This Is a Very Simple Game. You Throw the Ball, You Catch the Ball...
Upon first glance at the score, you might think Jeremy Bonderman got pounded like Jered Weaver was yesterday. However, much of that first inning damage could've been avoided had Carlos Guillen simply fielded his position. Bondo got both Casey Kotchman and Kendry Morales to hit into what appeared to be sure double-play grounders. But Guillen was apparently suffering from jet lag, and committed two consecutive errors. Three runs scored, and a probable butt-kicking was underway.
Amazingly, the Tigers staged a comeback, and took the lead when Magglio Ordonez whipped a Francisco Rodriguez fastball deep into the Detroit bullpen for a two-run homer and the Tigers' first lead of the day. Todd Jones came in to close the game, and it looked like the team was going to hijack a sweep on their way to Chicago. But then Jones skipped a breaking ball past Pudge Rodriguez, allowing Vladimir Guerrero to score, and wasting what would've been one of the sweetest moments of the season thus far.
New Rule: Pitchers Don't Field the Ball!
Unfortunately, Jones wasn't done yet. In the 10th inning, Morales hit a bouncer in front of the plate that chopped down the third base line. It's bad enough that Jones didn't let Brandon Inge field the ball. But even if Inge had picked it up, he likely wouldn't have tried to throw out Morales. (I suppose you never know with Inge, though.)
Jones, however, apparently thought he had a chance to get a Web Gem on "Baseball Tonight," and decided to zing a throw to first that went right over Guillen's head (Sean Casey was taken out for a pinch-runner in the top of the inning) - and probably would've gone over Yao Ming, too). Morales was in scoring position, and three batters later, the Angels won the game.
(And I know it's chewing on yesterday's breakfast, but would Zumaya have come into the game if he hadn't been needed in what should've been a night off for most of the bullpen on Monday? Of course, the Tigers still could've lost the game...)
The Redemption of Rodney:
At least the Tigers didn't lose another game in extra innings because of Fernando Rodney. I'm sure fans throughout Detroit and scattered around the country groaned with dread when he came in for the seventh inning. But the suggestions Chuck Hernandez gave to Rodney in the bullpen before Monday's game were apparently brilliant, because Rodney was getting people out. Six straight batters, to be exact. Rodney pitched two scoreless innings (and racked up three strikeouts with some wicked change-ups), and gave the Tigers a chance to get back into the game. If he's now straightened out, that might be the best development of this two-game California jaunt.
▪▪ Mike McClary gets yet another plug, as he had breakfast with the Detroit News' Lynn Henning (a semi-regular guest of The Detroit Tigers Podcast), and enjoyed some Tigers star-gazing in the hotel lobby. All the details are at The Daily Fungo.