When barking clouds finally bit tonight on Chicago’s south side, many Tigers fans wondered aloud (meaning on Twitter) if our boys of summer would ever be freed from Mother Nature’s timeout chair. Hyperbole acknowledged, the Tigers have had more breaks this season than Donald Sterling’s tact. Their first game since Saturday began in an ominous fashion and ended in one that I can only describe as “bizzaro Tigers”. With two outs in the top of the 9th and Austin Jackson on third, courtesy of a Dayan Viciedo error, backup catcher & Detroit sports radio Wednesday-call-volume-booster Bryan Holaday did exactly what at least one person will falsely claim they expected and base-hit BUNTED Jackson home to put Detroit up 4-3. White Sox relief pitcher Ronald Belisario made a nice effort to track down the bunt along the 3rd base line and get Holaday at 1st but Bryan beat the throw and preserved the run. Perhaps more bizarre was the fact that, according to Holaday, he made the decision to bunt without the input of Brad Ausmus. These happy shenanigans were merely the icing on the cake for some, after witnessing a backwards sequence of events (relative to how most of the season has played out thus far) that had Justin Verlander in position for an L only to be saved by a solid bullpen performance and late clutch hitting. Down 3-1 with two outs in the 6th, Cabrera, Martinez, Torii and AJax teamed up for an impromptu singles night, hitting 4-striaght to tie things up 3-3. Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan then combined for two shut out innings (8th & 9th) with Joba notching the win and Nathan getting the save in 1-2-3 fashion. This is a summary of happenings I’d not expected to write after 5 innings of play. Was it worth the wait, Tigers fans?
Other highlights included:
- Omar Vizquel reigniting the dreams of Tigers fans who played 3B in high school by describing Miguel Cabrera as an “almost Gold Glover last year” during a pre-game interview.
- Austin Jackson extending his hit streak to six games.
- The promise of light-hearted debates between those who think Bryan Holaday should take over the starting catcher role and those who may respond with “he might as well bat 3rd too by that logic, seeing as his BA is higher than Cabrera’s”.
- An incoherent Hawk Harrelson muttering “Stretch. Dadgumit, why couldn’t it stretch?” in the press box as he caressed his Frank Thomas bobble head for comfort, hours after a long bottom of the 9th fly out by Tyler Flowers.
- Torii Hunter getting a hit for the 7th straight game, his 14th over that same period.
- VMart getting his 4th RBI of the road trip, driving in Ian Kinsler for the Tigers first run. (Shocks me that he’s only hitting .176 with RISP. Can’t last. He does have a .304 OBP though with RISP, so his patience is intact.)
- Did I mention that the bullpen didn’t implode? Deserves another nod, at any rate.
The Tigers will wake up on Wednesday with a 1.5 game lead in the AL Central and 50% chance of rain in the forecast for Chicago at 2pm. Max Scherzer is scheduled to face Hector Noesi if the weather holds (50% chance of rain also means 50% chance of no rain, si?).
The White Sox are Noesi’s third team of this young 2014 season. He began the year with Seattle, was acquired by Texas and then shipped to Chicago late this month. In theory, his 11.74 ERA and inability to stick on one squad should signal good things for the Tigers lineup, but let tonight’s game serve as a humble reminder that those who try to predict baseball might have better luck on the ocean front property market in Arizona.
Thanks for reading. Good night/morning.
P.S. – Somebody ask @SkitchP if I used the proper form of “its” in the title.