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Okay, That One Hurt: Indians 5, Tigers 4

Blame the Bullpen or the Bats?

I was ready to smash something after José Capellán gave up what turned out to be the game-winning home run to Casey Blake in the 11th inning last night. That's maybe not the best way to introduce yourself to Detroit fans, who are just pleading for someone - anyone - to come in from the bullpen and shut the other team down. You know, like it did last year.

On the other hand, it's probably far too early to lump Capellán in The Gas Can Club with Fernando Rodney, Jason Grilli, and Eulogio De La Cruz. Leyland (thankfully) chose him to pitch in a tied ballgame instead of Todd Jones, and actually did quite well. Well, except for that home run, of course. But one run and three strikeouts over two innings is a lot better than we've been seeing lately, don't you think?

How about putting another run on the board? The Tigers most certainly had their chances (notably in the 10th inning), but just couldn't make that last push against Cleveland's relievers.

Hey, Rafael? You Have to Throw the Ball

Maybe they were lulled to sleep by Rafael Betancourt's O.C.D.-like tugs, pulls, and shakes before every pitch. His frequent delays led to one of the more bizarre calls you'll ever see from Doug Eddings, the second base umpire. Betancourt was charged with a ball while pitching to Carlos Guillen.

Understandably, Eric Wedge went ballistic because the time-between-pitches rule is never invoked. But apparently, Betancourt was taking so long that the umpires felt the need for some enforcement. Actually, the rule is even stricter than the 20 seconds Mario Impemba kept citing during the FSN Detroit telecast. Back in February, Major League Baseball changed the alloted time between pitches to 12 seconds.

8.04 -- When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call "Ball." The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.

(via The Futon Report)

Was Eddings reminded of the rule by the Tigers' coaching staff? Maybe. Do umpires typically carry around stopwatches? Anything to shake a pitcher off his game, I suppose. But Eddings was working from the rulebook - and isn't that his job?

Ultimately, of course, it really didn't matter. Betancourt proceeded to get Guillen out, as well as the next batter, Pudge Rodriguez.

And after their sixth loss this season to the Indians, maybe the Tigers are wondering just what they have to do to get a win against Cleveland.