May 31st, 2006

More on Nate

I’m not sure my game recap did justice to Nate Robertson’s postgame interview, a 20-minute session that seemingly alternated between a soliloquy and a question-and-answer session. He wasn’t blasting himself, teammates, opponents, coaches, management or the umpires. It wasn’t exactly clear what he was blasting other than a perception of him that he says is out there and focuses too much on his raw stats in a game than the quality of the games he pitches.

"What happened to me tonight is you can’t judge players, you can’t judge results of game based on a line score. Not me, anybody that plays this game. This game is not favorable. We glorify somebody who three out of 10 times is sucessful and they fail seven times. It’s difficult with pitchers what we go out there and do. You have to do so much to win a ballgame. That’s why you really enjoy wins at this level. But so many little things can contribute to an outcome like we had tonight."

And to say he wasn’t happy with this outcome was an understatement:

"It’s easy in the situation that we’re in, we’re hitting a little skid, playing the Yankees, it’s easy if something doesn’t go your way, let frustration go, effect what you’re trying to do out there. Tonight a lot of frustrating things happened. You’re talking about jam shots. You’re talking about guys out in front of pitches. You get a little ground ball, a guy still scores. It’s like, what more can you do? What can I do? I think I did everything I could, and I’m good enough to beat those guys. I know that. I feel that way every time I’m out there. Doesn’t matter who it is."

It sounded like some of his postgame interviews from last year. When he lost a makeup game in Cleveland last September, he said, "I’ve come to the conclusion that I have very little control over the outcome of a game." The difference is that the September loss was part of a season-ending streak of six losses in seven starts to finish with 16 losses on the year. Wednesday was his first loss since April 17, which makes you think Leyland has a point when he says handling success is a learning process.

Robertson said many times during his six-week unbeaten stretch that he believes he’s had one bad inning all season, that being his third inning against Cleveland April 17. He often pitches like he has something to prove with every start, which is a good drive to have as long as it doesn’t become self-destructive. Making a detour and jawing with the umpire on his way out of the game might not have been the most constructive thing to do in that regard. He’s still 5-3 and the team still has the Majors’ best record.

Robertson starts the first game of that huge series against the White Sox next Tuesday, which now becomes almost as interesting just to see how he rebounds from Wednesday. From what Robertson said, it sounds like Kenny Rogers talked to him after the game about handling frustration. Even before Robertson’s session, Leyland alluded to it when asked if he worries about Robertson’s frustration carrying over.

"No, I don’t worry about that. Big-league pitchers are supposed to handle that kind of stuff. Nate Robertson gave us everything and more than we needed tonight. He gave us an outstanding performance, a performance certainly well enough to be in the ballgame and have a chance to win it. It was just what the doctor ordered. But … for anybody to be temporarily frustrated, I think that’s fine. But anybody who has that bother them over a period time or carry over needs to mature."

Miner called up

In case you missed it, the Tigers called up Zach Miner and optioned Jack Hannahan back to Triple-A Toledo. Miner will be used in relief; Leyland said they needed an extra arm with so many relievers used Tuesday night. As of now, Colon is expected to get another start Sunday against the Red Sox.

Also, no news yet on Mike Maroth, who was supposed to meet with Dr. Yocum today.

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