You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me. This can’t be happening. Make it stop. Please.
Detroit Tigers right-hander Matt Manning left his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo in the third inning Thursday afternoon.
Which caused Twitter to melt down.
I have to admit my own reaction was pretty close to: “Freakin’, frackin’ — ARRRGGGHHHHHHHH!”
Shortly after, the Tigers announced it was some kind of illness. “Nothing arm- or shoulder-related,” Tigers general manager Al Avila told the Free Press via text message. “He felt light-headed and was not feeling well.”
Whew — relief settled over Tigers fans. Yes, this is where we are now. You feel relief when somebody is sick and not hurt; it’s an understandable reaction, considering the absurdity of this season.
The Tigers’ injury report has turned into a twisted version of that children’s song: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
Not to mention: ribs, groins, quads, hamstrings, elbows and inner-ear issues.
Goodness, make it stop!
Did somebody let Stephen King script this season? Because it’s turning into a horror movie come to life.
Casey Mize has been out with an elbow strain since April 15. He tried to pitch in a rehab start for Toledo on May 12 but he wasn’t quite right, giving up three runs while getting just two outs.
So the Tigers sent him back to Lakeland, Florida.
Of course, that’s just the start of things for this organization — the tip of the broken finger, so to speak.
Whoops. I don’t want to confuse you. The broken finger belongs to Michael Pineda — he’s on the injured list.
That’s not to be confused with Tyler Alexander’s elbow — he’s on the IL, too.
Or Eduardo Rodriguez’ left side. Or ribs. Or whatever is wrong — he’s hitting the IL soon, too.
And don’t forget about Spencer Turnbull, who has been out all year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“We’re still going to play the games, so we have to figure it out,” manager A.J. Hinch told reporters Wednesday.
And that was before Manning’s illness. Manning was making what was hoped to be his final rehab start but lasted just two batters into the third inning.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Hinch said.
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This is hurting the team on so many levels.
The most obvious? Well, I don’t want to get too technical but you need somebody to pitch the ball, according to the rules. And it’s getting increasingly difficult to find somebody who is healthy.
The Tigers have dipped into their rotation at Toledo, with Beau Brieske, Alex Faedo and Joey Wentz rushed to Detroit with mixed success.
That’s great for them, getting to develop at the big-league level.
But the Tigers need Mize and Manning to be healthy and available to grow into the foundational pieces. They need them on the mound, pitching and learning and growing like Tarik Skubal.
But all we get are injury reports.
Or illness clarifications.
Freakin’, frackin’ fudgesicles.
Now, all this would be bad on its own.
But they also had Victor Reyes pulling one quad in April, getting healthy and then pulling the other one Sunday.
And Reyes’ situation is only magnified because of Riley Greene’s situation. He was on his way to making the Opening Day roster but fouled a ball off his foot, suffering a fracture. That forced the Tigers to trade Isaac Paredes to the Tampa Bay Rays for Austin Meadows.
And Meadows was having a fantastic start … until he developed an inner-ear problem.
Of course, Parades hit a couple home runs against the Tigers on Wednesday.
Which is clearly the work of Stephen King, just to make this more twisted. As King once wrote: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
Yes, I know. I’ve been watching them win all season.
Every day, the news seems to get worse.
Technically, Manning’s illness is not horrible news. But it’s certainly not progress. The Tigers wanted him to throw five innings Thursday to get ready for a return next week. But he didn’t reach that, which doesn’t feel promising.
The Tigers can keep bringing up rookies, but that brings up more issues.
Starting with the 40-man roster; there’s only so much shuffling the Tigers can do before they have to drop a valuable player.
And most young pitchers are not going to last long in their starts, which puts more pressure on the bullpen, which leads to injuries, which leads to more callups … it’s like a crazy, vicious circle.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ offense is still trying to get on track.
“We’ve got to play better,” Hinch told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ve got to hit better. We have to play more up-tempo. We have to get in the strike zone. I could go on for a while on what we need to do better.”
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I could go on and on as well. This is worse than being snake-bit. It’s like lightning has struck over and over. It’s like watching somebody slip on the banana peel. Over and over.
I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just a ridiculous series of events. And there appears to be no consistent theme: broken finger, elbow, shoulder, ribs and now Manning’s illness.
So who is left?
Elvin Rodriguez, 24, pitched for Toledo on Sunday, throwing five innings of scoreless ball, allowing one hit with five strikeouts.
Logan Shore threw 4⅓ innings last week after Mize’s early departure; he allowed just two hits and one run.
And Chase Anderson, 34, has started seven games for Toledo and has a 3.90 ERA.
Somebody has to come up and eat up some innings.
Because Mr. TBD is going to get tired from being penciled in every fifth day.
I have only one piece of advice for the Tigers, and I’m being totally serious: Somebody grab Tarik Skubal and put him in bubble wrap.
But do it gently.
Contact Jeff Seidel: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.