Monday, June 18, 2007

Yet Another Classic Jones!

I commented in a recent post (on a game against the Phillies), "Jones appeared again tonight, but with a four-run lead. And not even he could make that interesting."

How wrong I was. Todd Jones's outing tonight against the Nationals had so many classic Jones moments, but the clincher was the fact that he came in with a four-run lead and did in fact make it interesting. Let's review the criteria for a classic Jones:

1. Jones must come on with more than a one-run lead so that he can give up at least one run.
2. Jones must get runners on the bases early from a fluke hit or error.
3. Jones must face one of the other team's top hitters.
4. Jones must benefit from a solid defensive play.
5. Jones must give up a run (often in exchange for an out or two).
6. Jones must let the other team hit into the final out; the motive here seems to be to avoid striking anyone out.

I'll spare you the details of the game, but tonight's "relief" appearance met the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth criteria. Note that the fact that Jones failed to meet the second criteria is not comforting, since the Nationals didn't score on a fluke; instead they pounded the crap out of Jones: they hit a few singles, a double, and a triple. Note also that Jones did get one strikeout, but the last hitter grounded out.

But the fact is that Jones managed to give up three (!) runs in the ninth inning before even recording an out. And I think that makes up for missing the second criteria.

On one hand, watching the Nationals' fans getting excited about their chance at a comeback amused me. Don't they know a classic Jones when they see one? Apparently not. I pitied the fools.

On the other hand, the line between a classic Jones and a classic Jones blowing up in your face is very fine, and one is never (repeat, never) convinced that Jones won't actually choke (as he did against the Indians on June 1).

If the Tigers make the playoffs, and Jones is still their "closer," please just shoot me.

On the good news front, set your VCRs for Kenny Rogers's first start this Friday.

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