The Tigers are starting an “energy squad”

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Corporate marketing and cheerleading! Two things that baseball doesn’t need more of, together at last!

The Tigers are looking for fun, energetic fans to be part of the DTE Energy Squad — a promotion, entertainment and fan-interaction team. The squad will help rile up the crowd at Comerica Park.

Members of the DTE Energy Squad will welcome fans to the park, distribute giveaway items and work alongside mascot Paws, dancing atop the dugouts and entertaining fans, according to the Tigers.

Due to my deep and personal connection to Tiger Stadium, I made it a point of principle not to visit Comerica Park for the first few years it was open.  After awhile I got realistic about things and dropped the protest, but I never have managed to make it up there for a game yet for a number of odd reasons.  In light of the pep squad, I may go back to avoiding the place on principle.

All I know is that if my Great Uncle Harry — the man who first took me to Tiger Stadium and was a season ticket holder there going back to the 40s — were still alive to see this, he’d take a sledge hammer to the place. And that’s saying something considering that he’d be 103-years-old now.

At the risk of crotchety old fogeyism, let me say that baseball in Detroit should smell like beer and cigars and should be watched by knowledgeable fans who have no time or patience for some amped-up teenager tasked with “riling them up.”  You know: like it always has been.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.