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The Oakland Athletics tried to give the game away, but the Detroit Tigers kept trying to give it back. Today’s jerk turned hero: Don Kelly.
Over the past four seasons with the Tigers, Kelly has been called up and sent down more times than he’d like to remember.
This year in 118 at bats, Kelly put up a cool .186 BA with one home run and 7 RBI. If only he’d gotten more at bats, he might have contended for the Triple Crown Loser trophy.
He manged to make September call-ups, mostly on account of his versatility. Kelly can play every position. He even pitched in a 16-9 Tigers loss to the Mets on June 29th of last year.
Somehow for a second time, Kelly found himself on a playoff roster. His role – sipping Gatorade, until the ninth inning of today’s ALDS Game 2.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and to the dismay of all Tigers fans, Jim Leyland gave Kelly a chance to make up for his awful season. He did. That’s twice now that Kelly has been given a shot in the playoffs to make up for his regular season mediocrity.
In Game 5 of last year’s ALDS against the New York Yankees, Leyland turned heads when he announced that his lineup would feature Don Kelly (.245 BA in 2011) batting second.
And today, with the bases loaded and one out, Kelly got the job done with a walk-off sac fly. With that, the Tigers now have a 2-0 lead in the series.
Don Kelly didn’t win this ballgame all on his own. Coco Crisp helped him out by crapping all over a routine fly ball in the 7th.
Here is the error on MLB.com – click it, but I’m warning you, it’s ugly.
The Tigers win also required a wild pitch by Ryan Cook in the 8th which allowed none other than Don Kelly to score the tying run.
Cook blew it and so did Crisp, but Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit also brought some of his own garbage to the game.
Benoit blew the lead for the Tigers when he threw a ball right past backstop Gerald Laird and allowing Yoenis Cespedes to score, tying the game at 4. Then, as if that weren’t enough, Benoit served up the go ahead home run to Josh Reddick, successfully coughing up the lead like a partially digested mouse.
Today’s game was the opposite of what October baseball should be. It was a horrendous, gut-wrenching matchup between under-performers and overachievers.
Baseball Jerks on the other hand, love this type of baseball. Jerks battling other jerks in the hopes of living to see another day – committing errors and dropping the ball along the way. Gotta love it, or hate it, or both.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
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