I thought this photo would pretty much be retired to the BYB archives once Jason Grilli was traded to Colorado. But Joel Zumaya is taking on the look of a gas can, and thus forced us to dust the image off.
(That one's for you, John Milton.)
The Tigers had this game. They got another fine pitching effort from Zach Miner, who gave up only one run and five hits in six innings. Those numbers (along with five strikeouts) should be enough to win most of the time. Unfortunately, Miner had to leave after throwing more than 100 pitches, and the game was turned over to the bullpen that treats leads like handling a hot pan with bare hands.
Bobby Seay and Zumaya were charged with two runs apiece, but it was Zumaya who truly lit the match. He failed to record a single out, giving up a single, a walk, a double, and two more walks (one of which was intentional). That's not just failing to put out the fire. That's rolling in the gasoline when you're already set aflame.
Jim Leyland said in his post-game interview that he thought something was wrong with Zumaya and would make sure he gets checked out. If it's a physical problem, at least that's one explanation. But if this is in Zumaya's head - and he sure looks like someone whose confidence is shot - we could be looking at a reclamation project that will go into next spring.
The shame of it all is that Zumaya's meltdown wasted a possibly redemptive performance from Gary Sheffield. Did his two home runs leave you flabbergasted, shocked, and blindsided? Were you caught off-guard? Did he just boost his value to the Tigers or increase what trade value he might have? Regardless, Sheffield has been criticized (and justifiably so) for not getting the big hit with runners in scoring position. Tonight, he took care of that by just driving himself in.
Was Sheff fueled by anger? Did Leyland inadvertently or knowingly push a button to fire up his struggling slugger? We'll probably never know. Hopefully, for everyone involved, this wasn't just a one-game blip.
If only we could say the same thing about the Tigers' bullpen. We've all fallen into a burning ring of fire. Going down, down, down, as the flames get higher. And it burns, burns, burns. The ring of fire.
Love is a burning thing. Why else would so many of us risk falling into the ring of fire for this team that keeps putting out cigarettes on our forearms?
Cold packs and Advil for Jerkwheat, HavocRox, dettigionswings'stons, ThaWalrus9, TFerg1103, MackAveKurt, BigAl, PBURGTIGER, Zappatista, spotstarters, rook34, Rogo, MSU4LIF, densogirl, pfuhrmeister, and ashmark to treat their burns.