PREGAME: Tonight is one of those games that is much bigger if the Tigers win than it is if they lose. After tonight there will be 10 games left and the Tigers will have either a 4 or 6 game lead over the White Sox. Both put the team in line for the playoffs, but the 6 game lead would probably be enough to assure the postseason practically speaking. Now of course there is that other matter of the division title of which the Tigers hold a precarious 1/2 game lead.
Tonight it will be Jeremy Bonderman taking on Jon Garland. The last time the Tigers faced Garland they were shut out. The time before that they were held to one run. And the time before that they shelled him. And the time before that they shelled him. Now Garland is throwing much better now than he did early in the season, so the Tigers will have their work cut out.
Jeremy Bonderman will try to minimize the extent of that work. He bounced back in his last start on Friday night after struggling in his previous 5. His last start against the White Sox was a 4 hit 7 run effort. On another Bonderman note, he is on pace to set the Tigers season record for strikeouts per 9 innings. He’s current at 8.83 which narrowly eclipses Mickey Lolich’s 8.68 mark from the 1969 season.
Game Time 8:05
POSTGAME: When Tiger killer Joe Crede grounds into 3 double plays, I think you know something is going Detroit’s way. Bonderman turned in his 2nd strong performance in a row and hopefully he’s shaken off that late August slump. The bullpen once again didn’t give the opposition much of a chance. And the offense had another solid game.
Number 8 hitter Marcus Thames, number 9 hitter Brandon Inge, and leadoff man Curtis Granderson went a combined 7 for 12 which will help get some runs.
Magglio Ordonez had another fine game with a solo homer to straight away centerfield and a fine diving catch.
Finally, Omar Infante who’s defense isn’t good enough to keep him in the lineup each day made 2 great defensive plays. He made one ranging to his right that save a run, and another play ranging far to his left to take a hit away.
Today didn’t insure a playoff spot, but it certainly made it pretty darn likely.