I miss the old Bullpen Mafia.
I miss the sense of feeling at ease when a member would toe the rubber. I miss the feeling that the last three innings were essentially on lockdown and there was nothing the other guys could do about it. I miss the sense that they seemed fearless; bound and determined to make life miserable for opposing batters like Torii Hunter and their look-at-me bat-flips.
Maybe they still are pitching with that confidence. But whatever aura they once had has all but vanished into thin air almost to the point where we don’t even recognize the pitchers who were here for the duration.
Bullpens are typically the most volatile part of the team on a year-to-year basis, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that this year just hasn’t been that smooth. Let’s be fair, though,the starting pitching hasn’t been very consistent either. But still, this is something that contending teams control before the bleeding gets critical.
Basically, if you’re fielding a bullpen that is sitting near the bottom of baseball with Houston…
Yeah. It ain’t pretty.
Coming off of the Independence Day nightmare against the Royals, and the subsequent squash matches in the first two games of this critical Detroit series (including a sellout shutout by the Tigers), the tension was palpable; so much so, that the dreaded “team-meeting” took place after the conclusion of Saturday’s defeat. Twitter lamentations followed from fans and players alike. And it only took five years to the day, but the CC trade paid off in a huge way, thanks to Michael Brantley’s heroics yesterday to save nearly everyone from abandoning the ship.
But still, heroics needed because our Mafia just doesn’t have it this year. It’s never a good feeling to have when you hope for ten-run outputs because you don’t have any faith in the pitching staff. Would Matt Garza be that much better? It’s a determination that I’m glad I don’t have to make.
There is one constant that has remained that helps get us through both the good and bad times, and that is their resilience. They don’t quit. This will serve them well as we enter into the dog days of the season. No matter how bleak, they feel they have a chance to win. That belief is why they still have a chance to split this series, even though certainly doesn’t feel like it. It won’t be easy, especially with Max Scherzer going tomorrow night, but that’s all you can ask for. That was the goal: Keep Detroit in our sights.
And finally, Masterson and Kipnis are All-Stars! Congratulations to them. Do us proud!