The beginning of baseball’s 2015 season was thrilling for Detroit Tigers’ fans. Our boys of summer in blue and orange ran onto the field and kicked butt, winning their first six games of the year.
Wow! All right! Hot damn! League championship, here we come! World Series, look out! This will definitely be our year to bring it home. Yay, Tigers!
Perhaps we were just a bit optimistic. It’s July now, and things aren’t looking all that great after all. The Tigers have a 46-46 win/loss record and are ranked third in the American League Central Division. It’s as if the Body Snatchers invaded Detroit and replaced our fierce Tigers with Pussycat pod people, because they sure are playing like pussycats.
Detroit has some of the best hitters in baseball—the very best in Miguel Cabrera—but the team hasn’t been able to capitalize on all the talent on its roster. If our offense manages to produce hits, they strand men on base scoreless inning after scoreless inning. They can’t bring them home, and they’ve grounded into double plays—ninety-eight so far—more than any other team in the league this year. What’s going on with that?
Then there is Detroit’s pitching, which is nowhere near what it was last year. We lost Max Scherzer to a bigger paycheck from the Washington Nationals. Justin Verlander hasn’t been as effective as he was before, now that he’s off the injured list. Whatever you do, don’t get me started on the bullpen. I stare in disbelief each time starting pitchers put in stellar performances only to have the relief pitchers in the Tigers’ bullpen snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Macho Guy turns the air in his vicinity a bright shade of blue.
Performance malaise must be catching because the Tigers’ normally consistent defense has made several uncharacteristic unforced errors this season. It’s one more nail in the season’s coffin. Meh.
So where does the buck stop? Are you there, Brad Ausmus? It’s me, a disgruntled Tigers fan. When a pitcher is in trouble, why would a manager wait as long as you do to take him out of the game? Oh, right. The bullpen sucks. So why doesn’t the team make a trade or call up some fresh talent from the minors? Any pitcher would have to be better than some that we have now. Think about it, Brad. We can’t go on like this.
As I write this post, I’m watching the Tigers play the Mariners at Comerica Park on July 20. I won’t hold my breath expecting them to win. I want to live.
Whoa! Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run in the first. Okay, so we lead 1-0 early on. Big whoop. The Tigers will find a way to lose eventually; just you wait and see.
And there it is. Seattle’s Mike Zunino hit a two-run double in the top of the second, putting the Mariners ahead 2-1. ::sigh::
Hold on. After Seattle pitcher J.A. Happ walked two in the bottom of the second, Tigers catcher James McCann hit a two-run double that gave Detroit a 3-2 lead. Things are looking up again.
Oh, no. Zunino hit an RBI single in the sixth putting the Mariners back on top. Dang. The Mariners are still ahead 4-3 in the eighth. It’s only a matter of time now. Did I call it?
Yikes! Al Albuquerque just tried to catch a line drive with his bare pitching hand. Owie-wow-wow! There’s a confab out at the mound. It appears that he’s all right. Whew!
I did that once—and only once—when I played fast pitch softball in high school. I was one of the pitchers and I had trouble getting used to catching with my gloved left hand. I tried to stop a line drive with my bare right hand. Owie-wow-wow! The ball’s impact bent the middle finger back and sprained it—didn’t break it, fortunately—but it still had to be immobilized with a splint (I think the school nurse used half of a tongue depressor). For many days, I walked through the halls of the high school and into classrooms with an erect middle finger on my right hand. My male classmates envied me my ability to flip off our high school’s administration and faculty with impunity. But I digress.
Holy $#1%!! Kinsler just hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth! Unreal! We’re ahead! We might win this one! MG is hyperventilating. Easy now, don’t go getting your hopes up. Joakim Soria still has to close out the ninth without giving up any runs. Can I stand the strain?
OMG! Soria struck out the last batter! MG is breathing again. Yay, Soria! Yay, Kinsler! Yay, Tigers! We win! We win! We Win! I knew you could do it, Detroit. You’re the best.
Um, please disregard all that nonsense I wrote earlier. I love you guys! #DetroitTigers #baseball #baseballfans #TigersFans