WhiteFlag.jpgI’m breaking from the usual game recap format tonight to reluctantly raise a white flag on the 2008 season.

In fact, indulge me while I use a line from my favorite movie, “Midnight Run“, in which Robert DeNiro tells Charles Grodin:

“You’re in this mess because you’re in this mess. I didn’t put you in this mess.”

There are countless reasons why the Tigers are in this mess. The poor start. The inconsistent hitting. The Little-League caliber defense. You know the rest. But I think one of the main reasons the Tigers are in a mess for the rest of the season is the closer role.

Easy target? Yep. Todd Jones is actually too easy a target, I’ll admit it. But in tonight’s loss to the Twins, you could feel the difference between the two teams as the game wore on. The difference, of course, is the Twins closer, Joe Nathan. The guy simply doesn’t blow saves.

Okay, he’s blown two this season (the same number as Jones. Ahem). But against Detroit in his career Nathan’s a perfect 24-for-24. Opponents know that he’s lurking out there waiting to come in, usually in the ninth inning, to close out the game, often in 1-2-3 fashion.

Let’s face it, the Tigers bullpen, outside of setup man Joel Zumaya, maybe, scares no one. These days, opponents are practically giddy when “Bobby Seay, Bobby Don’t” or Fernando Rodney enter a game.

If — a monumental if — the Tigers somehow hang around to make late noise in the division there will be tight games left and right, and the margin for error, particularly in the standings, will be just about zero.

How confident are you that Todd Jones can save important games down the stretch?

Same here. Discuss.