As I settled in to contribute my first “diary” entry for the good folks at Walkoff Woodward, I went through my rituals. Comfy “writing” shorts on…check. Well-worn Tigers cap…yes sir. Adult beverage to stave off dehydration…checkers.
Tonight, it was Windy City versus Detroit Rock City. Which makes this an easy argument. You didn’t need Paul Stanley to tell ya which ‘burb had the better moniker…or the superior ballclub in the standings. It was easily the DET! But that wasn’t what tonight was supposed to be about. It was about the wild-eyed Tigre hurler, taking crack number 3…at the previously elusive 20th win.
For those of you that were late switching over from the wild MNF game, the controversy got served up, nice and early! In the opening inning, Chicago starter, Chris Sale (who’s built like Marmaduke on the mound, but wearing striped pajamas) threw inside on the already banged up Miguel Cabrera. Favorite son Miggy, checked his swing, and the pitch clunked off of his right kneecap. As if #24 needed any more ow-ies at this point in the season, he tried pleading his case to Brian Gorman, the home plate umpire. Well, Gorman must have still been steamed- that one of his fellow crew members ate the last cookie, during the pre-game meal, because one pitch later…he tossed Cabby out of the game! Resident interventionist, Jim Leyland, rushed out of the dugout in an attempt to restore order…and was promptly given his ticket, to give to the valet.
8 pitches into the game: No Triple Crown Kid…No Skipper. What in the name of Stan Papi is going on here??!!
Have no fear Tiger faithful, at least we have Mad Max throwing darts for us this evening!! Except that he wasn’t. What was supposed to be Scherzer’s night to reach a milestone for all major league pitchers, quickly went South(side.) Whether the bizarro start to the Top of the 1st, threw off his concentration or not, things did not look good in his pursuit to become MLB’s 1st 20 game hot shot. (Or, the anti-Maroth.)
While Sale was breezing through innocuous Detroit at-bats, Maxwell’s pitch count began to swell, in the first frame. Just as it looked as though he might pitch his way out of the self-inflicted trouble, longtime Tiger-killer, Paul Konerko goes back up the middle, and pushes the first 2 runs across the dish.
Things really never got much better than that, for fans of the “D”. The bats fell silent, and Max never got into a rhythm. He looked about as comfortable as a guy who left the house and realized one pant leg was shorter than the other :/ 90 pitches in, it’s 5-0 and his night was finito after four (easily his shortest outing all year.) Later in the 6th, Ramon Santiago also tried to get on- via the hit by pitch, but he too was called out. (Apparently the “lean into one” strategy only works for Rudy Stein in “The Bad News Bears”?)
Sale waltzed through 8 EASY innings, his only stumble, V-Mart’s solo homer in the 7th. That did little more than to say, “HAHA, there goes your shutout…”
So on the 9th day, of the 9th month, Tigers pitchers racked up 11 K’s (in 8 innings) but couldn’t get Maximus the one letter he wanted most…the W. They’ll try it again tomorrow against these same Gym Sox. Facing some new pitcher named: Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson or maybe Lyndon Baines Johnson…
Sleep well Motor City.