You wanted a war? You got one. As I said on Bless You Boys (which earned me Comment of the Night honors), this team is like an asthmatic running a marathon who has been in the lead with the finish line in sight but the bronchi are seriously tightening up. And now, we are down to our last few gasps of oxygen (27 gasps, to be exact). Leyland said Alfredo Figaro would have a short leash, and he kept his word on that, but it still wasn’t enough (I assure you, though, Rick Porcello would NOT have shut out the White Sox). But really, the Quentin home run was the only hard-hit ball that scored a run. The other runs scored on a fielder’s choice that should’ve been a double play, and three balls that Alex Rios hit off the end of the bat and dumped into shallow right field. It’s really hard to believe that Armando Galarraga ended up charged with two runs, cuz he looked better than that (I don’t think he should’ve started the fifth, though). The bullpen did the best they could, all told. The offense just didn’t do anything against Freddy Garcia. They looked like they might have something going in the eighth, with two on and a run in. But Magglio hit a scorching lineout to shortstop and Cabrera followed with an inning-ending double play. Miggy’s picked a bad time to go into a slump. He’s 0 for his last 11 and in this series, hasn’t hit the ball out of the infield. Plus, there’s a whole new subplot to this whole thing, because he had bruises or scratches on his face last night that weren’t there the night before. Personally, I didn’t even notice them. He claims his dog did it to him (and the revelation that players own pets is blowing my mind right now, for some reason, but that’s another post), but the lack of comments from Leyland or other players has the media skeptical (most of the commenters on BYB seem to be taking his word for it, though). The leading theory among the media seems to be that he got into a fight with one of his teammates, but if that were the case, why don’t any of the other Tigers have mysterious bruises or scratches? I find it hard to believe that Miggy could come out on the worse end of a fight. He’s so big and strong that he could do some serious damage if he wanted to. At any rate, he needs to start hitting again, bruises or no bruises.
And here we go with the last game of the season all tied up. And we’re forced to use Justin Verlander to save the season. The Tigers have won the games that they’ve absolutely needed to win, and now they must do it again. It’ll be anything but easy, though. Verlander will probably need to pitch a shutout, but this is a team that, prior to this year, gave him a lot of problems. A lot of the media seem to believe he’s going to revert to that. Meanwhile, scoring runs off John Danks is not an easy feat even for a good offense. The Tigers did beat him earlier this year, but it was by a score of 2-1. I took a look at the numbers last night. With the exception of Adam Everett (who hits .250 against Danks), every single Tiger is either really good (over .300) or really bad (under .200) against Danks. Carlos Guillen is in the lineup as the DH. This may have something to do with the fact that Marcus Thames is 1-for-14 with 7 strikeouts against Danks (Guillen is 4-for-9). But they HAVE to find a way to find that spark again, or it’s all over because let’s face it: The Twins are going to win today. They scored four runs against Greinke, for crying out loud. The only question is how big a blowout they’ll win by. I told you a long time ago that I was going to listen to my gut more this season, and right now it’s not feeling good things. Still, I have an eerie calmness about today. Your Mood Music: I figured we needed a motivational speech to prepare us for what may be our last stand. I was going to use the Braveheart speech, but by happy accident, I came across this. Go Tigers!