With my going to the Mud Hens game last night, I broke a streak of sorts: Up to that point, every baseball game I had been to featured Ryan Raburn in the starting lineup (He’s still been in every Tigers game I’ve been to, so that streak is still alive). The only other time I went to a Mud Hens game was in June of 2007. Back then, I recognized very few names in the lineup. This time, the only name I didn’t recognize was Jeff Frazier, the right fielder. Everyone else was either a Tigers prospect, was with the Tigers at some point in the last two or three years, or was with the Tigers in Spring Training (At the same time, the only two Louisville Bats whose names I recognized were Adam Rosales and Corky Miller). And bear in mind, I’m only talking about guys who were either in the lineup or on the mound at some point during the game (I know for a fact there are several pitchers that I don’t know). At any rate, Eddie Bonine (a name we’ll all recognize) was the starting pitcher. He didn’t start out too great. He had given up seven hits after three innings (including a two-run homer in the first), but he managed to go six innings and only gave up three runs. And you think the Tigers squander scoring opportunities? Try watching the Mud Hens sometime. They didn’t get on the board until the bottom of the fifth, when Max St. Pierre hit a solo home run (though, to be fair, they had not had many opportunities up until that point). They tied the game up in the eighth, but did no more. They then proceeded to get the leadoff man on (via walk or single) in the ninth, tenth, AND eleventh innings. Each time, the runner was sacrificed or otherwise moved over to second, but the Mud Hens never got him in. Will Rhymes made it as far as third in the eleventh via a steal, but Scott Sizemore (who was at the plate at the time) struck out, and Jeff Frazier grounded out to end the inning. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of the Mud Hens struck out once the runner was moved over to second (Speaking of strikeouts, according to baseball-reference.com, the Mud Hens as a team have struck out 786 times. The Florida Marlins, who lead the Majors in strikeouts, have struck out 676 times, which is amazing when you consider that the Marlins have probably played about thirty more games than the Mud Hens). The Bats finally got two runs off Clay Rapada in the top of the twelfth, and though the Mud Hens did get a couple runners on in the bottom half, they didn’t score. And apparently, this sort of phenomenon is nothing new for the boys in Toledo. I did take some pictures while I was at the game, and I will try to have some of those for you during the All-Star Break (although I warn you, I’m not a very good sports photographer and there are a lot of pictures of Jeff Larish, simply because we were sitting down the first base line and he was the closest player to us).
And now for yesterday’s big news: What began as a horrible snub last Sunday has ended in a marvelous victory. We have succeeded in getting Brandon Inge into the All-Star Game. I thought that beating out Ian Kinsler would be a very tall order, but Tigers fans are stubborn and don’t quit. Congratulations to Brandon and good job, Detroit fans. I also have to send a shout out to all those Phillies fans who voted for Inge alongside Shane Victorino. That was one fruitful partnership, because it got both guys in. I’ll try to tinker around with Photoshop some more and see what I can come up with, if I have enough time.