Tuesday Night Therapy Session: Game 163 A Week Later

therapist.jpgIf someone with a stopwatch had timed my lightning-quick zap of the TV last Tuesday evening after Game 163, my guess is that the stopwatch would’ve read less than three seconds.

I couldn’t watch the Twins celebrate, again, on their turf. (Still can’t.)

Think about it: the last time the Tigers were a division champion, they (and we) had to watch Dan Gladden and the suddenly despicable Twins celebrate on Tiger Stadium’s infield.

And the time the last two times the Tigers got close (2006 and ’09), we had to watch Joe Nathan and Co. dance a jig on the Metrodome concrete.

Sickening, really. This time I showed a rare combination of maturity and resignation all at once. Sort of.

So anyway, after a week of stewing and fretting, devouring three servings of sour grapes, followed by a weekend of Schadenfreude, I’m almost ready to move on. More or less.

Three things are still rattling around in my head a week later:

Continue reading “Tuesday Night Therapy Session: Game 163 A Week Later”

Game 156: Microcosm

ESPN highlights available here.
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The Score: Twins 3 – Tigers 2, 10 innings

The Gist: Stop us if you heard this one: The Tigers had plenty of baserunners but a dearth of clutch hitters. Rick Porcello was lights-out for the Tigers over six-and-a-third innings but his offense made Nick Blackburn look like Bert Blyleven. And just like that, the Tigers’ lead is one game. Blackburn retired 12 Tigers in a row at one point as the offense hibernated.

The View: All year long I’ve been wanting to say that this team has no heart. But a team that spends the better part of four months in first place deserves the benefit of the doubt. Until now. Who cares that they rallied back from a 5-0 deficit against the White Sox three days ago? The Tigers had a chance today to make a statement — about the series and the season — and they did: “We can’t hit.”

The Quote: “[crickets]” — The Tigers’ offense.

The Stat: 100Joe Nathan‘s save percentage against the Tigers in 30 attempts.

Up Next: Twins @ Tigers – Game 2 Tonight – 7 p.m. ET

Justin Verlander (17-9, 3.41 ERA) vs. Brian Duensing (5-1, 3.33)

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Meet Brandon Lyon

BrandonLyon.jpgWhenever I watched Brandon Lyon pitch for the Diamondbacks the past couple of seasons, my immediate reaction was always he’s a younger Todd Jones.

Fact is, he throws harder than Jones — which can’t hurt — but no one is going to confuse him with Joe Nathan.

Last season wasn’t a pleasant one for the D-backs’ closer, a position he lost to Chad Qualls. Well, that’s not entirely true.

Despite four blown saves in 23 chances in the first half, hitters managed a .243 average against him and his ERA was 2.43. (Compare that to Jones’s 4.95 ERA and .297 opponents’ average in the first half.)

In terms of repertoire, it doesn’t extend far past a fastball and curve. In fact, that’s it. But the curveball is something to behold; no roundhouse breaking pitch, Lyon’s is top-to-bottom — or noon-to-six, as they say. Still, in 2008 he threw the fastball 72 percent of the time — 73 percent with two strikes.

As you might expect, Lyons doesn’t heave bullets across the heart of the plate. Instead, he has a Jones-like corners-nibbling approach. His favorite spots — against righties or lefties — are the outside corners. But against lefties his greatest success comes on the inside corner, up and in, and down and in. So, did the Tigers get themselves another Todd Jones?

Perhaps.

But Lyon is 10 years younger than the Tigers’ erstwhile closer and, in the spirit of optimism, he seems to have the durability and closer-ish stuff the bullpen so desperately needs.

(Oh, and Lyon wore number 38 in Arizona and will need a new one in Detroit…unless Jeremy Bonderman wants to give up his number. I’m guessing he ends up with 36.)