Game 54: Yankees at Tigers

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.

8 Comments

  1. Joey

    June 1, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Lots of posts trying to put the 4 game losing streak in perpective. I think they’re all valid. But we are a skittish bunch and we’ve been hearing a lot about the upcoming stretch being a test of whether or not the Tigs are for real. I think part of the frustration comes from watching the Tigers lose the first three games we’ve played against THE measuring stick of MLB. Not only that, but the team hasn’t looked good in these losses. And for me personally, having to read the backpages’ take on their precious Yankees pounding the Tigers just like they always do, is extra gauling.

  2. Joey

    June 1, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Oh and here’s hoping that Ramon and Omar can turn the DP better than the other two have been!

  3. billfer

    June 1, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    Regardless of what happens, I just want to point out that Craig Monroe and Carlos Guillen both had very good at-bats with nothing to show for it in the 5th inning. Both hit line drives the opposite way with two strikes. The Tigers didn’t squander that opportunity, things just didn’t go their way.

  4. Joey

    June 1, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    Good point Billfer.

    I’d like to follow that up by saying everything has been going the Yankee’s way this series. Busted bat doubles? Seeing eye singles? Everything they get a tiny piece of wood on seems to dropping in for singles.

  5. Joey

    June 1, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    HUGE!!! I consider that a very big win.

  6. Dave

    June 1, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Ditto. Has to be a big confidence builder coming back against the Yanks.

  7. Jeff M

    June 1, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Wow, I had a great time at the game! Random high-fives on the way out… I can’t wait to go back on Saturday.

    My favorite moment was during the middle of the 8th. We were 6 outs away from being swept in humiliating fashion, and the crowd starts belting out a loud chorus of “Yankees suck!” That’s the kind of arrogance this town has been missing for a loooong time. =)

  8. Nick G

    June 1, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    Out of our four straight losses, we faced ‘tip-your-cap’ type pitching, as the baseball cliche goes, three times (Johnson 2X and Mussina).

    Billfer, I would only add the time our second-string catcher hit the winning two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th off Johan Santana, who had ‘tip-your-cap’ type stuff, to your list of big wins. YAY Vance!

    Before Carlos got the game-winning hit tonight, LIVE ON ESPNHD, I said, “’68 Tigers, baby! ’68 Tigers!” Hopefully, that sort of thing will continue.