Game 157: Blue Jays at Tigers

PREGAME: The playoff bound Tigers return home to try and secure the AL Central and possibly the best record in baseball. The magic number for the Central is 5. They are currently tied with the Yankees for best record, but the Yankees hold the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage so the Tigers actually need to beat out the Yankees.

The Tigers will send Jeremy Bonderman against Dustin McGowan. McGowan is making just his 2nd start this year, and his first since July 29th. He’s filling in for Roy Halladay who was shut down for the year.

Game Time 7:05pm

POSTGAME: Magglio Ordonez left the game with back spasms, which is certainly a concern. In the postgame interview, Leyland didn’t think it was serious. Also, Marcus Thames wasn’t with the team tonight as it sounds like he is ill.

As for Bonderman, the final results look okay, but it was a bumpy ride. He was missing with considerable regularity with his fastball and his slider didn’t seem to be as sharp, and he didn’t seem to throw it as often. Frankly it is the most concerned I’ve been with him in the 2nd half. He admitted that he had been pitching through a sprained ankle, and I only hope that he didn’t adversely change his mechanics to compensate.

The relief pitching was solid, and Joel Zumaya deserved better. He was squeezed on what would have been a called third strike that would have retired the side. Instead 2 runs came around to score on a tweener and a passed ball.

The bats managed to do just enough with Placido Polanco finding a hole with the bases loaded, and later laying down a squeeze bunt. Monroe was on 3rd base at the time because of a double steal that preceeded an RBI single by Brandon Inge. For those small ball afficionados, this was a game you had to love.

67 Comments

  1. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    Question for those of you that have seen the celebration clips on Youtube.com. I watched all five clips, and I’m certain that I didn’t see Craig Monroe or Marcus Thames. I’m almost certain that I didn’t see Brandon Inge either, but not 100%. Does anybody know where they were? I would hate to think that there is kind of rift between team members since the Dmitri incident. I know that Monroe and Thames were good friends of his.

  2. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation, but I need an answer to quiet my paranoia.

  3. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Well, my question was answered by Rod Allen…..at least as Monroe is concerned.

  4. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    No…we didn’t miss Polly….

  5. Joey C.

    September 26, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    Uh…why was Maggs taken out of the game?

  6. Joey C.

    September 26, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Back spams…

    Can’t that become a chronic problem? Should I be concerned here?

  7. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    Ken,

    I heard Rod Allen say Craig left right after the celebration because it was his daughter’s birthday. As for Thames and Inge, no idea.

    I missed the last inning… what happened to Ordonez??????

  8. billfer

    September 26, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Inge was interviewed by Keating on the field as part of the TV20 wrap up. I thought I saw him in the background a few times. I also thought I saw Thames in the background.

  9. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    I’m pretty happy with how the top of the 4th turned out. Bonderman loves to keep it interesting, doesn’t he. I believe he has more hits than innings pitched, and then when you add in the walks….

  10. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    When’s the last time Sean Casey had an error? I thought that didn’t ever happen?

  11. Lou

    September 26, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    Most pitchers, especially starters, have a WHIP over 1, i.e., more hits and walks than innings pitched.

  12. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    We are sure we saw Inge in the locker room. He was just late to the party because he got interviewed on the field. Maybe Thames went out with Monroe’s family…

  13. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    what happened to magglio?

  14. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Good point, Lou. Dumb remark on my part.

  15. Joey C.

    September 26, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Maggs had back spasms.

  16. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    LOVED the double steal.

  17. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    I think Monroe could have made it home on that one…but maybe not.

  18. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    I loved it too. Against that catcher you have to take every steal opportunity you can get. Show us he can throw a guy out. He’s only thrown out 18% of his attempts.

  19. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 26, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    This ump is a POS

  20. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    Ah, the walks are killing us. That’s always the way. Zumaya totally struck out that last guy though.

  21. Kyle J

    September 26, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Verlander to skip his next start. Miller a candidate for the postseason roster. I’m a little concerned about Leyland’s confidence in Miller (bringing him in tonight; talking about using him in the postseason). He’s had a few outings with real control issues, as should be expected with someone who’s been a professional baseball player for only a few months. I really think Walker and Ledezma would be fine as the left-handed relievers for the postseason.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=2604099

  22. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    I thought *somebody* was kicked off this site?

  23. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    Dan. You’re seriously affecting the chi of this atmosphere. Please leave it.

  24. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    ….(Praying really hard for Rodney to have a good day)….

  25. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    No walks! NO WALKS!

  26. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Hmm. Rodney’s not listening to me coaching from my living room in the suburbs tonight.

  27. Joey C.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Christ, that last pitch by Rodney had an Ankiel-like quality to it.

  28. Joey C.

    September 26, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    Always an adventure.

  29. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    No, I’m not joking. It only takes one guy being an ass to drive away people who genuinely enjoy the conversation on this site. Apologizing for swearing and then proceeding to do it twice more directly after. Come on…and you want to know if I’m joking? Ha.

  30. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Wait, I guess it’s three times now. Not helping your case much, Danno.

  31. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    It’s easy to say negative things about everyone when by definition, their batting average is such that they don’t get a hit 70% of the time. Even Thames (who we like as well, by the way). I mean, people get outs more than they get on base. Oh well. What’s all this “you people”, by the way? What does that mean?

  32. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Nice win, guys. Even WITHOUT Thames. Huh.

  33. McB.

    September 26, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Congrats Detroit…

  34. Pete

    September 26, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Nice win tonight, despite some strange moves by Leyland. The dream of a 100-win season just won’t die. Hard to tell if the Tigers are peaking at the right time or just playing crappy teams lately, but either way I’ll take the wins.

    Billfer — maybe this week you could do a post on who you think is the MVP of this team. Would be interested in your thoughts on that. Certainly lots of good candidates. (My vote is of course for Perez.)

  35. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Twins are tied 2-2 in the 7th, Yanks won, and the normally articulate Dan has made a return to Motown. I was hoping to have left you behind with the White Sox until next year. Guess you have a few games left.

  36. Adam

    September 26, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    There you go, Dan. Marcus Thames wasn’t even there tonight.

  37. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    I think for my MVP it would be Polanco, steady everyday good glove and moves the runners. For Pitcher MVP I would say split it between Kenny and Verlander. I think we can all honestly say that we did not think either one would have 17 wins this year, 17-6 and 17-9 both solid years from them. Good team guys. Honerable mention to Nate Robertson with a little more run support he could have been going for # 20 this week.

  38. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Joey C, Try not to hold back next time, I m not sure we got your drift.

  39. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    Looks Like Dad has been watching, some posts seem to have evaporated into the night sky…………….hmmmmm

  40. Sam

    September 26, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    Royals are choking it up in the 8th against the Twinkees. I bought MLB.TV for the rest of the season. This Mosiac (watching 6 games at once) is awesome. Watched the last 2 innings of the kittys sitting in SD airport.

    How about the choke Stl is pulling?

    -Sam

  41. billfer

    September 26, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Sorry about the disturbance earlier tonight everyone. I wasn’t monitoring the comments tonight, and a bunch of stuff got in. I deleted all of those comments, which is a first for me, but I hope no one minds. I certainly don’t feel bad about it.

  42. Ghetto Deluxe

    September 26, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Yo, Tiger fans stop on by and check out my Detroit Tiger Tune! I think you’ll dig the song and it is free to download the mp3.
    Ghetto Deluxe – Detroit Tiger Song(Detroit Tiger Fan)

    Peace
    Go Tigers!!!!!!

  43. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    The Twins don’t seem to lose. So annoying! Big surprise KC’s choking in the 8th!

    Let them have the Central so we can wip the Yankees in five. Stats show that underdogs have a better chance to upset with fewer games.

  44. Lou

    September 26, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    I think we’re going to get to the end of the year with 5 20-HR hitters, but no 30-HR hitters. That seems unlikely to occur with much frequency, but I don’t know any quick way to check it. Anyone else know?

  45. Lou

    September 26, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Can KC close out the season on a 10-game losing streak?

  46. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    I think Guillen for MVP.. but Polanco is a good call too. It’s just so hard to call.

    It looks like we may have to win 99 games to take this division. Twinkies now up on the Twins..and Chisox is rolling over and playing dead. I can see them winning out.

    To address Pete’s inquiry, I think the Tigers are playing on momentum now, plus near the top of their game with the return of Palanco. Statistics aside, there is a chemistry that makes me think this team plays one notch higher when Polly’s in the lineup. Do we take this game tonight without Polly? Hard to say, but I like the W in a close game that could have easily gone either way–and I stand by the speculation the Polanco in the lineup is tipping the scale in this W.

    This Jays team scares me. They’re not as crappy as you think. If we take 2 or sweep the Jays, I don’t think you can chalk up our fortune to playing a crappy team. KC, or course, is a different story….

    I’m not sure what happened to our 4-1 lead with the bullpen tonight. The lack of control in really nerve racking

  47. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Wait a minute! I spoke to soon. KC’s making a come-back! It’d be nice to see the Twinkies actually lose one in the ninth for once!

  48. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Hey K/C 1&2 no outs can K/C make a come back, Can we trade Neifi to K/C for a player to be named later.

    (Sorry Pete)

  49. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Does K/C have a player better than Neifi to get in return?

  50. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Okay, somebody help me out here. KC has bases loaded with one out…why did they not put on the squeeze to tie the game? They still get one more shot to go ahead. Instead the strikeout

  51. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    see above two comments 😉

  52. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    I think that Polanco is huge to the tigers. He’s a huge leader and wears down pitchers. The fact that he’s back is a big emotional ‘lift’ to the Tiges!

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers win-out.

  53. Lou

    September 26, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Oh man, KC had bases loaded and DeJesus fouled off three balls, took two, and missed the last (according to sportsline). Ouch. Would have tied the game if he just kept his bat on the shoulder.

  54. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Yep Bases loaded one out and no runs for K/C, that stinks, they can have Neifi next year for free to rebuild of off.

  55. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    The Royals are horrible!

  56. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    By the way, my last post (10:49) was before the final strikeout– KC is horrible. I hope they can manage one win against the Twins so we are not faced with the odds to win 9 straight against their losing 10 straight… (has that ever happened?)

  57. Kyle J

    September 26, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    T Smith, good point. While we expressed some differing views on bunting in a previous thread, I think we can all agree that the Royals batting against Joe Nathan down by one run in the 9th is a good time to bunt (which the Royals did once to get the runners over to second and third).

  58. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    Hey Bilfer, if you let Dan post, maybe he can answer my last question, since he is the self-proclaimed baseball expert in this forum

  59. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Just kidding

  60. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    Sorry T it looks like Dan is out plus after the last rebuke by Joey C, Billfer would need a new server for the latest beatdown.

    Let me take a statistical shot. The odds are you will have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than the Royals winning one more game.

    Steve

  61. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    Do you think if we don’t win the division title it will effect the Tigers negatively going into a series against the Yankees?

  62. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    What’s up with Chicago? Are they even going to show up at the Metrodome?

  63. Steve

    September 26, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    Dave, hard to say……… this has been a long and somewhat emotional year. If they lose the division are they just so PO’d the go win out in NY or are they emotionally drained and go 0-3.

    Im not big on play off experiance as the games they play next week all have 27 outs per side just like this week, and after an at bat or a fielded ball the nerves are gone.

    I live in Rochester NY and there are about 87 Yankee fans per 100 people here so I would for one love to see the Tiger (or even the Twins, Rochester is the AAA farm) go to New York and beat them. I cant stand Yankee fans much less the bandwagoneers.

  64. T Smith

    September 26, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Dave, in previous threads I have expressed that it would definately effect the Tigers, as a wildcard, going into Yankee Stadium. To me, the Tigers seem to be a team that rides on highs and lows. I’m not sure if that’s because they are a newly successful team, or what. But I think it’s a valid observation. They have not fared well against the Yankees all year, and when we do face them, I’m hoping it will be on a high, at CoAmerica park. The Yankees now have Shetfield and Matsui back in the lineup–their lineup will tax our pitchers (except Nate–he seems fearless).

    Of course it’s been suggested that we will have to go through the Yanks at some point regardless. Conventional wisdom in short series always favors the better pitching team. We can have our ace pitcher in two of those games. Going against Oakland, that would be Rogers, but with the Yankees lineup, I guess that may be Bondo…I’m not sure.

    I don’t want to find out, regardless. Let’s take the division, and the best record in baseball along with it, and give the boys the best chance to procure The Ring.

  65. Dave from 'The ATL'

    September 26, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    T Smith,

    I agree with you! I don’t like the idea facing the Yanks to start the playoffs.

    Yahoo sports guy is saying he’d rather have the Twins as the wild-card. That’s fine with me too!

    However, nobody seems to be saying much about Oakland.

  66. Kurt

    September 27, 2006 at 12:49 am

    With Rich Harden apparently healthy again, the A’s have the second best rotation in the playoffs behind the Tigers. People just can’t overlook that even if their lineup isn’t all that great at producing runs.

  67. Coach Jim

    September 27, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    I missed most of the game because of band practice. I turned on the TV just in time to see the double play. That’s a nice change because I’ve had a habit this year of turning on the TV just in time to see the opponent score.