Three vultures, two of them in a they-shall-not-pass scenarios (with the pitchers ending up in the bottom of the pit with the Balrog) and the other a Burning Man concert.
July 25th, Dan Jennings of the Chicago White Sox. If the name sounds familiar it’s because that’s also the name of the Marlins former GM-Manager. No, he didn’t take up pitching, the name is purely coincidental. This is another Dan Jennings.
The Battle of Chicago was raging that day between the North Side and the South Side. The game was 4-2 in favor of the White Sox heading into the 9th inning with Matt Albers on the mound. He had already pitched the 8th inning by relieving Zach Duke. I’m guessing Nate Jones wasn’t available.
Matt Alber’s RP voucher apparently expired because after bailing out Zach Duke in the 8th, he got himself into a Jam in the 9th. Javier Baez doubled and then Dexter Fowler singled him in to make it a 4-3 game. Krys Bryant singled to move Fowler all the way to third. Bryant got a little greedy and tried to make it to second on the play and got nailed for his troubles. I don’t think Krys made a good choice here.
Still, sensing the impending tire-fire, Ventura brought in Dan Jennings to face Anthony Rizzo. Alas, Rizzo singled to tie the game. To be fair, it’s very hard to stop the opposing team from scoring when the runner is on third with just 1 out. If there was ever a situation for an intentional walk to set up a double play, this was it. Ben Zobrist flied out to center and then Wilson Contreras singled to put Rizzo in scoring position (Joe brought in a pinch runner). Fortunately for Dan, the pod person impersonating Jayson Heyward went to the plate and struck out swinging.
The White Sox then won the game in the bottom of the 9th via, single, sacrifice-bunt, single (I believe that’s the second time I have reported the Sox doing this.)
Dan Jennings, Pitching Hero Extraordinaire.
July 26th, Tyler Thornburg of the Milwaukee Brewers. Last time we read about Thornburg I was comparing him to a snobby character from Trading Places. In another instance of too little too late, Thornburg came in because Will Smith (the pitcher, not the actor) got into a Jam protecting a one run lead in the 7th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
To summarize: Rickie Weeks struck out looking, Michael Bourn singled (hey that’s where he ended up), Phil Gosselin grounded out and Juan Seguera walked. With Pasul Goldschmitt at the plate you bring in your stopper. Or maybe your 8th inning guy to pitch the 7th? I guess the Fireman role is dead in baseball.
Anyways you can guess how this went as Paul singled to bring in Bourn and tie the game. The damage was minimized by Wellington Castillo grounding out. Tyler stayed in to pitch the 8th inning, so he was entrusted to preserve the tie game. It went well enough as he managed to get the outs while allowing a single and walking one.
Then in the bottom of the 8th the Brewers erupted for 5 runs. Tyler probably pitched well enough to win it with his performance in the 8th. On the other hand he didn’t put out the fire in the 7th thus stealing the W. Tyler has now secured his Carrion Eater Badge, this being his second vulture of the season.
July 26th, Alex Wilson of the Detroit Tigers. Fun Fact: Google Alex Wilson and you will see a bunch of people. The pitcher has a small picture result in the upper right and the first text result. Meanwhile the others are: Alex Wilson female meteorologist, Alexandra Wilson fitness and nutrition expert who looks fantastic in a bathing suit, Alex Wilson real estate agent and owner of two cute lap dogs and Alex Wilson pianist.
Back to the pitcher. Alex Wilson joined the hall of shame by pilfering a W from Mike Pelfrey. The Tiggers were ahead 8-5 in the bottom of the 6th inning when Kyle Ryan took over from Mike. He immediately surrendered a home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. Gotta say, nothing instills confidence in your bullpen like allowing a dinger to the first batter you face. I’m surprised Detroit starters don’t put towels to their face like Curt Schilling used to.
Tavis Shaw struck out swinging, but Sandy Leon walked. Brock Holt reached when the Tiggers defense got into the act with a throwing error by Kinsler trying for a force out. Beautiful Brad couldn’t take it anymore and brought in Alex Wilson to relieve Kyle. When he got there he briefly looked at the can of gasoline Alex brought with him to the mound.
“What’s that for?”, asked Brad. “Insurance” was the reply. Then Brad threw his hands up in the air and went back to the dugout. Alex proceeded to dowse the field with his gas can.
Mookie Bets walked. Dustin Pedroia (a.k.a. “The Evil Dwarf”) singled to bring in a run. Xander Bogaerts ground into a force out but Brock scored to tie the game. Out of the flames came up David Ortiz to the plate looking for all the world like Baseball’s version of the Terminator. While Brad was holding the paper looking at the classified ads, Alex battled with Ortiz and on a 2-2 pitch David hit the ball to center field. Fortunately for the Tiggers it was a fairly routine fly ball that was caught to end the threat.
The Tigers would regain the lead in the next half inning on a bases loaded walk. Bruce Rondon took over from Wilson in the bottom of the 7th. From then on the bullpen would keep that slender lead until the end of the game.
And that, is how a mediocre performance makes a winner out of Alex Wilson. I tell you, these guys are TALENTED.