What Tigers didn’t know might have helped them
Pittsburgh – You’ve heard it before. Success in baseball is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.
That axiom was perfectly illustrated in the Tigers’ four-run outburst against Pirates hard-throwing reliever Arquimedes Caminero Wednesday night.
The Tigers were under the impression that Caminero had come into the game cold, without throwing enough warmup pitches in the bullpen.
“He only had like four warmup pitches,” Ian Kinsler said. “There must’ve been a miscommunication or something. He hadn’t even taken his jacket off when (John) Jaso flew out.”
The Tigers knew Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong was coming out of the game. He was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fifth. Kinsler and Nick Castellanos looked back into the Pirates bullpen and didn’t see anybody throwing before Jaso made the last out in the fifth.
“We knew that (he wasn’t warm),” Kinsler said. “And maybe he might be a little flustered. He actually threw the ball well to the first couple of guys, but then he starting getting into trouble and we started really swinging the bat.”
A two-out double by Miguel Cabrera started the trouble. Caminero walked J.D. Martinez, gave up a first-pitch single to Castellanos then a first-pitch grand slam home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Tigers cruised to a 7-3 win.
The Tigers smelled blood in the water even before Caminero entered the game. They didn’t believe he was ready to pitch and they pounced.
Here’s what the Tigers players didn’t realize, though:
“He was up throwing the inning before,” hitting coach Wally Joyner said.
The Pirates had Caminero throwing in the bottom of the fourth inning because Vogelsong was due up fifth that inning. They didn’t get that far and Caminero sat back down. But he was already loose and didn’t need to fully re-heat before entering the game in the sixth.
Didn’t matter. It may have been a false perception, but it still gave the Tigers’ hitters a mental edge in that inning.
“Hey,” Joyner said, “any advantage you can get, right?”