The world requires witnesses and today I was witness to Detroit's grim baseball affair. While many people travelled, spent time with loved ones, watched other sports, shopped, exercised, drank beer, went fishing, took a boat ride and took part in any of the endless activities we have created to erase boredom and fill our lives with meaning, I bore witness to the Tigers playing baseball. Though it was difficult, I did not avert my eyes; I fixed my gaze on the abyss. The following is what I saw:
It was Buck Farmer afternoon in Canada and the Blue Jays showed up early. The first inning saw both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez miss home runs by feet, but the Blue Jays didn't miss anything. A single by Josh Donaldson and a walk to Jose Bautista set up Edwin Encarnacion for his 27th home run of the year. Justin Smoak followed with a double, but the Blue Jays decided to do the gentlemanly thing and run into two outs on the bases. Their three-run lead quickly grew to four in the second inning. The Tigers got one back in the third off of a groundout from Ian Kinsler. The enjoyment of this lone run was tempered by disappointment as the Tigers began the inning with two on and no out. The Blue Jays immediately scored again, extending their lead to 5-1 and mocking the Tigers' attempt to cross home plate as many times as them.
The Tigers would soon flaunt their vast and nuanced catalog of ways to allow the Blue Jays to score. With a runner on second and one out, Anthony Gose made a fine running catch only to reveal that he didn't know how many outs there were. As he casually finished his graceful run, slowing down as he neared the warning track, Goins tagged up from second and scored. Gose was running the ball in towards the infield when he realized his mistake, making it 6-1 Blue Jays. Farmer's night was done after four innings, 84 pitches, five earned runs and two strikeouts. Impossibly, the game had not yet reached the fifth inning.
The Blue Jays took the fifth inning off, but got back down to business against Guido Knudson in the sixth, putting up three runs thanks to a Donaldson single and a two run home run from Edwin Encarnacion. That home run, more violent than poetic, was his 28th of the season and second in the game. Gorzelanny got three outs across two innings before loading the bases in the seventh. Alex Wilson promptly came in to give Edwin Encarnacion his third home run of the day, this time a grand slam to make it 13-1, Blue Jays. The Blue Jays fans celebrated Encarnacion's "hat trick" by throwing their hats on the field. This was kind of fun for a minute, before it became clear that it would require an army of Canadian ball boys to retrieve the hats, thus delaying the inevitable and longed for conclusion of this game. Alex Wilson was also forced to sit with that pitch for a while before promptly walking Justin Smoak and giving up a home run to Russell Martin, 15-1, Blue Jays. Two more singles forced the question -- why isn't there a mercy rule in MLB?
Eventually the seventh inning ended and eventually the game itself even stopped happening. The dust settled and the Blue Jays walked away victorious. If you did not watch this game I envy you. It was poorly played, rife with mental errors and Jim Price told me that we Tiger fans should feel disappointed.
Bullpen: Apparently the Tigers have a bad bullpen?
Buck Farmer: Many pitchers struggle against the Blue Jays so it is hard to be too upset at Farmer, but he did not pitch well.
Double Plays: The Tigers put on a hit and run to avoid a double play in the second inning and the baseball gods laughed. The Blue Jays turned a strike em out throw em out double play with Collins at bat and Castellanos running to second.
The Sun: Does our world literally revolve around the sun and is the sun necessary for sustaining life on earth? Yes, but today the sun made catching baseballs plenty inconvenient. Collins and Bautista both misplayed catchable balls in the third inning. Hiss, sun, hiss.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Buck Farmer fell to 0-4 career, and the hunt continues for Farmer's white whale, that elusive first major league victory.
- The Tigers have lost three straight and eight of their last ten.
- Today Miguel Cabrera gathered enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. He entered the day with a .366 batting average, leading Jason Kipnis by over forty points.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: