September 15, 2011
Thirteen in a row would be the longest string of consecutive wins in a season since the A's won 20, back in 2002.
And the Tigers will owe all of their success to hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
Not Justin Verlander(notes), who's gone 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA during the winning streak? Nor Miguel Cabrera(notes), who's hit .391 with an OPS of 1.123 over the past 12 games? Not even Jose Valverde(notes), with four saves and a 1.50 ERA?
Sure, all of those contributions helped. But have any of the Tigers players made the sacrifice that McClendon has made during the streak? According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the man has not changed his underwear in almost two weeks.
"Guys are getting a little uncomfortable standing next to me now," McClendon said. "They believe they can't be beat. So if this thing keeps going, it can ugly."
What's that smell? It's the smell of winning. And you thought the people called him "Legendary Lloyd" because he hit five consecutive home runs in the 1971 Little League World Series.
If you watch a Tigers game and notice no one is sitting next to McClendon in the dugout, you know why. But manager Jim Leyland might not even notice. All those years of smoking have surely made the scent of tobacco pervasive or dulled his sense of smell.
Unfortunately, Nightengale was a bit brief with his reporting, leaving some questions unanswered. (Or maybe he just wanted to move on to another subject as quickly as possible.)
For instance, does McClendon stick with the same skivvies when he's not in uniform? Is he bringing those drawers back home with him?
Also, the Tigers had an off-day during the streak, on Sept. 8. Was McClendon wearing the lucky jockey shorts while the team wasn't playing? If so, did he go out in public, get something to eat, or catch a movie?
That's not to suggest that McClendon should've changed his undies, either. As we all know, you do not mess with a winning streak. You respect the streak.
Clearly, Legendary Lloyd is showing the Tigers' run the utmost respect. No one wants to be the one to bring a winning streak skidding to a halt.
Big BLS H/N: Bless You Boys