The Tigers have now surrendered far too many "firsts" this year. They finished off a stellar series in Cleveland last weekend by allowing Jeanmar Gomez his first Major League win, in his first, and quite possibly only, Major League start no less (Gomez isn't exactly tearing it up in AAA, congrats, Tigers!). I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting/missing, but then we get to tonight. Going into tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays were one of 3 active MLB franchises to not have a no-hitter to their name. (The others are the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres, for those of you keeping score at home.) But, of course, the Tigers/Miggy + the Mud Hens had to go and play Santa Claus for Matt Garza and the Rays. The real only threats in the game were a line shot to right fielder Ben Zobrist by Danny Worth and a liner to left fielder Carl Crawford off the bat of, who else, Miguel Cabrera. Only one runner made it on base, a walk by Brennan Boesch (who is something like 1-for-32 since the All-Star break). This kind of stellar showing won't cut it, nor do I expect the Tigs to show much of anything for the rest of the season. I just didn't expect to be another notch on the 'no-hitter belt' this year.
As bad as this showing was, the night wasn't a total loss....well, they lost, but you know what I mean. Max Scherzer pitched an absolutely spectacular 5 and 2/3 innings, but then gave up a Grand Slam to former Tiger Matt Joyce, the first hit of the game. Heyoooooooo. A little offense for that performance, minus the Grande Salame, would have been nice, but couldn't expect much out of the Tigers tonight.
This game also pushes Armando Galarraga further into baseball oblivion this year. His almost perfect game was lauded by some for his professionalism. Some said that the instant replay rule MLB implements would be changed because of that game, and the rule would be named the "Galarraga Rule" in honor of his blown perfect game. I, and others, disagreed, noting that there had already been 3 no-hitters at the time of that game, and his would surely be forgotten. Well, now that there have been 5 no-hitters, and at this pace there could be 8 or 9 by season's end, he gets left in the dust. Poor guy. At least that Corvette will look mighty good in his garage.
But the real story of tonight is the fact that the Tigers clearly can't win with this lineup. As I called them earlier, this team has now become "Miggy and the Mud Hens." Professional baseball team, or bad 60's cover band? May as well be the latter. Injuries have ravaged this team over the past week. Missing Singlio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and, as much I hate to admit it, Binge, really hurts. This is a AAA lineup. And for those of you who don't know, it's a bad AAA lineup. How bad? Well, the Mud Hens are in last place in their division. But hey! At least we have about 40 pitchers we can bring up at a moment's notice! Oh wait. How's
Now is the time to do one of two things.
1. Sell at the deadline - preferrably Perry, Porcello, and someone else for, oh, I don't know.....a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly....and a bag of batting practice balls? Sign me up.
2. Do nothing at the deadline and bank on your young talent turning it around next year - and using some of your roughly $40million in offseason salary to bring in some major league-caliber players. Please and thank you.
Either of the above will do.
For those of you who actually do read this, know that I'm not a "fair weather fan" or a pessimist. I'm looking at this realistically. Scherzer is supposed to be your #2 pitcher in the rotation. He did a great job - for 5 2/3. #2 starters need to go longer than that. Your team couldn't hit Tampa's 4th best pitcher, statistically. That won't do. Minnesota and Chicago have infinitely easier schedules than we do in the second half of the season. I see exactly no way we win the Central division.
Of course, David Dombrowski, the man who invented pants, will inevitably concoct some sort of groundbreaking deal that will spend all the money we could use on free agents this offseason, and he will use it all on a fringe player who is attractive in name only. I might puke.
I love the Tigers. Really. But this kind of crap (both the game and the management of the team) really shows that this team, despite having the 3rd or 4th highest payroll in the Majors, is a disgrace. Throw in the towel, they're done for this year. May as well bring up some more AAA or AA ballplayers and see how weak the organizational depth is. Maybe then Dombrowski will realize his hard-on for power pitchers has put this whole organization behind the 8-ball.
And a last, more light-hearted tidbit:
Kudos to Jim Leyland for getting tossed, and actually getting the call right. It's too bad the baseball gods really do hate the Tigers this year.
If any of you have Marty Foster on your Umpire Ejection Fantasy Team, you win tonight. Congrats!