We think we like the Armando Galarraga who's pitching for his job, rather than the one who thinks he has it in the bag.
Because when Armando believes he has that starting spot in the bag - which he does, essentially, now that Jeremy Bonderman might be out until the leaves change color - he fills it with [something], lights it on fire, and then runs away before someone opens the door. At least that's what he did last night in Pittsburgh, leaving the Tigers to stomp the fire out and try to wipe whatever Galarraga left on the field off their shoes.
Whatever improvement Galarraga made in his past three starts got tossed into the Allegheny River beginning in the second inning, when he served up a leadoff homer to Adam LaRoche. (Or was it Andy LaRoche? Let's just say it was "A" LaRoche that hit the home run, okay?) Four of the next six Pittsburgh batters then got hits, leading to three more Pirates runs, and there probably would've been at least one more if Andrew McCutchen had tried to slide over home plate with his foot instead of sneaking past Gerald Laird's tag with his hand.
In the third inning, Galarraga gave up singles to the first two hitters he faced, and that was all Jim Leyland could stand. The Tigers manager couldn't even look at Galarraga as he held his hand out for the baseball, the universal sign for "You, sir, are done."
It looked to me as if Galarraga actually thought he might be staying in the game, and Leyland was just coming out to say something. (I was kind of hoping for one of those stern lectures where he emphasizes each point as if his hand was a cleaver.) No chance, buddy. Get off the field. Thanks for leaving a flaming bag of tiger dung to be cleaned up.
Galarraga's final line: Four runs and eight hits in just two innings of work. Hey, at least he only walked one batter. Thanks for playing, Armando.
Not so fast, Nate Robertson. We're getting to you. I'd ask "Where do you think you're going?" but I think most Tigers fans would answer "to the minors" or "to the waiver wire." If this whole baseball thing doesn't work out for Robertson - and I think it's pretty safe to say that it's not working right now - he might have a future as a Hollywood stuntman. Because they'll always have work for someone who can run around while engulfed in flames.
Did one of the spikes on Robertson's shoes strike a piece of flint on his way out of the bullpen? Did he douse himself in gasoline while warming up? Taking over for Galarraga, he turned a bonfire into a raging wildfire. It's a good thing PNC Park is located right on the water, so people could jump to safety if the blaze couldn't be contained to the field. Robertson was a fire disaster, loading the bases on two hits and an intentional walk, then teeing up an 83 m.p.h. fastball (Can you even call an 83 m.p.h pitch a "fastball"?) that Freddy Sanchez smacked for a grand slam.
Robertson looked as if he might actually have a place in the Tigers' bullpen after throwing five (yes, only five) scoreless outings from May to June. Since then, however, he's given up seven runs and eight hits (two homers) in 4.1 innings.
Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn tried their best to give Detroit some offense, each hitting a home run, batting a combined 3-for-5, and driving in the three Tigers runs. Unfortunately, as we've already excruciatingly detailed, Galarraga and Robertson negated any contributions from the lineup.
Since Thames was activated from the DL, by the way, he's hit safely in eight of nine games, batting 8-for-22 with two homers and three RBIs.
Comment of the Night:
at which point I will open my eyes and promptly throw up.
This is my game plan and I’m sticking to it.