Oooof. That’s the sound coming out of Detroit this morning. A few days ago, you might’ve heard “D’OH!” or “GAAAH!” or any number of expletives. But this morning, there is only the resignation and deflation of a drawn-out “ooooof” as the last remaining molecules of enthusiasm leak out of Michigan like air from a punctured tire.
Any day your ace pitcher takes the mound, you want to win. But when that ace pitcher is doubling as the only pitcher on your staff not surrounded by flashing neon question marks and you’ve lost the first five games of the season, you really, really want to win. And when instead of winning, you drop to 0 and 6…oooooof.
If you’re a Tigers fan, you see Justin Verlander taking the mound, you figure their lineup is due to get some hits, and you reckon their time has come. You don’t expect to get routed to the tune of 13-2. Add the info that the team doing the routing, the Chicago White Sox, are a division rival, and it’s just rubbing salt in the wound. And like a bad traffic accident, we can’t look away. Let’s do some rubbernecking and see what some Tigers blogs have to say about this pile-up.
Eric Jackson of D-Town Baseball attended the game, but found it so embarrassing, he left early. “I don’t leave games early too often but I did tonight,” he writes. “It was cold and there just wasn’t a good game out on the field. Listening to the game on the ride home made me feel good about my decision.”
Bless You Boys offers a slightly different take on the sound of woe emanating from the Motor City (EEEEAAAAAK!) as Ian Casselberry asks his readers, “You don’t really want to read a recap of that game, do you? Because I sure as hell don’t feel like writing it.”
At Mack Avenue Tigers, a shell-shocked Kurt Mensching adds more lamentation (“MEHHHHHHH”) and writes: “The ‘greatest lineup in baseball’ averages 2.5 runs per game. The Tigers hit into five double plays. They stranded nine runners.” Yes, Virginia.
Over at Roar of the Tigers, Samara Pearlstein is deep in the denial stage. “What… was… that? Seriously: what did I just see on my TV? Was it baseball? I’m not entirely sure. It LOOKED like baseball, but I’m inclined to believe that it was simply a very detailed fake.”
“Time for chicken-bone cross,” confirms Mike McClary of the Daily Fungo.
And for the ultimate exercise in masochism, you can read a liveblog of the game at The Detroit Tigers Weblog. An abridged version:
8:15 – middle of 1: A 19 pitch inning. Not exactly the kind of efficiency you’re looking for. And Verlander can’t seem to keep his fastball down.
8:40 – I didn’t know it was possible to go 3-0 on Juan Uribe.
9:40 – Aaaarrrrghhhhhh.
So we’ve got “EEEEAAAAAK,” “MEHHHHHHH,” and now “Aaaarrrrghhhhhh.”
10:35 – Top of 9: Do you realize if it weren’t for White Sox errors and wild pitches this would be a shut out?
10:55 game mercifully over: Fitting that it ended on a double play. This blew.
What’s wrong with this team? Lee Panas of Tiger Tales has a sobering diagnosis:
Poor pitching (by their Ace Justin Verlander no less), poor hitting including five double plays, horrible fielding especially by Carlos Guillen….they are just awful in every phase of the game right now. I’m still very confident that this team is going to score a lot of runs this year but other than that I’m not sure what to expect. The pitching is filled with question marks and their infield defense looks much worse this year with the immobile Miguel Cabrera at third and Guillen struggling at first. Even Edgar Renteria, while an improvement over Guillen, is showing his lack of range at shortstop.
So let’s see—pitching, hitting, fielding….yep. That pretty much covers it.
Many blogs note this faintly quivering ray of hope: Curtis Granderson’s hand is sufficiently healed. He’ll resume baseball activities today and rejoin the lineup in about 10 days. Granderson’s return will add speed to a team that one scout called Jurassically slow without him.
Hilarious note for the upcoming series: the Tigers were just swept (a billion times, it seems) at home, and the Red Sox were just swept by the Blue Jays on the road (after having been on the road for a billion years, it seems). Everyone is talking about how much good it’ll do the Sox to get home. Everyone (or, OK, mostly Joe Morgan tonight) is talking about how it’ll do the Tigers some good to get on the road. Rock, meet Hard Place.
But Detroit Tigers fans weren’t the only ones to get hit hard in the kisser last night. Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg took a fastball to the face (Fire Joe Morgan notes that AJ Pierzysnki “got crossed up and just missed it”). Kellogg was wearing a mic for the game, giving Jon Miller got the bright idea of airing the audio from the incident. The moment seems to encapsulate, in allegorical fashion, both Detroit’s 0-6 start (symbolized by Kellogg) and the baseball-watching world’s stunned reaction (embodied by Pierzynski):
Pierzynski: Oh — my God.
Kellogg: (on the ground) Fuck.