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.