Know when to fold ’em

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Oct 232006
 
Authors: Nick Hubel

Yea, yea, yea. Kenny Rogers is a big fat cheater. I find it very hard to believe that the stuff on his pitching hand in Game 2 was anything but pine tar. But you know what? I am really glad that he did. It hearkens back to great old time baseball, when pitchers would throw balls doctored by spit, nail files, and yes, pine tar. The thing about it is, Kenny would have gotten away with it if Fox didn’t stick a camera in his glove as a part of their “No less than 500 angles” camera program.

That in mind, I refuse to be a Joe Buck disciple and make as big a deal out of the Gambler’s pine tar on his hand, I will only report what Kenny had to say after Game 2. (Note: I didn’t see what Kenny had to say after the game, but I am fairly confident it went something like this).

Reporter: “Kenny, what’s all that s— on your chest?

Gambler: “Crisco. (wipes his finger across his hip) Bardol. (wiping his hairline) Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalape/o up my nose, get it runnin’ real good, and if I need to load the ball up I just (wipes his nose) wipe my nose.”

Reporter: “You put snot on the ball?”

Gambler: “I haven’t got an arm like Zumaya, I gotta put anything on it I can find. Someday he will too.”

Of course, I am also assuming that Kenny has the same taste in movies that I do and that like me he has recently watched Major League. If that’s not the case then I am willing to bet that he just skirted questions about loading the ball. Actually, let’s go with that.

Jokes aside, 23 straight scoreless innings in the playoffs is a pretty impressive feat for a guy who in the past has had a post-season ERA that was just a dirt smudge under 7.00 (sorry, no more Dirtgate, I promise) and has short enough of a temper to pick on a middle-aged, balding camera guy for kicks and giggles.

All in all, Detroit looked good behind the Gambler. Still, as Kenny will tell you, Detroit can’t count their money while they are still sitting at the table. 1-1 is not where they wanted to be heading to St. Louis, especially having to face Carpenter and Suppan in 3 and 4, respectively.

Two things, other then the pitching that they will have to face, make me worry me about the Tigers in the next three games.

First, the highs in St. Louis on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are supposed to be 54 degrees, 55 degrees, and 58 degrees.

The reason this concerns me is that Placido Polanco will not need to wear his sweet “just stepped out of the bank robbery scene from Heat” hood that he wore in Game 2. And it is clear: when Placido looks like a dork, the Tigers play much better.

Second, Pujols has yet to hit contract-mandated soul crushing home run this postseason.

Last year, Brad Lidge lost his soul to Pujols as his Game 5 NLCS homer banged off the train tracks 100 feet beyond the wall in Houston. This year, I fear for Joel Zumaya. On the other hand, I really want to see how far a Pujols soul crusher would go off an adrenaline fueled 104 mph Zumaya fastball (this is the kind of stuff I spend most of my day thinking about).

All in all, I think the Tigers make it out of St. Louis taking two out of three. Let’s hope all the Tigers relievers still have souls by the time they get back to Detroit.

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