Game 102: Tigers at Twins

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.

21 Comments

  1. Steve P.

    July 28, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    We had HUGE success against Liriano early this season: 3.2IP, 7ER.

    After the first inning tonight, 4.2IP, 9ER. We own this guy.

  2. Steve

    July 28, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Well lets see how it goes, its a 9 inning game. The Twinkies seems to have some confidence here. Whats the deal with Pudge. I thought I heard Mario say he is hurt?

  3. Dennis

    July 28, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    the strike zone tonite seems pretty bad…the tigers want to be patient, but you can’t when the ump calls strikes seemingly at random…

  4. George L.

    July 28, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    exactly, dennis. how do you win 37 out of 48 games at home? well, paying off the umpires doesn’t hurt…

  5. Steve P.

    July 28, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Okay, 6 innings and 9 strikeouts later, maybe he’s settled down against us.

    Pudge is out with a sore thumb and hopes to play tomorrow… so says Jason Beck’s Blog:

    http://beck.mlblogs.com

  6. Adam

    July 28, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    Gettin’ close here…

  7. Jared

    July 28, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Yet another clutch Monroe hit

  8. Dennis

    July 28, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    c’mon jonesy…

  9. Dennis

    July 28, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    woot! if anything, i thought this was the worst chance we had to win…way to go tigers!

  10. Adam

    July 28, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Tigers win!

  11. Steve G

    July 28, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    That’s a nice win!

  12. Cameron

    July 28, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    Yes yes yes…

  13. Shane

    July 28, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Maroth should be back soon, should he not? Well, at least his time on the 60 day DL should be up soon.

  14. Jeff M

    July 28, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Great game. I’m glad to see Miner bounce back from some tough outings.

  15. Dennis

    July 28, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    i’m still hearing september, maybe late august for maroth

    they need to make a roster move to get another bench player…pudge and monroe gimpy, that leaves only 2 bodies on the bench

  16. Dennis

    July 28, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    err, 1 body on the bench…12 position players, not 13 now

  17. Nick G

    July 29, 2006 at 12:02 am

    I was the one who said he’d be content with one win in this series (I was scared for the first time this year going into a series for many reasons, especially Dome field advantage). So…YAY! I’m gonna sleep well tonight.

    I thought the win would come tomorrow against Radke. Tonight’s game was a war of attritian and we showed why we have the record we have. Minor was our player of the game for holding serve against Liriano.

    Let’s zero in on the sweep!

    No call from my Twin fan friends tonight. You can bet they’d be calling had the result gone the other way. Eat crow! Let’s go Tigs!!!!

  18. Dirk

    July 29, 2006 at 8:55 am

    What a great victory. Zach Miner with a quality start after 2 bad outings and the Bullpen unbelievable (what has happened with Todd Jones. 1 Run in 15 Games with Zero Runs in the last 11. Brillant ).

    Very frustrating for a guy who pitched 8 Innings with 12 K’s and when he had to leave the game he knew all I have reached is a NO Decision.

    Today the “Tiger Killer” Radke on the mound (19 Wins against them). But we have beaten him twice this season, why not take one again.

    Greetings from Germany.

  19. Scott

    July 29, 2006 at 9:17 am

    whew! I think we were seriously lucky to win this game. I expected to lose this when it was tied 2-2 early. Like he said, Miner was shaky….and those walks…..grrrr…..at least make ’em hit their way on base. And 2 of the walks came around to score, otherwise, it was a 2-0 game. Can’t remember exactly, but I think the Twins had the lead off man on base in 4 of the first 5 innings. Not the recipe for success. Twice they scored, one was erased on a dp. But, I also gotta give the kid credit – he bore down and pitched his way out of the stuff he created. A couple timely hits could’ve swung this the other way; just like Cleveland, they didn’t get ’em when they needed ’em. Baseball’s funny that way: a couple timely hits and you look like world beaters….you don’t get ’em, and the world beats you. Anyway, I also was happy with 1 of 3, but now that we’ve won the 1, I’m gonna be a glutton and want more. Let’s beat Radke today; 2 of 3 for the Tiges. With the Sox fading, this may be the team we face in the playoffs; from what I’ve seen, the Twins are better than the Yankees – better pitching.
    Rock on, boys
    Sockit To ‘Em, Tigers

  20. Andrew

    July 29, 2006 at 10:02 am

    Great win! I would love to see us take 2 of 3 this weekend. If we end up having to play the Twins in the postseason it sure would be nice for us to have the homefield advantage.

    Miner really has given us more than we could have imagined this season. If you would have told me that he would give us what he has in place of Maroth I would have wondered what you were smoking.

    With Carlos Lee out of the trade picture I would be surprised to see any major deals for the Tigers this weekend. And that is just fine. Maroth will be coming back in a month or so and even though it would be great to pick up another bat I think we can manage just fine.

    Just how tough is the AL Central? We have 3 teams listed in the top six of ESPN’s MLB Power Rankings. This is gonna be a dogfight to the finish for the division. I am loving it :).

  21. Anne

    July 29, 2006 at 10:32 am

    A quality start for Miner, 1-2-3 innings for both Rodney and Jones, just enough offense to win, who could ask for more? Great game, great win. I’d like to the Tigs beat Radke tonight too, but how about Bonderman vs Santana? We’ve beaten Santana once already this year. Go for the sweep!