It was the top of the ninth and Joe Nathan was on the mound again to try to nail down a victory for the Tigers. It was an especially important victory considering the Tigers have just lost four straight.
Joe Nathan coming to the mound in the ninth used to mean certain victory but this season has been different. Nathan has blown six saves this season and although the Tigers had a four run lead the crowd was a little anxious.
That anxiety rose when Joe Nathan walked the first two batters of the inning prompting some boos from the crowd of over 41,000.
After Nathan issued two free passes to Pirate hitters he got out of the inning with a deep fly ball and a stunning double play initiated by Nick Castellanos.
Nathan must have felt vindicated by the save because before the victory handshake Nathan gave a chin flick gesture to the crowd at Comerica. For those unfamiliar with the gesture it is the Italian version of the middle finger.
Here is the video of Tigers pitcher Joe Nathan sending appreciation to his home crowd ….. https://t.co/wuC1gW8Ack
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) August 14, 2014
Joe Nathan has been a lock down closer his entire career so he is probably not used to hearing booing from the home crowd. But Joe needs to realize that it took two close plays to get out of the jam. A jam he created after walking the first two batters. Not really the cruise the Tigers signed up for when they brought Nathan on board to captain the bullpen.
It is understandable why Joe Nathan would be upset but to give his home fans the ole Bafangoo is classless. Detroit fans are a pretty tolerant bunch but they don’t take kindly to disrespect. Nathan’s actions will set up a pretty interesting moment if he has to take the mound this afternoon to close the game.