PREGAME: I don’t think I need to set up what this game could mean for Detroit (and the Yankees). Instead, let’s look at the pitching match-ups.
The Tigers will send out Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman led the rotation in K/9 (8.6), BB/9 (2.7), and HR/9 (.77). Despite all that he had the highest ERA in the rotation at 4.08, probably in large part to a DER of .682 while he was pitching. In essence he deserved better on the season. At the same time, Bonderman has twice blown 6 run leads at home this year and has mixed results to say the least in his last few starts. He’s only fanned 8 batters in his last 16 innings.
On the other side Jaret Wright will be pitching for the Yankees. Wright has been a flyball pitcher with only 33% of balls in play coming on the ground. Despite that he’s only allowed 10 homers in 140 innings this season.
As for individual match-ups, Magglio Ordonez is 8 for 18 and Sean Casey is 5 for 11. Pudge Rodriguez is 2 for 10 with 3 K’s against Wright. Damon, Matsui and and A-Rod all have OPS’s greater than 900 off of Bonderman.
POSTGAME: I had the pleasure of watching this game on a grainy little portable TV. The pitch-by-pitch dominance of Jeremy Bonderman was lost in the static, but definitely not in the results. For the 2nd straight day, the Yankee hitters weren’t able to do anything except shake their heads on the way back to the dugout. After Tiger starters failed to record a 1-2-3 inning at any point during the first 3 games, Bonderman retired the first 15 hitters in order.
The Tiger bats had no trouble with the back of the Yankees rotation and their bullpen and as a result this series ended in 4 games.
For those of you fortunate enough to be at the game today, congratulations. You’ve got yourselves one of the best sports memories that you’ll ever experience.
(The folks at Michigan Stadium did a tremendous job keeping the crowd updated. It wasn’t just the regular scoreboard updates that were handy, but they would replay big plays as they happened. They did and awesome job).