Tag Archives: Prince Fielder

Tigers @ Rays 6-29-12: David Price is Really Good

If it feels like Tigers starters have given up an inordinate number of home runs this season, believe me, it feels much worse when you’re watching the Rays hit solo homer after solo homer off your ace.  But let’s not dwell on the outcome, because I have pictures!  I’ll post the whole set somewhere and have a link at some point, but for now, I’ll give you the highlights.  Please feel free to share with a credit back to this blog.  Enjoy!

Coke pitches in the bullpen

Action Coke!  Tampa’s bullpen is on the field, so photo ops are easy.

Avila and Yong during BP

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The Tigers prove they’re capable of losing, fans promptly lose their minds

::sigh::

Okay, listen Tigers fans.  Come over here and have a seat.  Don’t worry, I have tissues and beer.

Here’s the thing, you guys.  You’re all sports fans, and what’s more, you’re all TIGERS fans.  You know how this works.  Sometimes, teams lose.  In baseball, with the season lasting the better part of a year, the odds of this happening frequently is actually pretty high.  And, sometimes, your team will lose in a way that is so soul-crushingly, mind-numbingly, yell-obscenities-at-the-radio-and-nearly-drive-off-the-road terrible that you will question why you ever chose to put yourself through following them.  Do you all remember That Twins Game?  Yeah, you do, even if you try to pretend you don’t.

Yes, it is completely infuriating that Justin could pitch THAT WELL for 8 innings (I mean, less than 80 pitches?  What?) and blow it in the 9th.  It is more infuriating that Schlereth and Valverde gave back-to-back walks after he left the game and broke the tie.  And it is just BLISTERINGLY INFURIATING that Fernando Rodney, FERNANDO, could put down Cabrera, Prince, and Peralta in order.

Give me a second, I need to take a breath…

Okay, I’m better.  Look.  You can Monday morning quarterback this all day long, but here’s the truth.  The way Justin was pitching, no one could have guessed he would look that different the next inning.  Even after he started to struggle, fans were booing when Leyland went out to talk to him because they thought he was getting pulled.  Was Schlereth a good choice for the next pitcher?  Probably not.  Was it a good plan to put Valverde into a non-save, bases loaded situation?  Maybe not.  But statistically, it was probably just as likely for them or Verlander to blow the lead.  The manager has to make these choices, and if it works, he’s a hero.  If it doesn’t, fans wail and gnash their teeth, calling for his head.  After this team won the first four games of the season.  You know how many teams were undefeated this morning?  The Tigers.  You know how many wins the Twins had this morning?  Zero.  Just think about that for a minute before you start mentally firing the whole team.

I hate to have to bring this up again, but @catswithbats mentioned on Twitter that she really hoped she wasn’t hearing booing on the broadcast at the end of the game.  The only, ONLY reason I hope those people had was that they were expressing their displeasure for Rodney’s new-found abilities.  The Rays are a good team.  They swept the Yankees and, last season, beat them to make it to the playoffs.  Aside from the final inning, Verlander pitched like a master.  Shields also pitched a great game and we were frankly lucky to get the runs we did.  This was just one of those games.  If there were people booing simply because we lost, I’m frankly ashamed to call them fellow fans.

Valverde isn’t going to get every save, Cabrera and Prince aren’t going to get back-to-back hits every time through the rotation, Verlander isn’t going to pitch a no-hitter every outing, and we’re going to lose sometimes.  This team is made of win and magic and we’ll all enjoy this season a lot more if we can calm the hell down.  If we don’t, this is going to be a long, miserable season.

Take heed, American League teams

Oh, you all know we have this guy . . .

. . .  and this guy . . .

. . . and you may have heard we had this guy.

But, with all of that going on, you may have forgotten that we still have this guy . . .

. . . and this guy . . .

. . . and, of course, this guy.

So, you know, good luck with that!

Open letters from opening day

Tragically, I was at work for the majority of the game yesterday.  Not nearly as tragically, I was at home in front of my television in time to watch Austin Jackson work some magic!  Through the magic of technology, I was following the game as closely as possible and have some open letters to our dear players for the start of the season.

To Prince Fielder, Please keep being adorable with Cabrera in the dugout.  Rubbing his back?  Hugging him from behind?  Priceless.  Maybe having a hetero-lifemate will keep him happy and out of trouble.

Jhonny Perlata- People said that there was probably no way you could have another season like last year.  They said that, based on your career numbers, last year was a fluke.  Well.  You quietly went about your business having a ridiculous spring, and no one talked about it.  And then?  Three-for-three with a walk on opening day.  You just keep doing your thing and we’ll keep laughing that no one seems to notice.

Dear, dear Austin Jackson, THIS.  That’s all I can say.  Do this, always, and maybe you can earn a small piece of the love that we had for Curtis Granderson and help us to heal.  Obviously, you loved it, too.  Did you see the replays of your smile after you hit the game winning run?  Be still, my heart!

Miguel.  Listen, buddy.  We’re not going to worry about the hitting, because you took three walks and they had the balls to walk you intentionally to get to Prince.  We laugh at that strategy.  And your ridiculous roll after catching the foul fly?  Adorable.  But what happened on that error?  That wasn’t even a ranging play.  The only thing I can imagine is that you had a flashback to the exploded face incident and balked.  And, honestly, I don’t blame you, but you’re out to prove something, and that something is not my lingering fear that you won’t make it as a third baseman.  Get it together.

Dearest Papa Grande, I don’t blame you.  Those people who apparently booed when you finished the inning?  They’re ungrateful idiots.  You weren’t going to stay perfect and everyone knows that.  Granted, blowing it on opening day was not ideal, but at least the monkey is off your back and you can start a new streak, right?  Please don’t ever change.

Oh, Tigers fans.  Speaking of booing, I have a note for you, as well.  Stop.  Booing. Your.  Own.  Team.  Stop it.  Did you really boo Inge when he was announced, on opening day, even though he’s on the DL and not playing?  Seriously?  I know you’re fickle when it comes to Inge, but that’s a new low.  And those of you who booed Valverde when he blew a save?  After all he did for the team last year?  Disgusting.  Please don’t start the year this way.

Justin, Justin, Justin.  Did you think I forgot about you?  How could I?  105 pitches, 8 innings, 1 walk, and 7 K’s.  I love you.  I love you so, so hard.  My in-laws sent us boxes of Fastball Flakes this week.  You have your own cereal, that’s how hard we love you.  DO THIS ALWAYS.

I love you, team.  Keep this up, and we’ll be just fine.

 

Final spring training update- Tigers vs. Braves, again

With nothing planned on the day and the Tigers playing at Disney, husband and I decided to take in one last game before the team heads north.  And, because y’all seem to love pictures (hi, Google Image search hits!) and the suspense of whether or not Inge will be on the roster is giving me tics, this is going to be mainly a picture post.  I’m figuring you guys are okay with that.  Also, honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say at this point in the spring, especially after Verlander goes out and pitches exactly like Verlander and the game gets called in the 7th due to torrential downpour and thunder.  A few quick bullets:

– Verlander did, indeed, pitch like Verlander, and I don’t think he’d hit his pitch count yet when the game ended in the 7th.  With the exception of a ball that was hit to the center field wall, none of the Braves hit anything particularly hard off him.  Hooray!

– Every game I catch, Avila looks like he’s having so much fun.  I’m glad he’s adjusted so smoothly to being a daily, All-Star catcher.  Prince seems like he’s having an equally good time.  When I got to the park, the two of them were cracking each other up and chattering away while stretching.

– Jackson got on base, stole second immediately, and came into score later.  It was nice to see this work out exactly as we want it to on paper before my very eyes.  Please keep doing this, Austin!

–  Thomas absolutely killed a ball over the deep right field wall.  It was a thing of beauty, and probably didn’t hurt his chances of making the roster.  This whole Dirks/Worth/Thomas/Inge madness is going right down to the wire, folks.

–  Balester came up to sign autographs and people started yelling “Mister Fister!” trying to get his attention.  “I’m not Fister” he sighed diplomatically.  And, really, now that I look at them, Balester is pretty much a scruffy Fister.

Jackson, Avila, Fielder

Jackson, Fielder, and Avila joke around while stretching.

Brennan Boesch

Brennan Boesch looks imposing.

Dave Dombrowski observes batting practice.

Cabrera

Miguel and friend both jump for a ball.

Benoit, Coke, and Balester

Benoit, Coke, and Balester half-heartedly stretch during batting practice.

Avila, Raburn, Worth, and Peralta

Peralta, Raburn, Worth, and Avila watch Cabrera during batting practice.

Avila, Peralta, Raburn, Worth

Peralta, Raburn, Worth, and Avila admire a Cabrera practice home run.

Verlander

Ladies and gentlemen, The Man.

Cabrera and Fielder

Cabrera and Fielder, a blossoming bromance.

Jackson, Fielder, and Cabrera

Fielder hangs out with Jackson and Boesch. He seems to be fitting right in.

Cabrera and Fielder mess around between innings.

Cabrera and Fielder. Run, Fielder, run!

Cabrera and Uggla were very touchy and friendly over at second. Right here, Cabrera was giving him crap about something.

Spring training update- Tigers vs. Cardinals

It was St. Patrick’s day, and you know what that meant . . .

Green uniforms

Green for everyone!

Yes, it was that day every spring when both teams wear nearly identical green uniforms for no particular reason, thus confusing the heck out of the more casual fans in our section.  It also meant the bat boy was dressed as a leprechaun and other shenanigans.   I’m not even kidding about the bat boy.  I wish to God I was.

Miguel St. Patrick's

Miguel Cabrera as a leprechaun. You're welcome, folks.

Prince stealing

Prince Fielder stole second base! I can't even make that up, it is so ridiculous.

 

Grounds crew

The grounds crew always does the YMCA in the 5th. They do NOT always do it in green wigs, however.

Cabrera with grounds crew

Miguel Cabrera is amused by the grounds crew.

Somewhere in all this, a baseball game actually happened. Adam Wilk pitching.

Believe it or not, there was actually some pretty good baseball happening somewhere in all the Guiness-fueled insanity.  On top of stealing second, Prince went 3-for-3 and hit a triple.  A TRIPLE.  Quoth Leyland: “To see Prince Fielder leg one out, I got a kick out of it. I don’t expect to see many more of those. But in all seriousness, he’s much more athletic than I thought him to be”.  Awesome.

Adam Wilk struggled early and gave up a 2 run homer to Holliday, which, okay, that’s going to happen.  David Freese made it 3 and it was looking like we were in for a long day yet again.  That’s when the insanity started.  10 unanswered runs from our bats.  Cabrera, Fielder, and Young hit back-to-back-to-back twice in two separate innings and generally created havoc for the whole game.  Holaday caught the whole game and even got a hit!  We didn’t commit any errors (…until this afternoon. Seriously, boys?)!  Jackson didn’t strike out!  Again, standard spring training disclaimers apply, but we haven’t had a game with less than 7 hits all spring and are outscoring opponents nearly 2-to-1.  I think that’s cause for at least a bit of rejoicing.

It hasn’t just been the bats, though, which brings me to the pitching showdown we witnessed.  Wilk was definitely struggling a bit, but the story of the day was always going to be Oliver vs. Smyly, so that almost felt like an afterthought.  Oliver went two innings, gave up one hit, and walked none.  Smyly went out for the final four innings, didn’t give up a hit, but walked two.  Until yesterday, I was pretty heavily on Team Oliver, but now I’m buckling a bit.  He’s been around a bit longer but has a history of inconsistency with control.  Smyly is barely out of A ball but looks like he has a year with the big club already under his belt.  So . . .  I don’t know.  I think I’m still on Team Oliver because I’m wary of pulling him up too quickly, but I wouldn’t be upset if it goes to Smyly.  He’s clearly earning it.

Some other pretty cool, non-holiday related things were going on before the game, of which I have pictures:

Dirks with kids

Andy Dirks signing for kids.

We spotted Andy Dirks signing autographs for a little league team down on the field before the game started.

Martinez

Look who it is! Victor!

Then who should we spy by the clubhouse but Victor Martinez on crutches!

Al and Victor

Two of the wounded compare notes- Al Alburquerque and Victor Martinez.

Alburquerque was also hanging around and came over to chat with V-Mart, possibly comparing battle scars.  Victor was holding Alburquerque’s arm and squeezing it for some reason.

Little League

Baseball at its most adorable.

After  a few minutes, the little league players and their group came over to the clubhouse.  A few players came over to sign for them and I was trying to figure out if they were from Venezuela or the Dominican when one of the little players broke from the group and my husband and I immediately put two and two together.

Victor Jose

Yep. That's Victor Jose Martinez, greeting his friends.

Victor Jose started greeting the other adults with all the confidence in the world, like he owned the place and they were his personal friends.  Which they probably are.  I freaking love that kid.  He was working the crowd far before he made it over to his dad.  When V-Mart comes back for good and we still have Prince’s boys wandering around, the clubhouse is likely to implode from all the adorable.

Stay tuned for that second base post I keep promising but keep putting off writing.  My intention is to make it objective but that’s proving difficult.  It also becomes more difficult every time Ryan Raburn goes out there and drills one over the fence.  Sigh.

Spring training update- Tigers vs. Mets

I have Spring Break this week, which means bonus baseball!  I headed down to Lakeland this afternoon to catch the Mets against the Tigers.  After yesterday’s cancelled game, this proved to be a parade of pitching prospects and did not disappoint in that regard.  It DID disappoint in that it was the third tie game in a row, but, Spring Training, doesn’t count, whatever.  A few notes from today:

– Smyly’s line looked good and people seemed pleased with his start, but I need to point out that watching him pitch felt like watching Penny.  His pace was so. so. slow.  I don’t know if this is normal for him or if he was being extra careful because he knows he’s competing for a spot, but it was tiring to watch.

– Jackson had good contact, for which my section cheered heartily.  Inge also had good contact, also earning cheers from us.  Cabrera was Cabrera.  I don’t get to see him hit in person often but am always so impressed with his swing.  Everything people say it is and more.  Avila had two beautiful hits and Laird, LAIRD, hitting a double!  Amazement!  Really, overall, the hitting was what it has been all spring.  Nice stuff.

– Turner needs time, which I think all of us know and saying so is kind of beating a dead horse.  He got beat up pretty badly.  I don’t worry about them rushing him through the system after seeing what else we have out there, but I still feel the need to plead with people to give him time to develop.

– Avila had two beautiful throws to Inge at second but didn’t get the call on either of them.

– I feel like Balester has kind of been lost since we’re so focused on who our fifth starter will be, but I’ve been impressed with him so far.

– Speaking of fifth starters, I think I’m officially casting my vote for Oliver.  Yes, he was pitching against mostly second string today, but he looked great doing it and his control has improved significantly.  No walks in four innings!  Two broken bats!  Hooray!

This has nothing to do with the game, but I’m sure you’ve all heard that Pauley was released.  I could hear the Tigers faithfully collectively saying “No, really?” in a sarcastic tone at hearing this.

You all want pictures, right?  Here you go:

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