Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fireworks and Flirting with Disaster

Photo: AP

We’ll get to the Magglio hair saga in a moment, but first, I do have a game to comment on. Tigers pitching certainly gave up a veritable parade of baserunners all night, but somehow managed to limit the damage. Leyland certainly wasn’t happy about the walks, in particular. However, if you think about it, this has gone on for the entire homestand with the exception of the Verlander game. I suppose I shouldn’t be picky, since they’re making good pitches when they need to and they’ve won all these games, but it’d be nice to have a Tiger pitcher just shut down the opposing offense completely for once.

The Tiger hitters did not have quite as many chances as the Cubs, but for once, the Tigers were receiving bases-loaded walks instead of giving them up (though I wonder how many bases-loaded walks the Tigers have given up if you take Dontrelle Willis and Ryan Perry out of the equation). Miguel Cabrera and Gerald Laird provided some early fireworks before the main event from the International Freedom Festival (which I had never heard of before last night…Hey, I’ve never lived in Michigan, so how was I supposed to know about it?). However, the difference came after the dropped pop-up by Geovanny Soto (whom I actually like, despite the fact that he’s not hitting much this year; he’s throwing out runners, he’s nice-looking, and he’s Puerto Rican). Again, the Tigers took advantage of an error.

Now to tackle the unpleasant task of Magglio’s hair, or lack thereof (By the way, it wasn’t just Magglio. Vladimir Guerrero shaved off his dreadlocks last night as well). First of all, you’re not going to convince me that any homerun that he hits from hereon out is anything but coincidence (or the result of hard work in the batting cage). Second of all, while he does not look awful like Brandon Inge did after he shaved his head last year (
nor does he look like Armando Galarraga), I still don’t like it because now he just looks like everyone else. There’s nothing distinguishing about his appearance anymore (and remember, I didn’t watch a lot of the Tigers prior to 2006, so I’ve never really watched a short-haired Magglio before outside of some old photos and video of his White Sox days), and that’s disappointing. This has also, very predictably, caused a gender split on the blogosphere. The guys are ecstatic, while the women are bummed (I maintain that the men were just jealous). There was also some discussion about how it must feel better for him because it was 90 degrees yesterday, which reminded me of what I said last year when the Tigers were in Baltimore and Fernando Rodney and Brandon Inge had both shaved off their hair because of the heat:

Would you guys stop being a bunch of wusses about the heat? I hate being hot,
and yet I’ve had plenty of experience fencing wearing the full equipment (heavy
jacket and helmet) in a hot, sweaty gym and an even hotter, sweatier racquetball
court, and my hair goes down to the middle of my back.

Today, the Tigers go for the sweep (and a perfect homestand). They’re gonna need Armando Galarraga to go deep into this game because the bullpen was taxed last night (every pitcher was used except Freddy Dolsi). Armando needs a good start, because I imagine the leash is very short by now. There’s been speculation that he would’ve been pulled after four innings in his last start even if there hadn’t been a rain delay, but I think they would’ve at least tried to nurse him through the fifth, just so he could get the win. As I’ve said, his pitches have just looked different than they used to, and apparently it’s different in a bad way, given the results. And I have started wondering in earnest whether or not he’s hiding an injury. I haven’t been able to watch a start of his since the start he made in Chicago (work gets in the way of those things sometimes). I want to see the return of El Prestidigitador, not his evil twin (who throws different-looking pitches that aren’t effective). The Cubs will send out lefty Ted Lilly, who is having a good year with a very good earned run average. I’m hoping for a quick Tigers’ victory, because I go to work at 4:00.

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