PREGAME: The Tigers will try to avoid the sweep tonight as they close out their series with the Yankees. The Tigers have had two chances to be a Johnson this week but their bats weren’t up to the task. Maybe they’ll have better luck beating Wang.
Justin Verlander, the last Tiger pitcher to win, will try and stop the skid for Detroit.
The Tigers double play combination will be reminiscent of 2003 – only reversed – with Ramon Santiago at short and Omar Infante at second. Placido Polanco who has been hitting many routine grounders to short, and Chris Shelton who has been striking out on many pitches at the shoulders will be on the bench. Carlos Guillen will start at first base.
The Yankees to continue to not play at full strength. Derek Jeter will miss tonight’s game while Gary Sheffield will miss the next couple weeks after going on the DL.
POSTGAME: That was arguably the biggest win of the season so far for Detroit. The extra-inning Reds win was huge, but came during a pretty good hot streak for the Tigers. I think the only one this rivals is the Oakland A’s come from behind win which propelled them through the west coast swing.
The Tigers started off hacking, but by the 4th inning began taking much better approaches. Part of that may have been the pitching, but the plate appearances just seemed so much more competitive.
I also want to make sure to fully appreciate Curtis Granderson. As I write this, the game log isn’t available yet, but I believe Granderson saw 32 pitches in his 5 plate appearances and reached base 4 times. I also very much like Marcus Thames batting second. Yes, he is a double play candidate. But Thames has demonstrated a good eye, a willingness to work the count, and he’s hitting the ball hard. I don’t mean to be hating on Polanco and I think things will get better, but he’s looking an awful lot like Pudge 2005 right now.
It was an outstanding cumulative effort by Jamie Walker, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney. They picked up Justin Verlander who did his best to pitch through some sort of finger injury.
But the bottom line is that the Tigers got a much needed win. The fact that it was dramatic just makes it that much more fun.