I think that most of us understand cause and effect. It’s pretty self explanatory, really; for every cause there is an effect. A butterfly bats it’s wings in Mongolia, a hurricane hits Hawaii, that kind of thing. Well, this is true in baseball as well, however instead of a butterfly we have Brian Cashman and instead of a hurricane we have Freddy Garcia.
In the off-season Cashman had a choice between two Free Agents (actually he could have probably signed both but that’s not the point here) who had pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and saw their contracts expire. Bartolo Colon, risen from the grave, was 8-6 and had an ERA of 3.30 for the Yankees at the end of July. Freddy Garcia, the Sweaty Freddy, was 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA at the same time and both were making Cashman look like that GM Ninja everyone is always talking about. Or isn’t, I don’t know, but I’ve heard him called that at one point. Sue me! I don’t pay attention to the Yankees front office, the Tigers front office lies enough!
Anyway, Colon tired, began to struggle in September and finished the year 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA. Garcia maintained his pace, and finished 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA even though he threw roughly 20 fewer innings during the season and hadn’t thrown 75 more innings in winter ball like Colon had in his quest to secure a major league contract once again (in all seriousness, Bartolo Colon is a freaking sweet comeback story).
Cashman made a decision this winter to resign Freddy Garcia, who is also known as “The Chief” on Baseball Reference, to a one year, $4 million contract, and allowed Bartolo Colon, who apparently isn’t anyone special since he doesn’t have a nickname on Baseball Reference, to take his 135 strikeouts over to the Oakland Athletics for a mere $2 million one year deal. That’s half the price! Which means that Cashman thought he was worth half as much! (There are other circumstances too, like the fact that Colon signed much later in the off season and didn’t have as much leverage to bargain money, but that wouldn’t have been the case if he had signed earlier! Cashman basically said that Freddy was worth $4M and Colon wasn’t).
That decision has nearly run its course a month into the season, as Freddy Garcia entered the game against Detroit with a 9.75 ERA in three games and starts. 12 innings, 20 hits, 13 earned runs. Fats Cats drooled and in 1.2 innings Freddy allowed six runs, on five hits, and two walks. Andy Dirks, who is more like a Skinny Cat hit a three run home run in the first inning. Brennan Boesch, who is more like a Regular Cat, hit an RBI double in the second. Miguel Cabrera, who probably is a Fat Cat (or a Phat Cat), hit a two run single in the same inning as Boesch. Three Cats, Six Runs. Cause and Effect.
So, you see, because he chose to sign Freddy Garcia over Bartolo Colon, Brian Cashman was literally and figuratively the reason that the Tigers won today and snapped their five game losing streak.
Of course, Drew Smyly had quite a bit to do with that as well. Brian Cashman had something to do with it, but as we all acknowledge his cause and effect we must also acknowledge Drew Smyly’s cause and effect.
Imagine what would have happened if Jim Leyland hadn’t championed Drew Smyly, a young lefty out of the University of Arkansas who had one year of pro experience, into the rotation this spring after competing with five other pitchers for the fifth starter job? Where would the Tigers be without his four starts, each one a performance where he allowed no more than one total run in the time he was on the mound? Well, we’re not sure but the Tigers are 3-1 in those four games. That’s 27.2% of their wins. So, theoretically, given the fact that the Tigers have won a total of four games in which Max Scherzer, Adam Wilk, and Rick Porcello have all started, the cause and effect of picking Drew Smyly to be the fifth starter is weighing quite heavily on the Tigers 11-10 record.
Jeez, what a game! Immediately, you can’t help but think about yesterday’s big loss against the Yankees, which was improbable the way they came back and eventually won, but that’s what happens when Brayan Villarreal is looking at three catchers gloves instead of one. But that loss dropped the Tigers from 10-9 to 10-10 and Justin Verlander got knocked around a bit. It was debilitating! A crushing defeat! What a job by Drew Smyly to not only pick the team up, but he lifted Justin Verlander onto his shoulders as well, which is probably the most impressive thing of all the impressive things that Smyly has done, as he stands at 6’3 and weighs 190 pounds dripping wet. Verlander is 6’5 and weighs 225 pounds, and probably more like 230 lbs after his pre game meal of Taco Bell and so for 190 lb Drew Smyly to lift 225-230 lb Justin Verlander onto his shoulders, he has to be pretty strong. I mean really strong. Like strong man strong. Like he gets his first major league win in his first career start in Yankee freaking stadium strong.
Anyway, onto the bullet holes, which aren’t as painful as any of the bullet holes that we’ve looked at in the last week. So, without further ado….pain free Bullet Holes!
- Austin Jackson: 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, two runs scored, and a stolen base. You’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Why twice on Sunday? I’ve never understood what that phrase means, but if it means he’s 2-for-6 with two walks, two strikeouts, four runs scored and two stolen bases, then the Tigers are having a good day!
- Brennan Boesch: Bad at bats, good at bats, there’s no normal at bats….Boesch is a confusing hitter, probably because he has little idea of what he’s going to do when he steps up to the plate. He’s like a lefty Delmon Young!
- Miguel Cabrera: Two run single, homer, how is this guy not already awarded the MVP? Selig!>>>>>>!
- Prince Fielder: He’s disappointing people. Specifically Kurt Mensching of Bless You Boys, who has been calling for Fielder to homer in every game this series. Something about a short porch in right field. But Fielder is such a tease! He won’t hit one right away…he wants you to think he can’t!
- Andy Dirks: The home run by Dirks was the first time in eight games that the Tigers scored before the opposition…which could be a reason that they were 1-7 in those eight games. Ya think! #justaballplayer
- Alex Avila: Has a single in four trips. Not really hitting much.
- Jhonny Peralta: Had a single in four trips. Not really hitting much. Wait I just said that! Well, I wouldn’t have to just say that if either of these two blowhards actually did anything other than play defense! And even tha—-oh nevermind.
- Brad Eldred: Went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Move along, move along.
- Drew Smyly: You can’t just look at Smyly in awe. One year of pro ball, carries Justin Verlander on his back, strikes out one batter every inning, and to top it off he’s done all that and faced the Rays, Rangers and Yankees (and Royals). Those first three teams are significant because they all are currently sitting in three of the top four spots in runs scored in the American league. And Smyly allowed 1 run to each of them (he allowed 0 to the Royals).
You know what. I do a really bad job of writing pitchers into the bullet holes, which is stupid and naive thing for me to do. So here you are relievers, bask in your attention that I have finally given you!
- Phil Coke: Gave up a homer to Curtis Granderson, which I guess is fine since lots of pitchers, especially left handed pitchers have given up homers to Curtis Granderson. Wait…no they haven’t. Well, Coke did get an important double play on Mark Teixeira, the batter before Granderson, so the Grandy-man’s shot was limited to one run (at the time it made the score 6-2).
- Octavio Dotel: Still has not given up a run on the year (8.2 innings). With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde flopping around the mound like a bunch of fish on the deck of a boat, this is quite important for stability reasons.
- Jose Valverde: I’m not writing anything about him because he still thinks he can make his own save situation. What a jerk. Turning a 7-2 lead into a 7-5 lead doesn’t get you the save when you give up the three runs you big potato.
Because I was rude and didn’t give you any .gif’s the whole recap, here’s one of Andy Dirks hitting his first home run of the season, batting fifth for the first time on the year and only the sixth time in his short career: