Like a horror movie villan, the bad, long ball-addicted 2012 version of Philip Humber attacks at any time, and without warning. And just because he appeared to have been banished to the next world a few days ago, doesn't he mean he's ever really gone.
After Humber had spent a month on the disabled list resting his sore elbow, and delivered a quality start in Boston, memories of the last time he had spent a game getting golfed out of the stadium were thankfully distant.
And yet, that old version of Philip Humber came trotting in from the vistor's bullpen anyway, and did his worst.
Philip had dueling issues; though one might have exacerbated the other. He left absolutely everything up in the zone, getting only one ground ball on the day. Because Detroit hitters could sit on mediocre fastballs to lift into the stratosphere, his breaking pitches weren't sharp enough to inspire much chasing. He had four swings-and-misses on the day, but all of those at-bats ended in hard contact, and he left after three innings without a strikeout.
He did however leave with having allowed six runs on four homers--an opposite field shot from the power-deprived Quentin Berry, two missiles by Miguel Cabrera to center, and a blast by Brennan Boesch, who initially was down in the count 0-2.
Humber's struggles overshadowed 3.1 shutout innings twirled by Hector Santiago in relief, and a mini-offensive recovery propped up by homers from Alex Rios and Kevin Youkilis.
Tigers 6, White Sox 4
Philip Humber - 3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, 0 K, 4 HR - Really failed at every element of deceiving hitters.
Jacob Turner - 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, HR - Considering how his tumultuous and probably rushed call-up had been going, this was an incredible effort.
Alex Rios - 2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI - An awkward weekend of defense aside, he's statistically the best hitter on the team and all of this is not really his fault.
Paul Konerko - 2 for 4, R, K - Concerns about his power outage and his 7th inning at-bat aside, he's looking more capable.
Tyler Flowers - 2 for 4, K - Two singles, one in the infield, and was so close to avoiding posting a strikeout and having his most bizarre game ever.
Octavio Dotel - 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR - Slammed the door.
Humber was one strike away from getting out of the third inning after starting off 0-2 against Brennan Boesch. He followed it up by wasting two pitches on nowhere-close breaking balls, before another meaty center-cut fastball was whipped into the seats to make it 6-1 Tigers.
It seemed like just another entry into the pile of misery, but the two-run blow wound up being the difference in the ballgame.
Things Would Be Different If...
As happy as they might have been to get 5.1 innings from Jacob Turner, the Tigers lack a strong bridge to their later-innings relief corps. In the 7th, Phil Coke allowed a solo home run to Kevin Youkilis, and walked Adam Dunn to set up Paul Konerko and Alex Rios to each bat as the tying run.
Not looking to prolong the anxiety, Jim Leyland brought out Octavio Dotel, who struck them both out with relative ease. Konerko for some reason, spent some time arguing a strike three call down the heart of the plate. Arguing that pitches down the heart of the zone should be balls sums up the hopelessness of the weekend
This was pretty much the nightmare scenario for the three-game set in Detroit. The Tigers offense was overwhelming in every game, the offense was disappointing in some regard in every game--this time being their failure to deal damage to Turner--and a game and a half lead in the AL Central has been transformed into a deficit of equal size.
At least no one got hurt.