Game 123: Tigers at Yankees

PREGAME: It looks like a pretty clear mismatch on paper. Chad Durbin is taking on Roger Clemens.

Durbin was knocked around in his last start against the A’s and allowed 10 baserunners in 4 1/3 innings. He walked 4 despite routinely getting ahead in the count because he couldn’t put hitters away, or at least get them to put the ball in play. That won’t be any easier against a very disciplined Yankees team.

Roger Clemens can be quite effective, but it isn’t a sure thing anymore. A look at his game log and it’s easy to see you don’t know what you’re going to get. He has only thrown more than 100 pitches once since the beginning of June so the Tigers may be able to chase him relatively early.

Game Time 3:55
DET @ NYY, Saturday, August 18, 2007 Game Preview –

: Going in this game looked like a mismatch. In the top of the 6th inning it still looked that way, but only for the good guys. The Tigers had just ensured that Clemens had pitched his last inning and had put pressure on him the whole game. Meanwhile Chad Durbin had gone through the first 5 innings on 65 pitches retiring 6 Yankees in a row on a total of 13 pitches in the 4th and 5th. The only concern was that the many missed opportunities the Tigers had wouldn’t come back to haunt them.

That concern was founded as Derek Jeter led off with a single and Bobby Abreu hit a homer that seemed more like a pop-up. Next thing you know Chad Durbin is out of the game without recording an out in the 6th, Roger Clemens is in line for the win, and Tim Byrdak and Jason Grilli combine to slowly limit the bleeding. And the Tigers lose going away.

Curtis Granderson had a pretty poor game with the bat. He hasn’t been hitting line drives for the last week or so, but he had at least been drawing walks. That didn’t happen today, and he was a big part of the reason the Tigers didn’t push more runs across. He fanned in a runners at the corners, no out situation in the 3rd and popped out in a bases loaded situation later on.

As for Cameron Maybin, things were definitely better. He did a nice job placing a ground ball to the right side on a hit and run for his first hit. And he drilled his first homer to striaght away centerfield. He also should have been credited with his first stolen base, but the official scorer didn’t give it to him on a nice play by the Yankees, and a poor one by the Tigers. Marcus Thames fanned with Maybin on first and Inge on third. Maybin was running and had 2nd base stolen. Roger Clemens cut the throw from Jorge Posada and ran over and tagged out Brandon Inge who was breaking for home on the play.

In the end the Tigers let a winnable game slip away, and now have to take the finale to muster a split.

Yankees 5 Tigers 2