Gage: It’s all working now for Tigers — even White Sox manager
DETROIT — Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it.
On a pivotally close call at second base in the bottom of the ninth, one that could determine the outcome of a game — and in this instance did — I want to see a manager angry. I want to see him putting up an argument.
I want him yelling. I want him throwing his arms around.
I want him doing everything he can to get the call reversed.
But that’s not what managers, as a rule, do anymore. They have to wait; they have to check the video — and after that, they have to wait some more if the video is not definitive.
Almost as if they are limited to saying, "Oh, Mr. Umpire sir, we disagree."
Wow, is that different from the colorful way it used to be.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura botched a challengeable play on Friday, right before Jose Iglesias’ one-out single in the bottom of the ninth handed Detroit a 2-1 victory.
And, once again, it shows that when a team is on a roll, as the Tigers obviously are, everything it does is capable of going its way.
How long will it last for the Tigers? Who knows? Funks happen at the strangest times. They often come from nowhere.
But it has lasted this long: The Tigers are 9-1 for just the fourth time in franchise history — tying the 10-game starts of the 1984, 1968 and 1911 teams.
For the most part, they’ve won nine of their first 10 because of what they’ve done right. Even in this game, the Tigers could not have won if starting pitcher David Price hadn’t given them the chance to win by limiting the Sox to a run on four hits.
Price was in charge throughout all of his eight innings. But he was most impressive when reacting to a leadoff walk to Adam LaRoche in the seventh by needing only four more pitches to get out of the inning.
Pumping non-stop gas for six straight pitches after falling behind 3-0 to LaRoche, only to lose him on a full count, Price retired Alexei Ramirez on a first-pitch pop-up, then got ahead of Gordon Beckham with an 0-2 count before coaxing him into a double-play on an off-speed pitch.
It was the art of pitching on display.
This time, though, the Tigers won a game as much despite, as because.
When his liner rolled away from former Tiger Avisail Garcia in right to lead off the bottom of the ninth, Nick Castellanos took off for second.
Ill-advisedly so, it looked at first. Garcia has a strong arm, and the ball didn’t roll far from him.
Castellanos had paid closed attention to what was said in a pre-game meeting, though.
"They said that Garcia was a guy we wanted to take the extra base on," he said, "because in the past, he’s shown he’s not very accurate.
"So I did exactly what the scouting report said."
From the outset, though, it was going to be close at second if Garcia’s throw was anywhere close, which it was.
With the ball in it, Ramirez’s glove was waiting for Castellanos when he slid.
A certain out? Not quite.
Castellanos was ruled safe, despite a replay that made it appear he was tagged on the toe.
Ramirez was stunned. Through an interpreter, he said after the game, "The video shows what happened. It was clear. I’m 100 percent sure I tagged him.
"I thought (the umpire) was in the wrong position to see it. I felt it. I tagged him."
Castellanos said, "I couldn’t feel if he tagged me or not. But obviously the White Sox didn’t, either, because they didn’t challenge."
Waiting for a definitive replay, the Sox took too much time.
"The umpire (Brian O’Nora) said he missed him. I wish I could have watched it," Ventura said.
"I could have challenged it but when the guy says he missed him. . ."
Thou shalt not argue.
By the time Ventura went out again, the Tigers had moved the game forward by replacing Castellanos with a pinch-runner — after which whatever the Sox wanted to do was too late.
So the call wasn’t changed.
And after Alex Avila moved Romine to third with a bunt, Iglesias singled in the winning run.
The Tigers celebrated — as they should have.
The Sox left without a squawk — because there’s no squawking in baseball anymore.
Not like it used to be, anyway.
Next thing you know, managers will have to challenge by texting the umpires.