PREGAME: The Tigers have one last chance at their first 20 win month since August 1979. They are also scrambling to set up a split of this series, and avoid only their second 4 game skid of the season. And it won’t be easy.
The Tigers will send out Nate Robertson to try and shut down the injured Yankees, and give the bullpen a reprieve. Meanwhile, the Yankees will counter with Mike Mussina who for years has owned the Tigers.
Now there have been several pitchers who owned the Tigers for years, but Detroit has fared better as of late with their new additions. However, even Pudge, Ordonez, and Guillen don’t have overly impressive numbers against Mussina.
This will also be the Tigers first tilt on national TV with ESPN2 picking up the game. I’ll be in attendance, as will the boy, who has brought the team luck in his two games so far this year.
POSTGAME Another frustrating performance by the Tigers. I know you need to “tip your cap” when the opponent outplays you. It’s just thats too much hat tipping in one week. And at some point the hitters have to take responsibility and not tip their hats. Case in point: In the sixth inning with the Yankees leading 2-0, the Tigers put runners on first and second with nobody out. Mussina was out of the inning 3 pitches later after a failed sacrifice and double play. The next inning was completed in 7 pitches. Late in the game with the Tigers in the game, Mussina recorded 6 outs on 10 pitches. Curtis Granderson seemed to be the only hitter who actually worked Mussina each at-bat totaling 17 pitches for the night.
And it wasn’t just the hitting, a lot of the fielding isn’t there either. Whether it’s missing cut off men, a bad route to a fly ball (Granderson mis-played Alex Rodriguez’s triple), or as we’ve seen this week the inability to turn a double play, things are getting sloppy.
It’s one thing to lose to the Yankees, and Mike Mussina. It’s another thing to lose to the Yankees sans Jeter/Damon/Matsui/Sheffield. Now they still have a lineup featuring Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Jason Giambi which just serves as a reminder of how freakishly talented the Yankees are. But if you are going to beat them, now is the time to do it.
The one bright spot for the Tigers of course was Nate Robertson. He pitched quite well and deserved a better fate. More importantly, he gave a tired bullpen the night off while keeping his team in the game.