This is probably the first time I've quoted the same song for two different things in the same season. After all the ups and downs that this roller coaster of a season brought us, the Tigers end the way they began: .500. Apparently, it’s only the second time in their history that they finished at exactly .500 (I think the other time was 1958, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now). And what’s more, their home record (52-29) was exactly the inverse of their road record (29-52). This was a bizarre game because I’m not sure what all I’m supposed to glean from it. There was lots of news concerning 2011, but I should probably wait until I write my offseason preview to get into those tidbits in detail. But one piece of news is that Leyland (for now) wants Phil Coke in the starting rotation next year. He was shaky yesterday, although at this point I’m not going to interpret that as anything other than a bad outing. But the pleasant surprise was that he was the only guy out of the bullpen to be shaky. Everyone else did a nice job. Daniel Schlereth had a really nice-looking curveball going for him. As I expected, it felt like a spring training game with all the pitchers, but having Jose Valverde in the ninth restored some normalcy, although it looks like he now spins on the mound in addition to dancing. And there could not be a better end to this season than to have Brandon Inge make a highlight-reel diving catch to end the game.
Speaking of Brandon Inge, one of the announcements made yesterday is that the Tigers want him back. They’ve made him a multi-year offer (I heard somewhere that it was a two-year deal, but I haven’t seen that anywhere else to confirm), and knowing how much Inge loves it in Detroit, I find it hard to imagine that the two sides won’t come to an agreement. In fact, on the Tigers.com article, Inge talked almost as if he’d already signed the contract. And in addition to the great catch that ended the game, he hit a two-run home run that tied the game at that point. While Inge now seems all but certain to return, Johnny Damon has played his final game as a Tiger. However, before he departed, he hit an RBI single to give the Tigers the lead for good. It was also a good day for Will Rhymes, who had two doubles.
Normally, this paragraph is where I’d preview the next game, but sadly, the next game is not until March 31st of 2011. I’d say there’s a good chance that the starting pitchers will be Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia (Again! That’s gotta be about the tenth time those two have matched up), but it’s such a long way off. Hopefully within the next week I’ll have a season review and an offseason preview for you (although if you have been paying any attention at all, you’ll already know about 90% of what I’m going to say in the offseason preview). I won’t be posting every day, but I’ll try to check in two or three times a week. And in the meantime, I’ll chime in on the postseason if I feel like I have something substantial to say about it. Out of the eight teams that made it in, I’ll be rooting the most for the Rangers and the Rays (who unfortunately are playing each other in the first round, so one of them won’t last very long). The only AL team I’d like to see eliminated swiftly is the Twins, and given the fact that I was born without the Yankee-hater gene, I have no problem wishing them to beat Minnesota (although my dad apparently promised the Baseball Guru that both he and I would root for the Yankees because the Tigers didn’t make it in). The NL doesn’t really have any team I’m all that enthusiastic for. I’m sick of the Phillies winning all the time. I don’t have a strong feeling for the Braves, but I used to absolutely despise them when I was a kid. I don’t really care for the Giants all that much. The Reds are okay, I guess. Living in Ohio, there are a few Reds fans around here (though they’re badly outnumbered by Tigers and Indians fans). But any baseball is better than no baseball at all. And it’s certainly better than Hell’s Hot Stove (Have you learned by now that I don’t care much for the offseason and the deals and signings that go with it?).