PREGAME: While the Tigers had success in the friendly confines of Wrigley, their trips to US Cellular have benn anything but friendly. The Tigers have only won once in Chicago this year spanning 6 attempts. However, heading into this series the bulk of the pressure is on the White Sox. If the Tigers can manage to get 1 game in this series, they’ll have a 4 game lead for the wild card with only 10 games to go.
Of course getting that one game out of the way tonight would certainly be satisfactory.
Tonight it will be the battle of crafty lefties Mark Buerhle and Kenny Rogers.
Game Time 8:05
POSTGAME: The trend of taking the series opener in convincing fashion continued in Chicago. This game looked like it might be over before the first inning was done with the Tigers first 4 hitters picking up 4 hits. They did it by basically swinging at anything that was over the plate, which is what they have been maligned for during the slump. When they actually hit line drives it doesn’t seem as problematic.
Unfortunately the rally was short circuited on a triple play. I was going to call it an improbably triple play, but really that just seems redundant. Carlos Guillen was jammed and hit a soft liner to 3rd that made Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez easy outs. Ironically, they were running on the pitch to avoid the double play. Personally I’ve never understood the strategy of sending runners on a full count with less than 2 outs just to avoid the double play, especially runners with the speed of Thames and Ordonez in an inning where the pitcher is getting hammered. I’m not just saying this because of the triple play, because there is really no way to anticipate that. I just hate the strategy in general.
But the Tigers made it through and really only threatened with a couple 2 out runners in the first. The rest was Kenny Rogers doing what he does. Allowing the occasional baserunner but minimizing the damage by inducing a ton of ground balls.
After a couple homers by Magglio Ordonez, the game was put out of reach with a 3 run shot in the 9th from Brandon Inge. The homer was big not only from a comfort standpoint, but it kept Todd Jones in the bullpen. Jones had pitched the last 3 games, and was set to come in for the 9th. Inge turned it into a laugher and the result is Jones being available and rested for Tuesday’s game.
And in all fairness, Neifi Perez played a good game last night. He hit well with 2 singles and a sacrifice bunt while doing a nice job on the Thome/Pierzynski shift. He gets ripped a ton here, but he was good last night.