWEVER, because he did not get up from that spectacular catch. Talk about a rollercoaster: one second I was screaming and thrilled beyond belief, the next second I was sucking in my breath and saying, "Oh shit. Oh shit."
Ugh. Just... urrrrgggh. I never want to see that again. Placido in that same awkward half-crouch, not moving... Magglio the first guy over, kneeling down and then frantically waving the trainers in... INSERT GIANT FROWNY FACE HERE. In a testament to either the closeness of the Tigers as a whole or the popularity of Placido, the trainers were unable to shoo the team away from him while they checked him out. Magglio and Carlos were closer to him than the trainers were for most of the time, bending down to put their faces on his level and talk to him. Granderson and Monroe hovered nervously by. Todd Jones came out of the bullpen to peer in.
Eventually of course Placido got up, gingerly holding his wrist (I thought at the time he'd broken his wrist against the ground; turns out he was just cradling it to hold up his arm so it wouldn't put pressure on his FREAKIN' SEPARATED SHOULDER) and slowly made his way into the dugout. I was suitably upset. Of course, because that is how these things work, he was supposed to be up first in the next inning. Omar Infante, who had started the day at third, had already been taken out of the game in favor of the defensive whiz that is Brandon Inge.
So out on deck came... Vance Wilson.
What! Why were they taking Pudge out of the game?
The horrible truth came out an inning later, when Vance took his spot behind homeplate and Pudge trotted out onto the field. To second base.
OH SWEET AND HORRIBLY UNFANCY KITTENS WHY.
Another thing I never want to have to see again. Carlos was directing him on every. single. play. Pointing, yelling, and who knows if Pudge was listening or not. To start off the 9th inning he made a catch on a Youkilis popup, staggering all over the infield like a newborn foal and nearly flattening Sean Casey. I was in a frenzy of despair.
Even more so when Ledezma came in to face Papi (why not Walker? I guess I don't know his numbers against Ortiz, maybe they're not very good) and gave up an RBI single to tie it. You can't really blame 'Fredo on that one. He's not a situational kinda pitcher, and David Ortiz is, well, David Ortiz.
Then there was that play, which everyone has seen and dissected by now. I thought the ball was heading foul to start with, and it was hard to tell how much of a chance Wily Mo had on it from our seats. Then there was vast confusion, because the run scored, maybe? But had it been foul? And was Craig out? And what was Leyland arguing? One of those things that's actually better to see on TV than in person, I guess.
Another uncharacteristically clean inning from Jonesy and that was that. Of course I nearly had 8 HEART ATTACKS through it all, hunching over in my seat and giving Beth even more reason to think I'm psychotic than she already has. But wow. What a game at the end of it.
In case you missed it (and you probably did, you lazy sods), the post from Monday's game is up at Roar of the Tigers, right here. It's more about the glorious Tigerness that was BP than the game, but that is just because I am a huge dork. The photos from that game are right here. Photos from Tuesday's game to come soon; I'm a little backlogged.
In a few hours I'll be at tonight's game, watching Verlander do his Verlander thing, and then I will probably be dead for a month.
edit: Damn, I nearly forgot. I had on my Michigan Baseball tshirt, and on the way out, as we were stuck in the crowd, a guy behind us said, "Heeeeeyyyy, Michigan baseball!" Turns out he was an alum, who claimed he had played on the team (I dunno. I guess it's possible. Or maybe he meant club baseball). His drunken friends yelled, "Go Big Blue!" and he had to admonish them and tell them that it's just "Go Blue". They also characterized my camera as "one serious camera, that thing ain't messin' around," which, as we all know, is 100% of FACT. Just a fun little cap to the night, that was.
Labels: baseball, Beth, in attendance, injury, Jeremy Bonderman, MLB, Placido Polanco, Pudge Rodriguez, Red Sox, Tigers