So is it worse to see the Tigers lose games they were never really in, as seemed to be the case in Kansas City? Or is it much more frustrating for Detroit to lose a game they were winning, only to let that victory slip away?
The Tigers looked like they were cruising toward a win against the best team in baseball, as if they had risen to the level of their competition. They tagged Dan Haren for three runs early in the game, two of which came on a long overdue home run by Miguel Cabrera. (A homer was long overdue from any Tiger besides Matt Joyce.) And Jeremy Bonderman hadn't allowed a hit in his first four innings, looking as good as he has all season.
It can all change so fast.
I'm sure Jim Leyland was right on the edge in deciding whether or not to send Bonderman out for the seventh. When Bondo didn't have to bat in the top of the inning, Leyland didn't have to worry about pinch-hitting for him. But it's certainly worth wondering why the Tigers already didn't have someone warming up in the bullpen before Arizona came to bat. Once Bondo walked Justin Upton to lead off the inning, he really had no choice but to face Chris Snyder because Detroit didn't have anyone else ready.
And then defense bit this team yet again, kind of like a snake might sneak up and bite a tiger. Snyder's foul pop-up to the third base side inexplicably fell between a bermuda triangle of Carlos Guillen, Edgar Renteria, and Matt Joyce. Either Guillen or Renteria looked as if they could easily make the play, but the catch was lost in communication. Renteria backed off, as if he thought Guillen would make the catch. But Guillen clearly thought Renteria called him off, as he lowered his hands that were set to make the catch. (In his postgame comments, however, Leyland said "nobody called it.")
Not only was there no out, but Snyder eventually walked, moving Upton to scoring position. And score he did, when Zach Miner replaced Bonderman and gave up a single to Eric Byrnes. That wasn't the game right there, but it definitely sent the roller coaster car plummeting downhill. And the Tigers haven't often shown the mental toughness to come back from a blow like that. They went down 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth innings against the D-Backs' bullpen, and that was the game.
This was a tough loss to take, perhaps even tougher when you see how well the Tigers can play against a great team, only to watch their flaws get the best of them and cost them a much-needed win.
That's it from me for the next two weeks, folks, as I'm off to southeast Asia. I leave you in the soft, buttery hands of Big Al and Mike McClary, and hope the Tigers give you some better things to talk about and some moments to enjoy while I'm away.
It's too bad the game became such a disappointment, because we had a fun GameThread tonight. (Of course, it's always more fun when the Tigers are winning.) I'll have to go back and check the comments, but did Detroit take the lead while I was taking a phone call, only to squander it once I returned? If so, I accept that responsibility and take my bad juju with me to Malaysia.
Thanks to miggy4mvp, busta (welcome!), ThaWalrus9, rock n rye, MackAveKurt, HavocRox, Zappatista, tbliggins, Juskimo, pfuhrmeister, and Roar of the Tigers (Samela!) for participating this evening.