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The People vs. Jose Mesa

Today, Detroit sports fans are upset. And their vitriol seems to be pointed in two directions. Most of them are angry at the Pistons for "allowing" LeBron James to score 48 points in Game 5 of their series with the Cavaliers. (I put "allowed" in quotes, because I'm not sure if the Pistons really could've prevented him from scoring last night. Although putting more than one defender on LeBron might be a good place to start. But I already ranted on this subject earlier today.)

But those that also tuned into the Tigers-Indians game are mad as hell at Jose Mesa and they're not going to take it anymore! It's a pretty raging pitchfork-and-torch brigade right now. For example, here's the mild-mannered Billfer, a man I would feel entirely comfortable leaving my children with (if I had any):

He simply needs to go. I don't care who comes up to take his place. Whether it is a generic minor league free agent or a prospect, somebody has to be able to outperform him. He can't keep games close, and he can't pitch in mop-up duty. He provides no real value to this team.

I don't care how far Mesa throws the ball in long toss. I don't care what kind of physical condition he's in. He simply hasn't shown an ability to be able to retire major league hitters with any sort of consistency.

Man, that's scorchin'! You can almost see Bill turning green while the back of his shirt rips. How about Kurt? He seems like a gentle fellow, one who might take a deep breath before weighing in:

He's just wasting Detroit's money right now. He stinks. Awful. Bad. Really Awful. Really Bad. And I repeat those words because the ones I was using at the time, and really, in my head right now, can't be printed in a family-friendly blog. I want him to turn his Olde English hat, and his Olde English jersey, and to get on an airplane out of Cleveland and leave. I don't want to see him put the Tigers uniform ever again. Cut ties now.

Or maybe not. Whoo! Watch that guy! He's going to set fire to something. That leaves us with the grizzled sportswriting veteran, Doug Hill. Surely, all of his years of covering local sports have steeled his emotions:

His semi-effective outings the beginning of the week aside, it's painfully obvious this man can no longer get big-league batters out. His performance Thursday night, not that the Tigers were going to win that game, was simply further evidence of this.

Well, at least he's not in danger of burning anything. He might nudge you with a pitchfork, though. Keep an eye on Doug. He's crafty.

Now, I don't really want to pile on here, but... wait a minute, who am I kidding? I love to pile on. I did it all the time when playing football with my buddies.

The Mesa signing didn't bother me as much as other Tigers bloggers. (And technically, I wasn't a Tigers blogger when the Tigers signed him.) I thought he was worth taking a chance on. He was only two years removed from a 43-save season with the Pirates. Besides, on this team, he'd pitch some sixth or seventh innings. No big deal. The important situations would go to Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney.

Oh, I was so naive. And actually, I was younger than I am right now, so I'll throw in "young" as a defense, as well. Mesa was incendiary even before the bullpen took on the look of an E.R. waiting room. In April, he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings. His ERA was 20.25. Then he went on the 15-day disabled list, which probably saved at least a couple of runs.

Once Mesa recovered, it looked like he might be a new man. He changed numbers, from 94 to 50, and didn't allow a run in his next four outings (covering three innings). In that fifth appearance, however, Mesa melted down, giving up three runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Twins on a Sunday night. And it's pretty much been a long, slippery slide into suckitude since then.

My math skills pointed me toward an English major in college, so I might be exposing my ineptness here, but I'm going to try and play with some numbers. One big problem with Mesa is that when he gives up runs, he allows a lot of 'em. He doesn't just surrender one run. Six times, he's given up two or more. And he's only had 16 appearances this season. By my math, that means Mesa has allowed the opposition to score - prodigiously, mind you - 38% of the time. That's not good, right?

And the four runs Mesa gave up last night (in one inning of work) was the worst of it. Or at least, it should be. Any pitchforks or torches left over?