Monday, June 8, 2009

Clete Saves the Day

Photo: AP

You never like to see your pitchers walk a bunch of guys and struggle, but it’s nice to know that the team still has the ability to outslug on occasion. Rick Porcello had some trouble early, including giving up a leadoff home run to Chone Figgins (who joins guys like Ronny Cedeno and Alberto Callaspo as guys who don’t hit home runs who have homered off Porcello). He did settle down somewhat after that, but he threw too many pitches early and only lasted five innings. The ‘pen had kind of a rough time of it. Bobby Seay was the only one to get through his outing cleanly, without letting a runner score (his own or somebody else’s), but he only faced one batter. The right-handers all had problems of one sort or another. Zumaya in particular must’ve felt really good (He threw at least two pitches that were clocked at 103; ESPN’s commentators joked that he was throwing “a thousand miles an hour”), but he didn’t have the command that he’s been showing so far this year. And we’ve well documented the struggles that Rodney has in non-save situations (although I get the feeling that if Leyland had brought in, say, Brandon Lyon, the entire web community would’ve had a collective aneurysm).

Meanwhile, the Tigers finally got to see the struggling version of the Angels’ bullpen, and yet they very nearly let them off the hook. I’ve said on numerous occasions that for some reason, the Tigers haven’t been very good at taking advantage of walks, but if an opposing player makes an error, it’s like the floodgates open. And that’s what happened yesterday. The Tigers did not score in the eighth inning until the error by Matthews/Morales (they gave the error to Matthews, but it probably should’ve gone to Morales, cuz it wasn’t that bad a throw). Then there was another walk and then the grand slam by, of all people, Clete Thomas, who was only in there because Leyland lifted Cabrera for a pinch-runner earlier in the game. He sure did a good job filling in for Cabrera. By the way, it looks as though “Clete’s Cougars” have returned to the ballpark. I’m still not sure where that name came from, unless they are all fans from Sylvania (After all, Sylvania Southview High School IS the “Home of the Cougars”). By the way, the astounding thing was that the Tigers scored five runs in that inning and the only hit was the grand slam. At least they finally got one of their five-run eighth innings to count for something.

After ending what had been kind of a crappy homestand on a high note, it’s time to hit the road for a long, LONG time. First up is a freakin’ FIVE GAME SERIES in Chicago, beginning with a day-night doubleheader today. Has anyone else been looking at this week on the calendar and cringing (Actually, I know Ian over at
Bless You Boys is “very fearful”). It’s not that I don’t have faith in the Tigers, but their tendency to play really crappy baseball against the White Sox is fast becoming the stuff of legend, so you can understand if I can’t help but envision all the bad things that could happen in this series. Yuck. At any rate, first they gotta tackle this doubleheader. Armando Galarraga gets the nod for the first game, and like I’ve said, I’m pretty sure he’ll end up being the one sent down (or otherwise taken off the roster) simply because they need the roster space for Bonderman, unless they decide to send down a position player. He’s not been dominant, but he’s pitched well enough to win in his last two starts (arguably his last three, as he wasn’t terrible against the Rockies), but has gotten no run support. I guarantee that if the Tigers’ offense had shown up in his last three starts, he would not be getting nearly the amount of flack from the blogosphere that he is right now. The White Sox offense is struggling right now, but that never seems to matter when Detroit shows up, and they’ve already proven that they can hurt Galarraga, especially in the homer-friendly confines of U.S. Cellular Field. He’s going to have to earn his way to a win. The White Sox counter with Clayton Richard, a lefty who has done a good job for them in most of his starts. The starting lineup for the Tigers is pretty much the same as it was yesterday, except Dane Sardinha is catching (and yes, that means that Cabrera is at first base, at least for the start of this thing). By the way, this’ll mark the first occasion that I’ve been able to watch both games of a doubleheader. In the past couple years, I’ve always missed the first game due to a dentist’s appointment, work, school, or the game wasn’t televised (though the Tigers have lost all those games, so it was never any big disappointment that I missed them). I would feel better about this if they weren’t playing the White Sox. Your Mood Music for today (or at least Game 1): Well, the Tigers are on the road again, and they’re in a place they don’t normally play well in, so here is Kenny Loggins with “Highway to the Danger Zone.” While the lyrics don’t all fit (though maybe they do, in an uplifting sort of way), the title certainly does.

1 comment:

  1. Clete's Cougars was created by the fashion label "Agui" based in Ann Arbor. The idea of of Fan Club came about when a group of 30 something and 40 something year old woman went "ga ga" over Clete's bashful and "awe shucks" looks and non-stop energy on the field. The Fan Club is based at Harry's Bar on Clifford in Detroit 6 blocks from the ball park. The pin-up V neck shirts became popular with girls in their 20's hence "cougars in training" badge on their shirts. The girls met up with Brandon Inge in Dexter one night after a day game and he commented the club house is a buzz over the girls and their fan club. You can find the cougar girls before or after the game at Harry's Bar. No I do not work for Harry !