PREGAME: The Tigers return home and take on the White Sox. The White Sox haven’t been playing good ball lately, but then again neither have the Tigers. The pitching matchup will be Jeremy Bonderman taking on Jon Garland.
The Tigers have only faced Garland once this season and picked up 3 runs on 5 hits in 8 innings.
Bonderman corrected his first inning problems, or at least he avoided them in his last start. He only allowed 1 run on 6 hits in a strong outing against the Royals. He walked none for the first time since July 13th and it was particularly refreshing after he had walked 4 and 5 in his previous 2 starts.
In the good news department Gary Sheffield is set to return on Thursday and is feeling better. So hopefully we won’t see any more situations where Omar Infante is batting 3rd and DH’ing. It kind of shows you how far out of favor that Sean Casey has fallen, plus Infante is 15-35 lifetime off of Garland.
POSTGAME: Another day, another loss, another one of those “this game was a microcosm of the season” efforts. Bonderman alternated between looking great (1st and 3rd innings) pounding the strike zone and hitting his spots with his fastball and slider, and pitching scared where he couldn’t command the fastball and couldn’t find the strike zone. He repeatedly fell behind 2-0 and 3-0 and it eventually caught up to him in the form of Alex Freakin Cintron.
Still he was good enough to keep the game close, even as the Tigers added a couple defensive goofs with Carlos Guillen at first and Marcus Thames in leftfield. Zach Miner provided 3 2/3 scoreless innings, enough to make fans think the Tigers still had a shot.
And then the offense showed some late life, finally breaking the shutout on a tremendous at-bat by Guillen before fizzling out with weak ABs from Pudge and Thames. If only they could have plated that runner on 3rd, then they would be in solo-homer striking distance. But even then, those days where anyone in the lineup could hit one out are gone. Inge hasn’t had that ability for over 2 months now, and Pudge is pretty far removed, and as nice as Ramon Santiago has played he’s not exactly a threat either. Inffact, of the Tigers last 14 homers, 11 have come from the bats of Ordonez/Guillen/Granderson. Not so much the balanced attack of earlier in the year.
Still, some pinch hit success from unexpected sources (Timo Perez and Sean Casey), plus a very surprising walk from Inge (who was choking up with 2 strikes on him) breathed enough life into the team so that you actually thought they had a shot, only to drop another one – this time with Curtis Granderson making the final out.
Another day, another loss.