UPDATE: You’re welcome, Tigers fans, for my little jinxing of Vazquez. It’s now 2-0 Tigers. Please leave the cash in an unmarked bag outside of the Bread Basket Deli at the corner of 10 1/2 Mile Road and Greenfield in Oak Park. I’ll be inside gettin’ my corned beef on.
2:25 P.M.: Lowe has now given up a hit. Vazquez’s shutout is intact through five, however.
2:17 P.M.: The Yankees and Tigers are just starting the bottom of the fifth in Detroit, and so far Javy Vazquez is pitching one-hit shutout baseball on 47 pitches. Just so you know.
Query: if Javy pitches well for the rest of the day do the people out for his blood give him his due, or do they chalk it up as a fluke due to the cold and the doubleheader and the ocean currents and stuff?
In other troubled-pitchers-in-day-game baseball news, Derek Lowe has a no-hitter going through four in the Braves-Brewers tilt. Yeah, I suppose I’ll give him his due if he pulls it off, but I’m going to have to really be talked out of the ocean currents thing with him.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.