By: Kurt Snyder
Admitting to watching the entire 15-1 whipping that the Tigers took at the hands of the Blue Jays on Saturday is, in a word, brave. So, I asked myself a couple of questions. Should I admit to this? Should I lie and say I missed it? Of course not. This is what I signed up for. What kind of writer would I be if I only watched the good games, the ones in which the Tigers compete and play well?
What I was watching on Saturday was the perfect storm. Toronto, in a position to make a run at a wild card at the trade deadline, have now taken the East by storm and will make a strong charge for a World Championship.
They already had plenty of power, but needed a stud pitcher. Enter David Price. And they added one of the best shortstops in the game in Troy Tulowitzki to hit in front of a guy (Josh Donaldson) who will probably win the AL MVP.
The Tigers, who also were technically still in the wild card race at the deadline, have floundered all season and had nothing really to offer to become buyers. So they sold 3 huge pillars of their team and now have only a shell of what they started the season with.
Throw in a couple of key injuries, a manager whose weakness is, well, competitive execution, and you have a Tiger team settling into last place in their division.
So put Toronto and Detroit on the field together at this juncture and there is the potential for ugliness. The Tigers starting staff hasn’t been this bad in many years and Toronto has scored over 100 runs more than the rest of the league. That’s a match up made in hell, folks.
But we as fans need to settle in, because this is a September preview. As we uncomfortably send the likes of Buck Farmer out on the mound to be sacrificed, the chances of winning are not good. Outside of Farmer, we are left with Alfredo Simon, Matt Boyd and Randy Wolf before we can look forward to another start from the surging JV.
So yes, 4 out of 5 nights, we will hold our breath hoping to score a bunch of runs to have a chance to win. This will be our September.
Meanwhile in Toronto, a city who lives and dies by the success of the Maple Leafs, not the Blue Jays, fans brought hockey to the baseball diamond.
In a game where the Jays seemed to hit a home run or 2 every inning, got 3 from Edwin Encarnacion, as he tallied 9 RBI’s, 4 on a grand slam. After he rounded the bases for his third round tripper, the crowd littered the field with hats, recognizing the rare achievement of hitting 3 homers in a game; a baseball “hat trick.” Only in a hockey town would this happen. In fact, David Price stood on the dugout steps muttering “I have never seen this at a baseball game before.”
If Ilitch even watched, he must have been infuriated by this game. The Tigers not only lost, they were embarrassed. They didn’t have a single pitcher that could get anyone out. They put up little resistance at the plate and Toronto even scored a run because our centerfielder thought there were 3 outs instead of 2. Things are unraveling and the Tigers are cashing in their chips.
After Encarnacion’s grand slam, the jubilant Toronto crowd laughed and partied like it was Mardi Gras. It was mass hysteria, all at the expense of the Tigers, considered contenders in spring training, but now just playing out the string. Toronto, on the other hand will be one of the favorites to win a World Series.
Mike Ilitch, the owner of a hockey team and a baseball team, may have seen his own personal nirvana play out in Toronto, not Detroit; fans celebrating a hockey tradition on a baseball diamond.
Something tells me it’s going to be a while before things go so well at Comerica that an octopus winds up in the infield.