Well down your lattes, slap your own cheeks, and prepare for a 10:05 spectacular (except for those of you not in the Eastern time zone, which is, actually, probably, a majority of you).
The Tigers have been plagued with facing Cy Whoever lately, but tonight, at least, they get a legitimate Cy Young candidate in Young Sonny Gray (pardon the redundancy), the 24-yr old with the 1.99 ERA and the 5-1 record. Let’s take a moment to pre-tip the cap to Sonny Boy, but that’s no reason we have to give up double-digits again. We need a chance to back off the ledge here, so, no matter what happens with Sonny, let’s keep these guys to single digits tonight, okay? We don’t need to win tonight, but we can’t have another massacre.
The Tigers are all about Team Unity right now: they wear matching Zubaz, their pitching–even the celebrated Starting Pitching–has been awful, and the bats are in tune, making average pitchers seem like Cy Young. We’ve seen this before, and every team sees it at some point every season. But didn’t it just rankle you a little bit when, shut down by Random Rookie Guy or Bruce Chen or Whoever, Jim Leyland would start his post game comments with “you’ve got to tip your cap to Random Rookie Guy…?” Right?
Well it looks like it bothered Legendary Lloyd a bit too. McClendon’s Mariners were shut down by Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (remember him? he went all Cy Young on the Tigers on May 8). Lloyd was NOT about to cap-tip: “I saw average stuff,” he said. “We didn’t swing the bats very good. At some point, you’ve got to stop giving credit to average pitchers. That becomes a broken record. At some point, we’ve got to start swinging the bats.” Lloyd’s getting some blowback for that one, but I find it refreshing. By all means, tip your cap to Sonny tonight if he shuts us down, but it’s not ALWAYS good pitching.
What we really need is a Zubaz bonfire. I mean the stuff became popular in the early 90s in professional wrestling circles (red flag!). I don’t really believe in an actual Zubaz Curse, but I do think there is a symbolic aspect worth contemplating. I appreciate the team-unity aspect of the Zubaz-flaunting. But other than the hideous patterns of the stuff, the big selling point of Zubaz is the comfort. Thus the symbolic aspect: did the team get too comfortable, too early? Burn it.
Also, a sacrificial lamp wouldn’t hurt (tip of the cap to Jud). It’s very cool that Ausmus is all cerebral and whatnot, but that would make it even more effective were he to smash a lamp in the clubhouse. And wear the lampshade in the dugout.
Well, we can make our suggestions here, but they mostly float into the ether like the smoke from a Leyland Marlboro. What we CAN do though, is choose appropriate nicknames, and I’m not feeling it for “Smokey Jr.” Ol’ Smokey was perfect for Leyland, but Ausmus is just not a Leyland Jr. to me (among other things, the lineup shakeup yesterday was very un-Leyland-like). This may be a trial-and-error thing, but I’m going to throw this one out there to start: Ol’ Smarty.
Tonight’s Ol’ Smarty’s Slump-busting Lineup:
Andrew Romine now has a 4-game hitting streak.