If I had known at the beginning of the Mariners/Tigers series how ridiculous and crazy it was all going to be, I would have made more of an effort to drag my laptop around with me and try to write. But there is no way I could have known that…
-James Paxton would throw an amazing game on Friday. I don’t want to get too crazy too soon about this kid, but wow! Five hits and one run over 6 solid innings, coming out of the whole thing with only two strikeouts, but an ERA of 2.20 over three (three?) starts and a record of 3-0. I realize that the word “amazing” might be inaccurate, particularly given the low strikeout number, but keeping a team with Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter and Ian Kinsler on it limited to 5 hits isn’t too shabby. I know a lot of people are excited for Paxton, but I still feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I need some more time to have that level of confidence in him; perhaps the product of starting being a fan of the team when I did. Whatever the case, the 7-2 score to start off the series against Rick Porcello was a welcome event, and made for a wonderful Friday evening.
-Felix would throw an awful game on Saturday. Over five innings, Felix gave the Tigers 7 hits, 2 runs, and a dinger. Meanwhile, David Price came as advertised and kept Seattle’s bats silent with three hits coming in over 8 innings, grabbing a standing ovation (and that well-deserved) from the sellout crowd present at Comerica Park. I haven’t seen our ace that frustrated in a long time. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again this year.
-The series umpiring crew would be absolute garbage. Saturday we had Tony Randazzo against us, with the most bizarre “strike zone” I have ever witnessed (if you can be worse than CB Bucknor, you’re doing something wrong). I lost count of how many times the pitchFX showed his calls were wrong behind the plate. It became obvious later in the game that he was penalizing Felix due to some childish beef he apparently has with Lloyd McClendon, which sent the lot of us on Twitter into a rage by Sunday. McClendon was pretty good about not going into whatever the problem might have been when he talked to the press, but Randazzo has not made any friends in Seattle, and I will be absolutely happy to boo him if he ever sets foot on our grass. And I’m not a boo person! I’m really not! Randazzo has earned it, though.
-The game Sunday would be almost even more ridiculous, with Randazzo ejecting McClendon while he was sitting in the dugout. I didn’t exactly see the exchange, but apparently someone waved a hand or made a non-obscene gesture, and Randazzo made the ejection motion toward McClendon as he sat on the bench with his arms folded. Who knows. I have to keep reminding myself that these men are grown adults, because that only makes their behavior more jaw-dropping. In spite of Randazzo’s best efforts, however, the Seattle Mariners came out on top and that was that.
-Chris Young and Robbie Ray would both do what I thought they might on Sunday, and by that I mean dominate and collapse, respectively. We would not have gotten 8 runs in against Max Scherzer. We might not even have gotten that many runs against Justin Verlander, regardless of how injured he has been lately. But the luck of the draw was that we didn’t have to face either of those arms, and the series schedule was to our advantage, even if the umpiring wasn’t.
-Hitting, hitting, hitting! 29 hits over the series against 23 for Detroit. We played like an actual baseball team, and it was marvelous to see.
I always want a sweep, but our boys are playing well, and I will be happy with taking a series. Totally happy. I don’t know how the season will end. I have been wary of September due to the number of times we have to play both Oakland and Anaheim, but it looks like both of those teams are starting to come back to earth a little bit, so September might not be that bad. As it is, it looks like maybe the worst of it over the rest of the month will be the Washington Nationals coming at the very end of the month. Philadelphia, Boston, and the Rangers are all pretty far back in their respective divisions, and that is our next nine games!
I’m going to run right home after work. I am swamped but not staying any overtime this week; games start at 4PM today and tomorrow in Citizens Bank, and I plan to be planted firmly in front of my TV to make sure I don’t miss anything. Next week when they come back, I may just have to plant a tent out in front of the Team Store, as it looks like I will be at the park quite a bit then. I’m like Opening Day excited for the remainder of August and September. This has been quite a ride.