PREGAME: Am I crazy for being geeked about this stretch of games? Given the way the Tigers have played lately I probably am, but I guess I’m anxious to see what the team is made of. I’m not going to take the position that the season will be decided over the next 2 weeks, that’s just silly. Unless the team is 4-9 or worse, or 9-4 or better, their status probably won’t really change. Still, the chance to see them take on the teams they are competing with for playoff spots should be exciting.
It starts tonight with Jeremy Bonderman. As much as baseball is a team game, Jeremy Bonderman is going to be critical to the team’s success down the stretch. With the injuries to Rogers and Miller, the Tigers need to get consistent efforts from Robertson, Verlander, and Bonderman. The other 2 have at least given decent outings of late, whereas Bondo has been in a tailspin. He’s giving up a ton of hits, more walks than normal, and not striking out many while racking up big pitch counts. And of course there’s that pesky first inning issue which has become ridiculous as of late.
He’ll be face by C.C. Sabathia. The Tigers knocked him around pretty good the last two times they faced him, and chased him after 4 innings in July. We’ll see if the Tigers are a little extra juiced to face C.C. after he predicted a title for the Indians earlier this month.
Marcus Thames will play left field instead of his usual post at first base against the left hander. Carlos Guillen will man first with Omar Infante at short and Ryan Raburn at second. Curtis Granderson gets the start in centerfield. Jason Beck reports that the Placido Polanco and Craig Monroe are battling the flu. Let’s just hope it doesn’t spread.
For the Indians Travis Hafner, bad knee and all, will be in the lineup and bat 5th.
Game Time 7:05pm
DET @ CLE, Tuesday, August 14, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com
POSTGAME: Nice. I was IM’ing Ian of Bless You Boys and in the 9th inning I commented that regardless of the outcome I was happy with the team’s performance. There was sweet defense, the offense chipping away at a pitcher with his A game, some nice bullpen performances, and most importantly a strong start from Jeremy Bonderman.
Jeremy Bonderman had a bad 2 batter sequence where he shook off a change up and instead h is Casey Blake with a fastball. He then fell behind Grady Sizemore 3-1 before surrendering the homer in the first. After that he picked up 3 ground balls, 2 for outs, and the inning was over. He induced 8 ground outs, 2 infield pop outs, and he fanned 8. So the outfielders weren’t really tested during those first 7 innings. Bondo needed an outing like that, the Tigers needed an outing like that, and I think all fans needed an outing like that.
- Tigers pitchers fanned 14 Indians tonight. Three of those K’s were by Fernando Rodney with the winning run on 2nd base. One of those was by Tim Byrdak with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out. And one was by Todd Jones with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out. That’s slamming the door.
- Of course Byrdak needed a little help slamming the door and he got it from Curtis Granderson who preserved the lead going into the 9th by making a fabulous diving catch on a sinking liner from Travis Hafner. It was on par with his catch this past Saturday and a catch he made against the Twins in that 1-0 Sunday Night game.
- Omar Infante turned in some nifty plays at short and reached base 4 times. Nice from the back up infielder.
- Magglio Ordonez is doing his best to make it an MVP race. I still think it is A-Rod’s right now, but Magg’s recent surge has closed the gap. His slugging is back over 600, he’s only 6 behind in RBI, and he holds a big advantage in batting average and OBP.
- Brandon Inge was 0 for 5 with 4 K’s, 2 of the check swing variety.
- Fernando Rodney has made 5 appearances since coming off the DL. He’s faced 16 batters, and only 2 have reached base while he has fanned 7. Tonight his fastball was sitting in the 96-98mph range. But with 25 pitches I don’t know if he’ll be available tomorrow.
- The roster move that was made to accomodate Jair Jurrjens was Yorman Bazardo being optioned to Toledo. But there will need to be another move to free up a spot on the 40 man roster. (actually 2 to make room for Rick Procello)