Tag Archives: Max Scherzer

Signs of the apocalypse; fans feel the first stirrings of panic

For Tigers fans, there are very specific events that might signify a coming apocalypse.  Inge batting above .250, Scherzer pitching with control for two consecutive starts ( . . . can you tell I’m watching the game right now?), etc.  I don’t know if any of you noticed, because he doesn’t belong to us anymore, but something happened this weekend that makes me think we may not have much time left.

Fernando Rodney has a win and a save this season for the Rays.  Already.  In fact, he got a save yesterday on one pitch.

I know, right?  I really have nothing else to say about it.  Just thought you all might want to be aware.

In other news, while our bats have proven as magnificent as we could have hoped (get it together, Brennan), the pitchers are responsible for the first stirrings of panic in our hearts.  I’m not talking about the 37 pitches Scherzer just took to get through one inning, either.  Fister is the first regular season DL victim, which I declared The Worst Thing yesterday, proving that I am not immune to the hysteria.  For those of us freaking out, Jim Leyland offered these comforting words:

“[Brayan] Villarreal has joined the team and we will have a starter at the appropriate time. Who it is, I have no clue. None.” (MLB.com)

I thought it was obvious that Below would be the starter, especially since Below pitched well above my expectations when he took over for Fister and thus can be on the same rest schedule as Fister, and Smyly would be pulled up as scheduled.  However, this also happened yesterday

Smyly- 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO

Ladies and gentlemen, your fifth starter!

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Pitching status = awesome*

Porcello, Pauley, and Below

Oh, Pauley.

*This will be explained momentarily, though some of you may already know where I’m going with this.

Well, I was going to wax poetic about our beautiful, perfect spring record, but then PAULEY happened.  Whatever.  I’m using all caps for his name from now on, because that is the magnitude of my frustration with him.  The other reason is, of course, the errors.  Come on, guys.  This is why Kenny was in camp.  This is a known issue, you work on it, and this STILL happens.  First, Scherzer blows a pickoff, then Balester (who I generally like) ALSO lobs one into the outfield on a pickoff.  The infielders have also made their share of errors this week, and I’m not talking about the babies. I’m talking about guys who know better.

All that aside, though, the pitching.  I know that there have been a grand total of 7 games, and those games are spring training games, so small sample size, non-roster invitees, blah blah, but wow.  In 7 games, we have scored 45 runs, while the opposition has scored 15.  Almost half of those were scored against us TODAY.  Granted, we also scored 18 in one game due to freakish wind situations, but the wind works both ways and the Braves scored 3 runs in that game.  The four known starters all have ERA’s of zero with minimal control issues (…Scherzer).  But Pauley.  I’m harder on Pauley than some of the younger guys who have struggled because a) he has pitched in the majors and b) he was terrible last year.  He’s had three outings in a week with 4 walks and 8 hits.  Today, he didn’t even make it through an inning.  I believe the word for that is “guh”.

I mean, the hitting has definitely been pretty great, too, but I felt the need to highlight the pitching due to the number of games where the opposing team scored 3 or fewer runs.  Love.  This.

My husband and I listened to the soothing, familiar tones of Dan and Jim on WXYT today in our respective offices.  I missed the first part of the game, but got a text from my husband that Santos and Kelly had apparently had a nasty collision on an infield pop-up.  Santos took a while to get up, which led to a visit from Leyland and a trainer.  My husband reported that Dan or Jim said of Santos, “He might have taken a knee from Don Kelly in a bad spot”.  Heeeeee!  Later, someone hit a liner off the Phillies’ pitcher, which led to Dan and Jim adorably going on about him being hit in the “backside”, how much padding was there, giggling at themselves, then finally flat-out saying that he was hit in the “butt”.  Man, have I missed Dan and Jim.

Remember before when I said I was impressed by the hitting from the minor league and nonroster guys during batting practice?  Keep an eye on Patterson, Head, Berry, and still Strieby.  I keep being impressed by them in multiple ways.

Also, I think the panic about Miggy can cease.  It was only a week, people, and he’s obviously just fine now.

 

Spring training update- pitcher and catcher report continued

When I left off, the pitchers and catchers were stretching and warming up.  There was a LOT going on from here on, so I’m going to mix pictures and bulleted thoughts for the majority of this entry. 

– Throughout their stretching routines, someone kept singing the chorus of “La Bamba” at the top of their lungs.  Having been at training some last season, I knew immediately that this person was Valverde.  There was also random whooping and shouting.  If you’ve ever wondered if Valverde’s schtick on the mound is an act, believe me, it is not.  More on that later.

– Pitchers and catchers broke out for workouts, with the catchers heading over to one field and the pitchers dividing up between the remaining four fields.  I followed the catchers, where Avila and Laird were playing catch together.  Avila looks excellent- smiling, relaxed, healthy, and moving well.  That was a massive relief to see.  He and Laird seemed happy to be working together, which was also great.

Laird

He's baaaaaaaack!

Alex smiling

I much prefer smiling Alex to the grimacing Alex from the end of last year.

– It seemed like the pitchers were broken into four groups, each with one of the four known starters and a various selection of prospects and relievers.  Got a look at Justin’s group first, which included Oliver, Balester, Hoffman, and a few I couldn’t identify.  The were working fielding drills, which with our history, was a very good thing to see.

Justin running

Justin running to first base.

– Saw Fister’s group next.  Fister is tall.  So, so tall.  I mean, we know that, but you don’t really get a sense of his legs until you see him person.  His group included Schlereth, Pauley (remember him?), Below, Villareal, Owen, and friends.  At one point, Schlereth was standing next to Fister and I almost died laughing.  I mean, look at this:

Pitching huddle

Height difference hillarity.

– Porcello’s group was next, including Coke, Valverde, Ortega, and a few others.  Now, I have no idea how these groups were formed, but putting Coke and Valverde in the same group proved the highlight of the day for the fans.  Poor Porcello (heh) was all Serious Face and working hard while Coke and The Potato worked hard . . . while being completely ridiculous.  Coke ran for a ball and was followed by the shout of “Get ’em, Cokey!”.  Valverde stood up against the fence, struck a pose, and yelled “Cheese!” to the fans.  A particularly amusing “hustle” from Valverde was awarded with the first round of applause I had heard on the back fields.  Coke completely biffed a ball coming to first and we all “ooooooooh”-ed dramatically.  He then turned to the coach, stared in disbelief, and exclaimed, “Come on, do I look like a hitter?!”.  Papa Grande made it to first and a fan yelled “Safe!”.  Without missing a beat, he retorted with “OUT!”.  The fans were into it and the whole experience was just beautiful.  It was why I love spring training in a 15 minute burst of bullpen awesomeness.

Porcello and Valverde

I don't know what was happening, but apparently both Rick and Jose found it funny.

Papa Grande

The Big Potato hustles! Go Potato, go!

Coke

Coke awesomely blames a coach for his error.

– After that crew, it was Scherzer with Benoit, Wilk, Downs, Turner, and a few others.  Scherzer is a clown, pretty much exactly as you would expect. It wasn’t that he wasn’t working hard so much as he seems to have a pretty laid back attitude about everything.  (Completely the opposite of Porcello, who seems pretty tense regardless of his years pitching at this level so far.  I have some thoughts on that for later.)  Benoit missed two grounders to the mound in a row and kicked the second one in frustration, but otherwise, he seemed loose and happy.

Pitchers

Wilk throws while the others look on.

Scherzer

Scherzer being himself.

– Have I mentioned Fister is tall?  I mean, come on:

Fister running

Holy legs, Batman!

– At this point, they were done and the hitters (those who were there) came out to practice.  Unfortunately, they took the back two fields where there really isn’t access for fans.  Through Twitter, I knew that Brennan, Prince, and Miggy were tearing it up back there, but I have no photographic evidence of this.  Instead, here are a few random photos and thoughts to finish.

Phil Coke

Phil Coke, man of the people. He signed for EVERYONE and had conversations with many.

Batters

Jackson and Boesch!

Prince

Prince, Kelly, and friends.