PREGAME: If you notice this is only game 49 and a loss would drop the Tigers to all of 2.5 games back of the league leading Indians. Clearly it’s not a must win situation, but it certainly is a nice to win situation. If only to keep from the impending overreactions if the Tigers are swept.
They’ll have their work cut out facing Fausto Carmona. After watching him in the closer role last year, who would have ever thought the previous sentence would be written. Still, Carmona comes in with a 2.73 ERA. Now that ERA is probably a little better than it should be with a K/9 of 3.25. But like his rotation mates Sabathia and Byrd he doesn’t walk many with only 15 in 55 1/3 innings pitched. Limiting the free passes and extra base hits (opponents are only slugging 380) keeps the runs down.
The Tigers will send out Mike Maroth and would love to see him get through 7 innings. The key will be to keep the ball in the park. Maroth has already been tagged for 10 round trippers, and Cleveland certainly has the offense to add to that total.
With Placido Polanco out, Craig Monroe will assume the #2 spot in the order and Omar Infante will man second base.
Game Time 8:09 on ESPN. Let’s see if Joe Morgan has learned the names of any other Tigers besides Gary Sheffield. I’m a little disappointed that Jason Verlander won’t be pitching tonight.