PREGAME: For the first time in a long time, a series has me nervous. As everybody knows, the Twins are ridiculously hot. They are winners of 34 of their last 42. They just swept the White Sox in Chicago. The Tigers will be facing 2 of the top pitchers in the American League. The Twins are 37-11 at the dome. Since June 8th their offense has been plugging along at a 305/370/468 clip. This ain’t gonna be easy.
But the Tigers aren’t too shabby themselves and still have an 8.5 game lead. The Tigers will be sending out Zach Miner, who has been hammered in his last 2 starts. The Tigers offense, which has been pretty darn solid since the All Star break (304/350/442), will try to scratch out some runs against Francisco Liriano. Liriano of course is striking out everybody and has allowed like no runs per game. But the Tigers did have some success against Liriano when he was relieving. Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, and Brandon Inge are all 3 for 7 with home runs.
Bloggers are previewing this series like crazy. For even more info check out Mack Avenue Tigers, Sweaty Men Endeavors, and Baseball by Paul. Finally, my buddy Seth chronicles the roster moves and players that have brought the Twins to where they are.
POSTGAME: I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to win this game. I mean no disrespect to Zach Miner, but he isn’t Francisco Liriano. Liriano was all that was advertised, but the Tigers did manage to raise his ERA. In the end the Tigers won a game the Metrodome way with a couple turf singles setting up Monroe’s game winner.
I thought that the Tigers were doing a poor job working the count against Liriano, at least until he left the game. Detroit hitters made Joe Nathan and Juan Rincon work for everything. In fact, there patience against Nathan in the 9th inning forced 25 pitches and probably prevented Nathan from coming out for the 10th. My perception of impatience against Liriano was probably more of a testament to how well he pitched.
Zach Miner was a tad shaky in the early innings, but he became quite effective. His last 2 outings were brutal, but if you look at his contribution in whole (even including those outings) I think you have to be thrilled with what he has done as a rotation fill-in. With the off day, Verlander’s long outing, Miner’s return to form, and Craig Monroe tweaking his leg, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Colby Lewis returned to Toledo for a position player.
Miner was helped by his defense that kept the Twins out of scoring position. Craig Monroe cut down Luis Castillo stretching a single to a double and Brandon Inge made a nifty heads up play gunning down the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt.
And of course I’d be remiss without mentioning the bullpen. Jamie Walker, Fernando Rodney, and Todd Jones were nearly perfect.