I had considered making a tfloyd-style recap consisting entirely of Motown references, but I’m too bummed and the music is too upbeat. So I will Stop in the Name of Sanity and just tell you What’s Going On.
It could have been worse.
- Charlie Morton could have had a bad outing
- A.J. Minter could have looked bad.
- The renaissance of Michael Harris II could have been delayed.
- The Braves’ bats might have been silent the whole game, instead of just the last five innings (other than a Money Mike homer.)
- The agony might have been prolonged by watching Joe Jimenez pitch more than 1/3 of an inning.
- This might have been a game against a team that mattered.
- An asteroid might have hit the earth, destroying all intelligent life, but somehow sparing Chip Caray. (I hereby apologize. That was completely uncalled for and can only be explained by my irascible mental state.)
The Tigers were my favorite AL team growing up. They’ve fallen on hard times, so I guess that whatever is left of the twelve-year-old me should have enjoyed this game. But that was a really long time ago: Al Kaline and Dick McAuliffe are dead (though Mickey Lolich is still with us).
Morton pitched well, exiting with a 4-0 lead after 5 2/3 and an obvious inability to “win.” When I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the semi-myth that closers pitch badly in non-save situations I noted that many save situations aren’t really that high-leverage: the archetypal example is a three run lead going into the bottom of the 9th. You’re supposed to win around 97% of these games, and even more when you’re wasting a good closer.
But then sometimes Raisel Iglesias comes out in the 9th and makes you long for the ineffectiveness of Collin McHugh. He pitched just well enough to avoid the “loss,” managing to pin it instead on Joe Jimenez in the 10th, who can thank some questionable fielding as well as ineffective baserunning and marginally ineffective review of a play at the plate in the top of the 10th. (By the way, Raisel can semi-complain that Eddie Rosario took a questionable path to fielding the game-tying hit, but I agree with others that Eddie should not have been in the game at that point.) Every closer has nights like this, or so I’m told. It doesn’t take many nights like this before somebody else closes.
In other news, the resurgent Marcell Ozuna is now day-to-day with a wrist contusion. (The guy seems to specialize in slaps on the wrist, no?) Michael Harris II may have turned a corner, going three-for-four. In his last hit he turned three corners at first, second and third.
The good news about losing to teams like the A’s and the Tigers is that it’s impossible to face them in the playoffs, so as long as you continue to beat good teams you will always win the World Series. I’m flying back to the US tomorrow to take a more active role before this thing gets out of hand.
A Brief Word About Announcing
Having Jeff Francoeur, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones and John Smoltz do a game is the sort of thing that is sorta fun once a season if you’re a Braves fan. Being forced to watch Craig Monroe, Dan Petry, and Todd Jones do the same thing for a not-very-good team makes the whole concept considerably trying. (Though I don’t think bringing Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain in would have improved the situation.) Long blocks of time had no play-by-play at all and “announcers” who weren’t even aware that Iglesias was the Braves closer was more than a little frustrating. (On the other hand, they may be on to something. Maybe Iglesias won’t be the closer soon.) However, we do now know their favorite movies of all time, though it took a couple of innings to get through it, and Dan Petry‘s affection for Dances With Wolves is something I hope to never forget as long as I live. I would love to remember just that fact and forget about this game, but I suspect both will stick with me for the rest of the season.